From £9,655
A good combination of style, comfort and flexibility

Our Verdict

Fiat Punto
The Fiat Punto has had a mild refresh and new engine choices for 2012

Decently spacious for a supermini, with a good range of engines, but the Punto's driving dynamics are less-than beguiling

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What is it?

This is the new Fiat Punto Evo. Maybe it’s the performance connotations associated with a certain Japanese marque, or maybe it’s just a racey name, but when Fiat revealed that it was making the Punto Evo, the initial imagery involved big wheel arches and flaming exhausts rather than clever variable valve technology and excellent equipment levels.

Don’t be disappointed. The new Punto delivers on a number of levels that its desirable if slightly underwhelming predecessor failed on; enough that the identity change is justified despite the Evo being a facelift rather than all-new model.

The star of the new Punto is the 1.4-litre Multiair engine, which we’re testing in 103bhp guise. By controlling the inlet and exhaust valves Fiat has managed to make a small petrol engine that has a better spread of torque, more power and uses less fuel than a conventional equivalent. A stop-start system also helps achieve the decent claimed economy figure.

This is the first time we’ve driven the car in the UK.

What’s it like?

It’s the new Multiair engine that really improves the new Punto. Unlike a conventional naturally aspirated motor, you can keep the engine spinning at below 2000rpm around town and still have enough torque available to accelerate without changing down a gear, despite the low torque output of 96lb ft.

The Punto Evo is equally capable outside urban limits. A six-speed manual box is an unusual and very welcome standard addition in this class, and it helps to make the Punto more involving on a spirited drive and relaxed on the motorway, though at cruising speeds you’ll still be doing over 3000rpm.

A supple ride quality also puts the Punto amongst the most comfortable cars in its class, with well-judged dampers absorbing most scarring in the road without compromising body control and stability.

Unfortunately the Fiat still falls short of the Ford Fiesta’s dynamic precision and the Volkswagen Polo’s level of refinement. The steering weights up nicely at speed, but is vague on turn-in and never feels very connected, and the cabin needs to be better insulated from tyre and engine noise.

But the Punto Evo has its strengths. Standard specification is among the best in class, and new additions such as a dash-mounted TomTom sat-nav make the cabin convenient and interesting, though the seating position and steering wheel adjustment could do with more range.

Should I buy one?

Certainly, if you like the looks and can get comfortable in the cabin the Punto Evo is a tempting prospect that manages the many and varied tasks of a modern supermini with verve.

In fact, it’s easy to see why you might choose the broad talents of the Fiat, even if in this naturally aspirated form it does not quite achieve class best in any one area.

Join the debate

Comments
17

19 January 2010

sounds like they have improved everything, except the looks. shame they couldnt leave the looks alone.

Also 14k is rather a lot for a small Fiat.

19 January 2010

Frankly now the looks have grown on me.....so that not an issue for me anymore..i wonder how an abarth with the updated design would look though...the interior is a welcome change.

19 January 2010

A good engine for the 500, or something that weighs less than a Ton.

19 January 2010

[quote artill]Also 14k is rather a lot for a small Fiat.[/quote]

Especially a mid-range model.

Still, you barely need to even ask for a discount these days.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

19 January 2010

Interesting to compare power output of this engine with a 1585cc twin cam of early 1980's a la Strada 105tc - virtually identical. Wonder if the engine management system electonics could be designed such that the new engines response mimicked a twin barrel weber... then all we need short gears and tight suspension.... hey presto - cheap fun.

20 January 2010

i might buy one in 4 or 5 years. are these multiair engines reliable ?

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

20 January 2010

[quote kcrally]

i might buy one in 4 or 5 years. are these multiair engines reliable ?

[/quote]

you will know in 4 or 5 years

20 January 2010

Currently looking for a new car for my partner. Test drove the Mito, and we were both very disappointed with it. Ride was awful, elastic band steering etc. The interior is really what Andy and I disliked the most on what is supposed to be a premium car. However, when looking at the Abarth 500 and waiting for the sales man, I had a quick look around the Evo Punto. The interior is better styled than the Mito's, with the same heating controls and various buttons.

20 January 2010

Why do FIAT never learn. The really successful small FIAT cars are designed by the maestro - Guigiaro. This one looks totally anonymous, and too much like every other FIAT at the moment - bland. Shame, I drove an original Punto recently, having owned one years ago - fantastic little car, with real style, and surprising quality for a small FIAT.

20 January 2010

I quite like the look of them! Didn't realise there was a consensus that they were ugly.

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