The Fiat Punto may not be a new model to the market, but it received a much needed facelift for it to be reintroduced into the industry. Before it became the Punto, the model was called the Punto Evo. Its current look has returned to the simplicity of the Punto, but with added subtle changes on the interior and the exterior. The biggest change seen in the brand new front bumper, plus two hidden additions: two air intakes split on the number plate and found within a trapezium-shaped perimeter. Other redesigns are found in the rear bumper and a body colour that goes with the rest of the vehicle.
The Fiat Punto stands out in terms of performance against its competitors. Four engines are available within its range, all of which are within seven varying power outputs. Most of the units are petrol units, such as the 1.4-litre petrol unit at 75bhp, the 1.2-litre unit at 68bhp, a 1.4-litre petrol MultiAir Turbo at 103bhp or 133bhp. Expect the TwinAir three-cylinder petrol at 83bhp to arrive at 62mph from standstill in just 12.7 seconds. Top speed is at 107 mph. A smoother experience can be had with the 1.3-litre Multijet engine at 83bhp; its 200Nm pulling power delivers a lively ride even at low gears. Its stop speed is just as quick as the petrol at 107mph and acceleration only slightly slower at 13.1 seconds for a 62mph sprint. In terms of ride and handling, the Punto is easy to drive around town. Steering becomes lighter after you shift into City mode, which also makes parking a breeze for tight spaces and turning into tight corners. Chassis is fairly adequate and delivers composed handling along bends.
The Punto provides all around comfort, particularly in containing wind, road, and tyre noise. The TwinAir version offers more room than the others, but anyone six feet and up will have trouble sitting at the rear.
The interior also sports remarkable improvements in its enhanced plastics, soft touch materials on the seat fabrics, and ventilation for hot weather via the electro-welded patches. Although the cabin is focused on the driver, the design could still use a little more improvement for it to stand out.
The Fiat Punto shares the same handling capabilities as the Fiat Punto Evo. Unfortunately this means the vehicle isn’t as sharp as rivals such as the VW Polo or Ford Fiesta. But it does deliver a sharper ride than the Citroen C3. Steering is precise in terms of delivery and well weighted all throughout, but expect minimal feedback along the front wheels.
Seating is generally comfortable but these don’t offer adequate side and back support. Although all models include electric front windows, air conditioning doesn’t come as standard equipment for the Pop models. Wind, tyre, and road noise may be contained, but the three-cylinder engine tends to be heard within the cabin.
Load space is large next to rival vehicles at 275 litres, and can be expanded into 1,030 litres. But the Ford Fiesta still has more space with the seats in their designated positions.
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