This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Fiat Punto (12-18) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Engines range from 1.1 to 1.6 petrol with a number of 1.7 diesels. The 1.2 8-valve engine offers the best compromise between economy and effort, although the basic 1.1 is willing enough. The later 1.2 16-valve puts out a huge 85 bhp and is hugely responsive. Non turbo diesel unit is terribly slow yet little more economical than the small petrol units.

1.4 GT Turbo is the performer of the range. Manual or Selecta continuously-variable automatic transmission are available.

The front-wheel-drive Punto offers reassuring rather than exciting handling with reasonably good grip in the corners. Power steering is not fitted to earlier small engined models. The suspension gives an acceptable level of ride quality but it’s hardly a limousine. Suspension was improved from 1997 onwards.