1998 Fiat Punto 85SX 1.2 16v from UK and Ireland
OK, it's not japanese, but if you look after it, it will look after you!!
Nothing to worry about.
58k - the clutch release bearing wore (could not select/deselected gear), causing the clutch pins to break, although I admit the car was driven hard. Managed to get a reconditioned clutch from Arnold Clark Fiat for £60 with a 1 year warranty, and fitted it myself.
59k - front strut bushing worn, caused a knocking sound, £15.
60k - replaced HT leads as the engine was badly misfiring, £20.
Obviously wear and tear items as well.
Aren't Haynes manuals a wonderful thing!
The 85SX IS basically a Sporting, minus certain added extras, such as black cloth interior, factory alloys, airbag etc. It uses the more efficient 1242cc 16v engine producing a crazy 86bhp! (a 1.2 16v Corsa produces 64bhp). The good thing is that it has the Sporting's power, minus the badge!
Front fog lights.
Insurance group 6.
The car as standard handles very well, in both the wet and the dry. Put a set of 15" wheels on it with good tires, and it sticks like glue, although rolls like a hippo when pushed! I've solved this on mine by uprating the suspension with a -60mm GMAX shocks and springs lowering kit, and the car handles like a go-kart! I really have surprised a lot of people and myself on the odd twisty back road. The steering is predictable, safe and solid, both in the wet and the dry.
I've also fitted a Sportex mild steel 3' cat-back exhaust system (£109 at fastfiat.com) with a stainless de-cat pipe and a Pipercross air filter, and it sounds amazing.
Recently I swapped 15" wheels for 17" wheels. The drive is definitely not as good, acceleration is slower, cornering is heavier, but the looks are amazing!
FIAT = Fix It Another Time - in my case not true, after 1 year of ownership I have found my Fiat to be reliable, economical, predictable and reassuring, never leaving me by the roadside (touch wood).
It came with a full fiat service history up to 40k, and the rest will be done by me as I trust my work more than a dealer's prices!
There's plenty of space and leg room in the front, and it will seat 4 adults on a long journey comfortably.
The downside is the position of the foot pedals; the angle is wrong, and it does cause some pain to your leg muscles until you get used to it! But the clutch rest pedal is a simple but handy extra. The seats are too hard, but it's not meant to be a sports car.
Brakes have never been as good as my dad's Corsa, but the discs are wearing thin, so an uprated set will be ordered soon. This should hopefully solve the problem.
Recalled to check the brake lines, and the rears were replaced free of charge. The car was left with FIAT Arnold Clark Dunfermline at 9am, and the car was collected by 3pm; job done!
I've rated the dealer high because they (Dunfermline) were genuinely very courteous, polite, called to let me know how the car was going when in for recall, and no problem with stocking parts or sourcing parts from other dealers in the area. Reasonable prices for certain parts.
I've rated performance low, because yeah it's nippy around town and will cruise comfortably on the motorway, but at the end of the day, it is only a 1.2.
Comfort's low, mainly due to the hard seats; you sit ON them rather than IN them, and the pedal angle.
Lastly, a full tank of 40 litres (around £30) will get you 300 miles sensible driving, and around 270 miles if you like those red line moments!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st January, 2004
Owning the same car, but unmodified and around half the mileage, I can say that if you move away from 14 to 15 inch tyres you will have a drop in performance. Also, I hope you changed the speedo with that as wheel diameter affects the readings.
Also, note that this is one of the quickest, if not the quickest unmodified, non-sports (SX) 1.2 litre engines in the UK.
I found the best combo on tyres was to have slick radials on the back (low tread) and ones with plenty of grip on the front (high tread). This way you will get maximum grip on while not losing speed. I've seen many new expensive cars with such combos BMW to name.