Lack of auto rules out Ford Puma ST for Australia
Ford has finally shown us the production Puma ST hot crossover but it will not come to Australia.
UPDATE: Ford Australia has told us that the new Puma ST, while potentially appealing to Australians, won’t make it here because it is not offered with the choice for an automatic transmission: “The Puma ST will not be offered in Australia as an auto is not available,” a spokesperson told us.
Ford Fiesta ST-levelling power, even more grunt, rally-inspired looks, and sharp handling are what sets the new Puma ST apart from the rest of the Puma lineup.
Following on from the Puma worldwide release, Ford has revealed a hot version of its all-new crossover, in green paint the brings memories to us of the Mk2 Ford Focus RS (although no, it’s not the same). It sits on 19-inch black alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber, plus there’s plenty of black elements and a spoiler on the rear to complete the look.
Though this is no RS, the 1.5-litre three-pot engine with radial-axle turbo and twin independent valve timing brings the same 147kW as the mighty fun Fiesta ST, but with an even beefier 320Nm – up 30Nm. The extra shove in grunt gives the Puma ST the same 6.7sec 0-100km/h time of the Fiesta version, despite a more portly curb mass.
Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and roll-restricting engine mounts are said to improve cornering performance. Between the front wheels is a mechanical LSD and torque vectoring to reduce understeer, and count on the same force-vectoring springs of the Fiesta ST to help keep the chassis planted when giving it a go. The steering rack is also 25 per cent quicker, and the brakes larger than standard, as you’d expect for a hot model.
The car should make the right sounds too, with essentially the same exhaust of the Fiesta (there’s also a race mode), though it’s approximately one-decibel quieter for cruising in comfort.
On offer for the driving experience are Normal, Eco, and Sport driving modes and a new Track mode which disables traction control while limited stability control. Optional is a launch control function that the Aussie Fiesta ST has standard – Ford Australia specced up our one Fiesta ST import with all the goods. ST Recaro sports seats make their way inside alongside a flat-bottomed steering wheel and ST gearknob.
Ford Australia is yet to talk about the existence of the Puma ST, let alone confirm any sort of allocation for Australia. Pricing starts in Europe from around $40,000. Would the Puma ST go well here? Given our love of SUVs and the popularity of ST products in Ford’s line-up, it might just get a shot.