In 1997 Ford finally returned to the successful formula that had produced the Capri: building an inexpensive coupe on the running gear of a mainstream car. The big difference, some 28 years later, was the sophistication of Ford’s engines and chassis. The Puma was based on the 1996 Fiesta, widely held to be a revelation in terms of handling, ride and refinement, a giant leap forward for the company, masterminded by engineering boss Richard Parry Jones. Equally revolutionary was the styling, which Ford said was developed by designers entirely on the computer screen, before being modeled in clay in full size, again by computer. Under the bonnet was 125 bhp 1.7 liter version of the Zetec engine was co-developed with Yamaha. The result was a superbly styled and competitively priced mini coupe that could out handle most cars on sale in the late 1990s. Parry Jones’s engineers had improved upon the Fiesta chassis to provide extra sharp handling that was easy to exploit, thanks to the beefy torque delivery of the engine. Puma was equipped with In line variably timed four cylinder engine with 1679 cc. Disc brakes with ABS and five speed manual transmission played a vital role in the vast market of the car. Top speed was 124 mph (198 km/h), it reached 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in just 8.9 seconds and that was really awesome.
The Puma became extremely popular as, unlike its rivals, it was beyond serious criticism. It also moved Ford decisively ahead of its mass market rivals for pure driving appeal and forward looking design, essential in a European market that was turning towards ‘niche’ cars. Ford, however, did not replace the Puma, despite its popularity.