Fiat has announced the prices for the new Punto, the Grande Punto. Starting at £7,594 for the 1.2 8v Active, the small Fiat undercuts the established opposition. The cheapest Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 and Ford Fiesta 1.25s cost £9,605 and £8,395 respectively, though admittedly both come with more sophisticated powerplants than the Grande Punto’s.
Best to go for one of the diesel Multijets if you want a great engine under your Fiat’s bonnet. These start at £8,495 which undercuts Vauxhall by £60, but Volkswagen’s cheapest Polo TDi by a rather more substantial £500. Neither comes with as much kit as the Punto, which in Active trim packs in electric windows all round, central locking, a CD player with steering wheel controls and a height adjustable driver’s seat with electric lumbar adjustment.
Nevertheless, there are those with talent that are very close in price (the cheapest Seat Ibiza is £7,550; a Suzuki Swift is £7,499) and the key to the success or failure of the spacious Grande Punto will be whether it is reliable, durable and good to drive.
Although Fiat Auto is due to be in the black this year for the first time in a long time, the Grande Punto is a vital car for Fiat – whose UK sales were 50% down in 2005.