Ford is not shy when it comes to carrying out its long term goal of being a bigger force in the utility vehicle market. With its U.S. plans in full gear, Ford has begun to put more focus on it European side of the business, with the revival of the Puma moniker to help spearhead a new CUV entry.
Unlike the tidy, budget focused sports coupe of the 1990s and the early 2000s which shared its platform with the Fiesta, and tangoed with the Eclipse on European switchbacks. This breed of cat has made the leap into the CUV segment, where it will rekindle the rivalry (perhaps ironically) with the Eclipse Cross CUV. In other words, don’t expect a nostalgia trip with this latest Puma. Instead, Ford claims that the 2020 Puma will have “seductive” styling and despite the company’s best efforts at hiding the more intimate details via some clever lighting effects, some distinct cues still manage to stick out. For example, the oval shaped headlights with their integrated LED running lights, and a lot of the lower front fascia share the bulk of their inspiration with the larger 2020 Escape, and the roofline itself appears to have a more aggressive rake to it, perhaps in a subtle nod to its ancestor.
Full technical details are still being kept secret at this point, but Ford did confirm that a 48-volt mild hybrid system will be available on the reborn Puma, with the green infused technology being mated to the same 1.0 liter turbocharged three cylinder engine used in the Escape. The most powerful version is expected to make 155 horsepower, which should allow the Puma to have a bit more urgency when tasked with freeway driving. Front wheel drive will be the standard format, but look for all-wheel drive to appear as an optional piece of equipment on select versions of the Puma to appease buyers that live in snowier climates.
The 2020 Ford Puma will be assembled at the company’s plant in Romania, and is expected to make its public debut in late 2019. In Europe, it will slot between the EcoSport and the Escape which is known as the Kuga over there.
It’s too early to say if the Puma will enter Ford’s U.S. model portfolio or not? But with the recently teased Hyundai Venue potentially opening up a new battlefield in the U.S. marketplace, the Puma’s appearance could possibly allow Ford to further expand its CUV footprint, and give the Blue Oval a chance at appealing to customers that want the best of both worlds but in a distinctively diffrent package separate from both the EcoSport and the Escape.