Not Coming to America: 2020 Ford Puma

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
not coming to america 2020 ford puma

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.]

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 46 comments
  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Sep 16, 2019

    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.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 18, 2019

    No kidding, this is a cool little ride.

  • Skippity “Things To Watch Out For When Buying a 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7.” A 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7.
  • Mike Beranek Would you cross this man? No way!
  • Skippity I kinda like styling. There’s plenty of lookalike boxes on the road. Nice to see something unique.
  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.
  • Arthur Dailey Personally I prefer a 1970s velour interior to the leather interior. And also prefer the instrument panel and steering wheel introduced later in the Mark series to the ones in the photograph. I have never seen a Mark III or IV with a 'centre console'. Was that even an option for the Mark IV? Rather than bucket seats they had the exceptional and sorely missed 60/40 front seating. The most comfortable seats of all for a man of a 'certain size'. In retrospect this may mark the point when Cadillac lost it mojo. Through the early to mid/late 70's Lincoln surpassed Cadillac in 'prestige/pride of place'. Then the 'imports' took over in the 1980s with the rise of the 'yuppies'.
Next