Mild-hybrid petrol engine now offers automatic option in Europe, but no Australian launch is in the local arm's plans.
- shares

The 2021 Ford Puma mild-hybrid in Europe has gained a new seven-speed automatic option – however, the fuel-sipping engine remains no closer to Australia.

Ford's European arm confirmed the introduction of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for the 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine (with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance) offered on the Puma small SUV and Fiesta city car in Europe, joining the existing six-speed manual.

Unlike the 92kW/170Nm 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch auto fitted to all Australian-delivered Puma models, the new European powertrain features a small lithium-ion battery and a 'belt-driven integrated starter-generator' (ISG)

The system is capable of recuperating and storing previously-wasted energy under deceleration to power the car's electrical systems and provide an electrified boost when accelerating, improving both fuel economy and performance.

Ford claims the 92kW version of the mild-hybrid engine in the Puma enables 4 per cent improved in-gear acceleration over its standard, non-hybrid counterpart, while the more potent 114kW/190-240Nm variant claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.7 seconds.

Paddle shifters and a sport mode are also on offer on higher grades.

Top and bottom: UK-spec 2021 Ford Puma, fitted with the non-hybrid automatic powertrain used in Australia.

Meanwhile, the brand claims the mild-hybrid automatic models improve CO2 emissions by over 5 per cent versus their regular equivalents.

The addition of an automatic transmission also enables stop-and-go functionality for the adaptive cruise control system, while a remote start function is now available on the FordPass Connect smartphone app.

However, while the mild-hybrid Puma in Europe and the UK is now available with an automatic option – crucial for the sales success of any small SUV in Australia – there's no sign of the efficient three-cylinder making its way to Australia.

"We have no plans to share regarding the introduction of the mild-hybrid engine for Puma in Australia", a Ford Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice.

While the 48-volt powertrain is understood not to be in the local arm's plans at this stage, it hasn't been ruled out completely for our market – though any potential local launch would be unlikely, given stringent emissions regulations in Europe (which Australia lacks) that require more efficient powertrains reserved for that market.

Australian consumers will need to 'make do' with the Puma's existing 92kW/170Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder, which claims to consume a still-frugal 5.3L/100km of 95-octane unleaded petrol on the combined cycle.