Take a Punto on this little Fiat
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