Fiat Grand Punto Hatchback 2006-2010

Fiat Grand Punto Hatchback 2006-2010

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Styled by Giugiaro
  • A good choice of engines
  • Built on a proven international platform

Cons:

  • Some controls are awkwardly placed
  • Steering lacks sharpness

Overview

The Punto has grown up, waved good bye to its teenage years and become an accomplished vehicle. Jokes aside, it's not really the same car ‐ in fact it's an Opel heavily restyled by Italian designers. The car is developed on the famous Gamma platform that was developed in 2000 to be used for Opel Corsa cars. In 2002 a new version of the platform was developed in collaboration between German and Italian engineers. The Grande Punto was the first car to be mass-produced on the improved Gamma platform. Soon after the new Vauxhall Corsa followed. Today, the same platform is shared by several compact cars made by Fiat, Vauxhall and Chevrolet.

Exterior and Interior

It is a beautiful and accomplished car. Having been styled by Giugiaro design studio, you don't expect anything but excellence. It follows the wedge-style of the Stilo and loosely resembles the original Punto from the front. However, it shows that employing a professional designer really pays off because the end result is a well-proportioned car that looks bigger than it actually is. The car was designed to excite and surprise. It's the little details that are making the car so beautiful. After all the boring and drab Fiats of the late 90s, this was really a fresh breath of air for the struggling Italian manufacturer. When it just appeared in 2005 it was the biggest car in Fiat's range (not counting the multipurpose utility vehicles) and it looked confident enough for the role of the flagship. It has got a very tasty dashboard with a distinctive wing-shaped feature at the centre. The same shape continues in the steering-wheel making the cockpit a harmonious place. The anatomic seats are very comfortable and hold the body well even in high-speed cornering. Although in some body trims it looks even flashy, the car at its core is practical and sensible. It is a proper 5-seater without any compromises to comfort and ergonomics. The driver's position is comfortable and the cleverly shaped seats will keep you comfortable even during long tiring rides.

Performance and Economy

The top-of-the range 1.9 Multijet diesel engine is a great unit giving a power of 130BHP. It is a high-revving engine and is rather quiet, so much so that you need to be careful to not forget it isn't a petrol engine. This is a great car for people who are reluctant to give up their petrol car in favour of a diesel. This doesn't really feel like a diesel ‐ it can accelerate to 60mph in 9 seconds and reach a max speed of 124mph. Despite its size, it still delivers pretty decent fuel economy averaging at 45mpg. The smallest 1.2-litre engine might be too weak for your liking but it is still a reasonable choice if you're not driving outside the city borders. The most popular choice in the second hand market is one of the 1.4-litre petrol engines.

Like to Drive

It is capable of sporty driving both in diesel and petrol versions. The car accelerates quickly and is comfortable to drive at high speeds. Steering is something that lets many Fiats down and it is not perfect on the Punto either. However, there's nothing particularly wrong with it only you'd expect it to be that little bit more responsive. Flicking a special switch will turn on the City Mode making it easier to park the car and negotiate tight corners. Overall, it is not disappointing and the Grande Punto is where driving a Fiat stops being an embarrassment.

Faults and Repairs

Considering it shares a platform with the Vauxhalls, and given the well-developed and aged range of powerplants, most of the Grande Puntos on the used car market are sound and reliable. It is less prone to breaking down than other Fiats of similar age. The low price-tag is what usually attracts people to buying a Punto and normally you should expect to continue enjoying low budget motoring because maintenance cost is also quite low.