Fleet News

Ford Puma 1.7L - 4,500 miles



##fordpum.jpg --Right##LAST time I wrote about the Puma, I was having trouble fighting my way through the admiring crowds to get to the vehicle. Gradually, other Pumas have come on to the road, some of them in colours I thought less attractive than the traditional Ford black my test vehicle is in. The swept-up, radical lines are still eye-catching, however, and the car has been a dream to drive.

As a user-chooser car the attractiveness of the look of the Puma is important, as well as the terrific feel of the vehicle in motion. But all fleet vehicles are not simply personal jewellery; they are important tools which are required to get a job done. So I took the car on a couple of challenging journeys to see how it met the requirements of medium- and long-term journeys.

The first was a 300-mile round trip to Liverpool. Circumstances were such that all roads appeared to be miraculously clear, and the outward stretch of the journey was completed in a shade over two hours, the shade being enough for the requirements of the 70mph speed limit.

Once in Liverpool, the explanation for the clear roads became clear. Those pretty formations drifting across the sky were storm-driven clouds under the cosh from south-westerlies which cut across the car all the way up. Despite the extreme conditions, wind-noise was minimal, the steering rock-steady and the car felt comfortable in the challenging environment.

A second, more challenging journey, involved a round-trip to Inverness, taking in a visit to Perth which required a 90-mile journey to be completed in around 90 minutes. The Puma's well-engineered suspension meant the car skipped across some rough Scottish road surfaces without missing a beat, and more or less helped make the appointment time with a comforting combination of high speeds and fuel consumption of more than 40mpg.

Indeed, over the longer period of the review, and since the last report, I managed to get improved overall fuel consumption, without sacrificing the smart acceleration provided by the 1.7-litre engine.

Perhaps most significant from a driver's point of view was the return from the northern Scottish highlands to the East Midlands.

After taking it easy to Glasgow, I set sail for the final 250-mile blast south. It's a journey known to leave the best-adjusted drivers in the best of cars a wrung-out gibbering wreck.

I stepped out of the Puma, 90 minutes ahead of my internal schedule and fresh and alert; a notable triumph for the sheer driveability of the car and its ability to do the basic transportation job required of it.

Jerry Connolly

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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