I have owned a Mark One (not Mark Two) 1998 punto diesel for the last 9 years and at 100,000 miles thought a longterm review appropriate. Strong points: galvanized body, so only rust is the licence plate screws and the battery securing plate. Economy is 50mpg around town, and have had 61 mpg on a long gentle M-way trip. So far little has gone wrong (touch wood). battery lasted 6 years, still on the original steering rack, clutch & exhaust ! Not so good: Bumps are felt through the suspension, front is heavy so understeers, however the diesel torque and front weight mean it keeps going in snow and ice very well. It collects dents in supermarket car parks. Headlamps are a bit feeble. Its been serviced by my local garage for the last 7 years, and gets main & 2nd service every year. Non-service items so far: new radiator (died from road salt), 2 rear suspension arms (bushes went), 1 set of glowplugs, 1 new battery, rear brake actuators (seized), 1 pair of rear shocks. The rear door lock has stopped working & passenger side window always been slow but works ... in 10 years, I think thats not a bad score. Not an exicting car, but have found it to be simple and dependable. Will run it for maybe 4 more years, then get a Grande Punto Diesel.
Judith Armstrong, Herts, February 20th 2009