In-depth Reviews

Fiat Punto hatchback (2012-2018)

"The Fiat Punto supermini is an affordable Ford Fiesta rival, but it’s based on older technology and hampered by a poor reputation for build quality"

Carbuyer Rating

1.9 out of 5

Used car deals
Owners Rating

4.1 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Low running costs
  • Comfortable ride
  • Cheap to buy

Cons

  • Poor used values
  • Based on dated technology
  • Zero-star safety rating from Euro NCAP

The Fiat Punto was once one of the best superminis you could buy, winning the Eupean Car of the Year award in 1995, but Fiat became slower at replacing each generation and the Punto began to lag behind the competition in terms of driving dynamics, efficiency and safety. Fiat instead focused its attention on the 500, Panda and Tipo models.

The last generation of the Punto was produced from 2005-2018 and over the years it was known as the Grande Punto, the Punto Evo and finally the Punto. During the car’s 13-year lifespan, the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa benefitted from complete redesigns and came to outclass the Punto in every department. As a result, the Punto depreciated heavily and can now be bought very cheaply on the used market.

Best small hatchbacks

Like many ageing models, the Punto’s once-wide range of engines and trims was reduced as its life went on. That meant the fun TwinAir petrol and diesel engines were dropped, leaving two fairly mediocre petrol engines in 1.2 or 1.4-litre guises. Neither could hold a candle to the latest turbocharged engines in the Punto’s rivals, but if you’re looking to pick up a later model of the Punto cheaply, we recommend the 1.4-litre.

Claimed fuel economy of around 50mpg is acceptable, but CO2 emissions of 124 and 132g/km aren’t competitive by modern standards. While that doesn’t make a difference to the road tax paid by private motorists – it’s £145 a year across the board for 2017-18 models - petrol Fiestas were more efficient, cheaper to run and better performers.

The driving experience lags behind rivals, too, although light steering and a compact size makes the Punto easy to drive around town. Soft suspension means it leans quite a lot when cornering, but it’s at least comfortable on a motorway drive.

Just two trims were available towards the end of production, Pop+ and Easy+. The more basic of the two features 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a CD player with MP3 compatibility and a trip computer. The more expensive Easy+ added 16-inch alloy wheels, front foglights and tinted headlight clusters to enhance the car’s looks. The interior is improved with climate control, heated door mirrors, a leather steering wheel and gearknob, while a sat nav will help you get to your destination.

The five-door-only Punto has a decent amount of rear head and legroom, but its 275-litre boot is bettered by the 290 litres in the Fiesta and well behind the 330 litres in the Skoda Fabia.

Although the Fiat Punto hadn’t appeared in our Driver Power ownership satisfaction survey for several years, Fiat as a brand is showing signs of improvement. It placed 15th out of 30 manufacturers in 2019. Better news still for buyers of used Puntos, is that the extra long production run and older technology should mean the car will be relatively free from major problems and should be easier to repair if anything does go wrong.

When it comes to safety, the Punto has become an unfortunate symbol of just how far car development has progressed in recent years. Soon after its 2005 launch, Euro NCAP – the independent body that oversees crash-testing in Europe – awarded the Punto its maximum five-star rating. However, when subjected to 2017's far more rigorous tests, the Punto became the first car ever to be awarded a zero-star safety rating.

Most Popular

Updated Peugeot 5008 starts at £29,585
Peugeot 5008 SUV
9 Oct 2020

Updated Peugeot 5008 starts at £29,585

Cupra Formentor SUV review
Cupra Formentor SUV front 3/4 cornering
Cupra Formentor
13 Oct 2020

Cupra Formentor SUV review

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k
Volkswagen ID.3 - front 3/4 view - 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
Volkswagen ID.3
14 Oct 2020

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k

More on Punto

Zero-star safety rating for Fiat Punto
Fiat Punto hatchback
13 Dec 2017

Zero-star safety rating for Fiat Punto

Euro NCAP consider Fiat’s aging supermini as ‘past its sell-by date’
Fiat Punto Jet Black 2 launched
Fiat Punto
1 May 2014

Fiat Punto Jet Black 2 launched

Special edition Punto gets lots of kit, but model's showing its age
Fiat Punto gets new specification
fiat punto sporting hatchback 2013 main
Fiat Punto hatchback
2 Aug 2013

Fiat Punto gets new specification

The Fiat Punto range has been updated, improving equipment and adding a new spec level
Fiat Punto Jet Black announced
Fiat Punto hatchback
16 Apr 2013

Fiat Punto Jet Black announced

The limited edition Fiat Punto Jet Black has been revealed, priced from £12,000.
Car deal of the week: Fiat Punto Easy
Fiat Punto
3 Apr 2013

Car deal of the week: Fiat Punto Easy

You can drive away in a brand-new Fiat Punto Easy for just £8,500