By on September 12, 2019

I don’t understand what Ford is doing anymore. While the company is branding itself as this tech-savvy mobility firm, bent on delivery cutting-edge electrics that will save the planet, it has also removed its most-economical models from the U.S. market — leaving us with the EcoSport, some plug-ins, and the soon-to-be-gone Fiesta. Meanwhile, an ocean away, Europe is getting more small cars that it knows what to do with.

Considering utilities, crossovers and trucks pay the bills, that’s not a problem in itself. But it muddles Ford’s corporate identity to a point where I just have to shrug my shoulders. I had another opportunity to raise those bad boys up to my freaking ears this week when Blue Oval debuted the brand-new Puma in its top-tier Titanium X trim — a product the manufacturer has already said it doesn’t plan on bringing to North America.

The original Puma was a New Edge bubble coupe produced between 1997 and 2001 that was closely related to the fourth-gen Fiesta. While not objectively beautiful, it boasted a signature style and Ford Europe wisely thought to offer an array of powertrains that included a nippy 1.7-liter. There were also a glut of inclusions (mainly inside) giving the subtle indication that it was perpetually down for some fun.

Returning predictably as a crossover vehicle, the new Puma retains some of those sporting suggestions (especially the ST-Line) without the necessary grunt to back it up. Ford says all models will come equipped with  a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Offered in 123 bhp and 151 bhp variants, Ford claimed the system beefed up efficiency gains by as much as 9 percent (using WLTP metrics) while also adding on-demand torque. Power travels through a six-speed manual and sent exclusively to the front tires but a seven-speed dual clutch is supposed to emerge sometime after the model’s winter production launch.

Visually, the Puma is the Porsche Macan’s happy cousin. While you can see the Ford DNA, the exterior is still a tad derivative… but attractive enough to be forgiven.

The Puma Titanium X comes equipped with diver assistance features you’d expect from a mobility company. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 8-inch infotainment screen, wireless device charging, voice commands, and much more — the Puma has Ford’s latest and greatest. The manufacturer will even ship it with massaging seats, something uncommon among vehicles this size. Frankly, it sounds like the car Ford claims it wants to sell — tech-focused, environmentally friendly and a crossover to boot!

Considering it’s also sized between the EcoSport and Escape, I’m almost shocked it’s not going to grace America with its presence. It’d make a nice, upscale alternative to the EcoSport. But I’m willing to acknowledge that pricy “domestic” vehicles that aren’t the size of a small moon may not be to average American tastes — or I would be Ford didn’t sell 130,000 Edges every year. And don’t you dare make the argument that the engine is too small. The base EcoSport, which is boring, comes with the same 1.0-liter with less power.

Basement Euro-spec models probably won’t cut it here, forcing Ford to up Puma content and cost. While that honestly could make the Puma a tad too steep for the U.S. market, nobody’s officially announced any prices (a £20,000 start sounds about right, though). European deliveries are supposed to begin in early in 2020 and I think Ford should take the risk and ship this thing to North America — as it’s one of the few vehicles in its lineup that overtly meshes with its current corporate image.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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46 Comments on “Not Coming to America: 2020 Ford Puma...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    I remember this was said about the eco sport, then 3 years later we get that turd foisted on our market.

    Coming 2023, Ford Puma 2 cylinder 0.70L DOHC turbo with CVT. Starting at only $22,000!

    Remember when $20k could buy you a V8? Oh that was last year.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    1) Photographed with 3 pedals.
    2) A 20,000 pound ‘start’ puts it at around $25k USd and considerably more in Canada when including exchange rates and our higher car pricing.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    One Ford*

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Neat looking little car, but I bet there are three reasons they decided not to bring it here:

    1) Possibly undercuts Escape sales.
    2) They actually have to pay someone a living wage to make it, versus the poor slobs in India who are building Ecosports for under two bucks an hour. (By way of context: I made more than that flipping burgers…in 1979.)
    3) Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Americans are (inexplicably) buying the car that is being made by people making under two bucks an hour in India, so what’s the point?

    • 0 avatar

      That wouldn’t steal a single sale from the Escape. But the other points are valid. Why waste time when people are buying a 4 year-old 3rd world piece of junk that I would stear clear of renting in Mexico?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Gotta have power windows, 18 inch rims, touchscreens, carpeted flooring, sound proofing, etc – and have to have it on the cheap.

      Externalities are never accounted for, else the Focus and fiesta wouldn’t have sold a single automatic equipped unit after 2015. All people want is a touchscreen and cheap payment. We could start equipping cars with engines that only last 25,000 miles and write it in big letters in the sales agreement. As long as the right badge was on the front and the car was the right cost, some dopes would still buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      thejohnnycanuck

      Inexplicably is absolutely right. These people literally could have bought anything else than an EcoTurd and made a better choice.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      If offered here I doubt it would undercut Escape sales after all I don’t think Kicks and Rouge Sport sales take away sales from the popular Rouge.
      Nonetheless I do like the curvaceous sneaker style that’s far more attractive than the Ecosport.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      I could see this undercutting Escape sales–I believe that’s why Ford never offered the current-gen Mondeo/Fusion wagon in America, even though it is in production in Europe.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Handsome little CUV, I like it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Too bad. This is infinitesimally better-styled than the EcoSport. Hopefully, the EcoSport gets replaced with something at least this handsome.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Even though Puma and Cougar are almost interchangeable when it comes to cat breeds, this thing ain’t no Cougar and is in no way interchangeable with what the (Ford) Mercury Cougar used to be. Personally I’m glad it’s not coming to the US… It looks too much like the Fiat 500L.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Is that a manual transmission I see in one of the pictures?

    This is less CUVish than most and I would have definitely considered buying this and staying in the Ford family. I don’t want big. I don’t want a CUV – but this is small enough and car enough that I’d entertain one.

    Alas, I’m now in the Hyundai camp and they want my business and I’ll continue with that excellent brand until I drive the wheels off this like my 22 years with the same Ford!

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Well, it certainly looks much nicer than the Ecosport. Speaking of the Ecosport, it’s not very likable and it’s overpriced. The MSRP for a mid-level trim seems to be about $26k, and the actual asking price at the dealer seems to be about $18k.

    I think the Puma would have a better chance at success in North America than the Ecosport does. However, in order to make that work, the base price would have to be close to what the Ecosport is actually selling for. If Ford couldn’t get the base price down around $20k, I don’t think this would work.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      It definitely can bring the price down if it was offered in North America. Just get the base 1.0 Evoboost as standard (the hybrid powertrain as an option), de-content it a bit with a S version, cloth seats, smallish wheels and produce it at a cheaper plant like Mexico or India (European models are made in Romania, just like the Euro spec Ecoturd).
      Source: Lots of the cars sold in N.A are cheaper than their Euro counterpart.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      It definitely can bring the price down if it was offered in North America. Just get the base 1.0 Evoboost as standard (the hybrid powertrain as an option), de-content it a bit with a S version, cloth seats, smallish wheels and produce it at a cheaper plant like Mexico or India (European models are made in Romania, just like the Euro spec Ecoturd).
      Source: Lots of the cars sold in N.A are cheaper than their Euro counterpart.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    If you didn’t like Mazda fascia circa 2012, this is even worse

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I love the Autoextremist’s name for Hackett – Professor Moonbeam. That refers to his abstract thought processes and maybe even zen. Your typical hard-boiled “this is my little fiefdom and you can keep your fingers off it” self-styled “I’m a rugged dude” hard-boiled Dearborn department chiefs aren’t into philosophy or the books Hackett wants them to read. The ship is essentially rudderless, and yesterday Moody’s downgraded Ford to Ba1, junk investment status.

    So of course Ford isn’t bringing the Puma over to really compete in the subcompact puddle-and-stone jumper urban crossover class. It’s far too much of a premium vehicle to be anything but a grand or two less than an Escape at best, in any case.

    In Europe, Ford has to compete with VW and Peugeot and Mercedes and BMW. You can’t turn out plastic crates like we’re used to and make any headway in that market. Here people expect small cars to be utter crap rather than being just a smaller fully-specced car. We aren’t going to pay for a “nice” small car.

    The Ecosport sold in Europe is made in Romania where wages are higher than in India, where Ford makes our Mark One-and-a-Half Ecosports. And yet they’re still not cheap here because labor isn’t a big component of a vehicle’s cost to begin with.

    Ford has themselves a big hill to climb in Europe. They’re a downmarket inexpensive vehicle manufacturer in people’s eyes, but they cannot foist rubbish off on the populace or their sales would stagnate immediately. They have to compete, but cannot charge the same money as VW/Mercedes even if their vehicles and features are just as good. That’s really being caught between a rock and a hard place, with poorer gross margins and no obvious way out to greater profitability. If they just quit and leave in a huff like GM/Opel, their reputation gets slaughtered. Difficult.

    No wonder Hackett reads pilosophy books.

    And so far as opinions on small cars go, I’d never listen much to an American’s opinion. They flee for the same-priced giant economy size at the first opportunity time and again. VW doesn’t sell puffboxbloat Atlases in Europe. Who over there wants a giant plastic bin-liner as the Brits call garbage bags? Nobody. Nobody buys the Edge they sell there in some vain hope it might sell well.

    Hell, even this place has Ace of Bass features twice a week for the cheapskate readership, who find even the real low-end junk too expensive and instead buy second-hand Buicks or some old truck. Like they have a clue what a premium small car is like or even should be! Mazda is offering the new 3 in a European mold and its sales are falling fast in North America. Big, cheap and glitzy is what sells here when the chips are down. Sophistication on a smaller scale is merely derided. A commenter here wants to drive his school bus H2 in the back woods between trees a yard apart and thinks a Defender is crap based on nothing but jaundiced opinion, and the rest of you are pretty much the same when you get right down to it.

    So importing the Puma would be a complete waste of time for folks who want a blunderbuss instead of a well-crafted miniature. Size and lack of any appreciation for conditions outside of crumbling infrastructure North America are the what’s popular here. Ye olde Giant Economy size. Then we get the standard line about the US being paradise on earth so as to belittle everyone else. The least travelled population in the first world thinks it can divine life abroad through thought balloons and no information, and has as a consequence no trouble uttering rubbish opinions on decent small vehicles based on no experience whatsoever.

    It is what is and looks like Professor Moonbeam got this one right. No nice Pumas for you, my compatriots. You weren’t going to buy one anyway, just like you’re not buying manual brown wagons. The Edge BTW gets crap reviews in Europe, which illustrates the intellectual divide perfectly.

    • 0 avatar
      jamespdx

      You forgot to mention we are all too fat to fit in it too!! lol

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “thinks a Defender is crap based on nothing but jaundiced opinion,”

      I offered you the chance to defend your opinion, my “jaundiced opinion” is based off of the specs LR has released for the Defender, unless your calling LR Corporate liars, then I’m not sure what your issue is. I’ve offered reasoned, fact based, experience based look into why the Defender is a simple minivan and nothing more. Instead of debating me with facts and reasoning you deride my interests as lacking sophistication. What precisely is sophistication to you? German engineering, barring the few time they get it right, isn’t attractive to the vast plurality of Americans. BMW and MB both have massive Crossover plants here to cater to American tastes.

      Acting like Europe is the center of automotive genius, design, and sophistication is the pinnacle of automotive design is laughable even to europhiles. I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve travelled America, I’m perfectly satisfied knowing America is the greatest country on the planet with the greatest automotive history and designs. It’s just unfortunate America will have to keep dragging the rest of the world into the future at our expense to keep Europe from breaking out into another war and keep Asia from asserting dominance over the weak countries that comprise Europe.

      So again, since you apparently know more than everyone else about the Defender, I offer you the chance to defend your opinion despite all evidence to the contrary.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @ Hummer: I’m not sure what data you’re referencing when you claim, “the Defender is a simple minivan and nothing more.” You certainly don’t PRESENT any data other than your personal opinion, though I admit the OLD Defender’s reputation isn’t all that good, even the Cars 2 movie played on that reputation. On the other hand, the Land Rover, including the Defender, does have a strong reputation for off-road capability despite its reliability issues. The Rover, including the Defender, has bone-stock outperformed even the Jeep CJs and Wranglers in stock build over the decades. And the Defender doesn’t typically get the kind of aftermarket work the Jeeps do, either–yet they still have been a ubiquitous vehicle for real-world off-road use. The Land Rover is not a toy the way the Jeep Wrangler has become. There are times when even the oft-panned Unimog is a better off-road vehicle than the Wrangler–going through places the Wrangler ends up sinking.

        I am an American and I admit I prefer American brands more than foreign in most cases. But unlike you, I do recognize that for some things, American-built cars simply don’t hold up. American automakers cater to the average American who, like you, prefers bloated, oversized Road Whales. I didn’t want the too-large, so-called midsized truck I own simply because it’s too damned big. Even the 2004 Ranger is bigger than I’d really want but at least it’s smaller than my ’19 Colorado–but I refuse to buy used due to my history with used vehicles being money pits and I can’t afford constant repairs out of warranty. (My history with Ford in particular is almost as bad, used AND new.)

        Your personal conceit is why people don’t like you. You exemplify exactly what most foreign nations hate about this country. I hate to tell you this but the US is no longer “the greatest country on the planet.” We’ve stopped trying to advance because too many of us believe as you do–that we can do no wrong. Well, son, this country is going to hell in a handbasket and it’s people like you who are taking us there. I know you’re not going to like what I’ve said and to be quite blunt, I don’t care that you don’t. You aren’t the Ultimate Man and Americans are not the Superior Race. Mankind is mankind, no matter what color, nationality or religion individuals may be. People are people and they’re not all going to like or want the same things.

        You say you’ve traveled the world and you’ve traveled America–but have you LIVED in the world? Have you LIVED in different parts of this country? I have and I’ve seen much more of society and WHY people are the way they are than
        you apparently have. Courtesy and recognition of different viewpoints is what America was built on. Conceit and domineering is not.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          “You certainly don’t PRESENT any data other than your personal opinion“

          I presented this data in one of the previous articles with tons of facts based on given specs and experience. I have yet to see a single rebuttal other than attacks on my apparent lack of sophistication.

          I frankly don’t care what foreign countries think of the US, foreign individuals don’t pay my bills or protect my rights. America can do wrong, as evidenced by the 30 years preceding our current presidents tenure. But when America gets it right then it’s a powerhouse that is a force to be reckoned with, and we are in that place today.

          Don’t like me? Not really in the business of impressing strangers, maybe the rest of the world could take the hint from America.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Don’t care, not interested. Moved on to Japanese and South Korean manufacturers.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    What exactly is the definition of a crossover again? This looks like an itty-bitty hatchback, which is no problem but be honest with yourself.

    At least it’s proportionally sound, unlike the EcoSport. That said, a better name for this would be the Ford Fugu.

  • avatar
    jamespdx

    I like it . . .

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Note to file: It is possible to put comfortable seats into a small car. So whenever you see crap seats in a small car in the U.S. market, know that the manufacturer is abusing your trust.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Make some styling tweaks to the front and rear fascias and sell this thing as a Lincoln. If luxury/near-luxury brands like Lexus, Buick,and Mercedes can sell overpriced runabouts that don’t favor the rest of its lineup by the boatload, then so can Lincoln.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m hoping that Ford is seeing the wisdom of keeping the small cars in production overseas–with the idea that, if gas prices, recession, etc. ever make it absolutely necessary, they would have less difficulty sending them here.

  • avatar
    scott25

    The T-Roc is way more of a missed opportunity than this. This is basically just a CX-3 and we know how well it sells. The T-Roc would’ve been a success though. Same with the Stonic

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    “but a seven-speed dual clutch is supposed to emerge sometime after the model’s winter production launch.”

    That’s it Ford. Double down on stupid.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    It looks like a Pokemon Squirtle. Ugly, little, lumpy, blob of a thing. Too many new vehicles look as if inspired by cartoon characters.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Just keep doin’ what you’re doing Ford.

    No one in the US wants anything less than a 12 passenger King Ranch Excursion with a 360 month payment book, right?

    FOAD Ford.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    No kidding, this is a cool little ride.

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