Chasing big cats in Ford’s Puma ST-Line

CAR Magazine’s Siyavuya Mbaduli shares his experience driving the Ford Puma from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape.

The Ford Puma is a niche vehicle in the South African new-car market. Based on the erstwhile Fiesta, this crossover arrived in Mzansi in late 2023, having already debuted in Europe and Australia in 2019 and 2020, respectively. And the conditions under which it must compete locally require nothing less than for it to scratch and claw its way to the top – showing those puma genes.

CAR Magazine’s Siyavuya Mbaduli noted after driving a Puma from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape:

“The Ford Puma in South Africa seems poised to carve its path in the compact crossover market, catering to those seeking a unique yet familiar offering. It amalgamates the best elements from various Ford vehicles, sparking anticipation for its future endeavours.”

Given that this B-segment contender will undoubtedly be used to escort its occupants to wine farms and estates, we thought it good to get a taste and glimpse of this intended lifestyle by visiting the Vredenheim estate just outside Stellenbosch. The reason? The Big Cat enclosure.

Sleek and sporty

Our chariot for the outing was the sleek and sporty Ford Puma ST-Line. It headlines the two-model line-up in South Africa and is powered by the same engine as the Titanium. The ST-Line is only a cosmetic package and should not be confused with the full-blown ST models (Focus ST, Fiesta ST) that used to be on sale in SA.

Our route took us on the R44 from Somerset West, making a left onto Annandale Road and right again onto Baden Powell Drive (R310). From there, it’s a short drive to the farm with its picturesque landscapes. The Puma ST-Line’s 1.0l EcoBoost engine purred smoothly as we cruised along, offering a good blend of power and comfort. In Eco mode, expectedly, the engine and throttle are not as responsive as in Sport mode, but it is not doing much to lower the economy either.

Interestingly, a read-out of 9.2l/100km saw the 42l fuel tank replenished after just 400km.

Still, the drive was as comfortable as it was scenic. The sport suspension absorbed the occasional bumps with ease, while the lumbar massage seats were a luxurious touch that kept us relaxed. While the cabin feels premium, it is showing its age. This new car is showing signs of its 2019 genes and is a far cry off what is offered in the latest Ranger, Everest, and Territory. Even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is activated using your device’s cable.

ford puma
Image: Ford SA.

The cats

We arrived at Vredenheim Wine Farm in time for breakfast before heading to the Big Cat enclosure for the 11:00 feeding time. The farm is home to a variety of magnificent cats, including lions, tigers, and leopards. Watching these majestic creatures as they were fed by the ranger was an awe-inspiring experience, bringing us closer to nature in a profound way.

There’s a certain synergy between the Ford Puma and the big cats we observed. Both embody a blend of elegance and power, and the Puma ST-Line’s athletic lines and confident stance mirror that of a lion or tiger. Just as these cats move with a natural prowess, the Puma glides effortlessly on the road.


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Fast facts:

  • Model: Ford Puma ST-Line Vignale
  • Price: R614 400
  • Engine: 1.0l, three-cylinder, petrol
  • Power: 92kW @ 6 000r/min
  • Torque: 170N.m @ 1 400 – 4 500r/min
  • Gears: Seven, auto
  • Drive: Front
  • Economy: 5.3l/100 km (claimed)
  • Service plan: Optional
  • Warranty: Four-years/120 000km

The post Chasing Big Cats in Ford’s Puma ST-Line appeared first on Leisure Wheels.

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