It’s 20-22, but if you want a cheap, semi-fun, almost sporty car, the Ford Puma Compact is the best car you haven’t thought of at all.
Launched in 1997 under the “New Edge” concept, the Ford Puma Compact has no lines or edges so it’s kind of in the Ford theme where reality doesn’t tie in with the statement. However, like Apple, you could order a sports car from Ford depending on your budget and size. If you wanted something pocket-sized, you had the Ford SportKa. If you wanted a normal version, you had the Ford Puma Compact, if you wanted something sporty but remembered you had a family, you had the Ford Focus, and if you wanted the ultimate in bells and whistles then you had the Ford Cougar.
And so the Ford Puma Compact is one of the best low-cost, jack-of-all-trades fun cars you can have. It’s based on the Ford Fiesta IV platform, sure, but that’s where the fun starts. We had 3 engines made in collaboration with Yamaha, and you could have fun even with the microscopic 1.4 asphalt ripper, you had sport suspension made specifically for the Puma and you had a short ratio gearbox. And if you know anything about cars you’ll know that this is a bombastic fantastic elastic recipe. And if you don’t know anything about cars, you won’t be looking at the Puma anyway. Even if it’s on sale for 800 euros and a bottle of Birra Moretti.
And really, you can have a fun and cheap to maintain car for only 800 euros and a bottle of Birra Moretti. You just have to find one in decent condition.
Ford Puma Compact Engines
- 1.4 Zetec of 90 horsepower – This was the smallest engine available in the Ford Puma Compact and you got by with it but that’s about it. It’s not the kind of engine that grabs you by the groin and makes you think you can have fun. You just do your job.
- 1.6 Zetec of 103-horsepower – Same 1.4 Zetec developed in collaboration with Yamaha, only bigger and more powerful. A true Titus Steel compared to the 1.4, but that’s just as hard to find as the Titus Steel. But if you find it, get it because it’s worth it. Titus Steel.
- 1.7 Zetec of 123 and 153 horsepower – This is a little different because it’s the same Zetec at the core only it’s not. Kind of like you can hide but you can’t hide. The cylinders were given Nikasil and have the same issue as BMWs of this era so you have to be very careful what oil you pour into it.
Ford Puma Compact General Issues
- I’ll start with the Zetec engine and yes, it’s a general issue because you only have so much engine. The timing has toilet paper tensioners, and the spark plugs need to be changed often, but the most important is the 5W-30 oil which needs to be changed at a maximum of 8000 km. Be careful what oil you put in, especially the 1.7 and its Nikasil cylinders.
- Rust forms on the fenders, which would not be a difficult issue to solve. The issue is that it doesn’t spread to the bodywork as well, as after all there are a lot of dry cleaners to help you with that.
- Cheap, poor interior, and not very durable. Like me. Like me, the steering wheel is so fat you can’t see the instruments on the dash from it.
- The sport suspension comes at a price and that is poor resistance to the assault of the homeland roads, especially the bushings being molested as they went on a tour with Harvey Weinstein.
- It was a cheap car so a lot of people said no to maintenance so you’ll have to look for a good model the same way I look for food in the dumpsters after spotting the garbage truck.
Ford Puma Compact Verdict
It was a cheap car to buy, cheap to maintain, and damn fun. And that showed in sales, as the Ford Puma Compact was a very popular car in its day, precisely because it was cheap, fun and affordable. Is it worth it today? If she’s “in her right mind”, absolutely. It’ll be the best 1500 euros you’ve ever put into a car. That’s if you can get yourself into the car, as small as it is.
What engines do I recommend? The 103hp 1.6 Zetec is the middle way, although the 1.7 and 123hp is more powerful but also more expensive. Hard to say.