What is the Fiat Punto Evo? Well, it’s a small, environmentally-friendly car that’s easy to park, affordable to run, but is stylish, safe and fun to drive too. It’s also pretty quick.

It has a bold look inside and out, cloaking a strong structure that makes it protective, good to drive and welcoming for passengers. And under the hood, the Evo 1.4 16v MultiAir 135 Sporting, on test here, conforms to Euro 5 emissions requirements and is fitted with Start&Stop technology as standard. This gives improved fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions, which means lower car tax.

But what’s the Evo Sporting model like to drive? Basically, it’s speedy. It’s also agile and enjoyable. That’s the bottom line. With almost 100bhp per litre at your command, the car accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, yet also offers a remarkable 50.4mpg and a CO2 figure of just 129g/km. And, okay, because the Fiat has racy on-road behaviour, it does sacrifice comfort for a hard ride – especially on B roads, but its direct steering, road
holding and assertive looks make up for it. Also, quick little cars need powerful brakes and I’m pleased to say that the feisty Fiat doesn’t disappoint.
It has ABS anti-lock braking with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with Hill Holder to assist with starting off on a slope. It’s all very reassuring.

Inside, the three-door 135bhp Sporting model is still big enough for a family of four, although you’ll struggle to fit anything more than the weekly shopping in the boot. It’s a deep, relatively practical, rectangular load area,
but it really isn’t going to swallow lots of luggage, or even a large pushchair.

The cabin appears to be well screwed together and the seats are sporty and hold you in just the right places. The materials used on these and the door panels make the Punto Evo look and feel sophisticated. A classy piano black panel surrounds the sound system’s LCD display and includes buttons for functions such as the central locking set into it. The instruments feature large dials for the speedometer and rev counter, and these sit within a cowl that shades them from bright light. The instrument panel also features a gear shift indicator which advises you when to change to a higher or lower gear, depending on conditions, and a ‘real time’ indication of consumption.

The Fiat features a generous amount of standard equipment including front driver, passenger and driver’s knee airbag, five standard-size seats, two rear head restraints, front electric windows, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, electric mirrors, and Blue&Me infotainment – which works with TomTom technology.

The Blue&Me system also works in conjunction with Fiat’s eco:Drive software. Downloading this from the Fiat website enables you to use the in-car USB port to transfer information about your driving to a PC. You can then request an assessment of your skills at the wheel, compare yourself with others and progress through a series of tutorials to make your driving style more environmentally sound. Impressive, or what?

So, if you’re after a speedy, green, hatchback with lashings of dynamism and gadgetry, then have a look at the Fiat Punto Evo 1.4 16v MultiAir 135 Sporting. The diminutive Italian motor is a real blast to drive and yet it’s affordable to buy and run too.

 

PROS ‘N’ CONS

  •  Handling √
  • Performance √
  • Economy √
  • Small boot X

 FAST FACTS

  •  Max speed: 127 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 8.5 secs
  • Combined mpg: 50.4
  • Engine: 1368cc,    4 cylinder, 16v turbo petrol
  • Max. power (bhp): 135 at 5000 rpm
  • Max. torque (Nm): 206 at 1750 rpm
  • CO2: 129 g/km          
  • Price: £14,500 OTR
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