The funniest thing about this thread, apart from the length of it (not just in pages but years!), is that most of the respondents seem to equate speed in a sprint with speed along a bendy road.
As the original poster stated, if that was the case, we'd all own 7 litre American behemoths. But we don't, because it isn't true.
I'm just getting a Puma, because you can't get a better more fun car for less than a grand. That Top Gear rated it car of the year must say something. Were the CTR, or 330i or any other of these cars mentioned ever given that accolade?
I've always thought the Puma to be a bit girly, because of the stance, but it doesn't change that it's an exceptionally good handling car, with enough pace to hold its own against superior-powered rivals.
Would it beat a 330 or CTR away from the lights repeatedly? No. But would it match them along bendy roads where it can hold more speed and grip through tight corners? Absolutely. There's a reason the old Clio Williams was a favourite and could hold its own against Ferraris and Porsches on test drives.
I have a favourite little race route near where I live, and a bit of car knowledge means you can guide a lesser powered car along the route with at least as much pace as a better car, because it is more agile, lighter and doesn't do the unexpected when there is London grease on the roads.
As for the GTI-6, again a great car and much loved among car enthusiasts, but the extra power doesn't make it superior to the Puma.
Further to the above, having now taken ownership of the Puma and had a few days to find its/my limits I can say it is far and away the best car I have ever driven.
Sure, my comparison isn't that challenging, but it includes BMW 328i, 320d (the new one), 120d (new one), assorted Golfs up to TSI from the last three versions.
Yes, it lacks in outright speed from standing, though not as much when in motion and going through the gears and you've got the revs up to around 4000. But it more than makes up for it in chuckability and general handling, the turn in and change of direction is unreal and the gear change is an absolute joy. I'm still grinning the morning after.
Around my local "race track" which includes many bends, roundabouts and straights, nothing I've driven comes close. The BMWs had the straight line performance and better braking, but they couldn't maintain the speed through the corners (which is the really fun bit), let alone the Golfs which merely understeer their way through life on greasy London roads.
In short, incredible fun and surprising performance from a bog standard 1.7i Fiesta based 2001 coupe, bought for under a grand.
CTRs, Golf GTis and BMWs eat your hearts out.
I own a 1.7 Puma, and had to buy one after driving a mate's and thinking "This is so much fun"...
Also had a bash in his brother's FRP, and loved that as the feel is even more intense, and it feels like you're on a rally, not a road, which I loved. So when I found myself looking for a car in the £1500 range, the Puma stood out, and I thought to myself, at least I will have fun driving it everyday to and from work. And I still do, 6 months on.
I love the drive, and how it brings out the boy in you, and makes you smile every time you drive it. I can't and won't comment on Clios etc. as I haven't driven them, but equally everyone will be a fan of a certain car or make, and have their own opinion, so this is mine "I LOVE MY PUMA AND IT MAKES ME SMILE!"... IMO!!!
This thread is AMAZING!!!
I love my Puma, I've put nearly 25k on it in a year, and it's not missed a beat whilst giving me the most smiles per mile I've had on 4 wheels.
This thread reminds me of the ZX7-R Ninja I used to own. I bought that bike because of the love people had for them. Despite the fact that, on paper, they were pretty much obsolete before the first one rolled off the production line. Other sports bikers just couldn't get their heads around it, and used to quote times and weights ad-infinitum. I think deep down they were jealous, because they had bought their bikes with their heads and not their hearts. When my Ninja was pinched, I replaced it with a Fireblade... A far superior machine in every way except one... it just doesn't connect with me the way the Ninja did, AND the way my Puma does!
A bit like my Puma, the Ninja would struggle on a race track, but also like my Puma... I seldom got worried by other drivers on the real road. Incidentally... If any Civic R or BMW performance bores would like to discuss figures, I'll be happy to educate you on my Fireblade sometime!!
This person has clearly NEVER driven a Racing Puma with his comments about handling LOL.
Hi. I just became the owner of a 99 Ford Puma 1.7.
It isn't the quickest thing I've driven. I have worked as a mechanic, and have got to ride about in a lot of quick things, from Red Top Novas to 650 BHP Pulsars.
And I loved my V6 Callie 3 litre conversion, and having to drive dad's Mondeo about, my missus pointed at the Puma down road, and after arguing over money and repairs for 3 years on the Calibra, I gave in to the idea of a Ford (obviously not my first choice).
But I have to say, when my Callie sadly died and I needed a cheap runaround, my 500 pound Puma is immense; its handling is fab.
It has an ability to surprise. It revs like hell. I reckon it would make my old Calibra look stupid on a nice tight twisty road, and it still gets me to work at a reasonable rate; about a tenner, and I travel 30 miles to work.
For this kind of spend, I got 11 months MoT and 3 months tax. I couldn't care what anyone says, girls car etc, this thing shifts, looks good and is cheap. It's easy to get parts at the scrappy. What a bargain.
I had to buy an exhaust cat back. Went on eBay, 78 quid, mid section and back box standard, but I opted for a Stainless cat back, 140 pounds, all new parts, bargain.
I would tell anyone, if they like the way it looks and it is practical for them, at these prices, just buy it, it's great car with plenty of poke and lots of handling. You can't go wrong, and it does shock even some of quicker fast hatches. Believe, I've found that one out.
I have driven the Ford Puma 1.7 for around 12 years now; first a 1997 edition, then a 2000 model. I have also had the fortune to drive an Audi TT and Seat Leon Cupra R in this time (as brand new company cars).
In my opinion, the car that strikes the right balance is the Puma, mainly in terms of the 'noise' of the car - general feel on the road, smoothness and eagerness of the engine, and well-behaved handling. The Seat was the next best, a little noisy and actually difficult to drive slowly, but was missing a lot of driver reward.
Also in my consideration, is the cost of running and repairing the car. Apart from some rusty rear wheel arches (a common problem on Pumas older than 10 years), only the standard consumables have been replaced, and reliability is top-rate. It also offers a quiet and comfortable, not to mention frugal motorway drive.
To sum up, it's an intelligent buy for someone who rates driving passion along with bangs for the buck. The 2000 model is a whole lot better than the 1997 one, which I suspect had been abused, as it had several faults. It is very easy to get attached to these cars, and I have found nothing quite like it since!
I have read some extravagant claims about people getting 300bhp out of these here, but even if they are true, it is somewhat missing the point. With the Puma, it's about feline prowess and resourcefulness, not burning rubber (and loads of cash). Not for your average motorhead.
Well said... my guess is that the owner of the BMW didn't even know he was in a race...
The Puma redefined front wheel drive handling capability, as did the Fiesta Zetec S it was based on. Both are Evo 5 star cars, and both condense enjoyment into a cheap and affordable package.
Those who talk about manhood and BMW's being great, just don't get the point of this car...
It's a Mk1 golf/Pug 205 GTI in a new age... and we're all lucky for that!
Buy one and enjoy prior to slagging them off!!