Manufactured between 2009 and 2012, the Fiat Punto Evo was the facelifted version of the Grande Punto. First presented in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Punto Evo featured two engine options, one of which is a petrol unit and the other a diesel machine. At the time of the Punto Evo's release, Fiat claimed that the vehicle is a breakthrough. And it's hard to argue with that, what with the Punto Evo boasting of a 104bhp 1.4-litre engine that requires no sort of force-feeding assistance at all. At that point, the Punto Evo oozed with so much strength it almost felt illegal. In 2010, the Punto Evo Abarth was showcased at the Geneva Motor Show, the latest of the line to take advantage of the Multiair technology from the Fiat Group.
As the latest to make use of Multiair technology, the Fiat Punto Evo Abarth was fitted with a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with a clever valve management system that enhances performance (most especially under low speeds) while improving levels of emission and fuel economy.
At the same time, the Punto Evo Abarth was upgraded with a switch like that of an Alfa Romero's that allows for throttle response, traction settings, and steering weight to be altered as needed. Fiat's Torque Transfer Control System was also in place, reducing understeer by applying the brakes on whichever front wheel was losing traction during a ride.
In terms of style, the Punto Evo Abarth was definitely a few steps above the standard Punto Evo. For starters, it was sporting piano-black fascia in the dash and made use of reverse styling. The Abarth also appeared to be a much more modern vehicle with its clearer dials and a satellite navigation docking system installed.
If you want to take advantage of performance without crimping comfort and refinement, the Abarth, the latest iteration of the Punto Evo, should be appealing to you.
While the engine used by the Fiat Punto Evo Abarth is a huge improvement over what the old model used, a bit of the effect was muted out because of the six-speed gearbox it came with. It's because the shift is too indistinct and long that it prevents a truly engaging drive. The gearbox is also an improvement over old Fiat models, and that should've paired it very well with the improved engine, but it just doesn't perform rewarding enough.
The Abarth could also do better with more finesse breaks so that the difference between a light brake and a full-on one could be felt. Steering should improve too because it feels artificial all of the time, though it has nice response and weight when used in sport mode. And that switch like an Alfa Romero's? It only offers two options: sport and regular.
If you've got to work with a budget of under £17k and still go home with a hatch boasting of handling capability, you're better off checking out other options in the market. The Punto Evo Abarth is indeed priced well given its interior, performance, pace, and economy, but it is not the only vehicle within that price point. Despite the charms of the Abarth, it is wise to shop around first.
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