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Fiat Punto (1999-2005) Buying Guide

Fiat Punto (1999-2005)
Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Fiat Punto (1999-2005)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

After the MkI Punto of 1994-1999, the MkII version looked sharper, drove much better and was far less likely to rust thanks to its galvanised bodyshell. But interior space was still on the tight side and reliability was never quite sorted. The MkII Punto offers good value for those on a budget however, but check the car isn't riddled with faults.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Sharp looks
Good ride/handling balance
Four-star EuroNCAP rating
Excellent multijet diesel engines
Over-light power steering
Needs more interior space
Not especially reliable
Key Dates 
10/99Punto II on sale with choice of 1.2 (8v or 16v) and 1.8 petrol engines or 1.9 turbodiesel. Speedgear sequential manual gearbox also available.
7/00ABS now standard except on base 1.2.
4/01Punto 1.8 HGT Abarth on sale; as regular HGT but with skirts, spoilers, alloys and more sporty interior.
7/03Facelifted Punto appears, with bigger headlamps, revised grille. 1.4-litre petrol engine now available along with excellent 1.3 and 1.9-litre multijet turbodiesel powerplants.
  • Listen for rattling from the 1.2 16v engines, indicating incorrect pistons have been fitted.
  • A squealing water pump suggests impending timing belt failure.
  • Problems with throttle potentiometer, throttle body and air pressure sensor of 1.2 16v - check for uneven running and odd throttle response.
  • Head gasket can fail on 1.2 at around 35,000 miles.
  • Gearbox and clutch can be short-lived.
  • Door hinges can fail; they need to be greased regularly.
  • Incorrect racks were fitted to some 2000-registered Puntos; the electric power assistance can suddenly be lost.
  • Leaks lead to waterlogged footwells.

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