THE Ford Puma is one of the blue oval's top selling cars at the moment – and little wonder, having tested several of them in recent months, including an electric version.

But one of the picks for me – and to be fair, you'd need to be pretty 'picky' to differentiate much between the best sellers in the range – was the punching-well-above-its-weight 1.0-litre EcoBoost, three-cylinder petrol unit.

This was linked to mild hybrid technology to help boost the power to 123bhp, which meant that its automatic seven-speed auto box managed to do the 0-62mph timed run in under 10 seconds. The stats say it can do as many as almost 60 miles per gallons, but you'd be better of imagining that 50mpg was nearer to the mark under every-day conditions.

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Its a smart looker too and there are some neat design touches, like the wee Puma that appears in the dash when you press the starter button, or as a puddle light in the dark.

There's a sporty feel from the 'smart' flat-bottomed steering wheel and it's a typical Ford layout that now includes the touch-screen 12.5-inch TFT instrument panel (as in the Titanium spec'). Ford also has one of the easiest set-ups to connect your phone to – others should take note!

On a frosty morn, the innovative Quickclear heated windscreen proved a boon and is a great safety feature, especially for impatient farmers! But there's also tonnes of nooks and crannies to carry all the paraphernalia that goes with modern living, including Ford's MegaBox – an 80-litre storage space which lies beneath the split level boot floor and is ideal for carrying wet clothes or muddy wellies. This has the benefit of a drain plug at the bottom, meaning it can be hosed out.

From the Ford goody bag, there's a rake of advanced driver assistance aids, like cruise control, pre-collision assist plus lane departure warning, plus the ability to change drive modes for Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail conditions.

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If it's something more sporty, then opt for the 1.5 litre, 198 bhp, three-cylinder petrol engine Puma as in the ST version. That gives you a sporty suspension and the low centre of gravity on the Puma, means that it corners like a dream.

Prices range from around £22,000 to £29,000 depending on model and, of course, the ST version sits near the top of that bracket.

What about the Kuga ...?

If you want something a little more practical, then Ford's Kuga is the answer – and a test of the ST-Line Edition version re-iterated what an under-rated compact SUV this is.

It's not quite ST standard in the power stakes – but its 188bhp from the 2.5-litre Duratec FHEV set-up is plenty enough for a car of this size to excel. Matched to a CVT auto transmission – CVT is not my favourite, but this one was okayish – is has a combined fuel consumption figure of almost 50mpg.

Because of the CVT set-up, don't expect boy racerish performance. It's a more steady-as-she-goes kind of drive, but there's some really excellent spec' for the ST-Line, like special alloy wheels, tarted up brake calipers, sports suspension and the usual body-styling kit.

On thev test car there was an £1100 extra 'driver's assistance pack', which added a front camera, adaptive cruise control, active park assist and a few other goodies. The basic vehicle was prices at £33,945, so it's quite hefty when up against the opposition, like the Nissan Qashqai, but this is a neat and stable little SUV that's well worth a second look.

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