Fiat Punto performance is relatively good when compared against its rivals. There is a choice of four engines with various different power outputs.
As you’d expect, the majority of engines for this size of car are petrol offerings. These include a 68bhp 1.2-litre, a 75bhp 1.4-litre (also available with a ‘Dualogic’ automatic gearbox), an 83bhp TwinAir three-cylinder, a 103bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo and the flagship petrol engine is a 133bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo.
The 83bhp TwinAir two-cylinder petrol will get from zero to 62mph in 12.7 seconds and has a top speed of 107mph. Overtaking on single-lane carriageways need to be planned well in advance and you’ll have to work the gearbox hard but you will be rewarded with the raspy exhaust note of the two-cylinder engine.
Two diesel engines are available: there’s a 73bhp 1.3 Multijet and a more powerful 83bhp 1.3-litre Multijet engine.
The 83bhp 1.3-litre Multijet engine is smooth to drive and its 200Nm of pulling power means it is quite lively when driving in low gears. It can complete the benchmark sprint in 13.1 seconds and has a top speed of 107mph.
The Fiat Punto handling characteristics are much the same as the Fiat Punto Evo. That means the Fiat Punto is still not as sharp to drive as a Ford Fiesta or VW Polo but it is better than a Citroen C3.
It’s easy to drive in towns and the steering can be made lighter by pressing the ‘City’ button. This makes parking in cramped town centres or turning around in tight spots very easy.
When on demanding country roads the Punto does come up a little bit short when compared to rivals. The steering is fairly well weighted and precise (with ‘City’ off) but there is little feedback from the front wheels. There’s a decent chassis underneath though, offering composed handling through the bends.
The Fiat Punto's interior is decent enough, although you'd never want to compare it closely with rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo or even Ford Fiesta. The main difference between it and the best of the opposition is down to the material quality, rather than any major shortcoming in the ergonomics. Major controls are logically arranged, and the driving position is okay – one benefit of sharing its platform with theVauxhall Corsa.
Compared with the Puntos of the bad old days (not really, but you get the idea), this one received a fair bit of love and attention. So, the interior plastics are tough and durable, and there are some soft-touch materials to make you feel better about sitting here. The choices of trim and fabrics on the seats have also been dragged into the 21st century, and are pretty appealing, depending on the model.
Electro-welded patches on the fabric allow ventilation in hot weather. Overall, the cabin is driver focused but it could feel a little more special.
Fiat Punto comfort levels are good. Road, wind and tyre noise have all been well contained are not as intrusive as some rivals, but on two-cylinder TwinAir models some of that raspy engine noise does resonate around the cabin. It is very much like marmite: you’ll either love it or hate it – but we love it.
If you opt for the TwinAir version the ride is firmer than other models on the range and although it's pretty roomy inside six-footers may struggle in the rear. The seats are comfortable though there's not enough side support and bolstering for your back could be better.
All models come with electric front windows but air conditioning isn't standard on entry level Pop models - although it is available as an optional extra (worth haggling over when buying from new).