With some fresh new design details on the Puma ST, Ford breathes new life into the long-standing model

Ford has several models in its current line-up that are considered to be, for want of a better word, cool. The Focus RS, for example, is revered as one of the most fun-to-drive and exciting hot hatches on the market today. There is also the iconic Mustang, and the carmaker has done an excellent job in keeping sight of the car’s design DNA with the recently launched Mach-E

The Puma sits on the other side of the fence, but with the latest ST version, Ford is hoping to give the model a new lease of life. 

At a first glance, the eye is immediately drawn to the headlamps, which are distinctly Puma. Their large size and rounded shape provide the bug-like appearance akin to Puma’s of old, and seem dated when viewed next to those on other models like the angular Mach-E lamps.

But there are many small details that make the Puma ST feel fresh. The signature ST grille is purposefully positioned to sit low on the front end, emphasising the sporty nature of the model, and underneath there is a splitter that increases front end downforce by around 80% to enhance stability and traction. 

From the side, the Puma ST is almost identical to the regular latest-generation Puma. The streamlined, sloping roof, portuding rear wheel arches and long front overhang result in pleasing shape. The additional ST rear spoiler emphasises the roof line, dragging out the shape to make it extra sporty while also improving aerodynamics. There are also Magnetite or machined metal finishes available for the 19-inch alloy wheels. 

Not much has changed at the rear, with the same large lamps and scultped body work. There is a new diffuser on the rear bumper and the larger spoiler, but otherwise the back of the ST is the same as the standard Puma.

Before getting inside, unlocking the car causes the wing mirrors to unfold and project the ST logo on the floor. Recaro bucket seats swallow the front occupants. These are finished in Miko’s Dinamica material, which is descibed by company as an “ecological microfibre” produced without harmful chemicals and with recycled polyester.   

The is a familiar flat-bottomed leather steering wheel featuring the ST logo, and an ST gear knob. The 8-inch central touchscreen displays the Ford Performance logo on start up, and the standard sound system is from Bang & Olufsen. 

There are numerous exterior colour options available to buyers. Six of the standard Puma colours are on offer, as well as the additional ST-exclusive called Mean Green. A gloss black finish for the roof, grille surrounds, side spears, door mirror caps and rear roof spoiler are all standard.

Ford’s ST treatment of the Puma brings with it a noticeable change in character. The regular Puma still struggles with a blandness and its legacy curves, but with some simple sporty trimmings, the ST version quickly becomes far more appealing.