Looks like Ford is cooking up a new sporty SUV.
Last month, Ford teased an all-new model that will revive the Puma name for the first time in 17 years. But while the original Puma was sold as a Fiesta-based sports coupe in Europe from 1997-2002, the new model will be a compact crossover as Ford continues to expand its SUV line-up. We've already seen Ford testing camouflaged prototypes of its new SUV, but this is our first look at a sporty ST version. The more aggressive exterior, larger wheels, and twin exhaust pipes indicate we're looking at the more powerful Puma ST.
There's a good chance the engine and gearbox will be shared with the Fiesta ST, meaning it will utilize a 1.5 liter three-cylinder turbo engine producing 200 hp. In the Fiesta ST, this setup enables the hot hatchback to sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds, so the larger and heavier Puma should be capable of doing the same sprint in just under seven seconds. Like the Fiesta ST, the Puma ST will send power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
The standard Puma is expected to debut in late 2019 or early 2020, so the ST version will likely break cover around one year later. Question is, will it be sold Stateside? The standard Puma could serve as a replacement for the slow-selling EcoSport and allow Ford to compete with other compact models like the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, and Honda HR-V. The hotter Puma ST could also fill the void left by the Fiesta ST being axed in America.
Sadly, a Ford spokesperson confirmed to Car and Driver "there are currently no plans" to sell the new Puma in North America, but "some senior Ford managers are already lobbying enthusiastically for it to be brought to the States" so there's still hope.