2012 Fiat Punto: Technology meets style
The new 2012 Fiat Punto builds on the Italian company’s heritage of producing mould-breaking, class leading small cars. Aimed at the most competitive and dynamic sector of the car market, the 2012 Punto cements its hard-won reputation as a stylish, technologically advanced supermini.
Available with either three or five doors, the new Punto features a wider range of planet pleasing engines, more equipment, and more choice of specification than ever before. This enables it to meet buyers’ ever more demanding requirements for smaller, more environmentally friendly cars that are affordable to run, easy to live with, yet still chic, safe, comfortable and fun to drive.
The simplification of the name to simply Punto matches the rationalisation of the look, with a new exterior design, a new range of exterior colours, new alloy wheel designs, new colours and materials inside, and a new engine with the ground-breaking TwinAir joining the line-up.
The importance of the new Punto shouldn’t be underestimated. The supermini segment accounts for approximately a quarter of all the new cars sold with around 30 models from Europe, Japan and Korea all vying for a share of the market. Since its launch in 1993 the Punto has been a leader with more than 8.5m vehicles sold throughout Europe. The new 2012 Punto is tasked with developing this while appealing to a younger customer profile.
The five trim levels, Pop, Easy, Lounge and the new GBT and TwinAir, reflect this. The Pop version has been designed to appeal to price sensitive customers who don’t want to forego style just because they’re buying a very affordable car. The interior boasts stylish denim inserts on the seats, all models get Daytime Running Lights and the Blue&Me TomTom LIVE infotainment system can be specified.
The Easy version will be the big seller of the 2012 Punto range and features a combination of style and technology. Additionally, this gets body-coloured door handles and mirrors, remote control door locking, a rear bench that splits 60/40, heated mirrors, plus manual air-conditioning.
The range-topping Lounge gets new trim for the interior and features a new finish to the dash. Other luxury touches include sculpted sports seats, a front arm rest, climate control, cruise control, white ambient light on the dash and front fog lights.
The GBT model, built to celebrate Fiat’s support for British Cycling, is based on the Easy version, with sportier wheels, lowered sports suspension, darkened privacy glass, a body coloured rear spoiler and side skirts. The TwinAir model is also based on the Easy with 15-inch multi-spoke diamond finish wheels, glossy black mirror covers and door pillars, unique seats, and darkened privacy glass.
Compared to the Punto Evo range that the new model replaces, the engine line up has been rationalised too. It now includes the award-winning TwinAir Turbo engine which offers the performance of a four-cylinder combined with the economy of a two-cylinder and the sound-track of something that thrives on being driven.
Fiat’s clever MultiAir technology also features in a pair of 1.4-litre engines, one with a turbo, one without. The MultiAir philosophy controls combustion directly through the intake valves rather than by the throttle to give better efficiency and more power than other similarly sized units. The petrol line-up is completed by conventional 1.2 and 1.4-litre units which use the latest variable valve timing to ensure they’re as economical as they are fun to drive.
Finally there are a pair of class-leading MultiJet 2 diesels. These put out 75 and 85hp with the latter engine benefiting from more new technology to emit just 90g/km of carbon dioxide.
All this is housed in a re-working of the Punto’s now familiar shape that makes it even more handsome and brings it right up to date.