A history lesson…
Fiat’s Punto has gone through quite a change in recent years. During the early 2000s, you would have only bought a Punto if you were very poor or just didn’t care about cars, but now, with the Punto Evo, Fiat has completely re-branded the car and done a fine good, too.
The Punto Evo, especially in white, looks absolutely brilliant. It’s a car anyone wouldn’t mind being seen in, is built properly and has some fantastic new engines like the TwinAir unit. Yes, Fiat is Italian, so the Punto probably won’t last as long as its German rivals, but it looks a damn sight better than those rivals; a hell of a lot better.
The Punto is now a car for everyone. No longer just a car for learner drivers and pensioners, this Punto can get you noticed.
Bang for your buck
Fiat is becoming the Citroen of Italy with their constant deals on Puntos and 500s, so it’s comes as no surprise that the Punto is a great buy if you want to stretch your pennies. It comes with everything you’d expect from a modern hatchback: air-con, a lovely and stylish interior, power-steering, city-steering and ultra-modern engine technology.
The TwinAir technology in Fiat’s new engines are seriously impressive, as they allow smaller capacity petrol engines to be respectably powerful without suffering horrendous economy figures. They are fantastic.
What you’ll pay
Newer models should be shifting for around £5/6k at the moment. Residuals are never impressive on small Fiats because they make so many of them, but at least that means you can take your pick.
The Punto Abarth is our pick of the bunch, as it has so much style and performance you’d be mad not to want one.
What to check
If you’re buying an older Punto, check everything. Rust is an issue on the older models, so be sure to check all the seals and under the bonnet. The newer cars are far superior on build quality, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much.
An alternator for a Fiat Punto is around £78, while front brake pads are around £35 for a set, a rear exhaust section should be about £61. Prices are respectable due to Fiat’s dealer network in the UK.
How it drives
If you test drive the Punto Abarth, you will be impressed – especially if you get the more powerful Essesse variant. That 180bhp model is punchy, aggressive and, above all, fun. It’s a fantastic little hot-hatch that is still affordable.
If you want economy, the TwinAir petrol engine models are just as impressive, albeit less powerful. The 1.4-litre TwinAir is a brilliant compromise of performance and economy, and it shouldn’t cost you too much when it comes to tax and insurance.
The diesels aren’t as universally praised as the petrols, but they are still a great option for the money-saving conscious among you. All the cars drive fantastically well. They’re not of German quality, but hey, it’s the new world and there’s more to life than build quality and grey plastic; we want some personality!