If the Fiesta ST is a little too low and small for you, Ford may now have you covered.
Say hello to the all-new 2021 Ford Puma ST – but don’t expect it in Australia anytime soon.
According to Ford’s local division, there are “no plans to introduce Puma ST in Australia”. Boo.
Revealed in Europe this week in an eye-searing ‘Mean Green’ hero paint, the Puma ST is said to deliver “thrills for your heart with utility for your head” and also becomes the first-ever ST-branded Ford SUV in Europe.
Just as the standard Puma is a crossover companion to the Fiesta, the Puma ST draws upon the Fiesta ST’s running gear, including its 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox with optional mechanical limited-slip differential – there’s no auto, at least for now.
It develops a healthy 147kW of power and 320Nm of torque, allowing for a 0-100km/h claim of just 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 220km/h.
Peak power comes on tap at 6000rpm, while maximum torque is available from 2500rpm through 3500rpm.
An array of bespoke appointments help the Puma ST further distinguish itself from lesser models.
Ford Performance and Michelin developed a unique tyre specification to “complement the Puma ST’s enhanced chassis”, though are branded with Pilot Sport 4S rubber wrapped around new 19-inch alloy wheels.
The optional Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential is straight out of the Fiesta ST and a first for the small performance SUV segment, optimising traction by distributing torque to the wheel with the most grip to minimise wheel spin.
As standard the Puma ST features a brake-based torque vectoring system that applies brake force to the inside wheel when cornering to improve road-holding and reduce understeer.
Behind those sexy 19-inch rims are upgraded brakes enlarged by 17 per cent at the front, now measuring 325mm. The rear discs are 271mm in diameter.
An active exhaust valve helps to enhance the thrummy three-cylinder soundtrack, though the company says the Puma ST is about 1dB quieter than the Fiesta ST in keeping with the SUV’s more refined character.
Despite its sporting bent, the Puma ST – like the Fiesta ST – also features a range of fuel-saving technologies, including the ability to run on just two cylinders under low engine load. Ford Europe ‘anticipates’ the Puma ST will use 6.9L/100km on the combined cycle (WLTP) and emit 155g/km of CO2.
Other enhancements include an integrated front splitter claimed to increase front-end downforce by almost 80 per cent, as well as a larger rear roof spoiler and diffuser. Various exterior elements are finished in high-contrast gloss black as standard – including the grille, roof, mirrors and rear spoiler.
The Puma ST also scores more aggressive grilles and intakes to optimise air flow and engine cooling capability.
Speaking of the driver, the pilot of the Puma ST is treated to a Recaro sports seat (plus a few more for passengers), as well as a special 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with additional displays – such as the Launch Control function which is part of the optional performance pack.
The Recaro seats are finished in Miko Dinamica material, complete with embossed ST logo, while the flat-bottom ST steering wheel and ST gear knob add an element of sportiness to the major touch points.
Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system features as standard, complete with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and FordPass Connect online functions, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. An available B&O premium sound system turns up the volume for your tunes when you’re not listening to the Puma ST’s three-cylinder soundtrack, too.
The Puma ST remains as practical as its less sporty counterparts as well, featuring the Ford MegaBox in the boot (80L) helping contribute to 456L of luggage capacity with all seats in place, just like the standard car.
Buyers in Europe will have the option of six exterior paint finishes – including Mean Green (model exclusive), Agate Black, Desert Island Blue, Fantastic Red, Frozen White, and Magnetic (grey).
The new Ford Puma ST is available to order in Europe now, with prices reported to be £28,495 ($51,420) in the UK.
One of the major reasons the Puma ST is off the table for Australia is likely the manual-only drivetrain. However, should an automatic or dual-clutch option become available in the future – and we’d be surprised if one wasn’t already on the way given increased preference for autos and their advantages in efficiency testing – then Australia could be lining up for the hotted-up crossover.
For now, Aussies will have to make do with the Puma ST-Line and ST-Line V, which form part of the local Puma range hitting dealers as we speak.
Do you want to see the Ford Puma ST in Australia? Let us know in the comments below