Ford has revealed its fresh-faced Puma (a nameplate first used on a small coupé built for Europe from 1997 to 2002), billing the newcomer as an “SUV-inspired” small crossover.

Set to hit the market in Europe at the end of 2019, the Puma will be built at Ford’s Craiova assembly plant in Romania. It runs on Ford’s B-car architecture, but employs a stiffer twist-beam rear suspension, larger shock absorbers, stiffer suspension bushes and “optimised” suspension top mounts.

[UPDATE: Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has confirmed it has no plans to introduce the new Puma in South Africa...]

Urge comes from the Blue Oval brand’s new EcoBoost Hybrid 48 V mild-hybrid powertrain, which integrates electric torque assistance (thanks to an 11,5 kW belt-driven integrated starter/generator) with the familiar 1,0‑litre three-cylinder petrol engine to deliver either 92 kW or 114 kW to the front axle, depending on the model.

In addition, buyers can choose from Ford’s range of conventional EcoBoost petrol and Ford EcoBlue diesel engines. Transmission options will include six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearboxes.

Interestingly, various “big-car” driver assistance features will be offered, including adaptive cruise control and speed-sign recognition. Ford claims the new Puma will also be the first in its segment to offer a hands-free tailgate and a lumbar massage function.

Ford claims the new Puma boasts “unprecedented” compact crossover practicality thanks to “innovative” rear stowage solutions. Boot space comes in at a claimed 456 litres (with the boot floor adjustable to three levels), while the load compartment can accommodate a box 1 120 mm long, 970 mm wide and 430 mm tall with the second row of seats folded flat.

Then there’s something the Blue Oval brand calls the “Ford MegaBox”, which provides a deep storage space under the conventional boot (check it out in the video embedded below). The storage solution offers a capacity of 80 litres in a space 763 mm wide, 752 mm long and 305 mm deep. It features a synthetic lining and drain plug in the bottom that Ford says makes it simple to clean.

Up front, you’ll find Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, complete with an eight-inch central touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There’s also a 12,3-inch configurable digital instrument cluster on offer.