Greg Kable
1 October 2009

What is it?

A facelifted version of Fiat’s Grande Punto planned to go on sale in the UK next January at prices, officials say, will be no higher than those of today’s four-year-old model.

Along with the obvious change in name – the Grande part is lost and the word Evo added in an apparent attempt to distance the new car from its direct predecessor, which will continue to be sold unchanged alongside its newer sibling here in the UK, Turin’s best selling model gains a raft of subtle exterior styling changes.

While the familiar steel bodywork remains unchanged, Fiat’s design team has striven to provide the Punto a fresher, more assertive appearance through the adoption of a distinctive new front bumper boasting an integrated grille, larger air ducts and added brightwork.

The look is mirrored at the rear by a similarly styled rear bumper as well as a boot opening mechanism integrated into the corporate Fiat badge, which now sits higher up on the rear hatch and is underscored by a new Punto model identification badge.

Other changes centre around the head- and tail lamps, which both receive new graphics, the latest in LED technology and a day time running feature in line upcoming EU legislation.

Inside, the Punto gets a lightly reworked dashboard with higher grade trims and a knee airbag and the option of an improved Tom Tom based infotainment system that now provides a range of driving efficiency readouts to allow the driver to better monitor economy and, through innovative Internet based software, even compare it to the results achieved by other Punto Evo drivers.

Further changes are concentrated under the bonnet where Fiat’s excellent 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct injection MultiAir petrol engine in 103bhp naturally aspirated and 133bhp turbocharged guises and a second-generation version of 1.3-litre four-cylinder MultiJet diesel in 74bhp and 93bhp states of tune help to boost the number of engines on offer to ten and come as standard with a start/stop system.

What’s it like?

We recently sampled the MultiAir petrol engine in the mechanical identical Alfa Romeo Mito and subsequently sung its praises. But the reworked MultiJet diesel launched in the Punto and soon to find its way into other Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models is even more impressive.

Using a new common rail injection process with up to eight individual cycles, it is exceptionally quiet, free revving and, in top-of-the-line guise, imbued with solid slab of mid-range poke, providing the new Fiat better cruising credentials, outstanding in-gear performance and a combined cycle average of 67.3mpg in standard five speed manual guise.

In other respects the Punto remains a very rewarding car to drive. The electro-mechanical steering is light but direct, providing it with excellent manoeuvrability and instilling the driver with confidence while the Punto’s MacPherson strut (front) and torsion beam (rear) suspension now handles pockmarked sections of bitumen in a more controlled and noticeably quieter manner.

Spirited driving does, however, reveal one major weakness – namely an almost lack of side support from the high mounted front seats.

Should I buy one?

There’s much to like about the Punto Evo, not least its brilliant new 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine and more mature on-road nature. But with rivals like the new Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia, it faces intense competition.

Still, with prices that, Fiat says, will not increase over the outgoing Grande Punto it represents exceptional value.

Join the debate

Comments
20

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

"While the familiar steel bodywork remains unchanged, Fiat’s design team has striven to provide the Punto a fresher, more assertive appearance through the adoption of a distinctive new front bumper boasting an integrated grille, larger air ducts and added brightwork ruin the formerly attractive Grande Punto by slapping a big Peugeot-style plastic gob on the front of it."

Fixed your post ....

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

i was going to post something almost identical to that colonel!

What they hell have they done to the front of it! it looks like a cheap chinese knock off! Hideous!

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

Punto 'Evo'

I fear Mitsubishi may be writing a letter ;)

Take no notice... I'm only here for the biscuits

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

Colonel Snappy wrote:
a big Peugeot-style plastic gob
Agreed. The Maserati style grill was one of the most distinctive and likeable features of the Big Punto. Why adopt styling like this just as Peugrot realise it's not appreciated.

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

Fiat are merely following their tradition of hitting their models with the ugly stick at the point of facelift, as they did with the last Punto.

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

It just looks like a normal Punto... not bad for a hatchback... if you like that sort of thing..

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

I ahve to agree with the colonel, the car in the silver looks dreadful although in the black it looks alot better. Nowhere near as good looking as the previous generation.

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

Jeezus H Corbett, Fiat have taken the frying pan to that car haven't they! The GP was a lovely car and now in one "facelift" they have turned it into a minger! The Bravo must be quaking in its boots...

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

I think it's more Fiesta than Peugeot 'inspired'. Especially after looking at the black version. Even the interior looks like a colour Ford use too. They should've left well alone...

Isn't Evo a generic name? And didn't BMW use it ages ago?

Re: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet

4 years 43 weeks ago

Jon Hardcastle wrote:
in the black it looks alot better

Just what I was thinking.... does this mean that we'll see alot more dark coloured Punto's in future?

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Our Verdict

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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