The new Ford Ranger Raptor is now on sale in Ireland

Ford Ranger Raptor Review (2023)

Read Caroline's Ford Ranger Raptor review for everything you need to know about buying Ford's high-performance pick-up in Ireland.

The Ford Ranger is Ireland's bestselling pick-up and a new model has just gone on sale.

But if you want the pinnacle of the range, you'll be wanting the new Ford Ranger Raptor!

Ford is famous for hot hatchbacks but what about fast pick-ups? Well, the Raptor is a true Ford Performance model and now gets an engine it truly deserves.

The second generation of the high-performance Ranger pick-up is likely to build on the success of the first here in Ireland and Europe. The cabin is more upmarket for a start, the styling even beefier than before ... and there's a new V6 petrol engine with even more performance upgrades.

The new Ford Ranger Raptor is now on sale in Ireland
The new Ford Ranger Raptor is now on sale in Ireland

Styling

The new Ranger Raptor commands attention wherever it goes. It's higher and wider than a standard Ranger with big presence, especially finished in signature 'Code Orange' paint with optional decals!

Ford has somehow managed to make this new version even beefier than before. It's very Americana - not just because of its size - but the restyled front end means business too with F-O-R-D spelt larger than life in the front grille, framed by chunky 'C-clamp' headlights.

There's lots of cladding and underbody protection to enhance the muscular look, as well as extra flared wheel arches filled with special 17-inch grey painted alloy wheels on chunky BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres.

The styling is a marked improvement over the previous version and is guaranteed to turn heads. There's no other pick-up on sale quite as lairy as this one.

Interior

The new interior feels much more upmarket and well-appointed than before. This Ranger Raptor has matured very nicely with a simple dashboard layout centred around a new portrait-style touchscreen. It uses Ford's Sync 4 operating system and is actually very easy to use. There's the usual accompaniments like voice control, over-the-air updates, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Other tech features include a full digital driver display with Raptor-specific graphics. The ventilation can be controlled from some separate dials and switches, and there is some more switchgear on the centre console to manage the four wheel drive settings and drive modes.

The cabin of the Ranger Raptor
The cabin of the Ranger Raptor

It feels sporty inside too with more 'Code Orange' highlights in the dash, gorgeous leather/suede seats with Raptor branding, and a sports steering wheel with red centre marker and magnesium paddle shifters.

Equipment levels are high including a heated steering wheel, heated front seats with 10-way power adjustment, B&O stereo and a 360-degree camera.

Practicality

For a pick-up, the Raptor has quite a roomy cabin. The back feels generous for headroom and legroom. There are also vents, USBs and an armrest for back seat passengers.

The fancy suspension engineering means that the Raptor is a little compromised when it comes to its load lugging capability compared to other models in the range. Payload is down from 1 tonne to 652kg, while the towing capacity is down from 3.5 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes.

The Raptor's sophisticated suspension means its load lugging abilities are a little compromised
The Raptor's sophisticated suspension means its load lugging abilities are a little compromised

Engines

There's a choice of two engines on sale. The Ranger Raptor is available as before with a 2.0-litre twin turbo diesel (205hp/500Nm). But for more epic performance thrills, there's a new 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 (292hp/491Nm) that dials the excitement up considerably - complete with its very own charismatic soundtrack. It's fast but not really rapid, with 0-100 in 7.9 seconds. But great fun getting there.

Driving

There's not many pick-ups on sale in this part of the world that can truly match the Raptor for power and performance. The Ranger chassis has been significantly modified for the Raptor with a new performance suspension and Fox dampers that truly lift the Raptor into another dimension. The ride quality is exceptionally good and the Raptor's athleticism and sophistication, no matter the road surface, is truly astounding.

Designed to master both on- and off-road driving, the Raptor slips effortlessly between two worlds and dials up a different character in an instant from a total of seven drive modes available. The outlandish Baja mode brings more music from the V6's active exhaust and comes with an anti-lag feature for maximum attack in high-speed off-road driving. The suspension firmness and steering assistance can also be adjusted simply. But the Raptor is by far the most comfortable pick-up I've ever driven with exceptionally good road manners.

Rear legroom in the Ranger Raptor
Rear legroom in the Ranger Raptor

There are a few downsides to the Raptor, like the wind whistle from around the big wing mirrors and persistent road noise from the all-terrain tyres. The V6 is also thirsty. I couldn't do any better than about 12.4 litres per 100 kilometres. It's expensive to tax as a private vehicle. It feels very big in car parks and town driving, but that's less of an issue out on the open road.

When it comes to four wheel drive toys, there's two wheel drive and four wheel drive modes including low speed four wheel drive for very tough terrain. Front and rear electronic differentials will get you out of trouble quickly. There's also trail control, which is like cruise control for off-roading. The ground clearance is 265mm, while the wading depth is up to 850mm. The approach and departure angles are 32° and 24°.

Pricing

The Ranger Raptor is available from €74,138 for the 2.0-litre diesel, and from €77,355 for the V6 petrol.

Verdict 

The Ford Ranger Raptor is a bit of a marvel really, combining excellent on- and off-road driving ability. It's a pick-up that makes a huge statement - quite literally. The sophistication of the suspension engineering makes it truly thrilling to drive, matched to incredible comfort from a vehicle of this type. It may be compromised in lugging abilities somewhat as a result, but there is a strong market for Raptor. It's very, very desirable and this new version seems well-finished as an overall pick-up that's good to drive and spend time in. It's expensive and not without its weaknesses. But is it king of the pick-ups? Most definitely.

The Raptor is astoundingly good to drive on- and off-road
The Ford Ranger Raptor is astoundingly good to drive on- and off-road

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The Ford Mustang Mach-e on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Review

Read Caroline's Ford Mustang Mach-E review for everything you need to know about buying Ford's electric crossover in Ireland with rear wheel drive and extended range battery.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E finally arrived in Ireland in late 2021, the first full battery electric vehicle from Ford to reach these shores.

The brand will move solidly now towards electrification with the covers recently taken off the new Ford Explorer electric SUV and a Puma EV promised too.

Still it's been a slow start for Ford in the electric race, which has gathered considerable pace - even since the arrival of the Mach-E.

Priced from €58,992, the Mach-E pitches itself among sporty, high-end electric cars, rising to €87,830 for a top-of-the-range, high performance Mach-E GT.

But it does carry that legendary Mustang badge so it's got to be special right? Let's find out!

The Ford Mustang Mach-e on test for Changing Lanes!
The Ford Mustang Mach-E on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Mustang Mach-E?

The premium side of the market has shown itself to be very receptive to new electric vehicles and pretty lucrative for car brands too looking to capitalise on all that investment that EVs require.

For their first EV, Ford adds some immediate prestige and character with the Mustang badge. Purists may baulk at the sight of the legendary pony dashing across the bonnet of a silent electric vehicle - but there's undoubtedly a cool factor to the Mach-E.

It looks amazing in the metal with some clever crossover styling making sure that it fits perfectly in a market that loves that look right now. There's a slightly elevated ride height and some sleek coupé-like styling towards the rear. The classic Mustang tri-bar rear lights carry the famous DNA, adding a unique sporty look to this Mach-E.

It's an electric car with great presence and the sporty heritage of the Mustang badge - but this pony has eyes firmly set on the future!

2023 Mustang Mach-E range in Ireland

The entry into the range is the 269hp, rear wheel drive Mach-E, priced from €58,992 and eligible for the SEAI grant for electric vehicles. It uses a 70kWh battery for up to 440 kilometres of range (WLTP).

The Mach-E 91kWh rear wheel drive is available from €70,764. It has 294hp and up to 600 kilometres of range (WLTP). The all wheel drive version is priced from €82,481 and has 351hp and up to 550 kilometres of range (WLTP).

The range-topping Mach-E GT uses the 91kWh battery and has 487hp, with a 0-100kmh/h sprint in just 4.4 seconds. Hot!

The Mach-e is on sale in Ireland from €67,667
The Mach-E is on sale in Ireland now

Inside the Mach-E

The Mustang Mach-E has one of the most modern and well-appointed cabins of the Ford range. There are lots of nice soft touch materials, though the overall look and feel is not enough to trouble more premium rivals like the BMW i4.

There is a minimalist theme and most of the car's functionality is controlled via a large 15.5-inch portrait style touchscreen. Many will lament the loss of buttons but it actually works quite well in the Mach-E. There's also a digital instrument cluster for the driver.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic roof, leather-effect seats, heated front seats, B&O stereo, and wireless smartphone charging.

The space inside the new Mach-E is about comparable to a mid-size SUV. There is a 402 litre boot, considerably less than a Tesla Model Y. But there is a ‘frunk’ storage unit under the bonnet with an additional 100 litres of storage space.

The front boot is also drainable for added convenience! A powered tailgate comes as standard.

The interior of the Ford Mustang Mach-e
The interior of the Ford Mustang Mach-E

Driving the Mach-E RWD

From the start, a lot of work has gone into making the Mach-E an exciting electric car to drive. Unique settings for shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars, steering and powertrain have been tailored for models sold in the European market.

On the road, the Mach-E feels light, agile and fun to drive with lightening quick responses. The Mach-E responds willingly to the throttle with no fuss or wheel spin. Just pure, linear power time after time.

Despite all that sportiness behind the wheel, it rides pretty well too on the smooth stuff though you will feel more firmness over bumps on the most troubling of Irish tarmac.

Features include one pedal driving to help return more energy to the battery, and selectable drive modes – Whisper, Active and Untamed - the latter which unleashes the full potential of the Mustang Mach-E by sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and even giving the driver the feel of downshifting on deceleration.

DC fast-charging is possible up to 150 kW for 91kWh battery variants.

Rear seating in the Mustang Mach-e
Rear seating in the Mustang Mach-e

Did you like it?

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a fun electric crossover with a great image, performance and fairly practical too.

It gets expensive to buy beyond the standard range model. Ford's most popular cars in Ireland are still the likes of the Puma, Focus and Fiesta. The Mach-E's sticker price might be a bridge too far for Ford customers.

A new compact Puma EV will surely serve Ford's more traditional customers, but for the moment the Mach-E remains a more premium offering indeed. There is plenty of competition in this part of the market.

There's still of course something magic and desirable about the Mach-E. It is a distinct offering. Created by Ford's Team Edison, Mustang has come a long way. Battery-powered but Mach-E points to the future - and it looks very good indeed.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Extended Range
Price:
€70,764
Battery: 91 kWh
Power:
294 hp
Torque: 600 Nm
0-100km/h:
7 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Ford Mustang Mach-e is one of the most fun to drive electric crossovers on the market right now
The Ford Mustang Mach-e is one of the most fun to drive electric crossovers on the market right now

The Ford Focus on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Focus Review

Read Caroline's Ford Focus review for everything you need to know about buying Ford's popular hatchback in Ireland.

It's 25 years since the Ford Focus first went on sale. Back in 1998, it was a huge hit for the brand with its New Edge styling and class-leading driving dynamics. It's always been a big seller, rivalling the mighty Volkswagen Golf and sitting for many years among the bestselling cars in Ireland.

But with the rise of crossovers and SUVs, these days Ford sells more Kugas and Pumas. Just like the Golf, sales of the Focus have taken a hit in recent years.

Ford hasn't given up on the Focus just yet and the latest version smartens up the styling and updates the cabin technology. And did I mention the Ford Focus is one of the best-handling hatchbacks you can buy?

The Ford Focus on test for Changing Lanes!
The Ford Focus on test for Changing Lanes!

What's new for the Ford Focus?

This fourth generation Focus launched in Ireland in 2018 and it's aged well. For the latest update, the Focus gets a bit more than the average motor industry facelift. The blue oval badge has moved from the bonnet down to the centre of the redesigned grille. The headlights are new with LED technology that comes standard across the range. There's also a new bonnet that is a bit higher than before. The rear lights also have a new loop-like LED lighting signature. Overall, it's a positive revamp for the Focus.

With pricing kicking off from €32,541, the Focus is competitively priced against competitors like the Toyota Corolla and the Opel Astra. The range starts with the Titanium that comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, keyless entry/start, heated windscreen, parking camera, and cruise control. Go up to Titanium X, and wheels are upgraded to 17-inch along with more creature comforts like wireless smartphone charging, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

There is also the crossover-inspired Focus Active and Active X with more rugged styling and a slightly raised ride height. But it's fair to say that ST Line and ST Line X models look the best overall with a special honeycomb grille finish, side skirts, roof spoiler, diffuser-effect in the rear bumper, and 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on ST Line X with red brake calipers).

The Focus is available with petrol and diesel engines
The Focus is available with petrol and diesel engines

Inside the Focus

There are more changes for the Focus inside with a glossy new 13-inch touchscreen taking centre stage. It's one of the biggest in the segment now and adds much needed modernity to the cabin. It uses Ford’s Sync 4 operating system, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included and improved voice control.

It's easy to use and switch through menus but Ford has moved the controls for the ventilation to the screen also. It's a bit fiddly to use.

There's also a new digital instrument cluster. It's not standard unfortunately but it is worth upgrading for. The quality of the cabin is about the same as rivals though it's not the plushest cabin finish or the most stylish, with lots of black plastic on show. Still, ST Line models add some different seat fabrics and sportier red stitching detail.

The Ford Focus offers a 375 litre boot, which is on par with rivals like the Golf and Corolla, though doesn't quite match the Astra's 422 litres. Where the Focus scores very well is in rear passenger space. Legroom is very generous and it feels more open and roomier than a lot of rival hatchbacks.

The cabin of the new Focus
The cabin of the new Focus

Driving the Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is offered with petrol and diesel engines, as well as manual and automatic gearboxes. There's mild hybrid technology available for the petrol automatic but no full hybrid or plug-in hybrid at this time. In truth that probably doesn't matter a great deal for most buyers because the 1.0-litre petrol is well-priced and offers competitive power (125hp) and efficiency (5.9 litres per 100 kilometres during my test drive).

It's also a delight to drive with good refinement and noise suppression from the 1.0-litre three cylinder engine. There's no thrashing through the gears, just an ample smooth delivery of power.

The only option for the power hungry these days is the 280hp Ford Focus ST.

Other options include a 1.0-litre petrol mild hybrid automatic with 125hp or a 1.5-litre diesel automatic with 115hp.

On the road, the Focus is one of the best handling hatchbacks you can buy with great composure through bends and nicely weighted steering. Drive modes come as standard - Normal, Sport and Eco - which adjust the steering and throttle response. The balance between sporty handling and comfort is just right too, though ST Line models are a little firmer because of the sports suspension. There's also road and wind noise at high speeds on the motorway.

The updated Ford Focus ST
The updated Ford Focus ST

Did you like it?

The Ford Focus has a lot going for it and is a great choice of hatchback. Thanks to this latest update, the Focus is better-looking than before and the technology update lifts the cabin too.

There's a great choice of trim levels, which add some unique style to the Focus. The engine range seems quite narrow on paper but in reality the Focus 1.0-litre is still a great engine for this car offering a competitive package overall of power, efficiency and refinement.

Sensible, practical and fun to drive - there are lots of reasons to check out the Ford Focus!

Model tested: Ford Focus ST Line 1.0 
Price: From 
€36,347
Engine:
1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 125hp
Torque: 170Nm
Top speed: 197 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.5 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The new Ford Mustang Mach-e on test for Changing Lanes

Ford Mustang Mach-E Review

Read Caroline's Ford Mustang Mach-E review for everything you need to know about buying Ford's new electric SUV in Ireland.

Late in 2021, the Ford Mustang Mach-E finally arrived in Ireland. It felt like we were waiting for this car for so long!

The Mach-E is Ford's first serious attempt at a mass production battery electric vehicle. Styled as a sort of SUV using the iconic Mustang badge, the new Ford Mustang Mach-E goes on sale in Ireland priced from €53,100 including the SEAI grant.

The new Ford electric SUV offers buyers lots of options. There are single motor rear wheel drive and dual motor all wheel drive variants, two battery sizes offering driving range up to a potential 610 km, and a range topping Mach-E GT with 487 hp. Was it worth the wait?

The new Ford Mustang Mach-e on test for Changing Lanes
The new Ford Mustang Mach-E on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Ford Mustang Mach-E?

Just look at it! This is a very successful design for an electric vehicle. More of a crossover really than an SUV. The Mustang Mach-E is sleek and sporty with a nod to the iconic Mustang fastback in those trademark tri-bar lights at the rear. The front end of the car is just gorgeous with a curved closed grille and thin, aggressive headlamps.

There are no Ford badges anywhere on the car - except the key. Aligning with the cool Mustang brand goes a long way to make the Mach-E's now more premium billing more palatable. And it's pretty hot under the skin too.

Standard (70 kWh) and extended-range (91 kWh) battery options are available. There is a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive performance. The 70 kWh rear wheel drive entry model has a range of 440 km (WLTP) and 269 hp. The Mustang Mach-E First Edition on test for Changing Lanes features all-wheel drive and extended-range battery as standard (540 km WLTP) and 351 hp, retailing from a more serious €76,100.

Mustang Mach-E’s all-new platform has been developed by the specially formed Ford Team Edison to take full advantage of the performance-enhancing weight distribution and torque delivery of an electric powertrain. The lithium-ion battery is located centrally between the axles and beneath the floor for a low centre of gravity to support sporty driving dynamics.

In short, this is an electric vehicle you will want to drive.

The new Mach-E goes on sale from €53,100
The new Mach-E goes on sale from €53,100 in Ireland

Inside the Mustang Mach-E

The interior of the Mustang Mach-E marks a new generation interior for a Ford car. There has been a significant digital upgrade to anything we've seen previously from the brand. This includes a new digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a show-stopping 15.5" portrait-style touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard.

It's a blend of old and new, with enough traditional switchgear inside to not frighten any Ford customers! A wireless charging pad for smartphones also comes as standard, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Quality is a good step forward for Ford but it won't worry the best in class for outright cabin finish. Leather seats and other cabin materials have a red stitching finish in all wheel drive models. With that iconic pony logo on the steering wheel, you won't forget the Mustang Mach-E's sporty roots.

It's a fashionable and practical car with seating for five inside. The space inside the new Mach-E is about comparable to a mid-size SUV. There is a 402 litre boot and a 'frunk' (front trunk storage unit) with an additional 81 litres of storage space. The front trunk is also drainable for added convenience!

Driving the Ford Mustang Mach-E

From the start, a lot of work has gone into making the Mach-E an exciting electric car to drive. Unique settings for shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars, steering and powertrain have been tailored for models sold in the European market.

The Mustang Mach-E First Edition on test for Changing Lanes features all-wheel drive and extended-range battery as standard. This model has a healthy 351 hp, 580 Nm of torque and 0-100 km/h acceleration is just 5.1 seconds.

So on the road the Mach-E feels sporty and natural. That goes for the steering too. This car is fun to drive with lightening quick responses. The all-wheel drive system applies torque independently to the front and rear wheels for improved acceleration and handling. The Mach-E responds willingly to the throttle with no fuss or wheel spin. Just pure, linear power time after time.

Despite all that sportiness behind the wheel, it rides pretty well too on the smooth stuff though you will feel more over bumps.

Features include one pedal driving to help return more kinetic energy to the battery, and selectable drive modes - Whisper, Active and Untamed. For example Untamed mode unleashes the full potential of the Mustang Mach-E by sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and even giving the driver the feel of downshifting on deceleration.

The new Mach-E offers seating for five
The new Mach-E offers seating for five

Anything else?

The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT will feature all-wheel drive and extended-range battery as standard. When it arrives in Ireland, it will be the range topper with 487 hp, 860 Nm of torque and 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 3.7 seconds 

The Mustang Mach-E can be charged at home using a 7.4 kW wallbox in just over 8 hours to get to 80%. DC fast-charging up to 150 kW is also possible with 91 kWh battery variants, using an IONITY charger for example. This will add about 80% battery charge in 40 minutes. 115 kW fast charging is available with standard battery variants.

In Ireland, Mustang Mach-E is offered in three series: RWD, AWD and GT, as well as a limited number of First Edition vehicles available at launch.

Standard equipment on rear wheel drive models includes 18” silver alloy wheels; puddle light Mustang logo projection; heated front seats; FordPass Connect; e-latch keyless entry system with B-pillar keypad access; and Pre-Collision Assist. Standard battery versions are priced from €53,100, while the extended range RWD version is available from €64,400.

All wheel drive versions come with 19” black machined alloy wheels; red brake calipers; side cladding and wheel arches in piano black; rear view camera; hands free tailgate; 360-degree camera; B&O Premium Sound System 10-Speaker; advanced active park assist; and a full panoramic roof. With the standard battery, this model is priced from €68,550. While with the extended range battery, this model is priced from €76,100.

The Mach-E has two battery sizes available - 71 kWh and 90 kWh
The Mach-E has two battery sizes available - 70 kWh and 91 kWh

Did you like it?

The Mustang returns! But as Ford's first proper attempt at a full battery electric vehicle.

With pricing starting from €53,100 and rising to €82,000 for the range-topping Mustang Mach-E GT, this is new territory for Ford. It is an expensive car and there is plenty of competition now in this price range.

The Mustang Mach-E bites back with cool crossover styling, the iconic Mustang badge and a car that is truly enjoyable to drive.

The interior of the Mustang Mach-E blends old and new, with an exciting new look, though cabin finish won't worry the best in class. Still it's stylish and cool with an infotainment system that is good to use.

The Mach-E offers many options with the best offering up to 610 km in range. Matching that in real world driving will be nigh on impossible, but any EV that can do over 300 km on a full charge these days will get you around just fine.

While it's odd to have a car with a Mustang badge and no rumble from under the bonnet, the world has changed. And the Ford Mustang Mach-E is certainly memorable now among EVs. Crucially it hits the desirability box too.

The high performance Mustang Mach-E GT is expected before the end of the year
The high performance Mustang Mach-E GT is expected before the end of the year

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Mustang Mach-e AWD First Edition Extended Range
Price:
€76,100
Battery: 91 kWh
Power:
351 hp
Torque: 580 Nm
0-100km/h:
5.1 seconds
Top speed: 179 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The new Ford Puma ST on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Puma ST Review

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.

WATCH CAROLINE'S VIDEO REVIEW OF THE NEW FORD PUMA ST!

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
Price: 
€40,813
Engine: 
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


The new Ford Puma on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Puma Review

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

Read Caroline's Ford Puma review for everything you need to know about buying the Ford Puma in Ireland.

The Ford Puma arrived in Ireland in 2020, debuting on-trend mild hybrid technology in an equally fashionable SUV-inspired crossover. Highlights include a new digital instrument cluster, innovative MegaBox for more practicality, and of course some very feline good looks! Engines include petrol mild hybrid and diesel, with a high performance Ford Puma ST on sale also. The Puma range is on sale now from your local Ford dealer priced from €26,164. Earlier in 2020, I had the opportunity to experience the new Puma for the first time on a memorable road test around Ronda, Spain. Now I bring you my full Irish review of the new Ford Puma EcoBoost Hybrid.

We have had to wait a long time for an on-trend, B-segment crossover from Ford. The wait is finally over and the Puma pounced at the beginning of 2020, remaining a sensational buy in 2021. Not only does the Puma debut a cool crossover look but it also heralds the arrival of mild hybrid technology to the Ford range. Look at you Ford!

So was the new Ford Puma worth the wait?

Ford in Ireland has built itself upon the popular Fiesta and Focus hatchbacks, and in later years the Kuga SUV. Ford’s MPV range including the S-Max and Galaxy are still sought after by large families. But MPVs are no longer the lucrative venture they once were. These days everybody wants an SUV. Ford responded with the well-received Kuga, but the more compact EcoSport was less successful. Ford has moved in the right direction again with crossover-styled Fiesta Active and Focus Active derivatives that sport tough exterior body cladding and elevated ride height.

So now enter the Puma. Ford pitches Puma as an SUV-inspired compact crossover. It is based on the Fiesta with some technical modifications, but it has a visual identity all of its own. And what an identity it is. This car is a fantastic piece of design. It uses the Puma name last seen on a small 2-seat sports coupé back in the 1990s. But it’s not a homage to that car. It’s a smart new move and this Puma will bring Ford to a whole new generation. The Puma has tonnes of attitude in those large headlamps, and muscular body inspired by the powerful big cat it is named after. It’s sporty and sexy, two words that don’t always come easy when you are describing a B-segment crossover. But the Puma is the real deal.

The 2020 Ford Puma combines the trend for compact crossovers with the one for mild hybrid
The Ford Puma combines the trend for compact crossovers with the one for mild hybrid

What's the Puma range in Ireland?

With pricing starting from €26,164 in 2021, the Puma does carry a premium over a Fiesta for example, and even an entry level Focus. But the appeal here is clear and Ford Ireland is skipping base spec models. That means that you get a well-equipped Puma Titanium from entry with an on-point 1.0-litre EcoBoost mild hybrid petrol engine. This car comes equipped with 17-inch machined alloy wheels, LED projector headlamps with auto high beam, pre-collision assist, 8-inch SYNC with navigation and FordPass Connect modem, keyless start, electronic air conditioning, massage driver and passenger seats, ambient lighting, wireless charging, and cruise control with adjustable speed limiter.

Or you can rev up with a sportier looking Puma ST Line from €27,318 or the added extras of the ST Line X from €30,297. I really love the look of the ST Line car with a more aggressive body kit, large rear spoiler, and ST-Line sports exhaust. Inside there is a smart new 12.3-inch digital cluster, dark sports headliner, flat-bottom steering wheel, and alloy pedals and gear knob. The ST-Line X (model tested) adds 18-inch alloy wheels, B&O Play sound system, partial leather sports trim, and rear privacy glass.

There is also a top of the range ST Line X Vignale now available from €31,740 in Ireland with even more luxurious features.

Inside the new Ford Puma
Inside the 2020 Ford Puma

What’s under that bonnet of the Puma Ecoboost Hybrid?

In Ireland the range is very simple with a choice of petrol or diesel engine. The petrol engine is Ford's highly acclaimed 1.0-litre EcoBoost now incorporating mild hybrid technology to make the car more fuel efficient and give more powerful and responsive performance. The Puma’s EcoBoost Hybrid technology combines a small electric motor with a 48 volt battery and provides additional support to the petrol engine when needed.

This engine has a healthy 125 hp and it's so smart it also features Ford’s industry-first cylinder deactivation system for a three-cylinder engine, which automatically switches off one of the engine’s cylinders when full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising. Irish buyers can get this engine with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic gearbox.

There is also a 1.5-litre diesel with 120 hp, with pricing starting from €28,267.

The hot Ford Puma ST performance SUV uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 200 hp and belongs to Ford's high performance family of vehicles, including the rapturous Fiesta ST and Focus ST hatchbacks. Exciting!

The Ford Puma Titanium kicks off the range at €24,835
The Ford Puma Titanium kicks off the range at €24,835

Driving the new Ford Puma

The Puma uses the Fiesta platform but has a wider track and some other modifications. A new, stiffer twist-beam rear suspension, larger shock absorbers, stiffer suspension bushes and optimised suspension top mounts reduce friction and enhance stiffness throughout the chassis to ensure the Puma handles better than competitors! The Puma is exciting to drive. You notice it immediately behind the wheel. Everything just feels that little bit tighter and more athletic than rivals. It comes alive in fast cornering, backed up by nicely weighted steering that offers more engagement than most. The small car underpinnings and ST Line firmer sport suspension mean that a Ford Focus is more comfortable, but a Puma is cooler.

My test car was powered by the 1.0-litre Ecoboost Hybrid. I’ve always been a fan of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine as it brings out the best in Ford’s dynamic driving cars. It’s no different here. It’s a lively engine that goes happily about its business. Performance figures are nothing exceptional but it is a pleasant mate for the Puma. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.0/100 km with a mix of urban, motorway and country roads.

Driving modes also come as standard with Sport, Normal, Eco, Trail and Slippery. It gives drivers some extra options though the car performs fine in Normal mode. Sport mode gives a bit more throttle response for example, for overtaking manoeuvres.

Inside the Puma

The Puma takes its interior mostly from the Fiesta. It's nothing too dramatic or stylish but it does have some nice features. There is a really attractive new digital instrument panel for the driver and that's standard from the ST Line trim. An 8" touchscreen comes as standard across the range with Android Auto and Apple Car Play.

Remember it's based on the Fiesta platform, but is roomier inside with more headroom and legroom in the back. The rear bench however will best be left to two people. The Puma has a good sized boot for this class with over 400 litres available and the added boon of the MegaBox. This innovative feature offers 80 litres of space in the boot floor, making it ideal for carrying tall items for example – such as houseplants or golf clubs (!) – in an upright position. Alternatively you could put the lid across and stow away dirty sports equipment or muddy footwear. A neat feature is a plughole in the bottom of the MegaBox so you can easily clean it out with water!

The innovative new Ford MegaBox
The innovative new Ford MegaBox

Did you like it?

The arrival of the Puma begins an onslaught of electrified Fords on the way to Ireland. The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid is also new in dealers this summer, and Focus and Fiesta mild hybrids will follow. The exciting new all-electric Mustang Mach-e will be another high profile release with expected pricing kicking off in the region of €50,000.

Clearly I love the new Ford Puma. I've driven a lot of compact crossovers and they all have their best bits. But the Ford Puma expertly fills the need for a good-looking, fun and sporty compact crossover wearing the Ford badge. Ford is raising the game when it comes to design and driving dynamics. Embracing electrification is essential not to be left behind in a fast-paced industry. The Puma stands out now in the Ford range for its strong visual identity and fun image, along with the latest technology and digital features.

On price Ford Ireland appears to be positioning this car against upmarket models like the Peugeot 2008 and Volkswagen T-Cross. This is sophisticated company indeed to pounce upon, but Puma bites back with style and fun in spades. It’s a jungle out there but this Puma can wear its badge with pride!

The Ford Puma is now one of the most desirable cars in the Ford line-up
The Ford Puma is now one of the most desirable cars in the Ford line-up

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Puma ST Line X 1.0 mHEV 
Price: 
€27,917 (from €24,835)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
125 hp
Torque: 170 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.8 seconds
Top speed: 191 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP): 5.4l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 127g/100km
Motor Tax: €270 per year


The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid Review

The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Ford Kuga PHEV!

The Ford Kuga has been a popular SUV on sale in Ireland since it was first marketed here well over 10 years ago.

Over the years it has evolved in styling and design, and in 2020 the brand launched a new Kuga here with hybrid technology on board for the first time!

Hybrid is rapidly becoming a real viable option for customers in the family SUV segment, and we have seen an explosion in the number of hybrid SUVs coming to market in Ireland in the last 12 months.

What's new for the Ford Kuga in 2021?

The Ford Kuga range now offers buyers a lot of choice, from trim line to powertrain. The all-new Kuga is the first Ford vehicle to be offered with plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid, and full hybrid powertrain technology.

The brand also fits the Kuga with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines, and the 1.5‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Transmissions include a six-speed manual and new eight-speed automatic.

The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid range starts from €40,691 in Ireland
The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid range starts from €40,691 in Ireland

At Changing Lanes, we have already sampled the Ford Kuga diesel, but now it’s the turn of the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid!

To recap on pricing, the Kuga range kicks off from €35,036 for a Kuga diesel, with the plug-in hybrid range starting from €40,691.

Ford has updated the styling of the Kuga considerably for this new generation of the car. It’s now a much sleeker and fancier looking SUV! Lean and athletic, the ST Line and ST Line X models look the best in our opinion with red painted brake calipers, ST Line bodystyling, and 18” alloy wheels.

Inside the 2021 Ford Kuga

The interior has also been completely redesigned, inspired by the simple, horizontal design we have come to expect from new generation Ford cars. It’s modern and easy to interact with but not the most sophisticated offering in the segment, with more hard plastic finishes than what we would like. But the Kuga ST Line is brightened up with some red stitching, nice seats, and alloy pedals. There’s a new infotainment system that syncs easily to smartphones and Ford’s impressive 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster.

The Ford Kuga does score highly on interior space with a large and practical cabin that families will love. The Ford Kuga model is 44 mm wider and 89 mm longer than the outgoing model, with more shoulder room, hip room, and headroom inside for front and rear seat passengers. It certainly feels it.

The second row of seats can be moved backwards to improve legroom or forwards to increase boot space, to a maximum of 645 litres. A handsfree tailgate is also available. Rear footwells are large and sitting three across the rear bench should not be a problem.

Inside the new Ford Kuga
Inside the new Ford Kuga

Driving the Ford Kuga Hybrid

The Kuga PHEV uses a 2.5-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid powertrain and retails in Ireland from €40,691. It is the most powerful of the range with 225 hp. Emissions are rated at just 32 g CO2 per kilometre. It’s also ideal if you can charge the car after each journey and make use of the option to drive up to 56 km on battery power alone. Yet over a few days driving without charging up, we still managed to return a good 5.9 litres per 100 km.

The Ford Kuga is one of the sportier SUVs to drive and even as a plug-in hybrid it handles the road well, though we think the diesel model feels a bit more athletic. However, the extra power and responsiveness and smoothness of the automatic transmission is apparent in the way the plug-in hybrid handles the road. The longer wheelbase creates a larger footprint on the road and improves ride and stability. The plug-in hybrid ST Line model on test did feel more firm over rough and uneven road surfaces.

Kuga also offers for the first time selectable Drive Mode technology. Each mode adjusts throttle response, steering weight and traction control and gearshift timings for automatic models. Modes for Kuga include Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery and Deep Snow/Sand.

The Ford Kuga has an impressive range of engine options
The Ford Kuga has an impressive range of engine options

Did you like it?

The Kuga truly excels as a family vehicle with a large and comfortable interior, and plenty of boot space. Interior quality feels a little cheap in places considering the list price of the car, especially on more expensive plug-in hybrid models.

But on the road the Kuga performs well, with the plug-in hybrid adding a more powerful, responsive feel.

Ford is getting its act together, bringing its most popular models to market now with electrified powertrains. Hot on the heels of the exciting new Ford Puma, the Ford Kuga is a perennial Irish favourite now with hybrid power and an impressive range of engine options. The plug-in hybrid proves to be an efficient alternative with loads of power and good economy.

The Kuga is still great for families with a spacious and practical interior
The Kuga is still great for families with a spacious and practical interior

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Kuga PHEV ST Line-X PHEV
Price: 
€44,863
Engine: 
2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 225 hp
Top speed: 201 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
32 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year
 

 


The new Ford Kuga diesel on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Kuga Review

The new Ford Kuga diesel on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Ford Kuga diesel on test for Changing Lanes!

The Ford Kuga has long been a favourite with the Irish public. The Kuga was the brand's first SUV in Europe and launched in the market back in 2008. It quickly becoming popular for its chunky good looks, as buyers began to abandon large family saloons. Ford has sold more than 1 million Kugas in Europe since 2008. Ford's form in SUVs has been a bit hit and miss ever since, but the Kuga has always maintained its position as one of Ireland's favourite new and used family cars.

But even the mighty Kuga is not immune to changes in market trends. 2020 saw Ford really get their act together in terms of hopping on the back of electrification and launching mild hybrid vehicles, with more exciting models to come in 2021. We loved the Ford Puma we tested earlier in the year, and this sleek compact crossover is a return to form for the Ford brand in Europe. Mild hybrid versions of the Fiesta and Focus are now available, while next summer will see the arrival of the new all-electric Mustang Mach-E.

Hybrid power joins Kuga range

The march continued in 2020 with the arrival of the all-new third generation Kuga, available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time and a trusty diesel, with a regular hybrid to join the Kuga range in 2021. The Kuga diesel is available from €34,581, while the Kuga plug-in hybrid is available from €43,017.

The new Ford Kuga is on sale in Ireland priced from €34,581
The new Ford Kuga is on sale in Ireland priced from €34,581

The Ford Kuga really needed some attention as it was languishing behind newer rivals in terms of design and quality, as well as those all-important electrified powertrains.

Ford has bounced back with a nicely styled mid-size SUV that bears their new design language. It loses the awkwardness of the previous version, instead morphing into a lighter-looking, athletic SUV that's much easier on the eye. Alongside the Puma, these two are worth paying a visit again to your local Ford dealer.

Inside the new Ford Kuga

The theme of brand renewal continues inside with an all-new interior. It's a big improvement in design with a slimmer and more lightweight feel to the dashboard layout. It's quite similar to the Focus inside, with now familiar apparel like the touchscreen perched on the dash, and an indigo backlit digital driver's display that we first saw in the Puma earlier this year. Quality is nothing special for the class with almost a too generous hand with the hard plastic, but it's great to see the Kuga going in a more modern direction at last.

Inside the new Ford Kuga
Inside the new Ford Kuga

The Ford Kuga is sold in four trim lines: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and Vignale. The ST-Line is the pick of the range (from €36,723) with a sportier exterior finish including 18” rock metallic alloy wheels and red brake calipers, black roof rails, ST-Line full body styling kit and large rear spoiler.

Inside there is a flat-bottomed steering wheel with red stitching, alloy pedals, and ST-Line sport seats. The Ford Kuga ST-Line also gets the full digital 12.3” instrument cluster as standard. The ST-Line X model on test adds full LED headlamps, automatic high beam and an excellent B&O premium audio system.

How practical is it?

As a family car, the Kuga performs very well with a spacious interior and seating for five. Footwells in the rear are generous and the doors open out wide. The rear bench also has good width for the middle passenger to get a decent amount of wriggle room. The 2020 Ford Kuga is 44 mm wider and 89 mm longer than the outgoing model. The second row of seats can be moved backwards to improve legroom or forwards to increase boot space. It's a huge boot either way.

At launch in Ireland, the range is based around the 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel with 120 hp and the new 2.5-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid with 225 hp. The diesel is a well-proven Ford powerplant that appears in other models too. On paper, its performance credentials look a little lacklustre but it feels more powerful on the road than 120 hp. In Ireland diesel manuals are sold, with automatic transmission reserved for the hybrid.

Plenty of legroom and a huge boot in the 2020 Ford Kuga
Plenty of legroom and a huge boot in the 2020 Ford Kuga

Driving the Kuga

Diesel has always been the default choice for family SUVs and it's easy to see why. The Ford Kuga diesel returns excellent economy and over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.3 litres per 100 km. It's smooth and refined on the road, and the Kuga works well with the manual gearbox. You can exploit that surprisingly sporty feel behind the wheel.

Ford has once again done a great job with the Kuga's handling. There are selectable drive modes included and I would recommend a stint in Sport mode. On a twisty road the more responsive throttle and stiffer suspension make for an entertaining drive. I was having far more fun than I should have in a diesel family SUV. There's loads of front end grip and quite weighty steering. Comfortable too though we did note some road noise over coarser asphalt at motorway speeds.

For buyers ready to try hybrid the Kuga plug-in hybrid will offer them the opportunity to plug in and charge the battery to exploit an up to 56 km WLTP electric range. CO2 emissions are rated at just 32 g per kilometre, while there is potential to run the car very cheaply indeed with regular charging. Next year's Kuga hybrid won't come with a plug, but it looks still to offer a fuel efficient drive.

The Ford Kuga offers customers choice of diesel or petrol hybrid powertrains
The Ford Kuga offers customers choice of diesel or petrol hybrid powertrains

Did you like it?

The new Ford Kuga was one of 2020's big releases. Along with the Ford Puma, these two new models are a return to form for the brand in Europe. The Kuga has a great customer base, and meets the needs of a lot of people in a real sweet spot of the market.

This is a much improved car now with a modern interior update and all the latest technology features. It's got a cool new look and ST Line models look really great on the road.

The Ford Kuga is still amazing fun to drive on a twisty country road. It stands out among rivals for this character trait. It shouldn't be this fun and be able to carry five people comfortably! All with a diesel engine!

The Kuga is one of the most spacious SUVs at its price point.

While we are yet to sample the hybrid Kuga, this Kuga diesel gets a thumbs up and delivers great economy.

Quality could be better in the Kuga so as long as you're not expecting the last word in luxury, the Kuga is back in the game. Welcome back!

The Kuga is practical and fun to drive
The Kuga is practical and fun to drive

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBlue ST-Line X
Price: 
€39,134 (Range starts at €34,581)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
120 hp
Torque: 300 Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.7 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Economy (WLTP):
5.1l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP):
127 g/km
Motor tax:
€200 per year


The new Ford Puma ST on the way to Ireland before the end of the year!

Ford Puma ST On The Way To Ireland

The new Ford Puma ST on the way to Ireland before the end of the year!
The new Ford Puma ST on the way to Ireland before the end of the year!

Ford Ireland has released more details of the new Ford Puma ST, the brand's new high performance compact SUV.

The new Puma ST is expected here before the end of 2020 and will be powered by a 1.5-litre Ecoboost turbo petrol engine with 200 hp. and 320 Nm of torque available. First introduced for the latest Ford Fiesta ST, the engine features advanced turbocharging and high-pressure fuel injection technologies alongside Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing.

Active exhaust valve technology amplifies the naturally sporty three-cylinder engine sound to enhance the driving experience. Ford Performance tuned the exhaust note to better suit the Puma ST’s more refined SUV character – the model is approximately one decibel quieter than the Fiesta ST.

The engine also includes Ford’s cylinder deactivation technology to improve fuel efficiency. Figures given are an anticipated 6.9 l/100 km fuel consumption and 155 g/km CO2 (WLTP).

The Puma ST will be offered with the same six-speed manual transmission as the Fiesta ST, with a shortened final drive ratio to enable 6.7-second 0-100 km/h acceleration and a 220 km/h top speed.

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.

There will also be a unique-in-segment limited-slip differential (LSD) option and patented force vectoring springs. Puma ST also features selectable Drive Modes including Sport mode and – for the first time on a Ford Performance vehicle – Eco mode; providing drivers with options for a wide range of road driving scenarios.

The interior of the new Puma ST
The interior of the new Puma ST

Ford Performance worked alongside Michelin to develop a bespoke tyre specification to complement the Puma ST’s enhanced chassis, without sacrificing ride quality. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres help deliver the most agile Ford SUV driving experience yet.

The Puma ST is the only small performance SUV in Europe to be offered with an LSD, which optimises front-end traction to enhance cornering ability and minimise understeer, in particular on the exit of corners. The purely mechanical system distributes engine torque to the wheel with the most grip, reducing wheel spin and allowing the driver to fully exploit the engine performance. Available as part of a performance pack, the LSD works alongside Torque Vectoring Control, which improves road-holding and reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering. The balance between the two features has been fine-tuned by Ford Performance to optimise grip on dry surfaces and smoothness on wet surfaces.

Braking performance is also optimised. Front discs are increased by 17 per cent in diameter compared with the standard Puma specification to 325mm, and 271mm discs feature at the rear.

Selectable Drive Modes include a Track mode, Eco mode, Normal mode, and of course Sport mode. Launch Control is available as part of the performance pack.

Design modifications include a Ford Performance-embossed splitter 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.

The Puma ST offers Magnetite or machined metal finishes for the standard 19-inch alloy wheels, and six available exterior body colours include Agate Black, Desert Island Blue, Fantastic Red, Frozen White, Magnetic and the new ST-exclusive Mean Green. A gloss black finish for the roof, grille surrounds, side spears, door mirror caps and rear roof spoiler are all standard.

Inside,there are bolstered Recaro sports seats embossed with the ST logo, Ford Performance skid plates, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and ST gear knob.

The new Ford Puma ST will be powered by a 1.5-litre Ecoboost turbo petrol engine
The new Ford Puma ST will be powered by a 1.5-litre Ecoboost turbo petrol engine

Standard features will include a wireless charging pad, Quickclear heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ compatibility, and a premium B&O sound system.

“Real driving enthusiasts aren’t going to settle for less excitement just because life demands a more ‘sensible’ car, so our number one priority was that the Puma ST had to be as exhilarating and capable as every ST model, without sacrificing any of Puma’s practicality,” said Stefan Muenzinger, Ford Performance manager, Europe. “We believe that we have the best-handling small SUV in its segment. It really does feel connected and has the true ST feel. It is a joy to drive.”

 


Ford Kuga (2020) Pricing For Ireland

The new Ford Kuga is now on sale in Ireland
The new Ford Kuga is now on sale in Ireland

The new Ford Kuga 2020 model has arrived in Ireland. In this article we are going to take a closer look at what's new for the latest generation of Ford's popular family SUV. We will also share Irish market specific information such as pricing, engines and equipment.

The new Kuga continues the Ford brand's journey towards electrification, and will feature a plug-in hybrid for the first time! An all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-e is expected in Ireland before the end of the year. While earlier in 2020, we had an opportunity to drive the new Ford Puma and experience the brand's mild hybrid technology for the first time.

Ford is committed to offering an electrified version of every passenger vehicle it brings to market in Europe and will grow its range of electrified vehicles in Europe to 18 on sale before the end of 2021. The all-new Kuga is the first Ford vehicle to be offered with plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid and full hybrid powertrain technology.

Engines for the new Ford Kuga

Ford has developed a number of powertrains for the new Kuga including 3 hybrids - the Kuga EcoBlue mild hybrid, Kuga Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and by the end of 2020, the Kuga Hybrid. The brand also fits the Kuga with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines, and the 1.5‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Transmissions include a six-speed manual and new eight-speed automatic.

At launch in Ireland, the range is based around the 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel with 120 hp and the new 2.5-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid with 225 hp.

The Kuga PHEV can be plugged in and charged like an electric vehicle. On pure electric power it can be driven up to 56 km (WLTP) and CO2 emissions are from 32 g/km. Ford says it will take less than 6 hours to fully charge. Drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the Kuga automatically reverts to EV Auto mode. This supplements petrol engine power with electric motor assistance to reduce fuel consumption.

Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBlue engine quotes fuel efficiency from 5.1 l/100 km and CO2 emissions from 133 g/km (WLTP).

Inside the new Ford Kuga
Inside the new Ford Kuga

How much will it cost?

In Ireland the new Ford Kuga range kicks off from €33,357 for the Titanium model, from €35,985 for the ST-Line, from €38,320 for the ST-Line X and from €42,016 for the Vignale. Those prices are quoted for the 1.5-litre diesel model. The Kuga plug-in hybrid range starts from €35,432, including €7,500 in grants and VRT relief.

SeriesModelEngineFuelTransmissionCO2Priced from
Titanium5 Door1.5TD EcoBlue 120PSDiesel6 Speed FWD134€33,357
Titanium5 Door2.5 Duratec 225PS PHEVPetrol HybridAutomatic32€35,432
       
ST-Line5 Door1.5TD EcoBlue 120PSDiesel6 Speed FWD136€35,985
ST-Line5 Door2.5 Duratec 225PS PHEVPetrol HybridAutomatic32€37,425
       
ST-Line X5 Door1.5TD EcoBlue 120PSDiesel6 Speed FWD137€38,320
ST-Line X5 Door2.5 Duratec 225PS PHEVPetrol HybridAutomatic32€39,762
       
Vignale5 Door1.5TD EcoBlue 120PSDiesel6 Speed FWD137€42,016
Vignale5 Door2.5 Duratec 225PS PHEVPetrol HybridAutomatic32€50,957
       

What's new for the 2020 Ford Kuga?

The new Kuga is based on Ford’s new global front-wheel drive vehicle architecture that is more aerodynamic for better fuel efficiency. Weight compared to the outgoing model has been reduced by up to 80 kg when comparing equivalent powertrain variants. Crash performance has also been improved and contributes to Kuga’s Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating. 10 per cent more torsional stiffness is said to improve driving dynamics.

Visually the car has a much sleeker and more sculpted appearance. The longer wheelbase creates a larger footprint on the road and improves ride and stability.

The Ford Kuga 2020 model is 44 mm wider and 89 mm longer than the outgoing model. Ford says that there is more shoulder room, hip room and headroom inside for front and rear seat passengers. This is despite an overall height that is 6 mm lower than the outgoing model. The second row of seats can be moved backwards to improve legroom or forwards to increase boot space (maximum 645 litres). A handsfree tailgate is also available.

The Kuga is available in four trim lines in Ireland
The Kuga is available in four trim lines in Ireland

New equipment for Ford Kuga 2020

For the first time, Kuga is offered with FordPass Connect modem technology. This allows customers to remotely control a selection of vehicle features from any location with a mobile data signal. Other modern technologies include a wireless charging pad and Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system supported by an 8‑inch central touchscreen. Ford's impressive 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster also debuts for the first time in the Kuga, as does a head-up display.

Safety equipment includes a new BLIS Assist that combines Ford’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Lane-Keeping Aid to monitor the driver’s blind spot for vehicles approaching from behind. Counter-steering is applied to warn the driver the control system senses a lane change or the driver signals one and there's a car approaching in the blind spot. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Centring helps the vehicle maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead.

Kuga also offers for the first time selectable Drive Mode technology. Each mode adjusts throttle response, steering weight and traction control and gearshift timings for automatic models. Modes for Kuga include Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery and Deep Snow/Sand.

What are my options?

The new Ford Kuga in Ireland is available in four series: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and Vignale.

Kuga Titanium comes with 17” alloy wheels (18” for PHEV); LED daytime running lamps; halogen projector headlamps; heated and power-fold mirrors with puddle lamps; rear spoiler; twin exhausts; keyless start and entry; leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob; auto dimming rear view mirror; front scuff plates; 4.2” TFT coloured instrument cluster; SYNC with DAB audio system, 6 speakers and Navigation; FordPass Connect embedded modem; pre-collision assist and AEB; lane keeping aid with lane departure warning; and intelligent speed assist.

ST-Line adds 18” rock metallic alloy wheels; front LED fog lights with front cornering; black roof rails; ST-Line full body styling kit – (front and rear fascia and bumper design; rear painted diffuser; front painted skid plate; dark mesh upper grille); large rear spoiler; red brake calipers; flat-bottomed steering wheel with red stitching; alloy pedals; ST-Line sport seats in cloth; and full digital 12.3” instrument cluster.

ST-Line X adds full HED headlamps; headlamp control, automatic high/low beam; B&O premium audio system (10 speakers and subwoofer); and driver impairment warning.

Vignale adds 19” liquid aluminium alloy wheels; full LED quad projector headlamps with glare-free; Vignale body styling kit; Vignale rear diffuser; memory functionality with door mirrors; hands-free tailgate; Vignale premium leather steering wheel and gear knob; leather-wrapped instrument panel; Vignale scuff plates; full Vignale leather seat trim; heated passenger and driver seats; active park assist; and heads up display.

The new Kuga available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time
The new Kuga available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time