Hot version of new Ford crossover looks certain as pumped up Puma undergoes track assesment
Ford is readying a hot version of its upcoming Puma crossover – and these spy shots give us another look at the ST model before its official release towards the end of next year.
While the test car is almost completely camouflaged, the hallmarkrs of a hardcore performance model are already clear to see: the car rides closer to the ground and on larger wheels than the standard car, while a pair of exhaust tailpipes poke out from the rear bumper, and the tracks appear wider.
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While it appears through the disguise that this model is still wearing the standard car’s bodywork, expect the ST to follow in line with other recent fast Fords and feature a larger front air dam, deeper bumpers and an extended rear spoiler for a more menacing look.
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Cabin upgrades for Ford’s ST family are usually fairly subtle; expect the Puma to feature a supportive set of Recaro sports seats and extra badging to single it out from the lesser models in the Puma range. The standard car’s cabin is generously equipped, featuring a 12.3-inch customisable digital instrument panel, Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system complete with eight-inch touchscreen, and a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround sound system.
The Puma shares its platform with the Fiesta, so any performance version is likely to use the same running gear as the latest Fiesta ST. that means power will be provided by a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with roughly 197bhp and 290Nm of torque.
Drive will be sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, but the Puma’s extra weight relative to is supermini cousin means that it’s likely to slightly lag behind the Fiesta’s 6.5-second 0-62mph time. The power will be kept in check by an uprated braking system that features larger discs at the front.
As it stands, the Puma will have very few rivals when it hits showrooms. With a replacement for Nissan’s Juke Nismo RS looking unlikely, there’s no outwardly sporty compact crossovers. However, the Puma ST is likely to face stiff opposition from Hyundai; the Korean firm is readying a high performance version of its Kona that will fall under its N sub-brand.
The current top range Puma, the ST-Line X Plus First Edition, costs £27,345, and the Larger Focus ST starts from £31,995, so expect the ST to sit somewhere between those two figures when order books open.
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