We’ve been waiting what seems like forever for the performance-focused 2021 Ford Puma ST to arrive. We’ve seen the Puma ST lapping the Nurburgring, teased in a revealing video, and most recently, we were treated to a humorous video created by the folks who designed and engineered it. Now, we’re finally getting our first full look at the Ford Puma ST, as it was officially revealed today.
Before we go forth, we should note that Ford Europe officially refers to this vehicle as a “compact” crossover. However, the vehicle seen here would be categorized in North America as a subcompact CUV. Onward.
The Puma ST’s magic starts under the hood, where Ford’s turbocharged 1.5L EcoBoost I-4 produces 200 PS (197 horsepower) at 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm (236 pound-feet) of torque at 2,500 rpm. The turbo four is mated to Ford’s six-speed manual transmission, which sends power to the front wheels. That combination delivers a 0-62 mile-per-hour time of 6.7 seconds, along with a 137 mile-per-hour top speed.
The Puma ST offers a total of four selectable drive modes to suit various scenarios. In Normal mode, engine mapping, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), active exhaust valve, and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) are configured to deliver natural responsiveness and a connected feel.
In Eco mode, engine mapping and throttle response are configured for maximum fuel efficiency. When Sport mode is engaged, engine mapping and throttle pedal response are sharpened, and EPAS settings adjusted to deliver more feedback and finer control for fast road driving. The active noise control valve opens to intensify the sporty exhaust note. Sport mode is accessible immediately using a dedicated button on the steering wheel.
While in Track mode, all vehicle dynamics features are tuned for the fastest possible lap times, traction control is disabled, and ESC interventions are set to wide-slip mode for the purest driving experience.
The 2021 Ford Puma ST rides on specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, which help exploit the additional traction offered by the optional Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential, delivered as part of the available performance pack. The Puma ST is the only small performance crossover in Europe to be offered with an LSD.
The LSD option works alongside Torque Vectoring Control, which improves road-holding and reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering. Additional suspension revisions and additions include increased torsional stiffness, a front 24mm anti-roll bar, rear 28mm anti-roll bar, vectoring springs, and Hitachi twin-tube frequency-reactive dampers.
On the outside, the Puma ST features a unique appearance thanks to a sloping roofline, pronounced wheel arches, a Ford Performance-embossed front splitter that increases front downforce by 80 percent, a large rear roof spoiler, rear diffuser, and ST upper and lower grilles.
Standard 19 inch wheels are available in Magnetite or machined metal finishes, while six exterior colors are available – Agate Black, Desert Island Blue, Fantastic Red, Frozen White, Magnetic, and 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, heated and bolstered Recaro sports seats are embossed with the ST logo and finished in grippy Miko Dinamica material. The cabin also features Ford Performance skid plates, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, and an ST gear knob. The seats, gear lever gaiter, and ST-branded floor mats are finished with Metal Grey stitching. Standard power-foldable door mirrors project the ST logo onto the ground when the car is unlocked.
It all adds up to a model that Ford believes hits all the right notes. “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.”