2001 Fiat Punto 1.2 8v from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Yes it may have some faults/issues, but I have come to love this car

Faults:

Overall not much.

The only major thing was I had to have the steering column changed because of the power steering system being erratic. Having investigated, it seems that this is a known fault for this car. This was in about 2014.

Had to replace the wiper motor in about 2010, which is still going fine now.

Replaced the timing belt in 2010 as well - just as a precaution - and am due to renew it again any time now.

General Comments:

Bought this car when it was 6 months old, and for about 9 years it was the main family car. It has a lot of space for a small car and it is easy to fold the rear seats down.

It is not the most powerful car on the road and we never overtook many others when we were full up, but it's fine for the engine size. The engine seems to be very good and runs sweetly, even now.

Yes it's a bit basic inside, which I'm okay with, but hey it all still works and it is still fun to drive.

Fiats are generally known for their unreliability and poor build quality (which these days is improving), but I will say this - since owning the car for nearly 18 years it has only had 1 garage service (after 14 years I thought I'd treat it). I have just done the basic servicing myself - normal replaceables - plugs, oil etc. In all this time it has never failed to start and has never broken down at the roadside. I have come to love this little car and will keep running it until it finally dies one day.

Lastly, when in 2017 it got nominated as the 'worst car' by the Which magazine, I loved it even more. Still going.

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

Review Date: 17th March, 2019

17th Mar 2019, 20:50

They are still decent, modern, sharp looking cars. Fun to drive. The motoring press always gave them negative reviews in regards to reliability. I tend to agree as most of my other cars (Fords, Vauxhalls, BMWs, etc) lasted over 10 years with relatively no problems, and easily outlasted anyone with a Fiat that I knew of.

My own family had a couple of them from brand new; a 1996 Fiat Punto first model and the updated 2000 model - but both fell to bits at around only 5 years old. Very poor, and we looked after ours as well. But it's good to know there are some good ones out there. What I don't understand is why reliability/quality is so variable with Fiat's when they were all built in the same factory to the same standard...

9th Apr 2019, 17:50

Me again. Just to say that I have now had the timing belt changed, as I am optimistic that it will still be around for a few more years yet. I hope so. We'll see.

2001 Fiat Punto 1.2 8v petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Cheap, reliable motoring, but not "seat-of-your-pants"

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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