Fiat Punto Hatchback
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Review Of The Fiat Punto Hatchback
Looking for an objective, easy-to-read review of the new Fiat Punto Hatchback? OSV has got you covered, from engines to lease deals.
The Fiat Punto Hatchback enjoyed a lot of popularity at the turn of the new Millennium. However, its popularity has since waned, and it’s fallen off a number of shortlists for families and young drivers who are on the lookout for a dependable, practical, attractive and easy to drive hatchback. But is it time to put it back on your shortlist?
The new Punto is as affordable as ever, and it can boast low running costs. But time hasn’t been kind to it, and it doesn’t look as sharp or as contemporary as some of its rivals. Handling is also not fantastic, while build quality is questionable. Still, its light steering makes it easy to drive around the town, and it’s also comfy and compact.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Fiat Punto Hatchback review.
On The Road
The new car is easy enough to drive, but you won’t have much fun. But maybe that doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s easy to park and negotiate tight turns in cramped urban settings. The engines are all daily lively, which makes it easy for you to make good progress when traffic is looking bleak at rush hour.
The car is also satisfactory out on the motorway, providing you go for the right model. However, on the open road its deficiencies are totally exposed. Approach corners with too much enthusiasm and you’ll experience a lot of body lean, while the clumsy gearbox is not exactly a driver’s best friend. Just getting the stick in a slot takes a bit of effort.
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For more agility, nimbleness and agility, you’d be better off looking elsewhere in this market, such as at the new Ford Fiesta.
There are three engines to choose from – a pair of petrols and a solitary, MultiJet diesel. There used to be more power plants available, but Fiat have seen a reason to drop them from the range.
The base-level 1.2-litre petrol engine is somewhat lacklustre, and takes over 14 seconds to complete the 0-62 “sprint.” The more powerful and punchy 1.4-litre petrol unit is a better all-around bet; it’s quiet, smooth and responsive. It can also do 0-62mph in a reasonable 13.2 seconds.
All diesels except a 1.3-litre unit have now been cut from the team. This engine delivers up to 85bhp, and can equal the 1.4-litre petrol model when it comes to performance, but offers better economy. It does 0-62mph in 13.1 seconds, and produces a good amount of its power at low speeds. Overall, it’s a smooth enough engine.
Interior, Design & Build
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The cheaper models benefit from a softer suspension setup for more comfort, while the more expensive GBT line firms up the suspension so that handling is improved. As such, the entry level and mid-range Pop and Easy models are your go-to models if you want to drive around in comfort.
Even on Britain’s worst surfaces, they do a grand job of absorbing lumps and bumps so that you don’t feel them. In corners, these models might wobble a bit, but that’s hardly a deal breaker. Hit a bump with the GBT model, however, and you’ll feel it.
The driver’s seat and steering wheel are adjustable, which further improves comfort. Moreover, the fact that external noises are largely kept outside the cabin means the Punto’s interior is a fairly welcoming place to be.
The dash is functional and no more. Fiat haven’t even tried to add a touch of luxury or class, although the plastics are of a higher quality than before. You’ll even spot some soft-touch materials.
In terms of practicality, the new Fiat Punto Hatchback doesn’t do too badly. Visibility is good and the light steering make it useful for when you’re driving through the town, but the 275-litre boot is small by class standards. If you want to head out on a weekend getaway, you’d have to travel fairly light.
However, you can fold the rear seats to extend the space to over 1,000-litres. To fold the rear seats in the Pop model, you would have to add spit-folding rear seats as an optional extra.
Headroom is decent upfront, while the rear seats are really for two adults instead of three – but any two adults will be able to sit there without any issues. Cubbyholes are aplenty, and you also get a big glove box and four cup holders.
The entry-level Pop model gets electric front windows, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and power steering as part of its standard kit, while the Easy model benefits from alloys, front fog lights, a leather steering wheel, air conditioning, as well as an enhanced stereo system.
The sporty GBT trim adds bigger alloys, a body kit, a spoiler, sport suspension, and dark tinted privacy glass. Useful optional extras include a £750 electric sunroof, £290 rear parking sensors, ad £155 split-folding rear seats.
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Costs Of The Fiat Punto Hatchback
Prices for the new car start out from £11,485 and rise to £13,260. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
The Punto is now equipped with energy saving stop-start technology, which makes it cheaper to run than before. Resale values are not good, and the car will depreciate quicker than its rivals. After three years of ownership, it won’t even be worth 40% of its initial purchase price.
In terms of running costs, the 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine will be the cheapest to keep on the road. It can achieve fuel economy returns of up to 80.7mpg, and doesn’t cost anything to tax. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is good for 52.3mpg and costs £110 each year in road tax, while the 1.4-litre petrol can return fuel economy of 49.6mpg while costing £130 a year in tax.
Pros and Cons Of The Fiat Punto Hatchback
The brakes are a bit on the sharp side, but they’re offset by a soft suspension setup that does a good job of soaking up bumps and lumps.
This is an old car that’s been around for a long time, but it’s still safe enough. There are plenty or airbags available as standard, and it scored four out of five on the Euro NCAP crash test.
Cheap To Run
Low running costs are easily one of this cars strengths. The cheapest diesel can return over 80mpg.
It’s not that Fiat don’t know how to design a funky-looking, modern city car (check the 500), but here it seems as though they just haven’t bothered.
Flimsy Build Quality
Cheap plastics contribute to a questionable interior that doesn’t look set to last.
Fiat Punto Hatchback vs Renault Clio Hatchback
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Fiat Punto Hatchback review.
Fiat Punto Hatchback vs Renault Clio Hatchback
The Renault Clio Hatchback has always been a popular car. But now that it’s grown up a bit, will we still love it?
Gone are the days when the Clio was bags of fun to drive. These days, its driving experience is more measured and – dare we say it – mundane. Yup, the brand have decided to focus on comfort and refinement this time around.
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Still, the engine range is solid, with the only weak link being the basic 1.2-litre petrol engine. Apart from that, the engines are hushed around town, and feel nice and smooth. We like the small 0.9-litre three-pot TCe90 petrol unit that’s ideal for whenever you’re stuck in congested city traffic. It’s a responsive little engine that can ferret its way through gaps without any hassle at all. On the motorway, however, it won’t be as useful and it does get a bit noisy.
A 1.5-litre diesel engine delivers up to 89bhp, which actually makes it no more powerful than the 0.9-litre petrol. However, because power is delivered in a different way, it’s a more erstwhile motorway companion that’s relaxing at cruising speed. But although it accelerates fast enough, a 108bhp version of the same engine is even better out on the motorway.
Part of the Clio’s newfound maturity is stellar running costs. Though the car is bigger than last time around, it’s super efficient and is one of the most fuel efficient cars in this class. This is helped by the fact that it’s lighter, and most of its engines get stop-start tech. As such, the 1.5-litre diesel can achieve fuel economy returns of 88.3mpg at best. Impressive.
Inside, the front seats are set higher than last time around, which means visibility is good. However, this new arrangement makes it a tad more difficult to find the comfiest driving position. This is surely a minor criticism, however, as the Clio’s cabin is otherwise a good effort. The quality of the cloth gets better the higher up the trims you go, while overall interior quality is much improved. The surfaces are softer, and the matt-black details are a highlight.
Despite the Clio’s increase in size, space remains an issue. The three-door version has been dumped altogether, so five doors boosts versatility at least. But although accessing the back seats is easy, getting comfortable in them is less so. The fact that they are mounted so high doesn’t help. Moreover, taller adults will struggle for headroom.
The boot is a strong point. Measuring 300-litres, it’s one of the biggest in this sector. It’s a shapely boot that is easy to load you stuff in and out of, and you can fold down the rear seats to extend its total space to 1,146-litres.
Fiat – £11,484 – £13,260
Renault – £11,500 – £18,355
Fiat Punto Hatchback vs Honda Jazz Hatchback
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The new Honda Jazz Hatchback is one of the most spacious cars in this class, and can also boast a huge boot.
The Jazz Hatchback has never been the most appealing of small cars, and this hasn’t been helped by its rather dull driving experience. Once again, the car is easy enough to drive around the city, but it’s not going to offer you any thrills or spills.
It lacks power, which means you have to work the socks off the engine to get the best out of them, but this is a car that is made for anyone who just wants to go about their business without any hassle. For that, it’s perfect.
There is only one engine available, a 1.3-litre petrol unit that you can mate to either a CVT automatic ‘box, or a 6-speed manual. It delivers up to 101bhp, which should be enough to satisfy most of you, and it accelerates smoothly. The manual gearbox is our preference, as it’s responsive and easier to live with.
However, if running costs are a priority of yours, you may want to pair it up with the CVT automatic gearbox, as this improves fuel consumption to 61.4mpg.
Inside, the new Honda Jazz Hatchback is comfortable, spacious and well-laid out. It’s also much quieter, thanks to more soundproofing, and the dashboard has been cleaned up for easier use. A touch-sensitive gloss panel is a nice touch, while touchscreen infotainment system that dominates the dashboard has helped to modernise the car.
The ace in the Jazz’s hand is its boot. Measuring 354-litres, it’s one of the biggest in this sector. It’s much bigger than the Punto’s, which can only boast 275-litres worth of luggage space. Fold the rear seats flat, and you can increase the Jazz’s boot space to 1,314-litres.
It’s a similar story throughout the cabin. Head and legroom is great upfront and in the back, with passengers able to enjoy as much legroom as they would in a much bigger saloon. The so-called Magic Seats are a fab feature, as they can be folded totally flat to boost boot space – or flipped so that you can store taller items.
Honda – £13,500 – £17,700
Verdict Of Our Fiat Punto Hatchback Review
It feels as though the Punto has been around forever. Have we missed it during its absence? Um.
It’s back – but not with a bang. Tired looks are complemented by tired performance, and you get the impression that this car is like an ageing variety show performer who has been wheeled out for one last hurrah. There is a curiosity to see if it’s still got “it” (though it’s questionable whether the Punto ever had it in the first place), but a resigned and accepted shake of the head when you realise it hasn’t.
There are some positives – it’s practical, very cheap to run, and safe. But there are better cars in this sector than the new Fiat Punto Hatchback.
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