Review: Abarth Punto (2010 – 2013)
Great performance from 165PS 1.4-litre MultiAir engine, manages to put its power down well, sharp in corners, ride is fairly forgiving for a hot hatch, comfortable cabin.
Small number of Abarth dealers in the UK, esseesse kit boost power to 180PS but costs an extra £3000.
Recently Added To This Review
The performance kit, which increases the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine’s power to 180bhp and adds other technical and cosmetic equipment, can be specified when a customer orders their car, or can... Read more
Replacing the Abarth Grande Punto, the Abarth Punto Evo was launched in July 2010 alongside the Abarth 500C. It features a good level of standard equipment including seven airbags, TTC, an Eco Gear Shift... Read more
Abarth Punto (2010 – 2013): At A Glance
When the Abarth brand launched in the UK in 2008 it was the Abarth Grande Punto that was the spearhead. Now the Fiat Grande Punto has been replaced by the Punto Evo - a revised version of the same car - and in turn the Abarth model has also been replaced.
The most obvious change from the outside is the new nose, inspired by the styling of the Fiat 500. It's had a mixed response on the Fiat Punto Evo, but on the Abarth version it seems to work much better, blending in well with the more aggressive bumper. It's certainly a great looking hot hatchback with plenty of performance appeal, including 17-inch alloy wheels, a chunky rear spoiler and a lower ride height thanks to sports suspension.
Of course, it's under the bonnet where it counts and here the Abarth Punto Evo doesn't disappoint. The 1.4 T-Jet engine from the Abarth Grande Punto has been replaced by a powerful version of Fiat's new 1.4 MultiAir engine. A power output of 165PS gives the Abarth Punto Evo a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds - slightly quicker than the model it replaces, yet it's still capable of averaging 47.1mpg, helped by an engine start-stop system.
The handling is impressive too with keen steering and good body control. It's sharp when turning in, helped by a new system called TTC (or Torque Transfer Control) which mimics an electronic differential and means it's very nimble through corners.
Inside there's a good quality cabin with some neat sporty touches and a much sleeker appearance than its predecessor. The Abarth Punto Evo also comes well equipped as standard with plenty of kit including seven airbags, cruise control, Bluetooth and air conditioning. For even more power there's an esseesse upgrade pack available which boosts power to 180PS.
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Abarth Punto (2010 – 2013): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 275–1030 litres
The interior of the Abarth Punto Evo isn't the sportiest around, but there are some neat touches to remind you that this is an Abarth - and something different from the norm. Obviously it's based in a Fiat, so the interior is identical to the Punto Evo with a smooth layout and a much sleeker appearance than the previous Abarth Grande Punto.
There's an unusual finish on the dash front, which was apparently chosen because it replicates the effect of tarmac on a race track. It's not that obvious, but it's certainly different from the standard plastics you usually find. Above it there's a leather dashboard with red and yellow stitching on the edges which adds a nice touch of quality.
The leather steering wheel is quite chunky and good to hold with special contours for your thumbs and a flat bottom while the unique dials have a racy look to them too. The gear lever surround is also leather, complete with red stitching while next to this you'll find the sport switch. Overall quality is very good and the gloss black stereo not only looks stylish but is easy to use, as are the ventilation controls.
The driving position is spot on while the sports seats, which are trimmed with soft black leather round the edges, are supportive enough to remind you this is a hot hatch, but comfortable enough that you won't suffer on long journeys. Elsewhere there are metal pedals with a foot rest plus all models get air conditioning as standard.
As with the Abarth Grande Punto, the Punto Evo model only comes as a three-door, in-keeping with its position as a hot hatch. Getting into the back seats isn't especially easy, but it's no worse than other three-door hatchbacks this size. Once there, you'll find pretty good legroom, although it can feel a touch cramped for taller adults.
Equipment from launch (July 2010):
The Abarth Punto Evo comes well kitted out with seven airbags (including a driver's knee airbag), ESP stability control, air conditioning, electric front windows, a trip computer, front fog lights, tinted rear windows, a rear spoiler, side skirts, read brake calipers, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, sports pedals, sports seats, an Interscope HiFi syste,. Bluetooth, a CD stereo, height and reach adjustable steering, cruise control and a height adjustable driver's seat.
Options include climate control, a leather sports interior, alternative 17-inch alloy wheels, side stickers and coloured mirrors plus special Abarth Corse seats by Sabelt.
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What's the Abarth Punto (2010 – 2013) like to drive?
Thanks to a new 1.4-litre MultiAir engine, the Abarth Punto Evo has the performance to back up those sporty looks. The MultiAir engine effectively replaced the 1.4 T-Jet engine in the Abarth Grande Punto, but has an extra 10PS with an impressive 165PS on tap. It doesn't have the immediate urgency of the T-Jet engine but it's a superior unit with a smoother power delivery.
It also has an extra 50Nm of torque (giving it 250Nm) and this is particularly noticeable in its ability to pull strongly in gear. It means the engine doesn't need to be worked hard to get its best performance and it will happily pull from low revs, so you don't constantly need to change gear or rev it hard. The other improvement is the way in which the Abarth Punto Evo is able to put this power down.
Unlike the Abarth Grande Punto, which often felt very light at the front under hard acceleration, the Punto Evo feels much more planted to the road. It can still struggle slightly, if it's wet for instance, but overall it's a far smoother car to drive quickly and doesn't feel as hard work. Despite these improvements in power and torque, the MultiAir engine is still impressively economical and will average 47.1mpg - an incredible figure for a hot hatch - thanks in part to a start and stop system which automatically cuts the engine when the car is stationary, such as at traffic lights.
On the move the Punto Evo is everything you'd want from a hot hatch, but it's comfortable enough to be a useable everyday car. The steering is nicely weighted with a reasonable amount of feel, while in corners the Abarth is very positive, giving you plenty of confidence to push on. Body roll is minimal too, so tackling a twisty road is great fun.
The Abarth Punto Evo also has a Sport Switch, apparently inspired by the steering wheel mounted controller in Ferrari's Formula One cars. It's down by the gear lever in the Punto Evo and has two settings - normal and sport. Selecting sport model makes the throttle pedal more responsive and the electric power steering becomes weightier.
This also engages the Torque Transfer Control system which uses electronics to mimic a limited slip differential. It basically brakes the inside front wheel, so effectively engine torque is transferred to the gripping outside wheel, making cornering tighter and sharper. You certainly notice the difference when it's switched on, especially in tight, slow corners, where you only need small steering inputs to get round.
|1.4 MultiAir||47 mpg||7.9 s||142 g/km|
|1.4 Supersport||46 mpg||7.5 s||142 g/km|
|1.4 Turbo||46 mpg||7.5 s||142 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Abarth Punto (2010 – 2013)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
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