Long-Term Test: Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale

With two months still in our care, Ford’s Puma showed great promise after road trips and round-towning. The post Long-Term Test: Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale appeared first on CAR Magazine.

Long-Term Test: Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale

Ford’s Puma showed great promise in a month of road trips and round-towning. Here is Ian McLaren’s update from the Blue Oval’s smallest passenger vehicle offering in the local market. 

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Let it never be said we here at CAR give the vehicles that end up in our long-term test fleet an easy time of it, and Ford’s stylish Puma crossover is no exception. Its engine had barely cooled down after an impressive showing in a rigorous road test featured in last month’s issue when the Desert Island Blue ST-Line Vignale saw its belly filled with unleaded and its nose pointed towards the Eastern Cape for a 2 000-odd- kilometre round trip as part of editorial intern Siya Mbaduli’s festive-season travels. 

Puma

Image: Ford

To briefly recap our February road-test findings, in the wake of the EcoSport’s departure, the Puma is Ford’s sole compact crossover offering on our market, at least until the Territory lands here in the second quarter. Underpinned by Ford’s Global B platform that formed the foundations of the outgoing Fiesta hatchback and powered by the company’s award-winning 92 kW/170 N.m 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol three-cylinder, it proved a stylish and entertaining entrant to the hotly contested compact crossover segment. Our only misgivings centred on a price that sees it eyeballing some rather capable premium rivals and the ST-Line’s occasionally choppy ride over broken surfaces owing to its line-specific 18-inch rims and firmer suspension. 

Related: Ford’s Facelifted Puma ST Not Coming to SA

Siya’s Eastern Cape road trip would certainly be a test of the latter. The province’s roads are notoriously possessed of scarred surfaces and potholes aplenty. Although severe road scars and abrupt corrugations did make themselves known with a thud throughout the cabin, the Puma acquitted itself admirably on the open road. The 1.0-litre turbo-petrol never felt out of its depth on the highway and, when overtaking slower traffic, proved impressively refined at motorway speeds, with just a hint of three-pot snarl accompanying dips of the throttle. 

Puma

Image: Ford

Two of the Vignale’s model-specific features were particularly welcome on the open road. The Bose audio system proved crisp and punchy, and one of the firmer lumbar massage functions out there helped to keep the front occupants fresh. Things in the back were a little less hospitable, owing to legroom that’s merely on the adequate side. However, the boot’s two-tiered load-bay floor and minimal wheel-arch intrusion did a great job of accommodating holiday luggage. 

Once it returned to Cape Town, custodianship of the Puma passed to deputy editor Gareth Dean and it offered us a taste of the Ford’s town manners. From the outset, it was apparent that the Puma’s driving manners are pure Blue Oval; all those of us who have sampled any number of Ford’s non-SUV models can attest to a satisfying ‘chunkiness’ and heft to the steering, which is allied with a supple chassis that frequently make Fords so pleasurable to drive. All were present and correct in the Puma. 

Related: Living With It – Ford Puma 1.0L EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale 7AT [Introduction]

Puma

Image: Ford

While I heartily concurred with Siya’s findings that the EcoBoost unit punches well above its weight, during the couple of weeks I’ve spent with the car, I found it has a surprising thirst for unleaded. Siya’s consumption figure for his round trip came to 7.2 L/100 km – reasonable, but still some way off Ford’s 5.3-litre claim – while my time spent in driving scenarios involving more mixed routes and lower average speeds has seen that figure creep up to the 8.4 L/100 km mark. I also agreed with Siya’s opinion on the overall comfort and sound ergonomics. There is something deeply satisfying about this car’s mixture of Sync3 touchscreen for the infotainment and good old-fashioned physical dials and switches for most of the ancillary controls. Nevertheless, I found the lack of a driver’s-side footrest to be a minor letdown. 

Although the Puma has enjoyed plenty of action in its first month with us, there are still some neat ‘easter egg’ features we’re keen to sample in the coming months. With the hot weather currently gripping the Cape, outdoor parking has meant that I return to a veritable toaster of a car at times. Consequently, FordPass connectivity – with its ability to remotely start the engine and pre-cool the cabin among its features – is something I’m keen to try. The other is the ‘Megabox’ loading system, a stowage bin under the floor of the boot that, according to Ford, can accommodate items as large as golf bags in an upright position. While I’m no golfer, the load bay’s dimensions and removable water-resistant floor should prove ideal for trips to the garden centre and stowing damp beach gear. 

This is a promising start to the Puma’s tenure at CAR … here’s to the next two months! 

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The post Long-Term Test: Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale appeared first on CAR Magazine.


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