Ford is injecting new life into its smaller passenger carrier segment. The Ford Puma is offered at well over R500k, but how does it compare to the local lot at the same price point?
Our last entry about the new Ford Puma focused on its would-be price tag and potential rivals. Originally, we had assumed that the new Blue Oval SUV would be priced around the half-a-million rand mark. Official pricing has since been released, and the Puma range begins at R569 900 for the Titanium variant and R613 900 for the range-topping Vignale offshoot. This means that our previous list of contenders has changed.
Before we delve into the ranks in which the Ford Puma lies, let us quickly look at its core features. The Ford Puma is powered by a 1,0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder affording the sloped-back SUV an output of 92 kW and 170 N.m.
Mated to its odd-numbered powerplant is a seven-speed DCT, which serves as the middleman between the powerplant and the front wheels. The interior is offered in two upholstery configurations namely; cloth for the Titanium and leather for the ST-Line Vignale. An 8,0-inch infotainment screen is another stand-out and is accompanied by a 12,3-inch driver display.
As for rivals, the Ford Puma squares up against the following models:
While the styling might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Hyundai’s Kona is a sumptuous five-door cross-over affording consumers a feature-laden package for a shade over half a million. While the 2.0 Executive serves as the curtain raiser of the Kona range, it’s the 1.6T Executive, which lives one step above the 2.0, that would be the best choice in the range. Priced slightly above the Puma Titanium and well below the Vignale model, the Kona has a higher power output and a larger fuel tank (50L).
- Engine: 1,6-litre, turbocharged, petrol, four-cylinder.
- Power: 146 kW/ 265 N.m
- Service plan: 5-year/75 000km
- Price: Starts from R509 900, but the 1.6T Executive is R552 900.
Mazda is set on altering its brand perception and assimilating into a luxury automaker. As such, many of its latest models have an inkling of that luxury aspiration. In the case of Puma’s chosen rival in this stable, the Mazda CX-30, it’s the design and quality that set the two apart rather than the price. Having the same drivetrain throughout the range, the focus is on the interior specification of each derivative. The option for consumers ready to bite the bullet on the Puma’s range-topper would be the Carbon Edition or Individual trim level of the CX-30.
- Engine: 2,0-litre, naturally aspirated, petrol, four-cylinder.
- Power: 121 kW/ 213 N.m
- Service plan: 3-year/ unlimited km
- Price: Starts at R497 700 and goes up to R573 100.
Undeniably eye-catching styling and a stout SUV platform are the main characteristics of the Toyota C-HR. Aside from the aesthetics, the C-HR offers a soft ride, and comfortable interior and is powered by a capable turbocharged 1,2-litre four-cylinder. Across its local lifespan, the C-HR has garnered a reputation for being a reliable and generous offering that tussles with some of the segment’s best.
As such, in August 2023, the C-HR sold more units than the two aforementioned models in this list combined. The starting price is R487 500 for the entry-level model, and a range-topper is offered at R150 000 more than the entry-level model.
- Engine: 1,2-litre, turbocharged, petrol, four-cylinder.
- Power: 85 kW/ 185 N.m
- Service plan: 6 services/90 000 km
- Price: R513 500 for the 1.2T Plus
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Straying away from the front-wheel-driven masses that have come before this entry, Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross offers all-wheel-drive capability and the option of either naturally aspirated or turbocharged powertrains. Kicking off the range is the naturally-aspirated 2.0 GLS derivative, priced at R509 990 followed by the 1.5T GLS and 1.5T GLS Exceed, priced at R549 990 and R590 000 respectively. While kW output may be the same, the turbocharged variants offer more torque at a lower rpm.
- Engine: 1,5-litre or 2,0-litre, petrol, four-cylinder
- Power: 110 kW/ 198 N.m or 250 N.m depending on drivetrain configuration.
- Service plan: 5-year/ 90 000km
- Price: Starts at R509 000 and goes up to R590 000
The T-Roc is an oddball in this list. With an entry-level model that is priced significantly higher than the range-topping Puma model, the T-Roc stands as a nameplate that the Puma needs to dethrone, ideally. While prices may vary dramatically, features like the hard-plastic-laden cabin and 110 kW four-cylinder raspy powerplant aid in making the Puma seem a viable contender.
- Engine: 1,4-litre, turbocharged, petrol, four-cylinder.
- Power: 110kW/ 250 N.m
- Service plan: 5-year/90 000 km
- Price: R596 200
Ford’s Puma model ushers in a new entry-level into its more premium facet but will its pricing be its biggest opposition?