In The Cabin
The Punto Evo is available as either a three or a five-door and both offer good passenger space. The three-door model looks good (especially the Sporting models) but getting into the back is tricky - although no worse than any other three-door car of this size. There's enough space for four adults though, and the five-door is ideal for families as getting to the back seats is easy thanks to wide opening doors.
The interior has been given a revamp and the hard angles of the Grande Punto have been replaced with softer curves and higher quality switches, giving it a more inviting feel. Features such as the piano black stereo surround and deep-set dials add to the stylish look and it's comfortable too, helped by improved seats with decent support. Sporting models get sports seats with extra side support and they're certainly effective. The quality and finish are good, although there are some areas where the plastics don't feel as nice to touch.
Sound-proofing has been improved over the Grande Punto so the Punto Evo is noticeable quieter on the move, despite a little wind noise around the front pillars, especially on the three-door versions. It's disappointing that air conditioning isn't standard on all models (the base level Active does without it) and neither is ESP stability control, but the Punto Evo is still decent value, with all cars getting a CD stereo with steering-wheel mounted controls and electric windows.
The clever Blue&Me system is also fitted as standard. Developed with Microsoft, this lets you make and receive calls on the move and can even read out text messages. It allows you to listen to MP3 players or music stored on memory sticks via the USB port.
Elsewhere, the driving position is very good thanks to plenty of adjustment in the seat plus reach and height adjustment in the steering column. The boot is about average for this class of car, but the biggest gripe is the high boot lid which makes loading (and particularly) unloading anything heavy quite a struggle.
Equipment from launch (January 2010):
The base-level model has electrically adjustable door mirrors, 15-inch steel wheels, height adjustable driver's seat, electric front windows, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, driver and passenger airbags, driver's knee airbag, Blue&Me and a CD stereo.
Adds a leather steering wheel, leather gear lever, split folding rear seats, air conditioning, side and window airbags, fitting for the Blue&Me TomTom sat nav.
Gets metallic finish bumper inserts, 16-inch alloy wheels, interior ambient lighting, cruise control, rear parking sensors, rain sensitive wipers, dual-zone climate control, ESP stability control with a hill holder function and a third rear head restraint.
Comes with a rear spoiler, dark tinted headlights, front foglights, air conditioning but doesn't have the climate control, cruise control or ESP of the Eleganza.
The great looking Sporting has side skirts, a chrome exhaust pipe, 17-inch wheels, sports seats, cruise control, air conditioning and ESP.