If there is a car that better illustrates all that is wrong with the ‘crossover’ class of car, it is this new Puma ST, despite the fact that it is head, shoulders, knees and toes better than anything in that category that can be bought for similar money. But here is a car that is based on the Ford
Fiesta ST yet priced uncomfortably close to the Focus ST. So it has the Fiesta’s 1.5- litre engine with 197bhp, not the 276bhp 2.3-litre unit in the Focus. It has the Fiesta’s cheap torsion beam rear axle, not the sophisticated multi-link set up of the Focus. Of the three it is the slowest and because of its height and weight it also has the least impressive handling.
There’s also the question of the ride quality, which is the worst of the trio because to control its additional weight and higher centre of gravity, Ford has had to spring it more stiffly so you’ll be more comfortable in the Fiesta too, let alone the Focus. Yet it is still a genuinely enjoyable car to drive. Its three-cylinder motor is enthusiastic, and Ford’s world class chassis engineers have done all they can to preserve that balletic fast Ford feel despite the compromised nature of the raw material. If you are desperate to have a crossover and care about driving, don’t even consider anything else.