1996 Fiat Punto 55S 1.1 from UK and Ireland


Great to handle but not entirely reliable


The exhaust fell off at 25000 miles.

Head gasket blew after just 30000 miles.

The steering wheel has worked itself loose after 49000 miles.

Other smaller faults include regular replacement of front brake pads, wheels misaligned, flat battery and a faulty fan switch.

General Comments:

The car is very good to handle, light and easy to park although it has no power steering.

It has good power although only 1.1 engine.

The car seems to misbehave when hot, it shudders when going uphill.

It is difficult to see when the car is overheating, there is no gauge and when the overheating light came on my head gasket had already blown.

Beware of fiat dealers selling you a warranty. I took one out with them for £500 yet it covered none of the things I thought it would. The service that year cost me another £700, when I complained they took off £100.

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

Review Date: 29th July, 2001

1996 Fiat Punto GT 1.4 turbo from UK and Ireland


An Italian cruise missile


Both front and rear discs and pads need replacing, which is not cheap. There is a continual whining from the rear when the weather is hot and you are crawling in traffic, although this is apparently normal!!

Nothing else as yet, but I haven't owned it that long.

General Comments:

This car is absolutely mind blowing. Its looks don't shout hot hatch at you, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it's a special edition shopping car. However, it will blow most other hot hatches away with a blip of the accelerator. 136bhp and a 19psi turbocharger in a car that weighs a shade under a tonne, should hint at the potential under your right foot.

My sole criticism of the car's performance is that it is very erratic. It is controlled by an electronic bleed valve and it can, and will restrict the boost at the drop of a hat (if it's hot outside for example). The other related problem is that the car is very on/off - there is no happy medium. Below 3000rpm it feels like a slug, and above that, it feels like a rocket hit you up the backside!

Handling is nothing special. It could be better considering the power on tap, but I have experienced much much worse (most Fords for example!) It grips the road well enough but there is too much body roll.

It's looks are subject to personal interpretation. I happen to like the Punto's curves. All the GT gets is body coloured parts and some side skirts - put it this way, it won't be stolen!

Interior is pleasant. Sports seats are standard but are really lacking in side support. It looks typically Italian - very plasticy but rounded.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2001

1996 Fiat Punto 55 SX 1.1 from UK and Ireland


Can't be beaten in it's class on style!


My head gasket blew and took the cylinder head with it at 55,000 miles. A very expensive repair!

The head gasket went again at 57,000 miles, Got quite annoyed at this point!

Suspension was repaired within the last 18 months and needs repairing again now.

Little plastic bits are falling off the interior!

Passenger seat belt keeps jamming.

The stereo won't play tapes anymore.

Rust is appearing around the broken boot lock.

General Comments:

Despite the string of problems listed above, I love this car. It is very stylish to look at and the interior beats any other car in it's class.

The pedals are spaced out nicely and there are so many adjustments around the driving area it is almost impossible not to find a comfortable driving position.

The brakes are typically 'Fiat'. This being my third Fiat I am now getting used to the 'spongy' brakes and know that despite initial fears on braking, that you will stop!

Although it is a small car it's interior size is quite deceptive and with some thought a fair amount of luggage can be fitted in to it! With the arrival of child number two and a long drive to France in the offing, we have recently demoted the Punto to our second car and purchased a bigger car, but we are not getting rid of it!

The car is very nippy round town and can cruise quite comfortably at the speed limit on the motorway. Although is quite laboured at higher speeds.

With my driving I can get almost 400 miles out of a completely full tank of fuel which isn't bad considering I do very little motorway driving.

I find the actual body of the Punto a bit 'tinny' if you can understand that. There doesn't seem to be much substance to it. I feel that if I lent too hard on it that it might dent. I feel quite vulnerable driving it especially with the children in it and especially on the motorway.

The car has been well maintained. It is serviced regularly, annual mileage is relatively low and it is driven sensibly, for this reason I am very disappointed with the problems we have experienced with the Head Gasket and the suspension. I don't know why we have had such a bad run of it, but it has made me lose a little confidence in driving it any great distance. I think the problems we have experienced are more the exception than the rule.

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

Review Date: 30th June, 2001

30th Jul 2002, 20:49

I also have had a bad run of things with my fiat Punto 1995. Rocker cover gasket, head cover gasket,problems with engine cutting off at lights, one of the ignition coils and the Lambda sensor on the exhaust. Even diagnostics didn't pick up any of the faults.

30th Jun 2003, 11:38

My Punto (M reg) has blown it's head gasket and was fixed last fortnight and today my radiator poured lots of water everywhere and my head gasket may been gone again - find out tomorrow. My steering wheel radio controls do all sorts of strange things too! AND I have rust around my undamaged boot lock - hmm, a strange pattern is appearing!