Ford has long been a firm to be reckoned with in the hot hatchback segment, and it’s the Fiesta ST that’s long been regarded as the best in the business.
And when it comes to a fun driving experience at an affordable price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better. However, it hasn’t stopped Ford from trying, as the firm has recently introduced a sporty ST version of its new Puma crossover – a model that has already proven fantastic to drive.
But if you’re looking at a Fiesta ST and a Puma ST, what are the differences and which one should you choose? Here we’re going to explain…
Let’s get this straight to begin with, as the Puma ST’s underpinnings and engine are shared with the hot Fiesta, so there are plenty of similarities between the two cars.
Each uses a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 197bhp and 320Nm of torque, with power being sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
In terms of performance, the lighter Fiesta has the edge, with Ford claiming it can sprint to 60mph in 6.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 144mph. That said, the Puma isn't far behind – reaching 60mph in 6.5 seconds and having a 137mph top speed.
Given the regular Fiesta and Puma both lead the way in their respective classes when it comes to driving enjoyment, they’re well set up when it comes to hotter models.
And each is an absolute hoot behind the wheel, being fun, involving and having a tremendous chassis that’s easy to explore and enjoy. To compensate for the Puma’s additional ride height, Ford has stiffened up the suspension, and the models are very close when it comes to dynamic brilliance.
But though the Puma ST is easily the best hot crossover you can buy today, the Fiesta ST is just that bit more thrilling to drive where total enjoyment is considered.
Interior and space
Though the Fiesta is far from being impractical, one of the main reasons to go with the Puma is its increased interior space that makes it much better-suited if you’re looking to use your fast Ford as a family car.
That’s because the Puma ST has a much larger 456-litre boot, which also provides access to a cool 80-litre underfloor storage solution – known as the MegaBox. To put it into comparison, the Fiesta’s boot measures 292 litres.
The Puma crossover’s larger dimensions also means there’s more rear space, too, which is worth considering if you have taller children or regularly carry adults.
The actual layout of the interior is similar across both cars, with the switchgear, touchscreen and Recaro seats both being shared, though a digital instrument cluster comes with the Puma ST.
DesignEnquire on a new Ford Fiesta ST
This is a decision that only you really make your mind up on, as it comes down to whether you like the lower-slung look of the Fiesta ST, or the chunkier raised styling that the Puma brings.
Given the crossover market is proving so popular, it’s clear many buyers value that raised ride height, but it doesn’t work for everyone. It’s also important to mention that the Fiesta ST remains available in three- or five-door guises, with the latter proving to be more practical .
Fiesta ST, which starts from £21,950 in ST-2 guise, though a higher-spec ST-3 is available from £24,575.
With a starting price of £28,495, the Puma is noticeably more expensive, though you do get a lot of extra features such as LED headlights, larger alloy wheels and digital dials.
There’s little between them when it comes to running costs, either, with both returning around a claimed 40mpg, with CO2 emissions close to 150g/km.
Ultimately, whether you go for the Fiesta ST or Puma ST, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with either of these fast Fords. They’re both fantastic to drive and the best in their classes in this respect, while combining relative affordability and lower running costs.
The Puma is the more practical option that delivers the important crossover design, though it’s a slight trade off for not being quite as sharp to drive as the Fiesta, as well as costing more. The choice comes to what you actually need from your car, but regardless of where you put your money, you’re guaranteed a thrilling hot hatchback or crossover.Enquire on a new Ford Puma ST