2001 Fiat Punto Mk2 SX 1.2 16v from Denmark


The worst piece of crap ever!!!


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

2001 Fiat Punto ELX 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand


Less than what I expected


Summary: it's noisy, thirsty, and costly to fix and buy parts.

I bought this vehicle as a used Japanese import. It came with just one key, the first shock was trying to get a spare key made in NZ, you can't get one anywhere other than through a Fiat dealer, cost of the blank key nearly NZ $600, plus programming/cutting cost. At that price, I could get one made from solid gold from a jewelery store.

Reason I chose this car was for its economy; well, I was disappointed, a tank of 40 litres will do about 500km, not bad, but not great neither. Compare this to my Honda Fit (Jazz), 35 litres can do about 600km.

The noise, let's just say you can hear the engine clearly, and the road noise even louder and clearer, especially on the motorway (highway). The radio and the conversation in the car just fades away.

Another issue for the short time I had it, the battery went flat. That's fine, batteries do go flat with age. However, the warning light came on and won't reset, and it needed to be taken to the mechanic with the fancy computer scanner to reset it. A few guys quoted me $100 odd dollars just to reset the light. It seem like a small issue, but it's enough to fail the Warranty of Fitness in NZ (equiv of the MOT in the UK). Compare this to a Japanese vehicle, the mechanic said Japanese vehicles usually don't need a reset for such trivial matters, just disconnect from the battery for 10 seconds and the warning light will be reset.

As for the spare key problem I mentioned earlier. Well, I did a DIY solution on it. Consider the car is worth about $4500, a spare key cost over $600. What I did instead was I took the transponder chip out of the original key and glued it near the sensor under the steering column. And made a spare for $8.

General Comments:

Some positive points though, the seats are comfortable. The acceleration good. However, because of the noise, I rate the comfort rating down.

Would I recommend it, absolutely not.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th November, 2010

26th Nov 2010, 13:34

Your Fiat was designed (on the drawing boards) long and truly before the Jazz was out (I assume you are talking about one from the early or mid-'00s). Old technology. Not surprising.

But what I will say is that being a Japanese import, the automatic gearbox is what drags your fuel consumption down big-time. 500 km on 40L is 12.5 km/L.

My most recent cars were automatic Audis and a Galant, also automatic. Average consumption was about 8-8.5 km/L (40L goes 320-340 km) without air conditioning, city with some motorway driving. Consistently. Unless I drive to Tauranga or to the ski fields, it improves to about 12.5 km/L.

I just changed to a 2001 BMW hatchback, 1.8 with a manual gearbox. I log my mileage, and consistently, over two months, the same route gets me anything from 11 - 12 km/L (40L goes 440-480 km). It is NOT a light car - only about 100kg lighter than either the Galant or my old Audi A4. I'm certain that if you go ask a Fiat Punto driver with a manual gearbox, they'd probably be getting closer to 14-15 km/L (40L does 560-600 km). It won't get to the Jazz's level, as the Jazz is a far more advanced engine.

Ingenious on the transponder chip, very commendable! But, yep, new cars have very expensive keys. The Fiat's though was steeper than I expected. My Audi A4 needed a duplicate key, the blank was only $49 (another variant needs a $80 blank), and had to be programmed at the dealership for $75. My Galant's blanks were at $80, and coding was about $120 at a dealership. Perhaps the blank they quoted you had the remote control door lock buttons. Still, for a Fiat, steep.

As for resetting the warning light, don't go to a dealership. If you're in Auckland, there are numerous independent garages that specialise in European cars (try Italian Autos in Otahuhu) who'd probably charge much less. Unless Fiats are indeed more expensive to run than Audis and BMWs.