The new Ford Puma ST on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Ford Puma ST on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Ford Puma ST!

The Ford Puma ST has rolled into Ireland for the very first time. Ford’s stellar Puma, only a kitten itself having been launched in Ireland for the first time in 2020 – gets a high performance makeover. I’m excited!

At Changing Lanes, we have some great history with Ford Performance models like the Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Focus RS and of course the mighty Mustang!

Now Ford creates a high performance compact crossover to join the family and promises to fill a gap we never knew needed to be filled.

But with the market continuing to go gaga for crossovers and SUVs, Ford hits the market with a tasty compact performance offering – once again.

What’s so hot about the new Ford Puma ST?

The Ford Puma ST of course shares much of its DNA with the Ford Fiesta ST. It’s powered by the same engine – a three cylinder 1.5-litre turbo petrol affair – putting out 200 hp and 320 Nm. Bask in it because pure and basic combustion engines like this one are on the way out. But it’s glorious, oh so glorious to behold!

Priced from €41,813, you are going to pay a premium for this mean little streak of crossover. For reference the Fiesta ST range starts from €33,219 and the Focus ST from €47,859 as of July 2020. But if you love the Puma’s style and image, then you’re going to be pretty sold on the high-performance ST model.

The Puma ST goes on sale in Ireland from €40,813
The Puma ST goes on sale in Ireland from €40,813

Ford has given it a generous tart up with black shiny trim elements, LED signature headlamps, 19” alloy wheels, red brake calipers, black contrast roof, dual chrome exhaust. It looks aggressive, but those bug eyes might be too big for some as I know the Puma already has come in for some criticism for its styling!

A Ford Performance-embossed splitter is integrated into the front bumper to increase front end downforce by almost 80 per cent for greater stability and traction. The large rear roof spoiler also supports optimised aerodynamics, with a distinctive diffuser incorporated into the rear bumper. Signature ST upper and lower grilles are designed to deliver increased engine cooling capability. So it’s stylish but also functional!

Inside the new Ford Puma ST!

Inside the most notable addition is two mighty Recaro front sports seats. They hold you in nice and snug for all that hard cornering you will be doing on the way home from the supermarket.

The interior dashboard design is lifted straight from the more humble powered Pumas so it’s a plain enough affair. There’s an ST badged, flat bottomed steering wheel, ST scuff plates, unique ST gear shift knob, alloy sport pedals. I’m a bit disappointed by the hard plastics, which are just about acceptable in a standard Puma, but considering the ST’s steeper price tag, they are harder to stomach here.

Inside the cabin of the Ford Puma ST
Inside the cabin of the Ford Puma ST

But allow the gloss and glamour of the standard digital instrument panel to distract you. It’s a fine piece of kit and glows suitably red when you pop your Puma ST into sport mode!

Other equipment features include heated seats and touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Driving the 2021 Ford Puma ST

The new Ford Puma ST is hot on the road. But you have got to push on a bit to feel the mechanical wizardry at work. You can drive this car like a pussy cat and all you will notice is some slightly heavier steering and a firmer ride, non-negotiable for a performance kitty like this one.

But then push on a bit, engage tiger mode…and wow! Ford do make excellent performance cars. The Puma ST is no different. Our test car was fitted with the ST Performance Pack, which features a mechanical Limited Slip Differential (LSD), Launch Control, Performance Shift Light and Shift Indicator for €1,172. Launch control is an absolute blast! The mechanical LSD keeps everything really tight and tidy through the corners.

Worth it? Hell yeah! Cornering grip is excellent and the Puma ST slips effortlessly though every bend, but you will feel like a rally driver doing it. It makes you feel professional. This car is good.

The Ford Puma ST is a worthy member of Ford's talented team of high performance ST models
The Ford Puma ST is a worthy member of Ford’s talented team of high performance ST models

An optimised chassis features bespoke twist-beam, anti-roll bar and damper configurations. Steering responses are 25 per cent faster and brakes 17 per cent larger than the standard Puma, along with specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

Puma ST also features selectable Drive Modes including Sport mode and – for the first time on a Ford Performance vehicle – Eco mode for when there is no need to go flat out.

The little three cylinder petrol engine rasps more maturely than what you might think. Not quite as rapturous as the Fiesta ST – deliberately tuned to match the more ‘refined’ character of Puma – it can still enthusiastically applause you for some of your best efforts behind the wheel. Moving through the gears is heavenly with a snappy six speed manual gearbox adding to the drama, 0‑100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds of three cylinder hissing and spitting.

Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 7.4 litres per 100 km.


Did you like it?

The Ford Puma ST is a very fun car to drive. However it is an expensive one. Cars like this are on the way out but a blast in the very best sure feels good. Ford make excellent performance cars. The Puma ST will surprise you with its appetite for corners. With the mechanical LSD, it just slays corners.

The Puma ST offers near equal the fun of the Fiesta ST but with just a little more practicality. Ford has carried over the Megabox feature from the standard Puma. I don’t know many performance cars with an extra 80 litres of storage space under the boot floor!

Cabin quality could be better in places. This is not the plushest cabin experience but the Recaro sports seats go so far to make up for it.

A good engine like the Puma ST’s will awaken something in most drivers. A joyful car to drive!

The 2021 Ford Puma ST is on sale now
The 2021 Ford Puma ST is on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Puma ST
1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 200 hp
Torque: 320 Nm
Top speed: 220 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
134 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€280 per year