A great deal has been written about the demise of the car and the rising of the SUV in the US. Both Ford and GM have killed off all of their sedans and what is left at Fiat Chrysler will most assuredly be toast after the merger with the PSA Group early next year. But Ford didn’t stop making sedans and hot hatches; it just doesn’t make them for the US. Ford still makes cars outside of the US like this 2021 Puma ST hatchback.
The hotter Puma is the ST
A lot of the Puma is based on the latest Fiesta, a hot hatch we also don’t get in the US. The hotter Puma is the ST. With a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 with 197 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, this sub-compact will wing up to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds. Hooked behind the three-cylinder is a six-speed manual transmission, good for a few more giggles.
Optioned with the Quaife limited-slip differential and combined with the brake-based torque-vectoring the ST will scoot around turns. With the aid of Michelin Pilot 4S tires mounted on 19-inch wheels, there is a ton of cornering ability and less understeer than the standard Puma experiences.
Everything for a daily and then track day on the weekends
Inside there are Recaro bucket seats and different modes for suspension settings. STs already come with tuned chassis featuring stiffer suspensions, bigger brakes, and quicker steering. Basically, everything for a daily and then track day on the weekends.
In the European Ford pecking order from the bottom is the Ecosport, which is a compact crossover like the Puma. Then the Puma, which is more premium and a bit more stylish than the Ecosport. That is followed by the compact Bronco Sport and finally, Escape at the top of the compact heap.
The competition across the pond is the Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and Volkswagen T-Cross. As a performance model, the only one that comes close to the ST is the Kona N which should be landing here in the near future. So if the Puma ST sounds like it appeals to you keep your eyes open for the Kona N once it arrives here.
There isn’t anything in this category with the same power and grip
If models like the Kona and Toyota’s C-HR, Honda’s HR-V, and the Nissan Kicks do well here it might give Ford pause. The US has Toyota 86s and the aged Nissan Z to offer anything sports car-like. But with the appeal of the SUV, there isn’t anything in this category with the same power and grip.
In the US the closest is the Jaguar F-Pace and that starts at $46,000. Ford Ecosport starts at $15,000. So, what if Ford killed off the Ecosport here and replaced it with the Puma? Based on the same platform as the Bronco Sport it makes it a lot easier to begin production on the same assembly line. Just a friendly suggestion from your pals at MotorBiscuit.