The Puma is Ford’s smallest SUV offering, but is the first to get the ST treatment and is a massive step up from the standard model. Out goes a one-liter, mild hybrid, three-cylinder motor and in comes the 1.5-liter turbo from the latest Fiesta ST with 200 hp, and 236 lb-ft of torque.
Despite being a little heavier than lesser Pumas the ST still screeches from 0-62 mph in 6.7 seconds. It’s front-wheel drive only, and drivers get to row through the gears with a six-speed manual transmission. There’s a mechanical limited slip differential and torque vectoring to aid traction and cornering capability. Also included are “force vectoring springs” plus a much stiffer rear torsion beam, and new anti-roll bars front and rear. The steering rack is faster and the front brakes are beefed up. There’s even a Track mode which disables the traction control and de-sensitizes the stability control. If that’s not enough then an optional performance pack adds launch control.
A sportier look comes from new front splitter, a rear diffuser, twin tailpipes and 19-inch alloys. The Mean Green paintwork is exclusive to the ST. Inside there are Recaro front seats, a new flat-bottomed steering wheel and various ST badges.
Beginning in 2019 Ford axed the Fiesta in North America, along with the Focus and all other cars except the Mustang, but seeing as the Puma is an SUV maybe, just maybe, it could find a place here if you ask nicely, and loudly, enough.