Ford’s decision to name its landmark first EV the Mustang wasn’t without its dissenters. The name is bound up, they said, with V8s, Route 66 and burning rubber, not zero-emissions mobility solutions.
Similar sentiments emanated from enthusiast circles when the new Puma was revealed. Here was a high-riding family hauler that, although dynamically remarkable and boldly styled, was a far cry from its apex-hunting coupé namesake of the 1990s.
However, even the most ardent traditionalist would struggle to find fault with the Puma ST’s conception. It’s a good deal more potent than even the fan-favourite Racing Puma (not to mention faster), it packs bags of handling-enhancing trickery not offered on the coupé and, with five very usable seats, a large boot and efficiency-boosting tech, is a much more practical proposition.
As it stands, the Puma ST is a gateway into the world of fast Fords that was previously closed to keen drivers who needed their weekend toy to serve as a capacious and cost-effective family car from Monday through Friday.
In arguably the same way as the Fiesta XR2, the Sierra RS Cosworth and even the iconic Capri, the Puma ST will bring accessible driving thrills to a whole new market, and if it spawns the birth of a whole new niche – that of the hot compact SUV – then that just means a greater percentage of fun-to-drive cars on the road.
At the end of the day, it’s a three-cylinder SUV with a Track mode and the option of bright-green paint. Whatever your thoughts on its name or shape, let’s just be glad of another addition to the accessible performance car fray.