We recently took delivery of a new long-term test car – the Fiat Punto 1,4 Turbo MulitAir Lounge. Fellow CAR staffer Juliet McGuire and I have co-ownership of the Punto for the next 12 months and although it’s only been here for a week I’ve already been able to pile 600 km onto the odo.
During a week spent with the Punto I noted that many people confused it with an older model. Many commented that it looks slightly dated. Arguably the front looks similar to the previous-gen Punto Evo, but with some tweaks here and there, including a redesigned, body-coloured, bumper and deep front air dams add a more aggressive look and distinguish the front of this new model. Also, the Fiat badge has been transplanted from the grille to now sit on the nose of the car. The “Turquoise” colour finish of our Punto is proving very popular.
Remaining on the positive, the 1,4 turbocharged engine is nice and feisty, delivering 99 kW at 5 000 r/min and 206 N.m of torque at a reasonably low 1 750 r/min. Power delivery is smooth and the low down torque makes overtaking a hassle-free procedure. Gear shifts for the five-speed manual are smooth, but the throws feels a bit short and whenever I engaged reverse, I double-checked to make sure that the car was in fact in gear.
Another positive is that this particuar Punto features Fiat’s high top-spec “Lounge” equipment level. This means that a trip computer, electric windows, dual climate control, ABS, dual airbags up front, stop/start technology, daytime running lights, cornering foglights, an MP3-compatible audio system and smart-looking 15-inch alloy wheels are all standard.
On a slightly negative note, there are a few small initial flaws to report. The clutch squeaks when you depress and release it. It’s not loud and perhaps just needs some “wearing in”. When the air-con is set at the highest fan speed it whines to the point where you actually want to turn it down. Also, I tried to cart my two-month old nephew around, but unfortunately found that the Punto couldn’t accommodate his particular make of car seat. The seatbelt was too short and couldn’t reach around to clip securely into the seat.
It’s only been a week so no doubt there will be more things about the Punto that will either help or hinder our ownership experience.
For more information on the new Punto range, click here.
Mileage on arrival: 1 061 km
Mileage now: 1 657 km
Fuel consumption: 8,6 litres/100 km