Juliet McGuire and myself have spent just three months with our Fiat Punto and even though we each spend a lot of time swopping between short-term test cars and the Fiat, we haven’t seemed to have had a problem piling on the mileage.
With 5 000-plus kms under its belt, we’ve noted a few flaws with our Pumba (the car’s new nickname). We’ve mentioned the squeaky clutch pedal before, though we’re hoping to have it checked out along with a few other things later this week. The fuel gauge seems to be on the blink as we’ve noticed that the gauge only goes up to the three-quarter mark even after we’ve topped up the tank. It will eventually reach the full marker, but by that time it’s no longer full. The range meter is also stuck and even with a full tank, it indicates an 85 km range. We’ll keep you posted on what transpires once we’ve had all these items checked at a service centre.
Our top-of-range Punto, while specced to the brim with features, doesn’t have the Fiat Blue&Me system, which means no Bluetooth and no USB or auxiliary plug-ins. The CD player is MP3-compatible, but it’s been a while since I’ve travelled with a CD.
Sometimes I find myself on roads with no street lights, so I’ve really come to appreciate the cornering fog lights on the Punto.
I can’t stand the stop/start system in the Punto. It feels as though you’re manually starting the car every time it kicks in so I opt to switch it off most of the time. I’m not sure how much of an impact this has on fuel consumption, but we’ve been able to get it to just under 7,0 litres/100 km at one time. Then we handed the keys over to a heavy-footed colleague for the weekend and it came back with an average consumption of over 9,0 litres/100 km. But, thankfully, it’s now evened out at about 7,2 litres.
To be honest, I don’t blame my colleague for driving the Punto as hard as he did. I love the engine in this car. Despite all the minor shortcomings mentioned above, I always look forward to driving it because of the feisty 1,4 turbocharged MultiAir unit. Steering is also relatively well weighted and makes this particular Punto feel quite dynamic. The eager engine, short gear throws and good steering feedback easily make me overlook any of the Punto’s faults. I’m looking forward to taking a trip up to Sedgefield with it in a few weeks time.
Mileage on arrival (km): 1 061
Mileage now (km): 5 568
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 7,2
We like: Engine, good spec levels
We don’t like: squeaky clutch, faulty fuel gauge, incorrect range reading, lack of USB/aux input
Read a previous update here: Long-term intro: Fiat Punto 1,4 MultiAir Lounge