Most of you haven't seen this car before as it is actually only sold in Europe. So, starting from the basics: it is a Ford, it is a pocket-sized coupe, it is very affordable, very fun to drive and it just
Europe has never been the best market for Ford which in mid-1997 was really looking into how it could change its image in the European market. So what they did is they came up with the Ford Puma.
We cannot think of a better thing they could have done!
Powered by a (tiny for American standards) 1.7lt engine which produces 125hp the Puma is fast enough to be a lot of fun. Acceleration to 60mph takes 8.8 seconds
but what really counts about this car is the amazing handling characteristics that the Ford team
that was responsible for it has managed to give it. Tthis is probably the only front wheel drive car on the site, but it really is very close to being the best handling front wheel drive car ever! Everything just feels so well balanced: The ultra-slick gearshift, the VVT (Variable Valve Timing) engine, the fully responsive wheel.
What else do you get for a very low price of around 20,000$? You get some passenger space in the back seats for small trips only. You get a very cheap to run and cheap to own car. And you get this amazing
styling that really resembles a wild cat.
Late 1999 also saw the introduction of the limited, wild Racing Puma. The engine stays the some but it is now tuned to produce 155hp which brings the performance level to
7.9sec for acceleration to 60mph. Again though, what really makes the Racing Puma unique is its absolutely amazing handling. This time Ford engineers only had to keep some basic levels of ride quality so what you get
with the Racing Puma is the
best handling front wheel drive car ever! Still. at around 30,000$ the Racing may just be too expensive so we would go for the standard 125hp version and appreciate its all-round ability.
To sum it up,
sometimes a car does not have to cost $50,000 or 100,000$ to be truly unique. And the Puma, believe it or not, is certainly one of the cars that fall into this category. Congratulations to Ford for producing a
FantasyCar that is also affordable to own and run.