1996 Fiat Punto S 1.1 petrol from UK and Ireland


The perfect package at first, but let time tell..


Niggling faults right from the start.

Within a few days there was a mysterious tapping from the offside front tyre. I replaced it and it stopped.

It was a nightmare at the petrol pumps! Every few seconds the car would refuse to be re-fueled! It was embarrassing!

During winter it took several attempts to unlock the car-and the locks weren't frozen!

After 7 years of the car being on the road, a letter came through the post demanding a recall due to worries about the brakes!

The car needed new rear radius arms, which cost a fair amount (about £400 altogether).

Recently the engine has been reluctant to accelerate, and it took several attempts to start it up.

Apart from that its been generally reliable.

General Comments:

It was a fairly well-built car (i use past tense because I wrote it off a few days ago!).

For a 1.1 litre modern engine, it wasn't as economical as I expected. I got an average of about 40mpg. Its pretty slow off the mark as well and I didn't fully trust it.

However, it was refined, and a good cruiser for the motorway. It comfortably drove at 80mph. The seats could be better though.

Ride and handling weren't great-i crashed because the car skidded into the back of a Volvo.

The main attraction to me buying it was its looks, space, and low insurance and tax. Running costs proved to be expensive for a small car though.

After reading reviews from magazines I was expecting reliability. I got it to a certain extent. It was far from japanese standard-but what do you expect, it is Italian after all!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th October, 2003

1996 Fiat Punto Selecta 1.2i from UK and Ireland


Great fun, but not built to last


Drive shaft clip broke at 43000, £350 to fix.

Electromagnetic clutch failing at 53000, £1000+ to fix.

New tires worn in 10000, £150 to replace two front tires.

General Comments:

Fantastically smooth acceleration due to the CVT gearbox.

Cornering stability is poor.

Side wind has massive effect on stability.

CVT gearbox is keeps on going wrong and very expensive to repair.

Body work is very easy to dent and damage.

Brakes (without ABS) locks up very easily.

Car tends to skid very easily.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th August, 2003

8th Oct 2004, 08:04

I own a 1999 Punto Selecta with 42k miles since new and I can fully comprehend the review of this car.

The gearbox has recently failed with the Electromagnetic clutch also cited as a definite failed component. This alone has virtually written off the car.

The car does seem to have little traction even with two new tires at the front.

I have also had problems with the drive shaft and front suspension (various noises) but this hasn't worsened. The car electrics are not as good as with other vehicles I have owned; the rear wash wipe motor is dead, some dashboard lights come on incorrectly and radio cassette is unreliable.

The design of the car is generally good and it is nice to drive and pleasant to be in apart from the poor traction/ brake power and severely underpowered engine unit. Fiat should have made the selecta a 75SX selecta model with the 16v 1.2 engine.

29th Oct 2004, 06:12

I have a 1996 fiat punto cabriolet. I have also found the extremely bad traction, handling and skidding is a major issue with this car. I recently braked lightly to stop and the brakes decided to lock up and skid. There has always been a bad 'clunking' sound when on full lock from the drive shaft, but in the last couple of days this sound has became persistent when driving along normally. Regarding the gear box, mine is very reluctant to go into 1st gear most of the time.

I have a 1.6 model which is obviously going to drink a lot of petrol, but recently, along with the 'clunking' sounds, the petrol has started to go extremely quickly.

I think a new car is needed!