Ford Puma wins 2022 Drive Car of the Year Best Light SUV

The Ford Puma has made it back-to-back wins despite a new wave of competitors from some of Australia’s biggest brands, and it’s not hard to see why it won.

A back-to-back category winner, the Ford Puma is the 2022 Drive Car of the Year Best Light SUV, and it’s not hard to see why. Every time we get behind the wheel of the Ford Europe-developed product, we come away impressed not only at how good it is, but how much of a massive leap forward it is over its predecessor, the Ford Ecosport. 

The Ford Puma does have one of the more expensive line-ups in the segment (the RRP ranges from $29,990 to $35,540 plus on-road costs at the time of testing), but Ford has equipped the Puma to a high standard that sees it compete convincingly with rivals. Not to mention the Ford Puma’s entertaining drive characteristics are a cut above the rest.

You do feel nice inside the Puma because every Puma comes with satellite navigation, wireless phone charging, LED ambient interior lighting, DAB+ digital radio, rain-sensing wipers, and some nifty LED puddle lamps that display a puma cat. 

The standard 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder drivetrain across the range punches above its weight grade with competitive 92kW/170Nm outputs, and the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission behaves very well across multiple applications.

The interior is presented in a modern and functional format and utilises soft-touch materials on most touchpoints. Both driver and passengers are afforded a good amount of space considering the body style’s tight constraints, while there are myriad storage options up front and a roomy 410L boot.

On the road, the Puma is an involving car to drive with light and direct steering, a gutsy turbo powertrain, and a resolved ride that judges praised for its absorbent nature and refined ambience.

Importantly, the Puma is equipped with wide-ranging safety features that will see new drivers in safe hands. The Puma has earned a five-star ANCAP safety rating and has an impressive suite of active safety features, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and traffic sign recognition.

All in all, the Ford Puma is a standout performer in the increasingly competitive light SUV field.