The 2022 Ford Puma ST-Line V is a car that reverses the idiom, and embodies “a sheep in wolf’s clothing”. Super curvaceous, with an aggressive stance, this kitty’s meow is definitely worse than its bite.
Featuring, LED lighting, chrome inserts, gorgeous 18-inch multi spoke alloys, topped off with a large sporty front grille and rear spoiler, the Puma is one sexy intimidator. That continues inside with ambient LED lighting, and some carbon ‘style’ highlights.
Sensico artificial leather wrapped interior bits, including the seats, shifter, wheel and handbrake, all feature, along with some Metal Grey sports stitching to complement the overall look and feel. They’re not high-end, but you aren’t paying epic pricing either.
The front seats boggle the mind though, with both driver and passenger presented with 4-way manual adjustment, plus lumbar support; no seat ventilation, or warmers. And yet, there’s massage functionality for both seats. It’s odd.
Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system with voice-activated controls is on hand, and while the default 8.0-inch colour touchscreen isn’t overly stimulating, it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Applink, Bluetooth, and DAB+ digital radio.
There’s also satellite navigation with a traffic message channel, two USB ports, wireless phone charging, and a FordPass Connect embedded modem, which lets you do some cool automated trickery.
FordPass Connect allows you to use your smartphone to find your car, lock and unlock doors, check the vehicle status, see live traffic, and start the engine remotely to heat or cool the cabin to the last known setting.
In a nod to its Euro origins, there’s also a Bang & Olufsen Play 10-speaker sound system, complete with subwoofer. The 12-inch digital instrument cluster puts some competitors to shame too, with a tidy layout and captivating graphics.
We found the drive mode graphics particularly pleasing. For general daily driver duties and some light weekend exploration, the Puma ticks the satisfactory box, with this front-wheel drive cutie powered by a 1.0-litre petrol EcoBoost engine.
That unit produces 92kW of power and 170Nm of torque, delivered to you via a seven-speed dual clutch auto. Ford claims 5.3-litres/100km from the 42-litre tank, but our week of stringent testing delivered 6.8-7.2-litres/100km – still not bad.
The Puma has five selectable drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, Slipper and Trail) and a pair of flappy paddles. The changes in performance and handling are subtle, however, you do notice the slight difference in the way it interprets your pedal and steering requests.
Unless you have Dr Emmett Brown in the passenger seat excitingly encouraging you to hit “88 miles per hour”, the Puma has more than enough power for most consumers. It can feel sluggish in terms of responsiveness if you love a bit of heavy throttle action.
On the road, the ride is smooth and comfortable thanks to sports suspension. Steering and handling though can feel slow and heavy at times, making multi-level carparks an interesting exercise.
Acceleration in any mode can feel gradual. You aren’t going to feel g-force pulls, but it will eventually get there. As a result, the Puma starts to feel less like a ferocious feline and more like a tiny kitten using all its might to play rough.
But, what the Puma lacks in power, it makes up in inclusions. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, hill launch and hill hold assist, traffic sign recognition and tyre pressure monitoring all feature.
We were disappointed there is no 360-degree surround view available, but the supplied rear-view setup does offer clarity, along with a 180-degree split view. It’s got a 5-star ANCAP safety rating too.
Overall, this little terrier of an SUV is a quiet achiever, with little to no cabin noise and an exhaust note that is non-existent. Vertically blessed second row passengers may feel challenged for leg room if the driver and front passenger are tall too.
Rear passengers also only get door storage and netted front seat back storage. There’s no centre arm rest (but there is a small centre storage pocket), and no rear vents or USB ports either.
There is an automatic tailgate, which will give you access to a decent 410-litre boot space, which can be increased to 1,170-litres, in 2-seater mode. Head room is decent, and the installation and removal of child seats is supported by ISOFIX mounts.
The 2022 Ford Puma ST-Line V is the range topping variant, and priced from $40,042 drive away. Our test vehicle was draped in Grey Matter, or you can choose from any of the other nine colours, including Frozen White and Desert Island Blue.
There’s a bunch of optional add-ons, with the standout being the panoramic roof package, which we’d highly recommend. Ford offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and if you’re keen, you can learn more on the Ford Australia website.
If you need finance, hit up our friends at CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Ford Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Ford Puma ST-Line V, contact your local Ford dealership.