The Ford Puma was crowned Scottish Car of the Year for 2020.
Having spent three weeks with it over Christmas and another week with it this month my affection for the car has only deepened.
Ford’s baby crossover is stylish, fun to drive and practical. I’ve previously driven it in ST-Line trim with a six speed manual gearbox, but this time round it was the top of the range Vignale model with seven-speed auto ‘box.
My car was paired with Ford’s zesty little 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, tuned to deliver 125hp.
It’s packed with technology, and you can select from no fewer than five driving modes: normal, sport, eco, slippery and trail. It may not be a four-wheel drive, but reasonable ground clearance and specialist modes means it will take a snowy day, rutted track or muddy field in its stride.
Fords have as a rule always been terrific fun to drive but it took them a while to dial in the driving dynamics in their SUVs and crossovers.
The huge (and now discontinued) Edge was wallowy and stodgy, while the small-but-tall EcoSport leans into corners a bit too much.
The Kuga nails it though and so, I’m pleased to report, does the Puma. It proved a fantastic car to throw around some of my favourite Fife and Angus backroad bends, gripping nicely and staying flat under hard cornering.
Inside there’s a clear and easy-to-use touchscreen and superbly comfortable quilted leather seats in the high end Vignale version.
Other features on this top spec model include keyless entry and start, automatic lights, front and rear parking sensors, and a wealth of safety technology, such as lane-keep assist.
The back is perfect for three children, and will also take two adults without anyone feeling too cramped.
The 456 litre boot features a clever 80 litre storage box underneath the floor, which has a built in drain – making it perfect for soggy boots or wet beach gear.
The Puma starts at around £20,000 and my all-bells-and-whistles model nudged a little past £27,000 – not bad value for a lavishly equipped and stylish crossover.
I’m the president of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, which made this our Car of the Year. I’m glad we did.