Ford Set to Add Vibrant and Dynamic Puma to SA Line-up

Ford is set to launch the exciting Puma in South Africa in October 2023, introducing its vibrant SUV-inspired compact crossover to local customers. The Puma fuses an unmissable silhouette, uncompromised load space and interior comfort, along with Ford’s multiple award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

The Ford Puma has become a firm favourite in the compact SUV segment in Europe thanks to its charismatic styling cues, including distinctive wing-top-mounted headlamps and athletic, aerodynamic lines. Under the skin, the compact crossover proportions deliver a raised ride height for a confidence-enhancing driving experience, while supporting an uncompromised luggage capacity of 456 litres.

This is complemented by an extensive range of high-end features. These include a large fully digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, premium B&O sound system, lumbar massage seats, powered tailgate, sport suspension, Selectable Drive Modes and advanced driver assistance technologies (depending on model).

The Puma will be available with two distinctive personalities, comprising the sporty Puma Titanium and the stylish range-topping Puma ST-Line Vignale, reflecting individual customers’ preferences.

“The Ford Puma is a sophisticated urban compact SUV that combines a sporty design matched to exceptional interior functionality and unsurpassed connected technology to meet the demands of dynamic young individuals and professionals,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager for Marketing at Ford South Africa.

“As a new addition to our local line-up, the Puma builds on Ford’s reputation for producing trend-setting sports utility vehicles. It will capitalize on the rapidly growing and very competitive SUV segment, and the compact crossover category in particular, which has become immensely popular,” Mashinini says. “The Puma has been a huge success in Europe, and we are delighted that we will soon be making it available to our South African customers.”

Evocative design meets superb practicality

Stylish, sporty, and seductive, the new Ford Puma relies on Ford’s B-car architecture, using an optimised wheelbase and track to deliver head-turning SUV proportions.

Puma features a low, sloping roofline for a dramatic, instantly recognisable silhouette, and bucks the trend for wedge-style crossover side profiles with a flatter beltline to deliver balanced proportions. Ford’s design team created highly emotional surfacing over the distinctively proportioned stance of the vehicle and, alongside the engineering team, delivered uncompromised style, access and load-space.

Sensual surfacing continues along the sides of the Puma, with pronounced wheel arches amplifying the sporty character. The expressive front-end features intricately designed “canoe-shaped” headlamps that sit high on the wings, while the LED fog lamps are positioned directly below, integrated into the front air curtain inlets that guide airflow across the front wheels. Extending forward to the instantly recognisable front grille, the LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights give Puma a bold, aerodynamic front design and an approachable face. On the ST-Line Vignale, adaptive LED lights are standard which optimise visibility when cornering.

The amplified proportions of Puma are further enhanced by a unique “floating” A-pillar design. This uninterrupted connection of belt line to cowl positions the visual mass of the cabin further rearward, delivering a powerful yet distinctly elegant silhouette.

The Puma range starts off with the Titanium, which features unique black-machined 17-inch alloy wheels, and chrome elements for the grille, side skirts and fog lamps. The rear diffuser and skid plate are finished in metallic grey, and the window surrounds in high gloss black. Inside, Puma Titanium is offered with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, wood-effect appliques for the cluster bezel and instrument panel, and distinctive fabric inserts for the door interiors.

The sporty Puma ST-Line Vignale is offered with black 18-inch machined alloy wheels and a sports suspension. At the front, the ST-Line grille features matt black elements and a high-gloss surround, high-gloss foglamp surrounds, and a larger, functional roof-spoiler.

Bold signature ST-Line lower wing elements direct air to the air-curtain inlets. Inside, the Puma ST‑Line features a flat-bottomed steering wheel and signature red stitching. Alloy pedals, an aluminium gear shifter and signature black headliner further heighten the sporty character. Owners are greeted with a warm welcome each time the doors are unlocked thanks to the eye-catching puddle lights that illuminate the ground with the Puma logo.

A palette of five vibrant exterior colours is available, comprising Frozen White (non-metallic), Fantastic Red, Grey Matter, Desert Island Blue and Magnetic.

Puma’s seductive styling belies unprecedented compact crossover practicality, supported by innovative rear stowage features that offer practical solutions to everyday storage needs. Puma delivers uncompromised load space and rear luggage capacity of 456 litres. A flexible load compartment can comfortably accommodate a box 112 cm long, 97 cm wide and 43 cm high with the second row of seats folded flat.

Developed to meet and exceed customer requirements for practical luggage space, the optional Ford MegaBox provides a deep, versatile storage space that is capable of comfortably accommodating two golf bags in an upright position.

The storage solution offers a capacity of 80 litres in a space 763 mm wide, 752 mm long and 305 mm deep, which can house unstable items up to approximately 115 cm tall – such as houseplants – in an upright position. Alternatively, with the lid down, the space can be used to conceal dirty sports equipment or muddy boots. The Ford MegaBox’s synthetic lining and drain plug in the bottom make it easy to clean with water.

For even greater versatility, the Puma’s boot floor can be easily adjusted using just one hand to suit load requirements, and to hold one of three positions in the cargo area:

  • In the lowest position, the maximum storage volume available is achieved while concealing the optional Ford MegaBox
  • In the high position, the area underneath increases to create a cargo floor that is level with the fold-flat second-row seats
  • Removed, the floor can be securely stored vertically against the back of the second-row seats for full 456-litre capacity

The adjustable boot floor features a honeycomb structure inspired by the hexagon-shaped cells used in the construction of high-strength components for jet planes and supercars, for durability and strength.

Loading the Puma is made even easier with Ford’s hands-free tailgate technology, which is standard on the ST-Line Vignale. The system allows access to the boot space, even with arms full of groceries, kids or sports equipment, using a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper.

The Puma tailgate features an innovative incorporated parcel shelf solution – solving the challenge of what to do with the parcel shelf when loading, unloading and carrying large items. The tailgate-mounted luggage cover moves in unison with the tailgate and removes the need for side supports, ensuring unhindered access to the rear load area. The flexible luggage cover easily moulds itself around bulky items.

“Throughout the development process, the goal of the Puma design and engineering team was to deliver an unprecedented degree of practicality in a compact and efficient package,” says Mashinini. “Puma’s unique Ford MegaBox and parcel shelf are examples of the innovative thinking that helped deliver flexibility without compromising on style, making it perfectly suited to the busy lifestyles of urban owners.”

Award-winning powertrain technology

“Our 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has already proven that fuel efficiency and performance can go hand-in-hand. As a three-time International Engine of the Year, and five-time winner of the sub-1-litre category, it’s a superb package that is perfectly suited to the Puma,” Mashinini says.

The 1.0L three-cylinder EcoBoost engine is common to both derivatives of the Puma. It produces 92kW of power at 6 000 r/min matched to 170Nm of torque across a broad range from 1 500 to 4 500 r/min.

This impressive engine incorporates Ford’s cylinder deactivation system, which automatically switches off one of the engine’s cylinders when full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising. The system can disengage or re-engage the cylinder in 14 milliseconds, guaranteeing a perfect balance between fuel efficiency and performance. Auto Start-Stop is standard to further reduce running costs.

Power is delivered to the front wheels via an advanced seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which provides seamless performance allied to fast shifts for sporty driving.

The driver has access to five Selectable Drive Modes to suit the conditions, comprising Normal for everyday driving, Eco which optimises fuel economy, Slippery for low-traction surfaces, Trail for more challenging terrain, and Sport for moments when the driver wants to exploit the impressive dynamic attributes. The system adjusts various settings, including throttle response and steering feel, as well as gearchange behaviour. The instrument cluster also changes to reflect your chosen setting and includes a ‘quiet’ mode that displays only the most important information.

Puma further builds on Ford’s renowned B-car architecture that uses a stiff twist-beam rear suspension, large-diameter shock absorbers, stiff suspension bushes and optimised suspension top mounts to reduce friction and enhance stiffness throughout the chassis to support superb driving dynamics.

Customers who opt for the ST-Line Vignale benefit further from a sport suspension with specially tuned springs and shock absorbers. This is enhanced by larger diameter 18-inch alloy wheels and lower-profile tyres to enhance the grip, dynamic prowess and agility offered by this exciting new model.

Confidence-inspiring technologies

There is no compromise when it comes to driving safety in the Puma, which is equipped as standard with a raft of active safety features including ABS, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Launch Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Auto High Beam headlight activation, and the Lane-Keeping System – which incorporates Lane-Keeping Aid and Alert functions as well as Lane Departure Warning.

Further enhancing Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, Road Edge Detection functionality can recognise where a paved road transitions to an impassable surface, such as a soft verge, gravel hard shoulder, or grass. The system can apply torque to the steering wheel to prevent the vehicle from drifting off the road.

An extensive range of advanced technologies also help drivers safely negotiate busy urban environments. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection can detect people or vehicles who are in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path – even in the dark. If a potential collision is detected, it can alert the driver with visible and audible warnings and, if needed, pre-charge the brakes to increase brake sensitivity to help enhance responsiveness when the brakes are applied.

Should an accident occur, Post-Collision Braking technology helps reduce the impact of a potential secondary collision by automatically applying moderate brake pressure when an initial collision event is detected. Slowing the vehicle can potentially lessen injury to occupants and further damage to the vehicle. Occupants are protected by a total of six airbags, comprising dual front, side and curtain airbags.

Both variants of the Puma are available with the optional Driver Assistance Pack that adds the following features:

- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go and Lane Centring that helps the Puma maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead. The system also helps reduce stress during long road trips by keeping the vehicle centred in its lane.

Stop & Go enables the Adaptive Cruise Control system to bring the vehicle to a complete halt in stop-start traffic using up to 50 percent of total braking force, and automatically pull away if the stopping duration is less than 3 seconds. For stopping durations greater than 3 seconds, the driver can push a steering wheel button or gently apply the accelerator to pull away.

Evasive Steering Assist is part of the ACC package and is designed to operate at city and motorway speeds. It uses radar and a camera to detect slower-moving and stationary vehicles ahead and provides steering support to enable drivers to manoeuvre around a vehicle if a collision is imminent.

The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert which provides a warning when vehicles that may be crossing behind the vehicle are detected during reversing. The system can apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the effects of collisions if drivers do not respond to warnings.

- Front parking sensors and a rear wide-angle camera that captures a 180-degree view displayed on the eight-inch touchscreen – so passing pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles can be more easily seen when reversing out of parking spaces or driveways. Rear parking sensors are standard on both models.

- Active Park Assist with Perpendicular Parking which helps drivers find suitable spaces and park hands-free nose-to-tail and side-by-side with other cars.

- Driver Impairment Monitor which monitors the driver’s inputs and recognises fatigue or impairment. It creates visual and audible alerts on the instrument cluster if it detects the driver may be tired and will recommend a rest stop if necessary. 

The standard security features comprise a Thatcham-grade alarm system with immobiliser, complemented by remote central locking with keyless start on the Titanium, and keyless entry on the top-spec ST-Line Vignale.

Innovative and inviting

Puma’s innovative and upscale interior is designed to help owners take control of – and offer a sanctuary from – the pressures of everyday life.

Emphasising its luxurious appointments, lumbar massage front seats on the ST-Line Vignale revitalise tired muscles and contribute to more relaxing journeys. The three-bladder massage system features three intensity settings and adjustable rolling directions.

The sports seats on the ST-Line Vignale are trimmed in partial leather with Metal Grey stitching, while cloth trim with Metal Grey stitching is found on the Puma Titanium. The front seats incorporate a sculpted slim-back design that maximises knee clearance for second row passengers, while the second-row bench seat contour has been designed to improve ingress and egress. The driver’s seat is also height adjustable.

As part of the optional ST-Line Styling Pack, which is available on the range-topping model, a full-length opening panorama roof comprising two almost-full-width panes of toughened, tinted glass creates an even more spacious and airy feel for occupants in the front and rear. This Styling Pack also features a black-painted roof that enhances the Puma’s sporty character, while the four-way adjustable front passenger seat enhances occupant comfort.

Helping drivers stay on top of busy work and social lives, innovative features include a wireless charging pad as standard for effortlessly recharging smartphones on the move. Removing the need to occupy one of the Puma’s two USB inputs with a charging cable, the pad sits just beneath the instrument panel and will detect compatible devices to automatically initiate charging.

Devices can remain connected via Bluetooth to Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system while using wireless charging, allowing Puma drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple voice commands. The system provides embedded satellite navigation and delivers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility via the USB connection. It is supported by an eight-inch central touchscreen that can be operated using pinch and swipe gestures.

FordPass Connect on-board modem technology allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including Vehicle Locator; Vehicle Status (that checks fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more); remote Door Lock Unlock; and Remote Start.

The ST-Line Vignale is equipped with a high-end B&O sound system that has been dynamically tuned to ensure a premium audio experience.

The 10-speaker system includes a 150x200mm externally coupled subwoofer integrated into the boot without compromising luggage space, which delivers a smooth bass tone. The tweeter positions have been optimised to produce a wider sound stage at seating level, delivering an enveloping listening experience for all occupants. The system is powered by a 575-watt Digital Signal Processing Amplifier that controls equalisation and audio mixing including selectable Surround Sound.

In addition, a 12.3-inch fully configurable digital instrument cluster on the ST-Line Vignale allows drivers to personalise and prioritise the display of information including driver assistance technology and satellite navigation notifications. The cluster uses free-form technology that allows curved upper edges for seamless interior design. The free-form panel features circuitry embedded across the display, enabling designers to mould it into shapes beyond the traditional rectangular design.

In addition, the 24‑bit “true colour” digital instrument cluster generates detailed, high definition, more intuitive images and icons displayed in the full colour spectrum, making them brighter, less tiring on the eyes and easier to read.

Pricing (includes VAT):

- Puma Titanium                                   R569 900

- Puma ST-Line Vignale                       R613 900

Included as standard is Ford Protect comprising a four-year/120 000km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000km or annually, whichever occurs first.

Customers have the option of purchasing service or maintenance plans up to eight years or 135 000km. The warranty can be extended up to seven years or 200 000km, while the Roadside Assistance can be extended for an additional one or two years.