Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost

We drive the new Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost. Picture: Ford SA.

Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost driven: A modern take on the Fiesta

We drive the Blue Oval’s new pint-sized Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost. Think of it as a modern replacement of the much-loved Fiesta supermini.

Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost

We drive the new Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost. Picture: Ford SA.

Sat behind the wheel of the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost I had a grave thought. Isn’t it crazy to think that one day the world’s oil reserves will be entirely depleted? It isn’t a case of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’. Then I’m snapped from this sobering thought with the knowledge that the multi-award-winning engine in the Ford Puma 1.0-litre EcoBoost is possibly the antidote to all this inevitability.

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Let me give you the headline facts on the Blue Oval’s newest compact crossover, the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost. From its 999 cc three-cylinder motor, with clever cylinder deactivation and a small turbocharger … voila, you have 92 kW at 6 000 rpm and 170 Nm of torque between 1 400-4 500 rpm. Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 5.3 l/100 km. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, as they say in those late-night Verimark commercials … there’s more!


Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost
Ford’s just launched the new Puma in SA. Picture: Ford SA.

Because, what if I were to tell you, sampling it at the South African launch, it also drives with all the verve and vigour of a greyhound at the races!? You can scarcely believe it when you put your foot down but it takes off like it’s got blinkers on, chasing an stuffed hare. Zero to 100 km/h comes up in a reliable 9.5 seconds. Ford claims a 10-second sprint while many independent testers have posted times well into the 9-second range. The Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost is a great damn car. Versatile in all the ways you’d expect from one of the world’s foremost carmakers.

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And it better be, frankly, because it’s essentially the replacement for the Ford Fiesta. A small hatchback that was the undisputed best car in its segment (not necessarily always in sales volume) for decades. But the Puma is a compact crossover, I hear you shout, how can it be a replacement for the Fiesta!? Well, last decade, the executives at Ford looked into their crystal ball and envisaged that the world would move away from hatchbacks and embrace compact crossovers instead. True to their word, we have the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost.


Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost
Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost can be all things to all people. Picture: Ford SA.

Ford even created a World Rally Championship program around the Puma a few years ago. One which replaced; you guessed it, the outgoing Fiesta. It’s all part of a broader corporate plan, you see. This is not some EcoSport clone. When you think of it as the new Fiesta, it makes so much sense and a smile begins to grow across your face as you drive along.

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That all of a sudden explains why the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost feels the way it does. I’m talking about small, sleek and nimble. It values responsiveness in its power delivery. I’ve always maintained that a car can have the tiniest amount of power in the world but if the power delivery is urgent, it can be more engaging to drive than a million-billion-Rand supercar. The Puma goes someway to supporting that concept.


Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost
Nimble and perky to drive, the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost shares the Fiesta’s B-Car platform. Picture: Ford SA.

The Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost, which we drove exclusively in ST-Line Vignale spec for R613 900, is exactly that: perky, urgent and responsive. Note that the range starts at R559 900 for the Titanium, although we didn’t sample it. It’s three-cylinder motor has eco stop-start, five driving modes so you can tailor response. And a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox guarantees a stress-free drive in any sort of traffic.

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Spend only a few moments with the new Puma and you quickly realise it’s not some mass-produced commodity car like so many others out there. It’s like Ford Motor Company had a company-wide strategy session and everyone left a suggestion that the engineers successfully acted on. Inside, you get Ford’s Sync3 8-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital driver cluster and 10-speaker B&O sound system. Although it doesn’t look it, ground clearance is 164 mm and the wheels are pushed out to the corners of the chassis, so there are not a lot of curbs or speed bumps that’ll catch it out.


Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost
Quality interior of the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale. Picture: Ford SA.

What strikes me about the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost, aside from what I’ve already mentioned, is the quality of the overall packaging. It hails from Ford’s plant in Hungary (where the Fiesta was built) and it shares the same B-car architecture. This shows. It’s a new car that seems as though it has generations of good breeding behind it.

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The seats are thin-backed to maximise interior space but very comfortable and supportive. I will say I would have liked to see climate control on the top-spec ST-Line Vignale. Being a modern Ford product, there are almost too many driver aids and modern conveniences to mention. Stuff like wireless charging, handsfree tailgate, automatic lights, wipers, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, active-lane keeping assistance and the brilliant Ford Pass system.


Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost
Ford Puma ST-Line Vignale and Titanium. Picture: Ford SA.

All told, for the firm’s newest compact crossover, the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost goes like the clappers and is greener than any electric vehicle filled with rare-earth minerals. It’s zippy and nimble but has ample ground clearance. For what is essentially a modern Fiesta, I just can’t get over how comfortable and premium it is, and the cabin features all the latest Ford technology inside, too. The only catch is, at R550 000 plus, the Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost does appear to come at a premium versus similarly packaged crossovers. Ford South Africa justifies the price tag by saying that’s simply what the fully specced crossover with its high-tech engine and is worth. I see their rationale and motivation for bringing it to SA shores. And I encourage you to take a test drive and go see for yourself.


  • Model: Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost ST-Line Vignale
  • Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
  • Transmission: 7-spd dual-clutch auto
  • Power: 92 kW
  • Torque: 170 Nm
  • 0-100 km/h: 9.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 200 km/h
  • Consumption: 5.3 l/100 km (claimed/combined)
  • Price: R613 900