We hired this car to go round northern italy for a couple of weeks in the summer of 2009. When we first saw the car, we didn't know what to expect. It is a reasonably sized compact class car with plenty of space in the back and a reasonable boot that will fit two suitcases, a rucksack, a bag and other small items. The design inside looks modern and consumer-friendly. The dashboard is full of useful gadgets and buttons which will often go amiss among other cars of this class.
Once you get driving, you feel a surprising amount of power under the right foot. Having the words 'Multijet' and 'Sporting' in the name of a car with a 1.9 litre engine would perhaps indicate that this should be the case, but it surprises none-the-less. An extremely smooth clutch is unusual in a car that is so responsive from the standing start and the steering feels solid.
Given the above, together with the relatively cheap insurance class and great looks, this has to be a great car for the younger driver. Its price out of the factory could be cheaper than a second-hand golf and the Fiat is a worthy contender. The number of optional extras you can add and the fact that the car is yours out of the blocks make this an obvious choice for the price-savvy individual who wantsa hatchback with all the extras, be able to insure it and not pay through the nose!
I have only just learnt to drive, and aside from my instructors car I learnt in this. With my instructor's car being a new Ford Fiesta, it was interesting to note the difference between the two - the Fiat is much more powerful and requires a lot more revving! However, my parents said they found it the same when they bought the car. Having said this, once you get accustomed to its sporty power it is a great car to drive. It has 'city drive' on, which is great for town driving and squeezing into parking spots, and it drives very smoothly. A good safety feature is that when driving, the front passengers must belt up or else the car beeps until you do! Having just had experienced a very snowy/icy winter, we found that bad weather is the car's weak point - we live rurally and it wasn't up to the challenge really, but then again few cars are so you can't knock that. An excellent car to drive.
p.s. Word of warning though, we got a letter from Fiat warning about possible faults in the steering wheel in January (following the whole Toyota polava), and advising us to get our car checked out. We did and found that it wasn't a problem on our car but I'm not sure if this will apply to others?
I've had my Grande Punto for 2 years now as my first car, and I can honestly say I couldnt have made a better choice. The car I drive is a 1.2 Active model, so it's cheap fuel consumption - (I average about 54 mpg), cheap car tax and all in all just a comfortable car to drive. All of the controls are easy to use and it has the City button function for lighter steering. It does take its time to get up to 60mph, but with the speed restrictions everywhere this shouldnt be an issue. The interior of the car is comfortable but not too comfortable, the only issue I do have is that the back passenger windows do not open at all. Apart from this I would recommend this to all first time drivers, as you couldnt get more of a reliable and affordable lovely italian car.
i am going to review the fiat grande punto 1.2l active unlike most car reviewers i am not going to quote all the technical specifications as these can be viewed on the fiat website. i am simply going to tell you about my experiences of this car. well to start of with the punto has a brand new look hurrah about time fiat the new look is very streamline and sleek at the front and then at the back the car is quite large and long giving huge legroom in the back seats and a very generous size boot. alot of people are worried about the size of the car as it no longer looks like a small hatchback but after driving this car on a regular basis i can tell you it certainly doesnt feel half as big as it is gliding through tight contry roads and manouvering tight city streets with the fantastic city steering which we have all grown to love this car drives like a dream ( well not quite after all it isnt quite a db9 haha ). another fantastic feature are the floppy windscreen wipers which before this generation of puntos most car users had never seen before iradicating the stiffness and also the squeak of tradtional wiper blades. overall i can say this car is excellent value for money and a pleasure and comfort to drive.
I am going to be writing this review on the Grande Punto 1.4 t-jet.
This car can be bought for about £10k with some upgrades this is very good value for money. This car produces 120bhp and is very quick for a car which is only a insurance group 6. I am 20 years old and it costs only £100 more per year to insure that my old 1.2 and the Grande Punto is about 5 seconds quicker to 60.
The interior is very well made and the car comes very well equipped with features such as Blue and me, Eco drive, Hill holder, Ipod connector , auto winderscreen wipers and much more.
The car is by far the best looking small car around and the newest models are quite reliable I have personally never had a problem but my car has only done 2k miles so time will tell.
Overall I would recommend anyone wanting a quick car but doesn't want to pay silly money running one as I get 44mpg on a averaged drive.
I will be reviewing the Fiat Grande Punto 1.2l Active. This is the only grande punto on dooyoo which is why I am writing it here.
Firstly I want to clarify that I do not know a whole lot about technical specs etc. So I am writing about my experience of the grande punto as the regular driver that doesnt know too much about what makes the inside of a car tick.
I got my Grande Punto in April 2006, only a few months after it was first released in 2005. I was upgrading from a citroen C2. I had placed an order with Hyundai for a Special Edition Getz which had fallen through, thankfully :D for it meant that my brother took me car shopping and as soon as I saw the grande punto I wanted it!!
The first thing that struck me was how beautiful it was for a small, cheap car. Its looks are reminiscent of an alfa romeo, it has sleek curves and the headlights pop out at you when you look at it. It was the biggest supermini car at the time, measuring over four metres, which is quite different from the C2, which my brother used to call a box.
Of course the show room lure you in by displaying one of the top models, with gorgeous leather steering wheels and gear knobs, beautiful trim and sporty dash board. We were sufficiently seduced to call my dad who was on holiday in the Med somewhere and plead to be able to spend a bit more so I could get the Punto. (It was about £1500 more than the getz) My brother than sat down with the dealer and told him we only had a certain amount to spend, which was short of the asking price and that if he sold us the car for the amount we had we would pay for it today. (A bit cheeky lol)
I could only afford the most basic model, but I didnt care at the time, it was beautiful. I got the 3 door, 1.2l Active. 5 speed manual, petrol engine, electonric locking, ABS, metallic paint in chemical grey and CD player. All for around £7000. I was a little disappointed that the basic model doesnt allow you to have blue seats, but the grey and black trim is fine.
The first thing my brother said is that the engine doesnt growl like the roadtest model did. I just gave him a dirty look, I was quite happy with the "growl" of my engine. It was a lovely smooth ride, and it holds the corners well. You can adjust the steering wheel and, raise and lower the drivers seat to ensure you are in the most comfortable driving position possible for you. I do find, though that the seat often lowers itself and you have to pump it back up.
I only usually drive with myself and one other passenger in the car. This is when it performs best. I also only ever half fill the petrol tank. A) because this is a good way to conserve fuel, as it has less weight to carry and B) because a full tank is sufficient weight to alter how well it drives. However with 4-5 passengers the car feels terribly sluggish and slow, accelleration is poor and corners are heavy. I am lucky not to have to have a full car too often as it would completely ruin the driving experience!
The front seats have seat belt warnings, which beap if there is enough weight on the seat for it to think there is a person there with no seat belt. This can get annoying if you have a heavy bag on the front seat, as it will demand you move it or put the seat belt on, but is otherwise a good safety feature. However the back seats have no such thing, which is probably where you would want this feature. As children are more likely to be in the back, removing their seatbelts.
I am quite an impatient driver and I am often able to speed off at lights faster than most of the cars around me, although if they were driven by equally impatient drivers, this may not be the case. It has sufficient pull to keep my happy as a young student, although it is a depressingly low 65bhp (not an impressive figure to tell your friends lol). As I get older I'll want something with a bit more clout. I am sure the sporting version has a much better acceleration rate though.
It has a 5 star N Cap rating, so its the safest it can be, although mine was recalled as they had forgotten to fit a grill that meant it didnt fit the spec to make it 5 star, I got several letters, each stating the same thing, even after I had had it fitted. Naturally i wasnt too pleased that I had to take it back to the dealer after a couple of months for this, but as I didnt have to pay for anything it wasnt too bad. It is also classed as a Green car. It is economical with fuel and I find, even with only half my engine full that I dont have to fill it very often. I think it would cost around £40 to fill up completely with petrol around 86-94p a litre.
It has an extensive dashboard, which seems to go on forever until it hits the windscreen. There is plenty of room in the back of the car, although I've never really sat in it. The seats fold down and up to allow for an impressive boot if you need to move a lot of stuff.
I got rid of the CD player after a year as I wanted to beable to connect my ipod to it. annoyingly though because the car was so new they were unable to get the part that would link the new CD player to the steering wheel controls. This is extremely annoying and I dont know if the situation has been remedied yet. The inbuilt CD player was by no means bad, it was great if you wanted to use CD's but I was tired of constantly having to make car CD's.
My one pet hate with the car is the cup holders. They are too small and not deep enough, aswell as being put in a completely inane place. The main two are situated below the centre console. For cans you have to ram them in. For bottles they are too large and jut out as they cant fit under the console. The bottle then gets in the way of 3rd and 5th gear and also wobbles about all over the place. The glove box is also of insufficient size. I have quite a lot in mine but its not large enough to fit the car manual in, so I have to shove this under the passenger seat.
I have had a couple of problems with the car. I've had to replace the windscreen wipers once in 2 and a half years. The boot refused to open for a while and currently the drivers door wont open from the inside. This is highly dangerous. Fiat say the door mechanism is broken and it needs a new one but for a fairly young car I think this is an unacceptable fault.
I think this is a great car to drive, but dont get the 1.2 active. Go for the dynamic or better. You then get leather trim and funkier interior, sporty rev dial, Air conditioning, Alloy wheels and a CD player with an aux plug. Its worth the extra money. I also wish I had gone for either metallic black paint or red or orange. My metallic chemical grey is looking a bit lucklustre and boring now. I also dont think this is a great family car, although it does have a great safety rating.
I love my punto, but I want an upgrade. Its fun to drive, nippy and smooth but I want the added extras that make the experience just that little bit better!
Having owned the grande punto sporting for just over a month now i am as happy now as the day i brought it. I purchased a nearly new model with 13000 miles on the clock for a bargain £7950 a hefty discount as the list price brand new is well over £12k. The car being less than 12 months old i still have peace of mind of another 24 months of dealer warranty included.
The car is great to drive, you couldnt really tell you were driving a diesel apart from on idle and start up from the noise as it is very quite even at high revs. The 6 gears really help this on the motorway plodding along at less than 2000 revs on the motorway and getting great fuel consumption at the same time.
On long runs on the motorway ive managed a good 58mpg average and around town and short journeys still managed a decent 38-40 mpg.
insurance is very cheap being only an insurance group 6 is also very handy!
Performance-wise you cant really fault the vehicle, it does pull impressively well in all gears even at very low revs being a turbo-diesel and is very nippy around town and great at overtaking on fast roads and if you need to overtake quickly.
Cornering in the dry is very good even when driven fast although the car does suffer from a lot of understeer when pushed hard in the wet even with the traction control and stabililty function both switched on.
Overall a great car to drive, fast and economical.
WHAT IS IT?
The aptly named 130bhp - 130 Mjet Sporting is the top of the range, three door "sporting" model in the latest Fiat Grande Punto line up. Presumably Fiat added the title "Grande" in there to differentiate this from the last, rather less grand, Punto, the most basic model of which is still on sale.
Grande in fact is actually a reference to the somewhat increased size of Fiat's latest super-mini offering. As with all of its' rivals in this sector, this could no longer be regarded as a small car. At 4030mm in length, the Grande Punto is precisely the same length as a new Peugeot 207 (probably its' closest competitor), and larger than a 1970 Austin Maxi, which in its day would have been regarded as a medium size car!
The Fiat Grand Punto is very closely related to the new Vauxhall Corsa, they were co-developed by the same team and whilst having different bodies are almost identical under the skin.
WHICH SPECIFIC MODEL?
The Punto Grande range starts at £7989 for the basic 3 door, 1.2 Active model and tops out with the £12,695 1.9 Mjet 5 door Eleganza. There are currently a choice of two petrol engines, 1.2 and 1.4 litres and 1.3 and 1.9 litre diesel units in no fewer than four states of tune.
The model that I am reviewing here (the 130 Mjet) is the most powerful Punto currently on sale. Surprisingly it also happens to be a diesel. The 130bhp, 1.9 diesel is only available in Sporting trim with a three door body, if you want a 1.9 diesel with a five door body you have no choice but to plump for the luxury Eleganza model which looses 10bhp.
IN WHAT CAPACITY AM I REVIEWING THIS CAR?
Once again, I am reviewing this car on the basis of a very thorough test drive carried out at the Millbrook Proving Ground as a participant at the Company Car in Action event last summer.
Fiat are very keen to promote this particular range into the fleet market, judging by the numbers of Grande Punto's that I am seeing on the roads in the south east of England, it looks as though they have been very successful at doing just that!
Fiats have never been expensive to either purchase or to run. With a Co2 level of 154 and an insurance group of 6, bearing in mind this cars performance potential, the standing charges i.e. tax and insurance, are going to be affordable.
According to "What Car" the Fiat Grande Punto Sporting will cost you 38.4p per mile overall to run. By comparison a similarly priced, but less powerful, Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Zetec would cost 33.8p per mile.
PURCHASE COST 8 / 10
The headline £12,295 price sticker looks very expensive for a Punto. However this is no Punto like any before, this is an altogether different car, much better looking, much better built and far more sophisticated. Comparing it to class rivals, all of which are similarly priced, or more, expensive - due to its desirability factor - I would say that this new Punto is actually priced at the right level.
That of course is before the Fiat dealer starts throwing the likely discounts at you. Certainly there are substantial savings to be made on one of these through internet broker sites such as broadspeed.com - I found a £1421 saving on a UK supplied Punto 130 Mjet without looking very hard at all. Many Fiat dealers would probably even match such an offer.
THE OPTIONS GAME: 8 / 10 or "How much do I need to spend to make it habitable?"
My advice here is to go VERY easy on the options. The Punto Grande is quite well equipped already, but Fiat are attempting the German "trick" of offering you a long list of optional extras, some of which appear quite tempting.
What you need to remember is that, with the sole exception of metallic paint, any options that you specify on a car like this will depreciate totally. A £600 leather interior (looks like a bargain actually!) is all very nice, but when you come to sell the Punto in three years time, it will not be worth a penny more than the quite adequately trimmed cloth version.
Personally I would go for metallic paint, although this car looks good in bright red anyway, and add the £20 side rubbing strips - useful protection from the supermarket door bangers of society. £245 worth of options is not too bad, especially when the dealer is almost sure to throw them in for free!
DEPRECIATION 7 / 10 - Always the biggest running cost.
Due to hefty discounting of late, Fiat have suffered from above average levels of depreciation. This has also been fuelled by the generation old reputation that Fiats had for fragility and unreliability.
Take no notice incidentally of anyone who, in this day and age, tells you that these cars rust!
As with all manufacturers who launch a new massed produced car, Fiat will tell you that they are not going to "over-supply" the market, i.e. build more of them than can be sold. That may be the case during the first year of production, whilst demand is strong for this attractive new product, however over-supply will inevitably catch up with the Punto at which point second hand values will take a big hit as new cars are slashed in price.
Currently however second hand values are firm on the new Punto Grande - but so they should be, on a car so new, it will only be dealer demonstrators and ex-rental cars that are currently reaching the second hand forecourts.
Of all the new Grande Punto models, this, the top of the range one will under any circumstances take the biggest drop in value.
FUEL ECONOMY 8 / 10
A 1.9 litre engine is comparatively large in a car this size. However, at over 1200kg in weight, whatever engine drives a Grande Punto, it is never destined to win many fuel economy prizes. However, this 130bhp version of the General Motors (Vauxhall) diesel engine, shared with Alfa, Lancia, and Saab too, gives the Punto a good real world economy to performance ratio.
As far as I know this is the smallest car that this unit appears in, along with its sister car the new Vauxhall Corsa, it is therefore with an overall claimed average consumption of 48.7mpg, the most economical way of driving this very impressive engine.
SERVICE & MAINTENANCE COSTS 7 / 10: are you going to make the dealer rich?
As far as Fiat customers are concerned "dealer" has been a dirty word for many years. Regrettably that seems to continue to be the case. Whilst the cars have improved out of all recognition, by and large the dealer network has not. Assuming that you can find a dealer with whom you are happy, servicing this 1.9 diesel Grande Punto is going to be class competitive in terms of costs.
Let the "fun" begin! You want to know what this car is like to live with and to drive and be driven in .
STYLING 9 /10: A very subjective category here.
I, and presumably the many thousands of eager buyers, think that the new Punto is simply the best looking super-mini that there is. Whilst it avoids treading the "Star Trek" path of the new Honda Civic, the grafting on of a mini-Maserati front by Giugiaro, by the designers, was a masterstroke.
This car has an extraordinarily strong road presence, attractive yet at the same time muscular, but avoiding the aggressiveness of the latest Peugeot models. In a sense it achieves what the original Mini did, by providing a shape that all classes are more than happy to be seen driving.
OVERALL BUILD QUALITY AND FINISH 8 / 10 Does it look as though it was slung together?
Actually touching, sitting in and then driving this particular car, this is the one area that left me more impressed than any other. Granted Fiat had a lot of catching up to do, but in terms of quality this car is a huge leap forward over the last generation Punto. It is now able to compete on level terms with Volkswagens and Skodas, both previously light years ahead in the fit and finish stakes.
In a "blindfolded quality test", no car expert would guess that this was an Italian car, let alone a humble Fiat!
SAFETY 9 /10 If it comes to the worst, how well are you and your family going to come out of it.
Both the Punto and Corsa were designed to embrace the latest and future safety regulations, not only for vehicle occupants, but also now the increasingly stringent pedestrian safety rules. The fact that the Punto looks the way it does, with that much admired softly rounded "Maserati" front, is actually largely thanks to the pedestrian friendly nature of this car.
In short, not only is this one of the very safest cars to travel in, with a 5 star Euro NCAP rating, - if you have the misfortune to be run over, just pray that it is a new Punto Grande that hits you!
From my point of view, as an experienced driver, safety actually has far more to do with dynamic factors. In my opinion, Fiat have always scored highly here, particularly with the smaller cars that traditionally they have been so good at designing. This latest Punto very much continues the tradition, feeling like a much larger and more expensive car in the way it stays rock solid on the road at speed (100mph). One also has a deep sense of confidence in the way it reacts to breaking and steering inputs too.
ERGONOMICS 8 / 10 Before I can start the engine and drive away I need to feel at home in the "working environment". The relationship between the controls and how I, the driver, am able to instinctively operate those controls is, all important. This for me is make or break, before I drive a car, if it does not instinctively "feel" right in this department then I will never like it or ultimately buy it.
More improvements have been made here, in line with the quality upgrades. This is still a noticeably "Italian" interior, in certain ways styled for the sake of it, but all the controls are where you expect to find them.
Importantly for those of us old enough to understand the term "Italian Ape" in relation to the driving position in Italian cars, the evolution of the species is such that it would now appear to be extinct! I was perfectly comfortable and at ease behind the wheel of the Punto Grande. Adding to this are the very comfortable seats, the drivers one even running to an electric lumbar adjustment.
VISIBILITY: 6 / 10
As a side effect of the excellent safety scoring, along with many other cars these days, the Punto does suffer from some blind spots. Not only are the rear pillars quite heavy in design, not helped by the rather narrow rear window, but the MPV like size and rake of the windscreen brings the typical front pillar blind spots too - large enough to hide whole cars behind. In truth this was probably the ONE factor that I found off-putting about this car.
SPACE: 8 / 10:
With a super-mini this big on the outside, you have a right to expect it to be spacious inside. In actual fact, the Punto is roomier than it looks, partly thanks to those heavy pillars and the dark fabric trim on "our" car. Up front, the sensation is of driving a much bigger car, there is lots of shoulder room, you have no feeling of sitting on top of your passenger.
There is plenty of space for two in the rear, although there are seat belts and headrests for three, I feel that would be a bit of a squash. A definite advantage of the new Punto's extra size is an increase in boot space, a usefully deep and square area, fold the seats down and you have a small van.
STYLE 8 / 10:
The interior style very much continues the theme from the outside. I was really taken with this, some may see it as over done. The orange stitching and detailing on the seat trim matches the orange on white instruments. The fact that you can also have a bright metallic orange Punto Sporting, as shown at the top of this page, co-ordinates the whole style somehow.
Mrs R and I were particularly enamoured with the very unusual orange material panel on the dashboard, where on other cars you may expect to find fake wood or aluminium look plastic. This novel addition to the interior lifted it out of the ordinary. Incidentally, if you choose the black leather option this material panel is finished in matt silver - very classy!
MATERIALS, FIT & FINISH 8 / 10: Aspreys or Ratners?
Compared to flimsy Fiat interiors of old, this one belongs in a different class altogether. Along with the appealing style, I could find little to fault in terms of material quality here. This was doubly impressive as on the day, this Fiat was a good £8000 less expensive than anything else driven, bar the Alfa 147, which actually had a lot of interior detailing in common with this much newer car.
AUDIO & CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEMS 8 / 10:
Our car was equipped with the (£220) optional dual zone climate control. As standard the Sporting Grande Punto comes with the simpler air conditioning system. Fiat have wisely, not overstyled these controls in the central console, they look classy, are intuitive to use and work efficiently.
ON THE ROAD ..
Time to start it up and to offer you a driving assessment.
NOISE, VIBRATION & HARSHNESS 9 / 10 Silk purse or sow's ear?
My overriding impression is that, for a car of this size and type, it is incredibly refined. I have praised this particular diesel engine in every car that it has been mounted so far. Here in lower tune, I am used to driving it in 150bhp guise, it is even smoother and quieter than it is in the Saab 9-3, Alfa 147, or indeed the Astra Twin Top, all of which were driven on the same day.
There is no vibration or harshness, you really would not be aware that this engine is a diesel unless you knew about it, Fiat attaching a "Sporting" badge to this car is fully justified.
On the other hand, in some senses, it feels so 'grown up' and refined that the Sporting badge could be regarded as a bit of a misnomer.
PERFORMANCE 9 / 10 Sh*t off a shovel or a constipated tortoise?
The Punto Grande Sporting is one of those rare cars which simply does not feel as fast as it actually is. This is a side effect of the overall refinement, also of the fact that this really is a thoroughly well developed super-mini.
As with many diesels, the bald figures, maximum speed 124mph, 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds, do not tell the full story on the road. With over 200lbs ft of torque (that is twisting power, translating into flexibility) and a six speed gearbox to play with, this is an incredibly willing and flexible performer. You are not hacking through the gearbox all the time, this particular Punto is quick and effortless to drive.
RIDE & HANDLING 9 / 10
The good news continues. The term 'grown up' once more seems the most appropriate here, the refinement of the power plant is matched by the sophisticated chassis. This is a car that the driver can have fun in, throwing it rapidly down a country lane, whilst the passengers enjoy the smooth and quiet ride, in more ways than one, the Punto Grande Sporting proves a deceptive performer!
CONCLUSION - Would I buy one myself and would we want to drive it to Poland in a day?
If I were to buy a super-mini, having driven this one in such extreme conditions, I can think of no substantial reason why I would choose anything else. It is a thoroughly well developed and very likeable car.
Preferably I would take a larger car on that journey to Poland, for purely practical reasons. Having said that though, this version of the Punto is a thoroughly "long legged" little car - quiet and smooth to drive. There is absolutely no reason why it would not take us all the way across Europe with speed and economy matched by few others. I can think of no other car of this size and price in which I would wish to do that journey.
FINAL SCORE: 129 / 170 - 75.9%
Well who would have thought it as little as five years ago, a Fiat coming up with a really solid all round score like that? Not I, that is for sure!
Putting that score into perspective are the following cars based on identical scoring criteria:
ALFA ROMEO 147 1.9JTD Lusso (5 Dr) - 67.8%
FIAT PUNTO GRANDE SPORTING 130 Mjet - 75.9%
HONDA ACCORD i-CTDi Saloon - 80.0%
HONDA CIVIC 1.8i VTEC SE - 78.2%
HONDA JAZZ 1.4 SE CVT-7 (Automatic) - 74.7%
SAAB 9-3 TiD Vector - 68.2%
VAUXHALL ASTRA TWINTOP 1.9 CDTi DESIGN - 78.8%
VAUXHALL MONARO VXR - 71.1%
VOLVO S60 D5 SE - 70.6%