There is a phrase that says 'familiarity breeds contempt' but this certainly isn't the case with the Grande Punto. Originally put on the CompleteCar.ie fleet in order to give a compare and contrast until we take delivery of the new Fiat Punto Evo, the black Grande Punto has become a much loved part of the team and we've grown very fond of it.
Sure, the technology isn't that new, and this car has been around for a long time, but in 2010 with Ireland benefitting from the Government scrappage scheme, this car has become better value and more relevant than ever.
There is definitely something nice about spending a longer spell in one car, something we seldom do as road testers. It means you can make it your home and we have done just that. This car has spent most of its time commuting between Drogheda and Dublin on the M1 motorway, and while the 65hp engine does struggle a little bit with faster traffic, it is at its best at around 100km/h. If you push it harder than that, not only does it feel a little strained, but it also adversely affects the fuel economy.
The 'City' button is something that we laughed about before, figuring that the steering on the car wasn't that heavy in the first place, so why would you need to make it any lighter? But pull up alongside a tight parking spot in the centre of Dublin and this button becomes very welcome indeed, allowing almost supernatural parking ability. We love the standard equipment too. After coming out of a Hyundai ix35 with a plastic steering wheel recently, getting into the Grande Punto with its leather wheel and air conditioning makes the low price tag for this car seem unreal.
There have been some drawbacks. The driver's seat belt has become a little slack and the front right wing now needs the attention of a paint shop as a result of a hugely ignorant and seemingly oblivious shopping trolley user. The Blue and Me has been working great with the iPhone, giving access to your address book and if you hook up the device in the glovebox you have access to all your music too. It is these small things that really make a difference.
- Car: Fiat Grande Punto 1.2-litre Sport
- Colour: Black
- Price as tested: €13,495
- Specs: Front-wheel drive, 1.2-litre in-line four-cylinder petrol engine putting out 65hp at 5,500rpm; 102Nm at 3,000rpm
- Performance: Maximum speed 155km/h, 0-100km/h: 14.5 seconds
- Fuel economy (combined cycle): 5.9 l/100km
- Our average fuel economy: 7.5 l/100km (motorway and urban driving)
- Emissions: 139g/km
- Motor Tax Band: B
- Annual Road Tax: €156
- Cost of a fill up: About €50
- Usual Range: About 700km
- Options fitted: Blue & Me Media Player €295
- Mileage on car: 3,976km