Ford’s new Puma has been crowned What Car? Car of the Year, beating heavyweights like the Tesla Model 3 and Range Rover Evoque.
The crossover took top honours at the consumer motoring magazine’s annual ceremony after also winning the Small SUV category, where it pipped rivals including the Audi Q2 and Skoda Kamiq to top spot.
The Puma revives a name last used on a small sports car from the brand, and that DNA appears to have been channelled into this crossover as judges praised it for being ‘fun to drive, cleverly packaged and well-priced’.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “As a small SUV, the Ford Puma competes in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the car market. Crucially, it also excels in all the areas that are important to buyers, according to our research.
“Thanks to its sharp handling, gutsy engine and clever mild hybrid technology, it offers a mix of fun and frugality not previously seen among its competitors. Plus, it’s as practical as it is stylish. In short, the Ford Puma is truly outstanding.”
Roelant de Waard, vice president of Ford of Europe marketing, sales and service, said: “It’s a great honour for the Ford Puma to be named as What Car?’s Car of the Year 2020. We’re all excited to see the return of the Puma name on a stylish and dynamic crossover that reflects today’s customer aspirations.”
Three new categories were introduced for 2020 to reflect changes in the industry. These were for small electric cars, large electric cars, and coupe SUVs, which were won by the Renault Zoe, Tesla Model 3 and Range Rover Velar respectively.
Other winners included the BMW 5 Series (best luxury car), Skoda Scala (best family car) and the Audi TT (best coupe).
The Land Rover Defender won the coveted Reader Award, decided by a public vote.