Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sporty Punto Hits Its Goals

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sporty Punto Hits Its Goals

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alistair Coull

His view:

Fiat's most popular model by miles, the Punto scores with an intelligent blend of roominess, economy, style, comfort, equipment, performance and choice, all topped off by value.

The Punto got a facelift a few months ago, the most visible change being a new grille of doubtful merit, new headlamps and bigger tail lamps.

Feeling a little dated, the car itself received some significant improvement, notably to its ride and refinement. Even if it is not necessarily the most refined, sophisticated or most comfortable car in its class, the Punto still keeps its appeal and is an enjoyable car to drive and own.

In total there are 22 models in the Punto line-up with seven engine options. The test car was a 1.4-litre 95bhp Sporting.

Despite getting a bit long in the tooth, the Punto is still the international sales leader in the competitive supermini sector. It still sells more than 50,000 a year in the UK.

One of the main reasons is the fact that its compact dimensions ( 1.66m width, 1.48m height and 3.84m length ( mean that drivers can slip through town traffic and park with ease.

The Punto mostly has a good reputation for reliability, scoring well in ownership surveys. On the outside, the Punto is tidily put together, its quality detail finish suggesting that there's nothing cut-price about it, and on the road it feels pleasantly robust.

Inside it's good too, though I thought the texture of the dashboard seemed a little cheap. Overall, though, the Punto's cabin is a pleasant place to be, especially in models like the Sporting, which has contrasting coloured dash and door mouldings.

The Sporting is powered by a 1.4-litre FIRE engine which offers power and acceleration above the class standard. It sounds a bit strained when revved very hard but it's lively enough without needing to be thrashed.

The 1.4 is sweet and brisk enough to be credible as a "sporting" model, although in truth it doesn't really offer much more pulling power than the standard 1. …

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