Abongile Nzelenzele interviews motoring journalist Melinda Ferguson on Weekend Breakfast.

The new Ford Puma has finally arrived on our shores, and motoring journalist Melinda Ferguson gives it a big thumbs up after test driving it around the Cape Peninsula.

Ferguson describes its class as a subcompact crossover SUV, where the competition includes the likes of the VW T-Roc, VW Taigo and Hyundai Kona.

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She believes the Puma is going to be a significant player in this segment, standing very well against its competitors.

This is not an easy segment to get volume in... It's more of that niche subcompact SUV segment where I think the T-Roc is currently the best seller, at about 100 units a month. It's a segment that I think appeals to people that want something that looks stylish, that's a little bit more classy than say the Toyota Urban Cruiser... with more of a premium feel.

Melinda Ferguson, Motoring journalist

In terms of styling, it's a very good-looking car Ferguson says. She highlights its 'coupe-like back and beautiful grille in the front'.

She notes that the new Puma is based on the popular Fiesta hatchback, which Ford no longer offers new in South Africa.

It's like the SUV version of the Fiesta... The EcoSport has also been phased out, so in many ways people are looking at the Ford Puma to kind of replace the EcoSport, which was the compact SUV... but in fact the Puma is bigger and, thankfully, the boot space is also sizeably bigger.

Melinda Ferguson, Motoring journalist

I found it very nippy, it took to the kind of mountainous bends that we were driving really well and had great roadholding.

Melinda Ferguson, Motoring journalist

The Puma comes in two models - the entry-level Titanium and the top-of-the-range ST-Line Vignale.

Ferguson says that if she had the option, she'd pick the more upmarket Vignale, for obvious reasons!

It's got bigger tyres, and I really liked the look of the Vignale as well... It has a more leather-like interior, it's got heated seats... In terms of the drive it's got sports suspension, so I could definitely feel the difference between the two models.

Melinda Ferguson, Motoring journalist

While the price might seem steep for those in this market, what the Puma offers actually makes the cost worth it, Ferguson says.

The Titanium sells for R569 000, and the Vignale will set you back R613 900.

Click hereto find out more about the new Puma, and scroll up to listen to Ferguson's review (skip to 6:54)

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