The Fiat Punto is one of the biggest and best looking superminis, and it has a surprisingly smart interior, too. However, it’s the engines – particularly the 1.4 Multiairs – that really impress.
The low-speed ride is unsettled and the steering is vague. You might find it difficult get comfortable behind the wheel, too.
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Fiat Punto performance
The cheapest Fiat Punto uses a 1.2 petrol engine, but it’s worth spending the extra on the 76bhp 1.4, which gives appreciably better performance. The 1.4 Multiairs – available with either 104bhp or 134bhp – are even better, with strong and smooth acceleration throughout the rev range. The 0.9 Twinair engine also offers reasonable performance, while diesel buyers have the choice of two strong 1.3 Multijets (with either 74bhp or 84bhp).
Fiat Punto ride & handling
The Punto is nowhere near as engaging as a Ford Fiesta, but it is at least easy to drive. The light steering makes it a doddle to manoeuvre in town, for example, although this lightness becomes disconcerting once you’re going quicker. Whichever model you choose, you’ll have to suffer lots of body roll and a choppy ride, but sportier versions (with their overly stiffer suspension) are really uncomfortable.
Fiat Punto refinement
The majority of petrol engines are smooth and hushed, with just a hint of rasp when revved. However, the two-cylinder Twinair engine is an exception, because it’s noisy and sends a lot of vibration through the cabin. The 1.3-litre turbodiesels are a bit clattery at low revs, but deliver excellent cruising refinement. Manual gearshifts aren't the slickest – the six-speed 'box is better than the five-speed – and there's wind noise at quite modest speed, plus some road noise on grainy surfaces.