1997 Ford Puma 1.7 from UK and Ireland


The Puma is the only decent small coupe produced in the last ten years


Thermostat failed after a track day.

Exhaust rusted.

Driver's side door latch failed.

Engine developed slight ticking sound (tappets, I think, were the cause).

General Comments:

Great little car; handles really well on both road and track, but could do with a bit more power.

It was an extremely reliable car and only let me down twice; once after a very hot track day, when the thermostat failed, and once when the door latch failed resulting in my being unable to close the driver's door.

There are many myths about the Puma, especially concerning the 1.7 engine and its longevity. Mine did over 115,000 miles, including 12 competitive sprints, and around 100 laps of Castle Combe, and the only fault was a slight noise from the tappets.

For the road, the suspension is spot on, but for track driving it is somewhat soft. I replaced my springs and dampers with Koni adjustables, which gained about 2 seconds a lap at Castle Combe, but made the car a bit too stiff for comfort on back roads. Handling is very neutral with both setups; gentle understeer is the main characteristic, but this can be balanced on the throttle, and the rear end can be made to swing round.

Brakes on the pre-2000 models are not brilliant, although they are just about good enough for road use. For heavier use the best thing to do is to replace them with the bigger discs and calipers from the later model.

The engine needs to be revved, and it could do with a little more power. The 153 BHP version in the Racing Puma would be ideal (although this version weighs more, obviating some of this advantage.)

One thing that did annoy me was the rust. This is supposedly a galvanised bodyshell with zinc coated panels, yet I did have a bit of bubbling on the sills and on the rear bootlid. Nothing too drastic (or structural) but disappointing nonetheless.

Overall it was quite a cheap car to run, and withstood being abused on track.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th August, 2007

1997 Ford Puma 1.7i Coupe 1.7 from UK and Ireland


Excellent all-rounder, performs equally well on motorway, town and country roads


Anti-roll link bars replaced.

Shock absorber replaced.

Various other suspension components replaced.

Car kept revving highly. Solved by replacing throttle control valve.

Bodywork showing its age.

General Comments:

Quite simply the best car I have owned so far.

Quite quick on the open road, but you need to rev (>4000 rpm) the engine to get the best out of it. Thankfully the excellent gearbox and rev-happy engine make this easy to achieve.

The handling is excellent with plenty of grip and feedback from the steering.

Despite the performance it is very easy to drive around town and can be economical (~40mpg on the motorway).

Interior niggles are well documented, such as rainwater dripping into the boot and the lack of space in the rear. I didn't find either of these points to be particularly problematic and occasionally had 2 or even 3 people in the back for short journeys.

The dash looks good with chrome-effect trim and the stereo is excellent. The seats are also very supportive.

My only criticisms are that the suspension components seem to be a bit weak (although I do mainly town driving on what must be some of the worst roads in the country), and that the paintwork is prone to chipping and needs to be looked after to prevent rust.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2005

1997 Ford Puma 1.7 (with luxury pack) 1.7 zetec from UK and Ireland


My disappointing piece of luxury


I loved my Puma till recently.

There had been lots of little faults like the parcel shelf falling off, rainwater getting into the boot, paint chips occcured easily on the bonnet, but these aside I was mostly happy with my purchase.

I paid £15,700 for it- the price dropped by about £2000 only days after getting it on the road so I intended to keep it as long as I could.

In April 2002 it ground to a halt.

Despite having been serviced regularly, the timing belt snapped after 33,000 miles and the top of the engine had to be rebuilt- costing a total of £2500!

The belt should have been under warranty till 100,000 miles, but the garage tried to blame me for not checking the oil.

This was not the case and my battle with the dealer continues.

Ford customer care were of no help and fob-bed me off politely.

General Comments:

Loved the stylish look.

Good for overtaking those Sunday drivers.

The seats are hard, but I liked the way the sporty shape held me in.

The white instrument panel and shiny metal details look good.

Rear and all round vision is to be questioned.

Beware of the dealership, they look after themselves.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th June, 2002

1997 Ford Puma 1.4 16v petrol from Cyprus


The best small sports coupe


Nothing yet.

General Comments:

A really nice sports coupe. The best colours for it are the silver and the red.

High fun factor.

Medium quality.

It's the best option for someone who wants something beautiful, small and different.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st February, 2001

1997 Ford Puma 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland


Front speaker failed after 1 week - replaced under warranty.

Some rattles from passenger door.

Boot shelf flimsy.

Paint seems to chip easily.

Driver's electric wing mirror stopped working after 6 months - replaced under warranty.

General Comments:

Although this car suffers from some poor build quality, the superb engine, fantastic handling and excellent gear shift more than compensate for this. Stylish looks and good residual values complete the package. Few cars (if any?) can give you this much driving fun for £15,000.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th December, 1999

1997 Ford Puma 1.7 from UK and Ireland


Tracking out - repaired under warranty.

Repeatedly leaking brake fluid-slave cylinder eventually replaced.

Side light bulb blew very early on.

Poorly designed rear door/window which drips water into the boot when opened in the rain.

General Comments:

Nothing compares to it for looks, performance and price.

As cheap to run as a Fiesta.

Still a head turner even after almost 2 years.

It's the best fun car for the price.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd August, 1999

1997 Ford Puma 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excessive wear on front tyres.

Squeaks and general rattles.

Been back 5 times for clunk in rear suspension.

Brake lights failed.

General Comments:

Great car but very very poor build and paint quality.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st February, 1999

5th Jul 2001, 08:12

The clunk in the suspension is not a clunk in the suspension. It's the door latches, which can be adjusted in 5 minutes by ford next time your in for a service.

1997 Ford Puma 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland


Nothing within a year.

General Comments:

Very bad rear package shelf design (cheap).

Excessive rainwater runs into boot when opened.

Good value for money, very "fun".

Nice interior styling that unexpectedly wore well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th January, 1999