Fiat Punto Evo – Review
By Liam Bird
I’m sorry. Wherever possible I like to use my own photographs of the car I’m writing about. However, the deluge that accompanies my time with Fiat’s new Punto Evo, along with with the mixture of mud and other debris that seems to be covering nearly ever road I drive the car on, means that soon after Fiat’s new Punto has been delivered to me it resembles something suitable only for the farmyard.
I wash it, only for it to get covered in crud again. I apologise, but this month we’ll all have to make do with Fiat’s own press photos. It’s a shame. The Punto would have looked good in my viewfinder. Revisions to its already familiar shape include a new front bumper and radiator grille which contain the direction indicators and clever, if none-the less optional, adaptive cornering fog lights.
These not only switch on automatically, left or right, to illuminate the apexes of bends when negotiating low speed corners but also flash once when you’re changing lanes. At the rear there’s a new bumper to incorporate the number plate and more distinctive rear lights. They’ve also made the Fiat logo double up as a boot release, helping to improve the lines.
“Ever so light”
Inside, criticisms about the old Punto’s interior are addressed. The hard-edge surfaces of the previous model are replaced by softer touch materials and curvier, swoopier designs. This radical redesign halves the size of the centre console.
A piano black panel surrounds the radio’s LCD display and includes buttons for functions such as the central locking and the ever-so-light – and arguably unnecessary – City mode for the steering. Both the speedometer and tachometer feature larger dials, and sit within a new cowl that shades them from bright light and there’s a gear shift indicator. This advises you when to change gear, depending on conditions, plus a ‘real time’ indication of your fuel consumption.
“Benefits in power”
It’s loaded with safety features too. The Punto’s body panels hide a stronger structure that makes it safer and therefore, so Fiat claim, better to drive. Standard equipment includes knee airbags, double seatbelt pre-tensioners and ESP with a hill holder function to stop those embarrassing roll-back moments when you’re facing uphill.
But the biggest changes occur under the bonnet. The Punto is now available with Fiat’s innovative MultiAir engines. MultiAir is Fiat’s new electronic system for dynamic control of air intake, cylinder by cylinder, stroke by stroke. This electro-hydraulic valve actuation technology is based on the use of a high pressure oil chamber between the camshaft and the intake valve. It optimises combustion efficiency, resulting in benefits in terms of power, torque, fuel consumption and emissions. It also means that the tax disc on a Punto Evo MultiJet will set you back only £35.
The 1.4 105bhp engine offers respectable performance and all the controls, including the gears, have a light yet precise feel. So, if you’re considering an attractive, practical, four-seater hatch, but you don’t want to follow the Fiesta or the Polo crowd, maybe you too should direct your focus towards the Punto Evo.
Fiat Punto Evo 1.4 16V MultiAir 105 Dynamic
Engine: 1368cc Inline 4 Cylinder SOHC MultiAir
Transmission: 6 speed manual
Power: 77 bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque: 96 lbft @ 4000rpm
0-62mph: 10.8 sec
Max Speed: 115mph
Mpg: 49.6 (combined)