2001 Fiat Punto 1.2 8v petrol from UK and Ireland
Cheap, reliable motoring, but not "seat-of-your-pants"
Door handle broke off.
Loud banging noise from the rear of the car under certain conditions e.g. driving over bumps with a passenger in the back. Never diagnosed the problem, but it may have been the rear brakes. Ruled out the suspension.
I bought the Punto as I had taken my main daily driver off the road and needed a runabout for a few months. It was the cheapest car with a valid NCT that I could find, costing just €350. I was, however, wary that Puntos are notorious for over-heating engines and head-gasket failures, but this one had low mileage and was well kept.
I did many 2-hour motorway journeys in the car to and from college, as well as commuting about the city. I owned the car for about five months, and the only complaint I have is the flimsy door handles and an odd banging noise coming from the rear. This sounded like some part of the braking mechanism could have been sticking, but because it was only a temporary car, I never bothered looking into it properly.
I never had a mechanical issue with it and the engine continued to run sweetly all the time. However I did find it rather odd that Fiat didn't include an engine temperature gauge on their entry level 8v model.
The performance was acceptable for what it was, but wasn't as refined on the road as the Fiesta 1.25L and it didn't handle particularly well in comparison either. It included this "city" power steering option, which lightened the steering, though I never bothered with it. It's said to be a troublesome system too, though mine didn't act up.
Inside it's surprisingly roomy, and with the back seats down, there's ample space for a mountain of luggage.
Running costs are low. It's decent enough around town and on the motorway. Cheap to tax and insure, and as popular as the common cold so parts are easy come by.
For cheap motoring it's a cheerful runabout, though it's better to really dig deep and find a good one. They can be problematic as is well documented. However a well maintained one can provide you with a great bargain, though if I was buying again, I'd plump for the much nippier 16v Sporting model. I always found the 8v a complete bore and I eventually swapped it purely due to the lack of driving enjoyment - nothing else.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th October, 2014