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Fiat Grande Punto

Broadcast date : 9th July 2006

For the Grande Punto, Fiat called on the Armani of car design for the new hatchback’s sheet-metal suit.

Giorgietto Giugiaro designed the original Volkswagen Golf which imprinted the basic design DNA for modern hatchbacks over the past three decades. 

The interior of this Fiat is definitely up a notch on its Palio stable-mate, but plastic quality is still a bit too shiny in some areas, a bit too dull in others. 

The seat upholstery, however, has an interesting waffle imprint that looks classy.

The immediate impression when pulling away in the Punto is that, like all Fiats, it has one honey of an engine. 

The instant-switch to City-mode steering is made possible as Fiat, like many manufacturers these days, uses electrical power-assistance for steering effort, instead of traditional hydraulics. Feather-light, but lacking in feel around the suburbs.

What the macho Car Torque testers didn’t like was the lack of travel in the suspension settings, resulting in a less than sure-footed feel. But the Grande Punto does have good safety features.

And so to the heart of the Punto. Fiat engines are always the primary focus of its engineering team and the Italian company has made no exception in this case.

The Grande Punto ranges includes a model called the Punto 1,2 "Active", but our test model had the new 57 kilowatt 1,4 litre "Fire" engine. This family of Fiat engines is so-named because of its ultra-efficient combustion characteristics.

It runs a very high 11:1 compression ratio which gives it high torque at low speeds, and it revs effortlessly.

The 1,4 Dynamic costs a R129 000 and offers plenty of typical hatch versatility to go with its good looks and performance.

Fiat Grande Punto 1,4 Dynamic

  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 1 368 cc
  • Power: 57 kW @ 6 000 rpm
  • Torque: 115 Nm @ 3 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 13,4 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 165 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 6,5 litres/100 km (claimed)
  • Price: R129 000
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