Review: Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009)
Well-equipped. Good-looking and roomy hatch that's fun to drive. Five-star crash test rating.
You have to lift luggage over a high load sill in the boot.
Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009): At A Glance
Back in the 1970s, Fiat's advertising strategy was summed up in one word - brio. Every advertisment, every poster and every commercial told you the cars were as fun-loving as the Italians.
Then along came a change of strategy: "Built by Robots". Fiat's market share began to slide. And despite some decent cars, like the Tipo, Uno and the original Punto, Fiat was forever having to unload stock onto rental fleets to get it shifted.
Recenty, Fiat got back into "brio" with the Panda. No other small, cheap car has as much character or is as much fun to drive. There's a new UK MD, Giulio Salamone. Fiat customer care is being completely overhauled. Biggest surprise of all is how good the new Grande Punto is.
For £8,495 you can have the same car with a 75PS Multijet diesel engine and 5-speed box. For £10,195 you can have a 90PS Multijet with 6 speed box and more luxurious ‘Dynamic' spec that includes air-conditioning, leather steering wheel, front side and window airbags and alloy wheels. So the top versions only just encroach on list prices for the most basic Focus.
The one and only criticism is that, to achieve the car's excellent torsional rigidity, the hatchback sill is quite high. No good for dogs to jump over, for example. And impossible to load something like a mobility scooter.
The 90PS Multijet and 6-speed box are perfectly matched It pulls like a little train, revs sweetly and, because it's a very small, alloy block engine, the car remains agile unlike the usual ‘lump in the front' diesel.
What does a Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009) cost?
Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 264–1080 litres
List price value is very good too. It doesn't cost a lot of money, but it isn't a cheap car. For £7,594 (£1 less than list for its smaller predecessor, which continues in production selling at heavy discounts), you get height and reach adjustable steering, rev counter, height-adjustable drivers seat, ABS with EBS, ‘Dualdrive' electric power steering with two levels of assist, Fiat electronic immobiliser, remote central locking with remote boot release, seat position memory on 3-dr, dual front airbags, radio CD player with steering wheel controls. And even a proper spare wheel.
Child seats that fit a Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009) like to drive?
The Italian's aren't like the French. If their national cars aren't any good, they simply stop buying them. And over the past few years there has been a noticeable absence of the previous vast quantities of new FIATs on Italian roads.
Yet in the first few months from launch, Italians have bought 100,000 Grande Punto. In a mixed message strategy, Fiat sums it up as "Beautiful. Brilliant. Solid." Quite a lot to remember. But with its classy Giorgietto Guigiaro styling it is very good looking, especially from the front. It isn't riddled with innovative versatility like the Honda Jazz, but it does drive well and has the option of probably the World's most relevant engine, the 1.25 Multijet diesel. With a body 52% stiffer than the previous Punto it's certainly solid.
But I can't help feeling Fiat would have helped itself a bit better by emphasising the car's character. Like the basic Panda Active, the basic Punto Active isn't very powerful. Yet it's huge fun to drive. Far more so than much more powerful cars, because it does everything exactly right.
The gearbox gets the most out of the engine. The steering wheel has raised cushions to encourage you to hold it at ten to two. It takes off like an excited little puppy. And it handles perfectly.
Yet this isn't a tiny hatchback. At 4,030mm long it's actually biggest in the B Sector class. It seats five adults, with plenty of headroom even in the centre rear. It scored five stars in the NCAP crash safety tests, plus three stars for child safety and three starts for pedestrian safety, the best performance in its class. So underneath the fun you can have driving it, it's a very serious car.
|1.2||48 mpg||14.5 s||139–140 g/km|
|1.2 8V||50 mpg||14.3 s||136 g/km|
|1.3 16V MultiJet 75||63 mpg||13.6 s||119 g/km|
|1.3 16V MultiJet 90||61–63 mpg||11.9 s||119–123 g/km|
|1.4||48 mpg||13.2 s||139–140 g/km|
|1.4 16V||47–48 mpg||10.5–11.4 s||139–142 g/km|
|1.4 T-Jet 120||43 mpg||8.9 s||155 g/km|
|1.6 MultiJet 120||63 mpg||9.6 s||119 g/km|
|1.9 MultiJet 120||51 mpg||10.0 s||145 g/km|
|1.9 MultiJet 130||49–50 mpg||9.5 s||149–154 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Fiat Grande Punto (2006 – 2009)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
My Fiat Grande Punto is having various electric problems - any ideas before I go mad?
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What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 17%
- 4 star 50%
- 3 star
- 2 star 17%
- 1 star 17%