2021 Ford Puma ST Revealed As The Fiesta ST Of Crossovers
Many Ford fans criticized their favorite brand for using the “Puma” moniker for a small crossover and now the Blue Oval is (kind of) addressing that issue. Meet the Puma ST, the company’s first ST-badged crossover for the European market, and Ford’s second vehicle of this kind after the Edge ST sold in North America. It’s an indirect successor to the rare Racing Puma, but in a more practical CUV package to keep up with the times and market demand.
The Puma ST is everything you like about the Fiesta ST while adding a bit of ground clearance. It borrows the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with three cylinders that can work on just two thanks to cylinder deactivation tech to boost fuel economy when the full power isn’t needed. Speaking of power, the tiny-but-mighty EcoBoost unit produces 197 hp and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) to mirror the spicy supermini. It’s worth pointing out you get that kind of torque in the Fiesta ST with the overboost. Otherwise, the three-pot develops 290 Nm (214 lb-ft) in the subcompact hatch.
It borrows the same six-speed manual gearbox helping the Puma ST hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 6.7 seconds, thus making it 0.2s slower than the Fiesta due to the added weight. Top speed is also down, from 144 mph (232 km/h) to 137 mph (220 km/h).
Beyond the upgraded engine, there are several other improvements over a regular Puma. For example, the ST is available with an optional mechanical limited-slip differential, force-vectoring springs, and selectable drive models with an Eco mode available for the first time on a Ford Performance model. In addition, the rear suspension is 40 percent stiffer than that of the Fiesta ST and at the same time, 50 percent stiffer compared to the regular Puma. Front and rear anti-roll bars contribute to the crossover’s improved stability.
Ford’s engineers have also tweaked the steering system making it nearly 25 percent quicker than the standard Puma and have enlarged the front brakes by 17 percent for extra stopping power. Special attention was given to the exhaust, a free-flowing setup with active valves to make the soundtrack more appealing. Interestingly, the exhaust is one-decibel quieter compared to the Fiesta ST’s in order to provide “a more composed cruising experience.”
Then there are the visual upgrades, in line with those of the Fiesta ST. Ford installs 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires as standard equipment and offers customers the opportunity to pick from six different body colors, including this ST-exclusive Mean Green shade. Regardless of the main color, the roof, grille surround, side moldings, mirror caps and the rear spoiler come with a glossy black finish.
Stepping inside the cabin, the 2021 Ford Puma ST has body-hugging Recaro front seats as part of a sporty package also including a flat-bottomed steering wheel and an ST-specific gear knob. Even before getting in, the mirror-mounted projectors show the ST logo on the ground whenever you unlock the vehicle to remind you it’s not a run-of-the-mill Puma.
A forbidden fruit in the United States, the Puma ST will be available in Europe and is going to be assembled alongside the standard vehicle at Ford’s plant in Craiova, Romania where the EcoSport is also manufactured.
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