Ford Puma Coupe 1997-2002

Ford Puma Coupe 1997-2002

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • You simply can't not love to drive this car
  • A pocket-rocket for people who fancy a sporty ride on budget
  • Good ergonomics, convenient seating and reasonable boot space for size
  • Don't be afraid to drive fast in this ‐ the brakes, steering and gearbox will make it a safe and pleasant experience.

Cons:

  • Take extra care when reversing, you don't see much through that rear window Consider it a 2-seater.
  • Large A-pillars for such a small car. It will take time to get accustomed to impaired visibility

Overview

The Ford Puma is a fake sports car ‐ fake in a good way. Don't expect to win at a race course, but if you're looking for a sporty looking vehicle and don't want to spend thousands of pounds, the Puma is a great choice. People with a low budget will otherwise struggle to find a car that looks aggressive and is fun to drive. In essence it is still a lamb in wolf's clothing or should we say a Fiesta in wolf's clothing. The aim was to create a cheap sports-car that can do over 200 km/h to appeal to young European drivers. The top mod with a 1.7-litre 125BHP engine could really do 203km/h (126MPH). We're not speaking about the Puma ST160 which, although it struggled to sell its limited edition of 500 units, is now a sought-after rarity with an ever increasing price tag. Based on the 1995 Ford Fiesta, the Puma is in fact nothing like its donor. If you wanted me to express the car in three words, it would be "fun to drive". The small size, brisk gearshifts and the low seating position gives you the feeling of driving a kart. Brakes, steering and engine performance matches the car's sporty image. The sporty look continues in the interior. Although it looks significantly cheaper than the saloon of a proper sports car (simply because it is a cheaper version of a proper sports car) the dynamic look continues from the exterior into the interior. You might not be too impressed by the materials used in the saloon, but the sporty gearlever with aluminium inlays will make up for whatever faults there might be.

Exterior and Interior

It is the second Ford model to feature the New Edge design trends started by the Ford Ka. For the late 90s and for the price tag it was a truly inspiring car. It was a direct competitor to Vauxhall Tigra but was much more aggressive and befitting to its name, like a cat it looked indeed. The car is definitely a success from the exterior point of view. Although it is the first Ford to be completely designed on a computer, it still does look natural and proportional. You might have expected more from the interior but if you're not too worried about minimalism, you won't be disappointed.

Performance and Economy

It is still a Fiesta, no matter how you go about it so, curb your enthusiasm. It all depends on your expectations. The acceleration to 60mph of 9.2 seconds is no match to any sports car yet driving a Puma is probably more fun than driving any other mainstream car of its size. It has a very responsive steering and good brakes so you are bound to enjoy the car.

Like to Drive

Because it's not a real sports car you will easily find cheap car insurance for your Puma even if you're a young driver. Most of the modifications come in the groups between 19 and 24. Maintenance cost is reasonable because, as with many Ford models, the parts are cheap and readily available. Both models offer reasonable fuel economy and the difference in consumption between the 1.4-litre and 1.7-litre engine is so small that you might as well discount the 1.4-litre and go for the more powerful version. Always remember that the 1.7-litre engine is a high-spec power plant and make sure you stick to the maintenance cycles religiously. It requires a special grade of motor oil. Savings you could make in maintaining this engine is false economy ‐ give it the best you can get and it will stay in a great nick for many years.

Faults and Repairs