Fiat Punto Evo 1.2 Dynamic
- 06 September 2010
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The sun has been shining all week, there is no more beautiful place on earth than Ireland on a sunny day, but all this sun can mean only one thing, the kids are back at school. Yes, whenever the people who make the most of the sun have to go into their rather dull dilapidated school buildings the sun comes out to play. I went to Japfest in Mondello Park on Sunday, it turned out to be a great day for everyone, there were loads of things to do and see, plenty of action on the track, the smell of tyre smoke hung in the air.
The car that took me there was the little Punto, it has been brilliantly styled by the Italians; it looks modern and above all cute. It seems to be an update of the Punto Grande, the Evo badge has nothing to do with performance, just that the car has evolved into….another car.
The interior is solid and really well built; all the surfaces that you touch are soft and plesent. The Drivers’ seat is a little on the short side for my legs and the upright of the seat is firm, that aside it is a comfy little car for the driver. The back seat is tight though, there’s just about room for two adults back there. One note for you, I couldn’t get a rear facing child seat in the back without moving the drivers’ seat forward, you can’t put the child seat in the front because there’s no way to turn off the airbag, not big problems but just something that annoyed me.
Something else that annoyed me greatly is the MP3 player, its part of the Blue&Me system. It won’t play from a Creative Labs Zen, or at least I couldn’t make it work, it seems to be iPod or USB stick only. What annoyed me is that it took ages for any song to start playing and when you got out of the car after listening to a few songs, when you start the car again it would start playing from the beginning of the song list again, also it would play a whole song and instead of going to the next song it would just play the same song again, it frustrated me enough that I just listened to the radio. If you have an iPod its fine, just plug and go. The rest of the Blue&Me is fine, the hands free and voice control work perfectly if a little slowly.
The engine in my test car is a 1.2 petrol 8 valve, it outs out 65bhp and it needs every one of them, it’s a tad underpowered. There’s a sporty feeling to the handling, there’s no hint of under steer when you’re on the back roads, but the lack of power from the engine means you won’t be going fast enough to worry about corners. Out on the motorway the steering becomes very light and I might say vague, even at low speeds the steering is light, but you can make it lighter with the city button on the dash. There’s also cornering lights, when you turn a corner with your head lamps on the spotlight on the relevant side comes on to light up a bit more of the road, it’s a good touch and useful too, the down side, it’s part of what Fiat call a style pack that gets you said lights, 15” alloys and metallic effect side mouldings and bumper inserts for €495.
It’s around town where this car comes into its own, the light steering, gearbox and clutch makes town or city driving very easy, there’s great visibility out of all sides and a flat rear makes it easy to park.
At the beginning of the week the Punto annoyed me, the lack of power and MP3 problems, but crucially by the end of the week the little Evo had won me over. It feels like it’s been made and styled by humans, the little quirks just serve to give it a bit of personality, it’s a fun little car that will give you something to talk about.
The Punto Evo range starts out at €13,959 and goes up to the Eleganza model at €18,095. The model I drove had the Style pack, metallic paint making it 15,915 but with scrappage and eco bonus you could pick it up for around €12,500. There’s plenty of competition out there for the Punto but none have quite the same personality.
Visit www.fiat.ie for further details, and check back for a video review of the Punto this week.