Ford commits to new baby SUV
No price and specs yet, but they will be crucial to car's success
Will replace unloved EcoSport in local range
Ford is set to bolster its SUV range later this year with its European-sourced Puma compact SUV. The Ford Puma is an all-new model for Australia, with Ford announcing that it’ll find its way into Australian dealerships in the second half of 2020.
Its arrival should be a boon for Ford’s fortunes in the commercially critical SUV market. The Puma will go a long way to providing Ford customers with a more up-to-date and technologically-minded replacement for the unloved Ford Ecosport, which is the company's current contender in the light SUV segment.
The Puma features a low, tapered roofline that slopes back toward the boot, which offers a generous 456 litres of cargo space. The interior borrows a number of design cues from the new Fiesta (which will only come here in ST spec) and Focus, like an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and adds a fully-digital instrument cluster.
The Puma is powered by a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine. It’s offered with two different tunes in Europe, a 92kW/200Nm version and a more powerful 114kW/240Nm specification.
Built in Romania, the Puma is also offered with a 48-volt mild hybrid system as standard, with Ford predicting that half its passenger car sales worldwide will come from vehicles fitted with some form of electrification.
The Puma is only offered with a manual in Europe, but it'll likely be specced with an automatic transmission only when it comes Down Under.
Ford is, however, staying quiet in regards to specification and price, which will be detailed closer to its launch later this year.
The Puma will drop into a competitive space currently dominated by the Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX, so it will need to offer lots of spec, razor-sharp pricing or a combination of both to get a toe-hold in a flat local market.
“Puma will appeal to customers looking for a fun-to-drive, stylish SUV that’s loaded with smart tech,” said Kay Hart, CEO of Ford Australia.
“The Puma is a great opportunity for us to connect with Australian customers in a new way, and we’re excited that it will arrive alongside a new-generation Escape [in] 2020.”