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Ford Puma (1997-03)

Overall Rating

4 stars

It's tempting to compare Puma with Vauxhall's earlier Tigra. Both are compact coupes based on successful superminis. But such a comparison serves only to highlight Puma's superiority across the board.

For
  • Bold styling that still turns heads
  • Funky, fashionable and fun
  • Fiesta heritage means sensible running costs
Against
  • Fiesta DNA might put sports snobs off
  • Beware of abused 'go-faster' examples
  • Restricted rear seating
Road Test

Forget body kit, lowered suspension and engine tweaks in pursuit of a go-faster supermini. Here's one Ford did earlier - slick, sexy and sorted! Puma's underpinnings are from the proven Fiesta Mk 4, cloaked in a sculpted coupe body. Inside, you're in a proper sports car - and a well equipped one, too. Fiesta lends an engine - the entry level 1.4i 16v - but it's the 125 bhp 1.7i 16v unit that's the making of Puma, providing power to test the taut chassis and suspension. Tenacious roadholding, sharp steering responses and traction control (not on 1.4i) give sporting, safe handling that's a joy on twisty roads. Straight line acceleration is rewarding, too. Reliability is good, fuel economy is better than a typical 'hot hatch', parts and servicing are Fiesta-cheap, and insurance is a reasonable Group 12 for the 1.7i. So what's the catch? Only the slightly tight rear seats, in our opinion...

Need To Know

NCAP: not tested (Fiesta = 3 stars)

Best Models: 1.7i 16v; 1.7i 16v Ford Racing

Worst Models: none

Replacement: n/a


Alternatives
Ford Puma (1997-03)
Star Ratings

Handling

4 stars

Comfort

4 stars

Quality & Reliability

4 stars

Performance

4 stars

Roominess

3 stars

Running Costs

4 stars

Value for Money

4 stars

Stereo/Sat Nav

3 stars
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