1998 Ford Puma 1.7 VCT from UK and Ireland


Fantastic to drive, but too fragile


At 20000mls, the rear brake cylinder failed leaving me with minimum braking.

Anti-roll bar bushings only last 15000mls, but are relatively cheap.

Headlight leveling motor started buzzing at 40000mls. New headlight required.

Exhaust heat shield broke and now rattles at 3000 revs. Very annoying.

General Comments:

Good points:

The handling is quite simply fantastic.

The engine is a peach. Not very quick, but certainly quick enough.

I think it looks great.

Bad points:

Suspension's a bit unforgiving which makes the interior rattle.

When you open the boot in the rain, water pours in.

The headlight beam's fairly pathetic.

It's seen as a womans car, but is really a drivers car.

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

Review Date: 6th May, 2005

1998 Ford Puma 1.7 Luxury Pack from UK and Ireland


Fast, nice looking, problem on wheels


Brake Master Cylinder Safety Recall in 1998.

Front Nearside Suspension arm needed replacing after 30,000 miles.

Front bonnet has been resprayed, after easy paint damage.

Rear parcel shelf is VERY badly designed - keeps falling out, and straps break - Ford also admitted to me that the manufacturers strings fitted are the wrong length. Despite this, they won't fix it for free.

Brake fluid freakishly discolours.

All brake pads and discs needed to be replaced at 30,000 miles (by Ford).

Rear boot light works when it wants to.

Alarm kept going off randomly - Alarm switch (nearside door) needed replacing at about 28,000 miles.

HEGO fuel sensor failed at 30,000 miles. (Common problem) I know of people who have had to replace this twice within 15,000 miles. HEGO is poorly designed in this car.

Rear seat trim is coming away from the metal which holds it.

Trim everywhere is coming apart.

Sometimes the immobiliser kicks in randomly.

Both electric side mirrors seized up (28,000 miles). They were VERY expensive to replace. £200 each!!! They cannot be repaired as they are "fixed one-piece units".

Car has started smelling really bad inside, of mould and wet rotten compost. This is despite a full valet, and constant use of air fresheners. Apparently, the Puma develops a interior water leak, a fault similar to older Fiesta models - Ford won't admit it. Other Puma owners have the same problem.

General Comments:

Head restraint is far too low to be of any use.

Loud wind noise on motorways.

Loud windscreen wipers, which are also weak. (Plastic nut covers fell off)

The car looks good, and retains good value.

The car IS very fast (especially 2nd gear), and has a reasonably low insurance group compared to other slower coupes.

1st gear is brake limited, and quite frankly rubbish, so may prevent you taking someone at the lights...

5th gear is a let down, the power has gone, and the car revs high on motorway cruising.

Make sure you get a newer key model. The key for this car is the size of my house. I think it is steam powered. What can be in something so big?

VERY Poor unique headlights, which can be difficult to upgrade in most shops - For example, FORD won't even offer an upgrade on the standard Puma lights.

Car creaks a lot.

Water pours into the boot everytime you open it during rain. Ford don't want to admit a well known problem.

Suspension keeps maxing out when going over bumps. This has got so bad, that it almost feels like the suspension is gonna break when going over big bumps (very loud).

Standard 15" wheels are too small on this car. 17" look much better, and improve handling, but be prepared for less comfort over those bumps.

Where are the cup-holders?! Don't ever goto to Mc Donalds in this car - believe me!

Both front and back electric de-misters are TOO weak to do the job. The rear screen doesn't clear in the cold, even after an hour. Front 'fine-wire' demister is gimicky, and takes too long. Also - it can make your eyes go funny, as you can't focus on the road ahead properly. Especially sometimes at night.

No glove box light.

Weak horn.

God awful rear windscreen wiper that has NO intermittent setting. It also goes quite fast, constantly and is either ON or OFF. How difficult would it have been to fit a better design Ford? (!)

Very limited leg space at the back, especially behind the driver.

NO footrest - Not nice on motorways. 306 had one.

Rear visibility is poor - Parking can be difficult. I requested rear parking sensors to be fitted to my Puma by Ford, but they said they don't fit them anymore (apparently!) - despite being advertised in their Puma brochures. God damn Ford.

Heated washer jets are desperately needed. This car in cold weather can turn into a nightmare (it is lucky I have air conditioning at least).

Also - Car has problems starting sometimes, where the revs just don't catch. My trusty 306 would always start first time.

MPG figures published are lies. This car seems to run in the mid 20s at best. Shocking for a Variable Cam.

Traction Control is NON-EXISTENT. Wheels ALWAYS spin - Especially when accelerating in the wet or in the cold.

ABS is very weak also - has only ever cut in once.

The clutch slips a lot, if you apply a lot of power.

Engine noise is TOO quiet and lacking. I could have sworn it used to make a nice rasping sound near to 5,500 revs... but this has gone now.

Reverse gear has same ungraceful clunk as Fiesta, that shakes the car when it engages.

Other gears are smooth and have a nice close ratio. Wonderful aluminium gear knob is probably the best bit about the car - Although, in the cold it will freeze your hand... and in the hot, it will burn you...

The green front lit display is too weak to see clearly at night. It is very difficult to check your speed sometimes (that's my excuse anyway).

The steering wheel is NOT adjustable for some stupid reason, and I have found that I can't see the dials properly because the steering wheel is in the way of my vision.

The car seat is TOO high. It feels more like an MPV than a coupe.

The electric seat that raises/lowers the seat is a waste of space. Why is it there? (!) You will never use it.

Ford Dealership is absolutely terrible. I cannot stress this to you enough. (My last car was a Peugeot 306, and the dealership was great, and cheap). Everytime I take my car in to Ford, it costs an absolute fortune - despite false publications claiming low service costs.

They like to take a long time to 'diagnose' the problem at £55/hour.

Apparently, my local Porsche dealer charges less, and makes you coffee while you wait.

Also - Ford are never willing to let me watch the work being carried out - Something which I find disturbing. In the Porsche dealer, they actually encourage you to watch them.

Ford are so incompetent, they managed to spill one litre of my GTX Magnatec oil all over the front seats (which ruined the interior). Problem occured after I requested that they perform the simple task, of putting my own decent oil into the engine (as they use really crap stuff, and were unwilling to put in anything else, unless I brought it with me).

Despite having a full warranty on the car, I never seem to be able to make a claim on it for anything - It is always one excuse or another - You end up having no choice, but to empty your bank account. So far infact, I have been unable to claim once on it. The warranty cost me £600.

(My last service (30,000 miles) ended up costing more than £600)

I don't think that the handling of this car is as good as people say it is. On corners, I feel as if I am going to die sometimes... Car skids a lot if you put your foot down.

There are more faults and problems with this car... but I am getting tired of writing this now... I hope it helps you... I think you get the picture.

To be honest... this car is fun, but problem ridden, and has proved very expensive in both time and money to maintain. The high unseen costs make this affordable car a bad choice. I am never going to buy a Ford again, and I consider this car to be the best they make in the UK.

Out of all the Fords this IS the BEST. I still like the car, BUT I wouldn't have bought it, had I known about all the problems, and the lack of support from Ford.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th January, 2003

26th Jan 2003, 14:28

Oh my God, you need to get out more. "Wonderful aluminium gear knob is probably the best bit about the car - Although, in the cold it will freeze your hand... and in the hot, it will burn you..." what sort of comment is that. You are the type of person who isn't happy until they have something to complain about. Why didn't you pick up on the seats etc when test driving the car, sounds to me you are way too picky and using your own image of the brand to judge the car rather than judging the car on its own merits. GET OUT MORE MR/MRS MISERABLE.