Ford Puma ST line-up expands with 1.0 mild-hybrid Powershift auto option

A new 1.0-litre powertrain and auto gearbox has been launched for the Puma ST, which has the same great chassis set-up

Ford is on a big electrification push and the brand’s Ford Performance division is part of it, with the big-selling Puma ST now available with an electrified, mild-hybrid powertrain mated to a Powershift seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Both are firsts for the Puma ST, which has been manual-only up to now. The engine is the most powerful of Ford’s MHEV-equipped 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost units and features a 48V electrical system and a small, belt-driven starter/generator fed by a compact lithium-ion battery.

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As a result, the Puma ST 1.0’s powertrain pumps out a total of 168bhp and 248Nm of torque. This is 16bhp more than the previous most powerful version of this engine – the 1.0 EcoBoost 155 mHEV – available in the regular Puma. 

This results in a 0-62mph time of 7.4 seconds, seven tenths of a second slower than the more powerful 197bhp 1.5-litre model, which puts it on par with warm SUV rivals such as the DSG-equipped SEAT Arona FR 1.5 TSI 150 and VW’s T-Roc R-Line with the same powertrain as the SEAT. Ford’s mild hybrid tech delivers claimed efficiency of 44.8mpg and 144g/km of CO2 emissions in the new Puma ST Powershift variant.

The car uses the same active exhaust valve tech as the pure-petrol 1.5-litre Puma ST, which Ford says delivers “increased performance and a distinctive ST engine note under acceleration”. In Normal and Eco modes the valve remains closed for a quieter, more refined note, while in Sport the flap opens up, delivering a deeper sound with more presence.

Ford claims that the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox has been optimised to work alongside the mild-hybrid system to ensure the engine remains in the optimum range for efficiency when cruising, but that a ‘triple downshift’ function allows for faster overtakes and for drivers to fully exploit the car’s performance potential.

In Sport mode the gearbox will also hold onto lower ratios for longer or, for drivers that prefer to take manual control, the Puma ST Powershift comes equipped with steering wheel-mounted paddles.

Fitting the ST with an automatic gearbox means owners can start their car remotely through the FordPass app, while full stop-go adaptive cruise control is available too.

Suspension and steering

Although the Puma ST Powershift’s engine and transmission differ from those in the regular 1.5-litre car the chassis set-up is the same, so the Puma ST MHEV features force vectoring suspension springs and frequency-reactive dampers on both axles. These dampers alter their characteristics in response to inputs from the road surface, offering more body control over bigger, sharper surface imperfections and greater compliance for a smoother ride over lesser bumps.

The steering is 25 per cent faster than a regular Puma’s, with the front suspension knuckles, steering arms and rack specific to the ST. The braking set-up is also bespoke to the hottest Puma, and the mild-hybrid powertrain’s extra energy recuperation “supports increased engine braking”, according to Ford.

Design and interior

The Puma ST Powershift is available in a new and exclusive colour to the model line, called Azure Blue, as well as five other paint finishes. There’s an optional gloss black finish for the roof as well as the grille surrounds, but otherwise the Puma ST Powershift’s styling mirrors that of its sibling.

This includes a Ford Performance-embossed front splitter, which improves front downforce by almost 80 per cent compared with the standard car, as well as a tailgate spoiler; 19-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard and are available in a ‘Magnetite’ finish.

Inside, the Pums ST Powershift features Ford Performance sports seats, wireless phone charging, a quick-clear windscreen and Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. All-round parking sensors are also included.

Space and practicality are on par with the regular Puma and ST, so the car still boasts Ford’s clever 80-litre MegaBox boot enhancement that allows tall items to be stood up in the luggage area, including golf bags – or dirty, muddy items to be stored in a compartment that can be washed out. There’s a total of 456 litres of luggage space.

Speaking on the introduction of the new Puma ST 1.0 MHEV Powershift, Ford Performance manager, Europe, Stefan Muenzinger said, “The Ford Performance team called on all of its experience developing the original Puma ST to deliver ST signature fun-to-drive without losing the practicality of our compact SUV, and our new Powershift derivative is even more versatile. 

“We’re using 48-volt mild hybrid technology not just to improve efficiency but also to enhance peak power and torque,” he said, adding that “The multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is combined with a paddle-shift-operable, seven-speed, dual-clutch Ford Powershift transmission – fusing an energised driving experience and everyday usability. The new Puma ST Powershift also delivers on the award-winning dynamic ability that our customers love.”

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