The smaller car industry is massive here in Ireland and it's easy enough to see why. When you look at the amount of learner drivers on our roads, young singletons, people who have a "run around" and people who want to take the hassle out of driving - especially in cities, it just makes sense for them all to go for something that bit smaller.
Over the years Fiat had a bit of a bad name, and then there was the jokes - you know, the one about what Fiat stands for? Fix It Again Tony. Well, I have to say that Fiat are proving themselves as a brand that can be trusted. Look at the amount of ten-plus year old Puntos driving around our streets. They're everywhere. Even my next door neighbour has one.
The Fiat Punto we are looking at this week is the model which spanned 1999 to 2010 - the second generation.
The second generation of Punto was launched in Frankfurt in 199 and was initially codenamed Project 188. What Fiat did this vehicle was to keep the general style from the previous model but they completely changed the chassis and interior of the new model. The car itself was available in petrol and diesel.
Overall this car is generally a reliable enough machine - provided you take care of it. On the plus side this car is easy to drive. Generally you will also find them new or used at a reasonable enough price. On account of their small engines if you buy a pre 2008 model you're tax will be low enough and if you buy a model which was registered after July 2008 it will have low enough Co2 emissions. I have generally found the Puntos I've driven over the years to be fuel efficient too. Personally I would rank this machine along the same lines with the Fiesta in that it is a perfect type of machine for learner drivers - it's also handy for people who have difficulty when it comes to parking.
One of the biggest problems I have come across is a steering fault. Warning signs include a sign on you dashing indicating that there is a problem with the ESP (Electric Power Steering) and more seriously you may notice that your steering becomes very difficult to manage. From my research it appears that this problem is due to some of the systems being worn down.
Other issues I've come across, especially in models from 2004 are gear problems where the car won't actually move when put into gear.
The majority of problems I have come across are generally avoidable provided you maintain your car correctly. The issues I have encountered appear to be related to wear and tear and by actually getting it checked every so often you should be able to eradicate these problems before they get out of hand.
As I say at the end of all of these second hand reports I highly advise that you get the vehicle checked by a mechanic before you buy. You don't want to be spending your hard earned cash on something that could potentially let you down.
Read our other Fiat Reviews: http://www.cbg.ie/cbg-official-reviews/fiat/all-models/new-cars-reviews/