Ford is broadening the appeal of its Puma crossover and Fiesta hatchback with the introduction of a new automatic gearbox for its hybrid-powered models.
Introduced at the end of 2019, the Puma is now one of the UK’s most popular cars, and a big draw has been its efficient mild-hybrid engine options, which were brought to the best-selling Fiesta range last year.
Previously these were only available on models with a manual gearbox, and buyers choosing an automatic transmission had to do without the electrification. But a seven-speed auto is now available on this powertrain as part of a recent update.
The mild-hybrid system itself combines an existing 1.0-litre petrol engine with a belt-driven integrated starter/generator, which helps to recover energy usually lost when braking or coasting, and then adding it to a 48-volt battery. The system is then available to enhance both performance and efficiency.
Ford claims the new automatic option offers up to 24Nm of extra torque, while lowering CO2 emissions by five per cent compared to the engine it replaces. The auto is available on the 123bhp versions of the Fiesta and Puma, while the latter car gains a more powerful 153bhp option.
Roelant de Waard, general manager, of passenger vehicles at Ford of Europe, said: “Adding the option of our seven-speed automatic transmission for EcoBoost Hybrid is another step in our mission to make electrification accessible to all our customers.”
Drivers can either let the car change gear for them or take over themselves with paddle shifters, while they’ve also been calibrated for a ‘Sport’ setting, which allows the car to hold onto a gear for longer for maximum performance.
The two new automatic models are said to be two of 17 electrified vehicles that Ford will introduce before the end of the year.