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

2001 Fiat Punto Mk2 SX 1.2 16v from Denmark

Summary:

The worst piece of crap ever!!!

Faults:

I have only had the car for one and a half years, and in this period, I have driven 26.000km in it. During that time, the following things have gone wrong:

- Cam belt (not at fault, but pay attention that it has to be done every 3 years or 80.000km!).

- Wiper connection fell off due to wear, and had to be replaced.

- Oil pan was corroded and had to be replaced.

- Ignition coil, spark plugs and cables had to be replaced.

- Lambda probe had to be replaced.

- Cab blower does not work on steps 3, and the whole control panel must be replaced.

- Clutch squeaks, and must be replaced at some point.

- Exhaust has also been replaced.

- A/C is not working, and must be refilled.

General Comments:

The Italians are good at design, and I've always liked this Punto model.

It is reasonably fast, with its 80 HP.

It is very quiet in the cabin, especially when driving on motorways, because of the high gear ratios.

This also makes it economical, and it typically runs 17 km / litre in normal driving on motorways. Parts are reasonable cheap, but you just need too many of them! The reason is that Punto is constructed cheaply.

Be aware that the paint is thin, so it easily gets damaged paintwork, and therefore rust.

I am 191cm tall, and with normal seat adjustment, there is not much space behind the driver's seat.

The seats collapse in the foam, and the seat upholstery are not of the best quality, since it is difficult to keep clean if you get a spot on it.

I used to drive a XM, which until this, had the title as the worst car I had ever owned. But it had also been driven more than twice as much as the Punto.

I am used to French cars, and they are not known for their reliability, but this car beats everything!!!

Italian again??? Never ever!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th February, 2012