Once the radio or CD has been playing for a few minutes the invisible passenger switches it off, and if I switch it back on, sure enough a few minutes later off it goes again.
It only seems to happen occasionally and I do have another more conventional theory to explain the ghostly happenings – the single-slot CD player/radio is sited directly above the heating vents. Would the considerable heat generated to counter recent chilly mornings be the problem?
In the meantime, I have found the Punto pleasant to drive. Although it struggles with motorway driving its low gearing makes for great fun on country roads or darting around a busy town centre.
The 1.3-litre Multijet engine provides two of the biggest plus points for the Punto – it is Euro IV-compliant and therefore attracts no 3% diesel levy for company car tax, and is currently running at a respectable 56.7mpg.
The Punto has also impressed with its deceptively capacious boot, easily taking both pushchair and weekly supermarket shopping. Unfortunately the Punto is now playing catch-up with the latest generation of superminis on rear legroom.
The seats are quite firm and comfortable, but the interior is finished with almost glossy hard plastics in two-tone grey which look cheap and do nothing to help the Punto in the style stakes, while the ride can become choppy on poor surfaces.
It was interesting to see in the recent Fleet NewsNet supermini group test (October 9, 2003) that the Punto, when compared against the equivalent model Toyota Yaris and Nissan Micra, did not fare well, with a poor performance on running costs and being less fun to drive.
While there is some merit in choosing the Punto because of its hi-tech diesel engine, it is easy to see why cars like the Micra and Yaris are more desirable. Julie Jackson
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £29 per month