What is it?
This is the facelifted Grande Punto, which - as covered in Autocar’s review of the MultiJet II version - includes a mild uglification of the front end, the adoption of LED daytime running lights, an integrated TomTom navigation docking station, an extra airbag for the driver’s knees and more oddments space inside the cabin. You can even keep track of your fuel economy and your driving style with an online-based advice program.
Yet, with the rigid steel monocoque body and the suspension only lightly fiddled, it’s the engines that star. It is a big step forward from previous base engines in the Grande Punto and it might point to a way out of the fuel-consumption and short-range doldrums of petrol engines.
What's it like?
Fiat claims the Punto Evo (a natural successor to the Grande Punto, even though the superseded car will stay on to cover Fiat’s flank from Korean and Chinese attacks) is a breakthrough car, and it’s hard to argue. Quite simply, a 104bhp 1.4-litre engine with no force-feeding assistance has no right to feel this strong.
It boxes with so much cleverness that it feels comfortably larger. The direct-action, hydraulically activated inlet valves give it dollops of torque right where you need dollops of torque and the short gearing on the five-speed manual ‘box helps, too.