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The Fiat Punto in Aireys Inlet, near the Split Point Lighthouse so named in 1913 after
a change in name from Eagles Nest Point. The lighthouse began working in 1891.

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The Editor with the Fiat Punto.

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The Fiat Punto at Bark Hut Reserve, Aireys Inlet (Victoria).

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The Fiat Punto at Bark Hut Reserve, Aireys Inlet (Victoria).

Fiat Punto road test

by Stephen Walker

11th March, 2014

Home > Road Tests > Fiat


The Fiat Punto is a stylish car - no doubt about it, in my opinion. Whilst there is no particular sophistication with the design, my eyes tell me that it is just has a timeless pleasantness about it.

Test Car particulars

Our drive car is the Fiat Punto Lounge. This is the top of the line amongst the three Punto models offered in Australia. The test car came with automatic transmission, known as Dualogic in Fiat terminology, a standard feature in Punto Lounge.

Prices*

Fiat Punto Pop is priced from $16,000 on a special promotional deal at the present time. This special price is a 'drive-away' price for a limited time with the price calculation subject to amendment to suit relevant driver and location aspects.

Fiat Punto Easy is priced from $19,300* and the Punto Lounge is priced from $21,800*.

Pop comes with manual transmission, whilst Easy and Lounge have the unique Dualogic as standard. The Dualogic is optional on the Punto Pop.

One body style is available - a five-door hatchback.

Driving the Punto Lounge

In total, the Next Car team covered 501 kilometres in the Fiat Punto. This included a 280 kilometre return trip from suburban Melbourne to Aireys Inlet.

At highway and freeway speeds we found the little Punto to be noisy. It was mission impossible to listen to the radio at 100 km/h.

The Dualogic is well suited to those with an exceptionally good sense of humour - until you get used to it at least! There may be some who will never get used to this automated gearbox. Changing from first to second takes far too long - you can feel the drag as the change occurs.

The conventional mannerisms of the Punto is enjoyable around an urban environment providing you can cope with the Dualogic transmission. My suggestion is to ensure you test drive the auto Punto before you buy because this particular auto transmission is not for everyone.

Nimble handling, precise steering and the compact dimensions make Punto an easy car to manage.

Living with Punto Lounge

The cabin is comfortable for two occupants. Entry and egress was good.

We cannot attest to the back seat as we did not have any rear seat passengers during our time with the Punto.

Good features include central remote locking, electric window control, cruise control, touches of leather, electric lumbar control for the driver.

Specifications

The Euro 5 compliant petrol engine has a 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine transversely mounted upfront which drives the front wheels. Power is 57kW at 6,000rpm and maximum torque is 115Nm at 3,250rpm.

A start/stop system is fitted to shut down the engine when the car is stopped. This is a common feature with European cars these days.

The automatic transmission is a five-speed robotised semi-automatic unit, which is standard on Easy and Lounge. A five speed manual is standard on the Punto Pop but not available with the Easy and Lounge. The semi-automatic Dualogic is not my favourite transmission.

Braking is by disc brakes at the front and old technology drum brakes at the rear.

The suspension is independent at the front and torsion beam at the rear.

Pop has 15" steel wheels, Easy has 15" alloy wheels and Lounge comes with 16" alloys. An emergency type of spare wheel is standard.

Electric rack and pinion power steering is standard. Turning circle is just 10.9 metres (minimum).

Safety

Punto Easy and Lounge come with seven airbags (Pop has 6 airbags), all versions feature electronic stability programme (ESP) and anti-skid brake system (ABS).

Fuel and emissions

Standard 91RON grade petrol is suitable for the Punto.

The factory indicate the fuel consumption rating is an excellent 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle for the auto.

Urban cycle rating comes in at 6.7 litres/100 kilometres and the extra-urban cycle is rated at 4.6//100km.

The fuel tank capacity is 45 litres.

Dimensions

Length: 4,065 mm
Width: 1,687 mm
Height: 1,490 mm
Wheelbase: 2,510 mm
Boot capacity: 275 litres, 1,030 litres with rear seat folded
Tare mass (Punto Pop): 1,024 kg (approx).

Towing

A braked trailer weighing up 1,000 kg is OK for the Punto with appropriate towing equipment.

After Sales

Punto comes with a three year/150,000 kilometre warranty (conditions apply in the usual manner).

Roadside Assistance is available for the warranty period (again, conditions apply).

Conclusion

The Fiat Punto possesses Italian flair with its pleasant design and it has a reasonable pricing strategy too.

However, once you get on the road with the robotised semi-automatic you recognise that the Dualogic transmission is disappointingly unrefined.



NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


E&OE



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