Ever since the Focus and the Fiesta ST models left the U.S. market, we’ve been forced to look towards Europe with envy. That said, the Fiesta has since kicked the bucket overseas, leaving the Puma crossover as Ford’s smallest offering on the old continent. The brand just unveiled the updated 2024 Puma ST, which now comes with a smaller, less powerful engine and no manual transmission option.
The Ford Puma is a subcompact crossover based on Ford’s Global B architecture, which previously underpinned models like the Fiesta and the EcoSport. That shared platform made the Puma a logical addition to the ST performance family, even serving as the automaker’s entrant in the World Rally Championship. The car initially came equipped with a 1.5-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine, which provided 197 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque. That Focus ST-sourced powertrain is no longer on offer, replaced by a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-pot with mild hybrid integration. Output has dropped to 168 hp and 183 lb-ft.
To make matters worse, the ST will no longer be available with a manual gearbox. The 7-speed dual-clutch is now the sole option behind the 1.0-liter. Lesser Puma models can still be had with a stick, which somehow makes this even more frustrating. Ford says the new Puma ST will be able to hit 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds, nearly a full second behind its predecessor. Top speed is rated at 130 mph.
Other adjustments to the Puma ST are pretty slim. The revised front grille is now complete with the Ford emblem, which previously rode on the hood. The headlights have also been updated to include matrix LED technology. Inside, the sporty compact benefits from a reworked interior complete with a 12.8-inch digital cluster. In the center, you’ll find a 12-inch infotainment setup running Ford’s Sync 4 software. The automaker’s Cactus Gray exterior paint has also joined the roster for this year.
While we don’t get the Puma ST on this side of the pond, it’s a shame that our European counterparts are losing out on the old-school recipe. ST used to conjure up images of sideways hatchbacks and feelings of engagement. Today, the moniker seems more aligned with crossovers and SUVs with mildly adjusted bodywork. That’s a real shame.
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