Two new super-clean engines are set to win fresh fleet interest in one of Fiat’s most familiar small family cars.
With sub-100g/km of CO2 now available from Twinair petrol and Multijet diesel motors, the Punto joins the growing number of superminis boasting exemption from VED and congestion charges.
Official economy of more than 80mpg from the 1.3-litre diesel coupled with one of the lowest emissions figures in the sector promise to boost awareness of the brand with fleets, believes senior product manager Robert Lake. The 0.9-litre petrol engine offers 98g/km of CO2 and 67.3mpg.
“Even though competition is keen in the B-segment and the Punto is up against some strong rivals, we believe these latest versions will be hard to beat in terms of performance, packaging and price,” he said. “Compared with the Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion, our new 1.3-litre diesel car comes with matching economy, but provides an extra 10bhp and has higher torque.
“Despite having like-for-like specification, it costs almost £2,000 less. I think we’re setting set the benchmark in value.”
“Traditionally, the Punto has been a retail car, but we are confident the extended range will prove more attractive in the business market, particularly with SME buyers, the public sector and user-choosers looking for the best combination of style, space and performance.”
He added: “Both the Twinair and Multijet versions should be attractive propositions, but I think we have a particular opportunity with the diesel. This is not an expensive car and it could well be that our estimate of 8,500 Punto registrations this year proves to be conservative.”
Subdued at idle and refined throughout its rev range, the second-generation Multijet engine is a smooth performer that behaves in a more nimble fashion than is suggested
by acceleration figures and feels relaxed at motorway cruising speeds.
Linked with a five-speed gearbox with well-spaced ratios, the engine uses a smooth-operating stop-start system that is claimed to boost economy by up to 15% in city driving and comes with a dashboard prompt to encourage drivers to use the correct ratio.
It also features an intelligent alternator to optimise battery recharging when the stop-start unit is in operation.
In Easy trim, specification includes air conditioning, remote locking, daytime running lights, a 60-40-split rear seat, heated mirrors and body-coloured door handles.
New bumpers and restyled wheels improve external appearance and neat instrumentation and a softer-touch dash panel help upgrade the interior. For its neat overall dimensions, the car is roomy and height and reach steering and a height-adjustable driver’s seat is standard.
By Maurice Glover