REVIEW : The Fiat Punto Mk3

"The local Fiat dealership was having an open day for the launch of the new Grande Punto so I thought, why the the hell not!? Free nibbles, classic Fiats and something for the kids to do. My first thought was to get a look at the Superchips workshop and ask a few probing questions, but then I saw the new Punto up close and personal.

At first glance it looked like a mixture of several different cars put together in a 'cut-and-shut' sort of way, but after having a good look around it, you begin to appreciate how good it really looks. No sharp lines or sticky out bits. Everything perfectly moulded and sleek. There are, as with the rest of the Punto's, a large and varied number of trim and engine levels, but externally you won't know what you are following. The only thing that signifies the trim level is the colour of the dot on the word Punto on the boot. I remember RED is sporting but that's about all!

The boot is deceptively large and you could easily fit in your weekend luggage or 2 x 15" MTX subs and amps. I tend to lean towards the 3 door version but the 5 door does have its appeal. Inside the trim is as funky as ever with controls all to hand, including a fantastic boot release button on the dash! The base model dials are a little spartan and not very interesting but again easy to see and read. Now I'm over 6 foot and on the large side and found the room inside a bit cramped with not much headroom but for your average Joe it should be fine.

And so off on the test drive. First impressions were good driving 'around town' with smooth gear changes and a comfy ride. Now this was the 1.2l 8v and when it got out on the open road, with 4-passengers it began to struggle and I really had to push the revs to get any sort of decent(ish) performance out of it. The car did get some admiring glances though!

In conclusion I would say that none of the charm or driveability has been taken away and all of the nice touches, such as the City driving button, are still there. The smaller engines cars are going to be great for shopping trips or to school but for serious fun I would suggest the 1.9(Sporting) or similar variant. In my opinion it's going to be a winner."

-Written by: 'Farcough'


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