While hot hatches like the Fiesta ST aren’t sold in the US anymore, Ford does still offer an ST lineup here. Though instead of hatchbacks, they’re crossovers/SUVs like the Edge ST and Explorer ST. However, over in Europe, Ford has yet another model, the Puma ST. And recently it found a supporter over here in the US: Ford CEO Jim Farley.
The 2021 Ford Puma ST is fun, sporty, and (as of now) not coming to the US
Under the 2021 Ford Puma ST’s hood is the same 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine used in the Euro-market Fiesta ST, Evo reports. The Puma’s engine makes 200 hp and 236 lb-ft, sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual and a standard limited-slip differential, Hagerty reports. As a result, it goes 0-62 mph in a claimed 6.7 seconds.
Compared to the standard model, the Ford Puma ST has stiffer suspension and anti-roll bars, larger brakes, and quicker steering, Autoblog reports. Plus, heated Recaro front seats, a Track mode that disables the traction control, and a functional front splitter and rear spoiler. And launch control is optional.
All of this makes the 2021 Ford Puma ST “easily the most satisfying small crossover/SUV to drive,” Top Gear reports. You can’t escape the higher center-of-gravity, Car reports, but it corners flat and with little-to-no torque steer. The brakes are easy to modulate, the steering is fast and direct, and despite the stiffer suspension, it rides surprisingly well.
Unfortunately, we Americans can’t experience this because the 2021 Ford Puma ST isn’t sold here. Yet.
Ford CEO Jim Farley, though, seems to be a wanting Puma ST fan
The current Ford CEO, Jim Farley, has plenty of experience with the company’s faster products. He started out racing in a Shelby Cobra, and still races his 1966 Ford GT40, Autoblog reports. And in a recent tweet—embedded below—he expressed a desire for Ford North America to offer the 2021 Puma ST.
Naturally, it seems a bit odd for the Ford CEO to tweet about something like this, Motor1 muses. Especially since, you know, he is the CEO. However, as Autoblog points out, “it takes more than a tweet to bring a car here.” Though Autoblog also points out that Farley isn’t the first American automotive executive to want to bring a European product over.
So, in terms of a US-market Ford Puma ST, is this just a wistful thought, or a sign of something more?
Does that mean it could come to the US?
It’s worth noting that Jim Farley has stressed Ford’s intention to building more affordable vehicles. Although the 2021 Puma ST is by no means the cheapest vehicle in Ford’s European lineup, it’s also a fairly inexpensive performance car. And in the UK, the base Puma is only about $1700 more expensive than an EcoSport Titanium.
Admittedly, Ford has some sporty crossovers here: the previously-mentioned Edge and Explorer ST. However, while the Explorer ST is an unexpectedly compelling option, the Edge ST doesn’t really live up to its badge, Car and Driver reports. As such, the Puma ST could conceivably be a cheaper alternative within Ford’s US lineup.
Plus, it wouldn’t be the only small ‘hot crossover.’ Hyundai is working on a Kona N, and it is coming to the US. And it has the same 275-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the Veloster N. But unlike the Puma ST, it doesn’t offer a manual, Car and Driver reports.
The biggest hurdles Ford faces in bringing the Puma ST to the US are regulations. Because while the EcoSport and Puma both ride on the Fiesta platform, the former uses the outgoing ‘global’ platform. Ford didn’t plan on offering the current-gen Fiesta in the US, so it didn’t necessarily design it to conform to our emissions and crash standards. So, if the Puma ST were to come here, it would likely require at least a few modifications.
Officially, a company spokesperson told Autoblog, Ford doesn’t plan on bringing the Puma here. But when it was first unveiled, at least a few employees wanted it sold in the US, Car and Driver reports. And if the Ford CEO wants it now, maybe the plans can change.
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