The year 2002 is memorable in many ways in Ford’s history. With the success of the Safari Rally with the Focus WRC, Colin McRae became the driver who won the most World Cup championships, and then the same year, the Focus RS, which raced on a racing car, was introduced. Its serious aerodynamic package, all-wheel drive, 215 horsepower and 6.7-second 0-100 km / h sprint went into sensational numbers – it’s no coincidence that we are now considered a legend. And here, at the end of 2020, here’s a front-wheel-drive little SUV that delivers essentially the same driving performance as the first Focus RS. Exactly, the Puma ST also boasts 6.7 seconds of acceleration data and 200 horsepower, all powered by a three-cylinder, cylinder-shut-off engine!
The garnish, of course, adds to the ambiance: the GT’s daylight, splitter and 19-inch rims are already telltale, and when you open the door, the Recaro seat quickly makes it clear it’s not an average little SUV. Then we start and the first interesting experience comes: the brakes are incredibly biting, as I roll out of town, I stop several times on a student guide. In addition to getting used to the pedal feel and the slightly tight shell seat, it also quickly becomes clear that 25% more direct steering seems almost an exaggeration. Then as the space opens up, that is, we get rid of a winding country road, it makes all sense. The steering wheel, chassis and short-shift manual transmission are a mix like no other in a car of similar size, this little crossover really offers a driving experience on a tray!
With brake discs raised to 321 mm at the front and 271 mm at the rear (17% larger than in the smooth Puma), 13-car Ford, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and a mechanical, semi-self-locking differential from Quaife go beyond the category. The latter can be ordered together with the start automation for a surcharge of HUF 435,000, and the difference between the systems operating with wheel braking is heaven and earth. It feels like some invisible force is sniffing the car at the ideal curve when cornering. Of course, due to the hardness of the chassis, the MacPherson struts at the front and the rear-mounted swingarms, we can count the crossbars one by one with a little exaggeration, but despite the high construction, the Puma ST turns with amazing confidence and minimal side tilt.
And the engine ?! I’m not a fan of the three-cylinder then, but it’s certainly hard to tie into the 1.5, 200-horse EcoBoost. In essence, this unit also serves the Fiesta ST, with only its peripherals modified, including a turbocharger different. There is, of course, a distinctive three-cylinder tone, but the exhaust sounds so catchy and hoarse that the experience is very consistent and the resonances from its structure have been smoothed out. At high throttles, though, there are some turbo holes, and then when you catch the yarn, the virtual pointer on the speedometer starts a real gallop. At most we may have a slight lack of sense that the down-speed is not exactly high, at 6200 rpm the ban is already in place.
With a base price of 11.5 million, ST is certainly not driving the price-sensitive customer base, but considering that the cheapest Puma with a 125-horsepower engine costs 7.5 million, knowing the knowledge and performance, this amount no longer seems so dangerous. After all, space and practicality don’t suffer, comfort (suspension) is the only thing that requires some compromise from the owner. So somehow this is how one imagines a sports model that can be used in everyday life!
Ford Puma ST
Total stroke volume: 1496 cm3
Cylinders / valves: S3 / 12 turbo
Max. Power: 147 kW (200 hp) 6000 / min
Max. Torque: 320 Nm 2500-3500 / min
Hossz./szél./mag.: 4226/1805/1520 mm
Wheelbase: 2588 mm
Turning circle: 10.3 m
Net weight: 1358 kg
Luggage space: 456 l
Fuel tank: 42 l
Fast. 0-100 km / h: 6.7 s
Maximum speed: 220 km / h
Average consumption: 6.0 l / 100 km
CO2 emissions: 134 g / km
The base price of the model: HUF 11,520,000
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