is the Ford Puma Flexifuel a good party car?

That’s how we are at Blogautomobile, we like to put ourselves in your shoes. When a reader asked us what was the ideal car to take to a festival, we hit it off: went to the Dour Festival in Belgium in a Ford Puma Flexifuel!

This Ford Puma Flexifuel…

…can we recognize him in the parking lot?

And yet it was only Thursday morning

223,000 festival visitors, you have to park them. Also, factoring in the fact that the festival is generally in the middle of nowhere, we realize that the parking lot will be cordoned off and that finding your cash can sometimes turn into a “Where is Waldo” power 1000. With this in mind, parking a Puma there, which gets its little success in Europe (73,600 registrations in the first half of 2022 alone, ninth best seller on the continent) can be daring… except that.

Except that 1- the Dour festival goers are broke (see below) and the parking lot is full of old Clio’s or Fiesta’s with barely any wear, putting our nice SUV clearly above the game, and that 2- our Puma isn’t red, it is Fantastic red. It smacks. No problem finding it, so: first point validated.

… does it have a good sound system?

It seems obvious to me, but a good feast is prepared during the tour by dissecting the programming to unearth the rare gem you won’t want to miss on D-Day. A quality sound system is therefore essential, something for “my” Puma responds wonderfully with this 575 W B&O installation, spit out by the 10 speakers distributed in the cabin. The theory is enticing, practice wins the day: the sound is impeccably accurate, can be adjusted as desired via several settings. Sound system: validated.

The rest of the infotainment is a little less worthy of praise. I’ve always liked the central display running under SYNC 3 (proven) and yes, as such it’s ergonomic and does what it’s supposed to…but its presentation is still getting a bit dated. Having said that, you’d say that its compatibility with Apple Carplay & Android Auto makes it possible to ignore this remark, and you’d be absolutely right. The other point that sticks out a bit in my opinion is the digital counters. So yes, it’s modern to have a screen behind the steering wheel, but when all displays change neither the order “tachometer on the left / trip computer in the middle / tachometer on the right” nor the dimensions or the presentation of one of these, might as well go back to real needles, it will save everyone money (and it’s prettier).

…is it spacious?

Festival -> Camping -> bring something to sleep / eat / drink / dress / wash / […]. Add to that the need to put as many passengers as possible in the car to share the cost (reminder: the festival-goer doesn’t have a penny), and we get a golden rule for a party car: it must be spacious.

Is Puma? Oh yes, oh yes. On the way out we managed to squeeze in (gasp) 3 “2 seconds” 3 person tents (ie bulky), 2 gazebos (without a roof but we only know by unpacking them hehehe), 3 chairs, 3 bags of clothes/hygiene & co-products are needed to last 5 days, 3 floor mats, 3 sleeping bags, 4 large shopping bags, 48 ​​cans of 50 cl, 23 bottles and 3 people in comfortable conditions and more than honest security. On the way back, 4 bags, 4 chairs, 4 floor mats, 4 sleeping bags, 3 tents + 2-3 other nonsense: everything in the trunk, while 4 passengers took their seats in the cabin. A pure wonder.

The smallest cm² is clearly optimized

We thank a generous base boot (456 litres, that’s a more than honorable score for a car 4.18m long), well squared and well executed, but the real reason behind this miracle of habitability is hidden under the removable floor: introduction of “Mégabox ”, an additional compartment of 80 liters, bringing the total loading height to 115 cm, waterproof and equipped with a drain plug. As for the tailgate, it is electric and can be opened with a passage of the foot under the bumper. So you can put a lot of things.

…is it comfortable?

After spending five days stomping their feet in deplorable sanitary conditions, sleeping far too little, and feeding on nutritionally abominable foods, the festival-goer is busy: finding a modicum of solace. The puma does this very well.

Partly because, as we have just seen, the cabin is spacious enough for four people and partly because this Puma is really super comfortable. I admit I was relieved when I handed over the keys to realize I was getting a titanium finish with more flexible suspension; I remember a much less pleasant synthesis when I had an ST-Line during the first tests. Even when passing through a few cobbled areas (Dour is only a few kilometers from the border with our proud north, let’s not forget), nothing helps: the puma takes it without flinching. Good work.

And this Puma Flexifuel is generally very comfortable to drive. We’ll talk about the vroom vroom engine right after, but for now I’ll just tell you that the engine is smooth, the power is adequate, the gear stick handling is OK, and the steering is well calibrated. . On the highway the little Ford is a little out of its element with too much wind noise for my taste and not the latest generation of driving aids (adaptive cruise control without lane keeping in 2022??) but hey, a few extra dBs of good sound solves the first problem , and secondly, you should still be able to hold a steering wheel, right?

… is it economic?

Dour is not Coachella; means by this that the Belgian festival is not a benchmark for influencers. Dour are roots and the festival goers are of the same kind… as their bank accounts. Savings are therefore always welcome, and this is where Puma Flexifuel pulls its trump card: it runs on ethanol!

And ethanol, or E85 in gas station jargon, has the advantage of not being expensive: count between 70 and 80 cents per liter at the moment. As a result, and even though this fuel leads to an overconsumption of ~20-25% compared to a petrol engine “just short”, this Flexifuel version buries any kind of competition. Especially since this vegetarian Puma with an average consumption of 7.2 l/100 km sips its beet juice in a very sensible way. When it comes to filling up, there’s no problem: the GPS shows you the nearest stations that distribute E85, and if you can’t find one, the engine accepts “classic” gasoline without a problem. A dream.

Especially since I have scratched the name of my Puma from the start, as I will call it “Puma 1.0 Flexifuel Hybrid 125 hp S&S mHEV BVM6”. And “mHEV”, if you follow correctly, is synonymous with mild hybridization. Basically an alternator starter is connected to a very small battery located under the passenger seat there to give a boost to the engine: count 16hp & 50Nm boost. In fact, as much as the regeneration under braking is really sensitive, with a surprisingly marked engine brake, the addition of power/torque is completely transparent: you have to keep your eyes riveted on a gauge on the dashboard to see the contribution of this micro-hybridization. But hey, it adds to the car’s good dynamics and poise, with performance that’s still respectable even when loaded (and we were, as you could see).

It’s time to conclude: party car or no party car?

A style that stands out, a hell of a sound system, room to spare, a good level of comfort and XXL savings: this Puma Flexifuel is a downright party car. critics? Very little: Infotainment is not of the first youth, the materials in the cabin are quickly unflattering, the driving aids do not break bricks… and it generally stops there. I think we can manage with that.

Who can do more can do less: If this Puma succeeds brilliantly in this difficult task, it is because it will be perfect for your daily life. CQFD.

@JBPssx

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