21.5.2010 Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet review
Subtle but effective restyling and a revamped interior justifies the Punto's Evo, or evolution inspired name. But the new petrol and diesel engines are almost revolutionary in terms of increased efficiency with lots more pulling power and improved fuel consumption. Cabins are plush but seats lack side support for enthusiastic cornering. Wide choice of trim levels and a sportier chassis set-up for keener drivers.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Fiat invented common rail diesel engine technology in 1997 and the new Multijet II is an equally brilliant achievement, with torque up by 25% while CO2 emissions have been cut by 8%. Driving gently, anticipating hold-ups, I got 59.6mpg reducing to 49mpg driving more 'normally'. Maximum power is 94bhp at 4,000rpm and with 174 lbs ft at 1,500rpm the Evo feels quite sprightly. Engine noise is much reduced, including from outside the car. Acceleration to 62mph takes 11.7 seconds. Top speed is 111mph.
Agile and fun, even if Ford's Fiesta still has more finesse in the opinion of this driver. Steering is light and accurate but the brake pedal is quite high off the floor if you like the driver's seat in a low position. When driving quicker there is too much servo assistance for the brakes. Though the suspension is reasonably taut, without choosing the sport chassis, the new Punto rides much better over our pockmarked roads. General road and wind noise is low and the Punto feels solid and well built.
Instantly recognisable as a new Punto, as 700,000 have been sold in the UK, but car's look refreshed with a new bumper, grill and bigger air ducts at the front, reshaped rear bumper, different lights and boot lock operated by pulling on the Fiat badge. Effective £500 style packs add extra panache. Length: 4065mm. Width 1687mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Plush cabin is spacious and has lots of showroom appeal with a new, better quality dashboard.
Optional plug-in Tom Tom navigation system can help you drive more economically, and via the internet, compare yourself with other Punto owners. Scrolling between on-board computer function is quite slow.
Steering wheel is better to hold than most. New seats look good but don't provide enough lateral support.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy: Urban 53.3mpg, extra-urban (some out of town) 80.7mpg, combined 67.3mpg. This translates a fuel cost of around 8.3p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 110g/km put the Punto Evo in band B. Annual road tax is £20. Insurance group n/a. Warranty covers three years/ 60,000 miles.
A fuel saving stop-start system is standard and works unobtrusively. Follow the gearchange indicator and you will changing up far sooner than you thought possible. Downloading Fiat's software from its website lets owners use the car's USB port to transfer information about their driving to a computer. They can then request an assessment of their skills, compare with others and take tutorials. The TomTom can also suggest how to reduce the environmental impact of driving now appear in real-time on the in-car screen. CO2 emissions are only 110 g/km, and this model receives a WhatGreenCar Rating of 32.
Even entry Active model has fuel saving stop-start system, electric front windows, height adjustable driver's seat, power steering, folding rear seat back, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution to the wheels with the most grip and radio-CD player with MP3 and steering mounted controls. Test Eleganza version also had air conditioning, cruise control, rear parking sensors, rain sensor wipers and side and window airbags.
Model tested: Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 Multijet 95HP
Body-style: Three or five-door supermini
Engine/CO2: 103bhp 1.3 litre turbo-diesel / 110 gCO2/km
Trim grades: Active, Dynamic, GP, Eleganca, Sporting
On-road price: Diesels from £12,995; model tested £16,095
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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