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Could it happen? Ford's CEO wishes the Puma ST was sold in the U.S.

Ford didn't initially design the Puma to make its way to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Jim Farley is Ford Motor Company's CEO. He's only had the job for a few months so it's understandable if he doesn't quite understand the power he has. So, when Farley tweeted on February 15 that he wished that the new Ford Puma ST was available in North America, he received a lot of replies that read a lot like, "I think I know a guy..."

Let's take a closer look at the Puma, try to figure out what it would replace in the Ford lineup, and see whether or not it could feasibly make its way to the U.S.

2022 Ford Puma ST The Ford Puma ST is the most high-performance Puma you can buy.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2022 Ford Puma ST

What is the Ford Puma?

The Ford Puma is a compact crossover that was introduced in Europe for the 2020 model year. Its name comes from the Puma compact coupé, which was produced for Europe from 1997 to 2002.

The Puma is sold in four trim levels in Europe: Titanium, ST Line,, Vignale, and ST. The base Titanium model is pretty well equipped, but the Puma ST offers the best performance. The Puma ST is truly designed to be a hot hatch.

How big is the Ford Puma?

It's based on the same platform that the Ford Fiesta is built on meaning that they're both small by European standards and downright tiny by U.S. standards. The Fiesta fits two adults comfortably in the first row but the rear seat is best left to small children. The Puma is slightly bigger meaning that average-sized adults can sit there, albeit with the feeling of being a bit stuffed into a small space.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma is smaller than the Ford EcoSport, Kuga, Escape, Explorer, and Expedition.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

How does the Ford Puma compare to the Ford EcoSport?

The difference between the Ford Puma and Ford EcoSport is the same as the difference between the BMW X2 and BMW X3. The Puma and X2 are solidly in the crossover category while the Ford EcoSport and BMW X3 ride higher like more traditional SUVs.

The EcoSport has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Puma but the Puma is nearly six inches longer. EcoSport wins on width, being six inches wider than the Puma.

Front row Puma occupants have about the same amount of head- and shoulder room as they would in the EcoSport, but they are able to take advantage of nearly two more inches of legroom.

The Puma has substantially less cargo room than the EcoSport, both behind the second-row and with the rear seats stowed.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The interior of the Ford Puma ST features design choices to make it look street racing-ready.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Will Ford get rid of the EcoSport in the U.S. and replace it with the Puma?

Despite being widely panned by critics, the Ford EcoSport sells reasonably well in the U.S. The automaker sold 60,545 of them in 2020. That's about how many Nissan Kicks that were sold and 18,000 more than the total of Toyota CH-Rs that were purchased during the same time period.

Still, the EcoSport has a way to go to catch up to its chief rivals like the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Kia Soul.

As good as those sell, some even smaller SUVs are selling better, like the Chevrolet Trax. However, those models are priced low, under $20,000 to start in many cases. In the U.K., the Puma is priced to start at around $30,000 USD. That price tag wouldn't fly in the States. Even with a $25,000 starting price, the Puma would start to have fierce competition from the larger and much more popular compact SUV segment.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma ST is a true hot hatch.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Then there's the dimensions. Americans are, generally, larger than Europeans. A car that is six inches narrower than the Ford EcoSport is quite compact by modern U.S. standards.

While there is room in the lineup, for now at least, the answer seems to be no, the EcoSport will likely not be replaced by the Puma, nor will the Puma be added to the offerings at U.S. dealerships.

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Ford just announced specs for the new hardcore off-roader.

Ford

After years of speculation over the Bronco's return, Ford finally pushed the revived SUV to market last year. The rumor mill immediately kicked back into action with speculation of a higher-powered Raptor version of the Bronco to match Ford's F-150 Raptor here in the U.S. We've seen teases and a short film on the SUV, but today, The Blue Oval announced specs for what will surely be a highly desirable new vehicle in 2022 and beyond.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor The Bronco Raptor gets upgraded cooling and engine tuning to handle high-temperature operation.Ford

The Bronco Raptor gets an exclusive twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 400 horsepower, which is a big improvement over the standard SUV's V6 that makes an already healthy 330 horsepower. Four-wheel drive and a ten-speed automatic gearbox are standard. Ford says the Raptor also comes with a new towing mode that allows a max tow rating of 4,500 pounds - a 1,000-pound improvement over the base Bronco. Trail Control, trail Turn Assist, and Trail One-Pedal driving are also present here.

The Raptor gets seven of the standard Bronco's G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) driving modes, including a new Baja Mode that works with the engine's turbo system to reduce lag and improve performance during high-speed runs in desert temperatures. An active exhaust allows four selectable sound modes, including normal, sport, quiet, and Baja, and the Raptor's intercooler helps keep operating temperatures at reasonable levels when running in hot weather.

Using the Bronco's modular design, Ford gave the Raptor unique front and rear quarter panels, fender flares, and door appliqués. The new body components add 9.8 inches to the Raptor's width, and removable running boards help improve rock crawling abilities. Model-exclusive amber LED running lights accent the Raptor's front end, and Raptor logos set the hardcore model apart from its "lesser" counterpart.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Amber LEDs and special badging designate the much-upgraded Raptor model.Ford

Inside, the Bronco Raptor gets a 12-inch digital gauge cluster with configurable view for vehicle performance and other information. Black marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberized flooring are standard. Orange accents on the dash vents, door netting, and steering wheel help break up the all-black interior, and Ford offers a synthetic suede upholstery upgrade for buyers wanting a little more comfort with their capable off-roader. A 12-inch infotainment touchscreen and 360-degree camera system are also standard.

Bronco Raptor hopefuls can start placing orders in March, but be aware that there will be a wait involved for everyone. Ford says that the majority of 2022 Bronco Raptors will go to existing reservation holders based on their reservation timestamp. It's worth noting that many 2021 Bronco buyers are still waiting for the SUVs, which are being converted into 2022 orders, so the wait time for the Raptor could be severe for anyone without a standing reservation.

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Off-road performance truck

Shelby American announces new Ford F-150 Raptor

Shelby just announced the new truck, which has a starting price of more than $124,000.

Shelby American

The third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor is a true off-road menace, with a strong turbocharged V6, beefy tires and shocks, and a luxury-level interior. Most people would consider the truck overkill for all but the hardest-core off-road enthusiasts, but the wizards at Shelby American have other ideas. As it has done with Ford vehicles for years, Shelby gave the new Raptor a performance makeover, and the finished product is quite impressive.

Shelby F-150 Raptor There's no mistaking a Shelby-tuned Raptor. Shelby American

The F-150 Raptor is already a capable beast, but Shelby turns things up a few notches. Performance upgrades include a performance intake and high-flow filter, an aluminum intercooler, a tune that pushes power to more than 525 ponies and 610 pound-feet of torque, a Shelby exhaust, and a BDS lift kit. The Shelby Raptor rides on 18-inch wheels with 37-inch BFG KM3 Mud Terrain tires.

If you’re thinking Shelby slaps a few go-fast parts on the Raptor and calls it good, think again. The truck’s interior features embroidered custom leather upholstery and exclusive floor mats. A unique serial number plate is mounted in the dash. Shelby also fits billet racing pedals, carbon fiber accents, and deep tinted windows.

Outside, the Raptor gest several touches to let everyone know it’s not a standard Ford. A special Shelby hood with intake and extraction vents is standard, along with power side steps with rock sliders. A bevy of Shelby logos and badging grace the truck’s body, and both bumpers have been replaced with steel units to accommodate light bars and additional tow points.

Shelby F-150 Raptor Shelby fits performance parts and gives the truck a tune.Shelby American

If you’re hoping to be one of the insane few to own a Shelby Raptor, get your wallet ready. The truck’s base price starts at $124,820, which includes the MSRP of the truck itself. That said, it’s unclear how extreme demand and supply chain issues will impact Shelby’s ability to get new trucks to modify.

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