Take a Punto on this lit­tle Fiat

Cynon Valley - - MOTOR WALES - PETER HAY­WARD news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

FIAT re­ally has got the build qual­ity right these days, mak­ing its cars very re­li­able.

Take the Punto for ex­am­ple. In one of the most re­cent re­li­a­bil­ity sur­veys, it comes ahead of sup­posed paragons of qual­ity build like the Nis­san Qashqai, Mini Cooper and Mercedes C-Class.

And it’s also far cheaper to main­tain and re­pair.

The most re­cent ver­sion of the Punto is an up­date of the pre­vi­ous car, but is none the worse for that, with a new, bet­ter-look­ing black grill and body colour bumpers.

Both three and five-door ver­sions are avail­able but never buy a three-door if you have chil­dren as get­ting them into car seats is a recipe for putting your back out.

Petrol en­gines start with a 1.2, which has 68bhp fol­lowed by a 1.4 with 75bhp, 85bhp, 103bhp or 135bhp in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent forms.

For the first time in this model, the free revving 900cc 85bhp TwinAir en­gine from the 500 is also avail­able and there is just one diesel, an 85bhp ver­sion of the 1.3 Mul­tiJet.

This lit­tle diesel is the econ­omy and low emis­sions king, with a claimed fuel sip­page of 80mpg and emis­sions of just 90g/km.

But the TwinAir man­ages 67mpg and emis­sions of 98g/km, so it’s not far be­hind and it can also sprint to 60mph in 12.3 sec­onds.

As a com­par­i­son, the 1.4 takes 12.8 sec­onds for the 75bhp and 8.2 for the 135bhp Mul­tiJet.

The Punto is fun to drive, with very good road hold­ing and han­dling that gives a great sport­ing feel.

Per­for­mance is pretty good when you check it out against other su­per-minis and all are easy to live with.

They have a good ride and de­cent per­for­mance with en­gines that are smooth and quiet un­til pressed.

In the lower pow­ered cars, over­tak­ing on or­di­nary roads needs to be planned well in ad­vance and you’ll push the revs up in the gears.

But es­pe­cially in the TwinAir, you’ll be re­warded with a great sound and ex­haust note.

There were orig­i­nally five trim lev­els avail­able in the range, but this was later al­tered to four.

Stan­dard kit in­cludes fabric seats, height and reach-ad­just steer­ing, height-ad­just driver’s seat, trip com­puter, re­mote lock­ing, elec­tric front win­dows, plenty of airbags and a stereo with MP3 con­nec­tion.

Up­per mod­els get air con, al­loys, au­dio re­mote, trac­tion con­trol, cruise con­trol and elec­tric sun­roof.

Pay about £5,750 for a ’14 14-reg Twinair Easy three­door, or £6,650 for a ’15 15-reg 1.4 Lounge five-door.

The Fiat Punto is fun to drive, with very good road hold­ing and han­dling that gives a great sport­ing feel

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