The Fiat Punto brings Italian design flair to the supermini sector in both three - and five-door formats. Spacious and reasonably well-equipped, it’s worth popping on your consideration list, especially if you are searching for your first car and are operating on a tight budget.
If you favour sporty looks over practicality, then choose the three-door model, which benefits from a more dynamic-looking side profile than the five-door. Both versions look smart from the font though.
With its curvy bonnet and swept-back headlamps, the Punto almost looks like it has been shaped by the wind. The upper and lower grilles, which are divided by a broad front bumper, and the neat circular fog lamps add further character.
At the rear, the Fiat designers have finished the Punto’s styling off neatly with crisp lines, tall taillights and a deep bumper.
The Punto almost looks like it has been shaped by the wind
What’s it like to drive?
If you’ve not long passed your driving test and have yet to cover a lot of miles and gain experience, the Punto’s easy-driving nature will reassure you.
Thanks to a button on the dashboard, you can make the steering feel lighter at low speeds to make it easier manoeuvre the car around town. You don’t want to dink your new Punto.
Earlier versions of the Fiat Punto featured a diesel engine. Later models came with a choice of petrol engines – a 1.2-litre and a 1.4-litre. If you are going to be travelling out of town quite frequently, go for the 1.4-litre, which offers better performance on the motorway.
The Punto’s easy-driving nature will reassure you.
Step inside, and you’ll find more of that cute curvy character that is shown at the front of the car. Most of the major controls are mounted nice and high up, stacked on top of each other in a central ‘tower,’ which the dashboard swoops elegantly over the top of.
The deep-set, sporty instruments are grouped together underneath a curvy shelf to help reduce glare when the sun is streaming into the cabin. The height-adjustable front seat will give you plenty of support and comfort. While the Punto is no limousine, four can be carried in comfort thanks to reasonable levels of head- and leg-room.
While some car manufacturers like to come out with a new trim level or another special edition almost every week, Fiat took a steady and simple approach to the Punto. For the last 6 years of the Punto’s ‘new car life,’ which ended in 2018, it was offered with just a couple of trim levels – Pop+ and Easy+.
Choose the entry-level Pop+ model and you get features such as front electric windows, alloy wheels and air-con. There’s a radio-CD player as well, to which you can hook up MP3 devices for your own, personal road-trip soundtrack.
Stepping up to Easy+ trim adds larger alloy wheels and climate control, plus a leather steering wheel. You also get Fiat’s Blue&Me system, which lets you control your MP3 player or smartphone through the stereo system. Finally, there’s a TomTom sat-nav system that slots into the top of the dashboard, which you can remove and use to guide you as you finish your journey on foot.
If you like to have breakfast on the go, and if that breakfast consists of a cold smoothie to start with and a hot coffee to finish, then the Fiat Punto could just be the car for you. Why? Because it comes with no less than four cup holders up front! And if your liquid breakfast didn’t prove quite as filling as you thought, there are plenty of cubby holes to store snack bars in and maybe a sandwich in the large glovebox – just in case.
The Punto’s boot is only average for the supermini class. It will hold a week’s shopping or a couple of large soft, squidgy sports bags. The back seats fold almost flat and quadruple the amount of cargo space available to better that offered by most rivals.
Running costs and reliability
Buying a brand-new Fiat Punto maybe wasn’t the smartest move back in the day, at least not if you paid full price for it, because values plummeted almost before customers got their pride and joy home. Those low resale values are good news for second-hand buyers now, and they come with affordable insurance and servicing costs too.
However, part of the reason for the Punto’s poor resale value is that it is somewhat lacking in modern safety equipment and has a poor Euro NCAP safety rating.
What we love
Whether you are looking at it from the outside or sitting behind the steering wheel, the Fiat Punto provides plenty of style and character. With its light steering, agile handling and compact dimensions, it’s effortless to drive and should inspire confidence in those who are taking to the road for the first time.
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The Fiat Punto is highly affordable supermini that comes with a choice of three- or five-door body styles. It provides ample space inside for four adults, with good cabin storage, and is easy to drive and effortless to park thanks to its light steering.
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