new Fiat Grande Punto, successor of the
Punto, Uno and 127.
24th September 2005.
It didn't take Fiat
too long to find a new industrial partner.
Just a few months after the end of its
financial alliance with
(from July 2000 to February 2005), the Italian car maker
has just agreed a manufacturing contract with the other US
automotive group, Ford
Motor Company, to develop a common platform (on a
platform, according to Automotive News, 9/9/2005) for the
new generation Fiat 500
to be launched respectively by end 2007 and early 2008.
Punto in 5-doors body.
Before that, Fiat
has just launched its other important weapon, with great
hope to reduce its debts: the new generation Fiat Punto,
as Fiat puts it this time to underline the significant
size growth between the two Punto generations.
Although the Italian brand has launched
another new model recently, the Croma,
the fact remains that its core market, like many other
European automakers, lies between the lower medium
(C-segment, which includes the Fiat
Mégane and others) and the
small category which includes the B-Segment (supermini,
like the Punto, Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, VW Polo...) and
the smaller minicars
(like the Fiat Panda, 600, Ford Ka, the PSA/Toyota common
project trio: Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and
the Renault Twingo...).
According to figures published by the
European carmakers association, ACEA (Association des
Constructeurs Européens d'Automobile), and based on AAA
(Association Auxiliaire de l'Automobile) statistics, each
of the lower medium and the small segments had over one
third of last year's total European passenger car market
(total of 14,516 million passenger cars sold in the EU-15*):
33.4% for the small-car category (B-segment and minicars),
and 33.7% for the lower-medium, or C-segment.
choices and options for interior trim,
colours and equipment.
Comparatively, and according to the
same sources, Croma's upper-medium category, or the
D-segment, represented last year a market share of 12.9%.
Significantly enough, Automotive News
(20/9/2005) and AutoWeek editors voted the Grande
Punto the "Most
Significant" car (to Fiat Auto Survival) at the 2005
Frankfurt motor show (15-25 September).
With petrol prices rising, and until
the European brands catch up with Toyota and Honda's lead
in the Hybrid technology, smaller body sizes and engine
displacements can be reasonably expected to attract even
more adepts in the coming years, in Europe and elsewhere.
Developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro
together with the Fiat
Style Centre, the Grande Punto rounded lines hint to
sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s, with other nostalgic
hints such as the small angular window in the front doors
(near the side mirrors).
external dimensions for 3- and 5-door
External dimensions put the Grande
Punto in the higher end of its category: 4,03 metre long
(+19 and 16.5 cm compared to the previous Punto 3- and
5-door versions), 1,68 m wide (+2 cm), 1,49 m high (+1 cm)
and has a wheelbase of 2.51 metres (+5 cm).
Only a few years ago, these external
dimensions would have put the Grande Punto in the
C-segment (lower-medium category), rather than in its
B-segment, supermini category. But most other models are
growing too, not just the Punto.
So, the Grande Punto takes a leap
forward compared to the Punto (of which, over six million
units were sold in Europe since 1993), as the latter did
to its predecessor, the Uno (1983), and as did the Uno
to... remember, the Fiat
The Grande Punto comes in:
- 2 body types: 3- or 5-doors,
- 4 equipment levels: Active, Dynamic, Emotion and Sport
(see equipments below),
- 6 engines: 2 petrol choices and 4 diesels (see engines
- 13 body colours and 12 types of interior.
Passive safety features include
(equipment may vary between markets) up to 7 airbags (six
are standard on the Dynamic and Emotion specifications),
two of which (front two) are of the multistage type;
three-point seat-belts with pretensioners and load
limiters, five head-restraints.
Once inflated, the curtain bags protect
the heads of both front and rear passengers, since they
cover the whole windows and guarantee protection even if
the car overturns.
Two sidebags built into the squab of the front seats,
protect the pelvis and chest of front seat passengers in a
side-on collision, regardless of their stature, position
or seat adjustment.
A knee-bag is available also as an option (driver).
The new model features Isofix
attachments on the rear seat and the possibility to
deactivate the passenger airbag from the onboard computer.
Active safety includes ABS
anti-lock braking system which incorporates the EBD
electronic brake effort distribution system between the
While ESP (standard on the Sport
version) helps to correct the trajectory by braking the
relevant wheel (inside or outside) individually and
reducing the engine power (by adjusting the throttle
valve), it integrates as well (when fitted) the Hill
Holder function, assisting the driver on hill starts, by
maintaining pressure on the front brake calipers for about
1.5 seconds after the brake pedal is released, allowing
the driver to set off more easily. Of course, in downhill
starts, the Hill Holder is deactivated. The same is true
for hill starts in which reverse is engaged: downhill the
system is activated, whereas uphill it is not activated.
touch with the small rectangular glass in
the front doors.
The HBA, or electro-hydraulic braking
assistant automatically increases the pressure in the
braking circuit during emergency braking (also called BA,
Brake Assist in other brands), to compensate for some
drivers hesitation to exploit the full braking potential
(it is partially an inherited habit from the pre-ABS era,
when full braking used to lead to skidding).
Steering - The “Dualdrive”
electric power steering comes standard on all versions
(worth checking in individual markets, especially outside
The servo-assisted steering exploits an
electric motor rather than a hydraulic pump driven
directly by the engine. Steering response is variable: the
higher the speed the lower the effect of the servo, and
the greater the effort on the steering wheel, the more
precise the steering.
The electrical servo-assist also offers
a choice between two different settings. One for
out-of-town routes, the second (makes the steering lighter
and requires less effort) for in-town driving and parking.
The latter is engaged by pressing the ‘city’ key at
the centre of the facia. To guarantee maximum safety at
all times, the two programs have the same level of servo
assist above 30 km/h, so that the response of the steering
wheel is suitable for high speeds.
Suspension - Compared to the
previous Punto, the new tracks are wider (an average of
+70 mm at the front and +75 mm at the rear) and tyres are
larger (from 175/65 15” to 205/45 17”).
The geometry of the front suspension
adopts lower links in a right-angled triangle to separate
the braking loads from cornering loads and enhance balance
in all driving conditions. The new front geometry also
allows the car’s turning circle to be limited: on
average it is about 10.6 metres, a very similar value to
that of the previous Punto, in spite of the larger wheels
and longer wheelbase.
The rear suspension is semi-independent
and features interconnected wheels with a torsion axle
designed to increase structural rigidity and to increase
the flexibility of the suspension under load, by
optimising the bushes between the rear axle and the
Brakes come throughout the range
with ventilated disc brakes on the front wheels, drums or
discs at the rear.
The 1.4 8v and 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet are
available with ventilated 257 x 22 mm disc brakes and 228
mm rear drums (203 mm on the 1.2 8v).
The 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet and the 120 bhp
1.9 Multijet adopt 284 x 22 mm ventilated discs; 228 mm
rear drums for the 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet and a solid 264 x
11 mm disc for the 1.9 Multijet.
Engines - Two petrol (below, 1
and 2) and four diesel engine (3 to 6) choices are
available, with output ranging from 65 to 130 bhp.
version in 4-passenger specs.
1 - The 1242 cc 4-cylinder (two valves
per cylinder) Fire engine (petrol) delivers 48 kW (65 bhp)
at 5500 rpm and takes the car to a top speed of 155 km/h.
Maximum torque is 102 Nm at 3000 rpm with a consumption
(manufacturer's figures) of 7.9 l/100 km (urban cycle),
5.1 l/100 km (out of town) and 6.1 l/100 (combined cycle).
2 - The 1368 cc (two valves per
cylinder) petrol engine gets 57 kW (77 bhp) at 6000 rpm
with a peak torque of 115 Nm at 3000 rpm. Top speed is 165
km/h, and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 13.2
seconds. Consumption figures are 7.7 l/100 km in the urban
cycle, 5.2 l/100 km out of town, and 6.1 l/100 km in the
3 - The 1.3 16v Multijet (second
generation direct injection Common rail diesel engine) now
comes with a variable geometry turbo. It delivers 90 bhp
(66 kW at 4000 rpm) and peak torque of 200 Nm at 1750 rpm.
Top speed is 175 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h
takes 11.9 seconds. Consumption figures are 5.9 l/100 km
in the urban cycle, 3.9 l/100 km out of town and 4.6 l/100
km in the mixed cycle.
5-doors versions come with 5-passenger
4 - The second 1.3 Multijet diesel
engine delivers 75 bhp (55 kW at 4000 rpm) and peak torque
of 190 Nm at 1750 rpm. Top speed is 165 km/h with
13.6 sec. from 0 to 100 km/h. Combustion figures are 5.9
l/100 km in the urban cycle, 4.0 l/100 km out of town and
4.7 l/100 km in the mixed cycle.
Both the 75 bhp and the 90 bhp versions
share the same engine architecture: 4 cylinders in line,
1248 cc, 16 valves driven directly by twin overhead
camshafts via rocker fingers with a roller.
5 and 6 - The 1.9 Multijet comes in 120
bhp and 130 bhp versions.
Both have 4 cylinders in line, two valves per cylinder.
The first delivers 120 bhp (88 kW) at 4000 rpm and 280 Nm
at 2000 rpm; the second gets 130 bhp (96 kW) at 4000 rpm
and of 280 Nm at 2000 rpm.
Turbo boost is provided by a variable
geometry Garrett VGT 17 turbo blower with electronic
control that helps to improve the power delivery, but also
generates very high torque at low engine speeds.
capacity is 275 litres, with practical
The 120 bhp 1.9 Multijet engine gives a
top speed of 190 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h
in 10 seconds (the Sport version with the 130 bhp 1.9
Multijet engine gets 200 km/h and 9.5 seconds
Fuel consumption is 7.5 l/100 km in the
urban cycle, 4.5 out of town, and 5.6 in town (the 130 bhp
1.9 Multijet gets 7.6, 4.6 and 5.7).
A range of gearboxes was
developed to match the engines. They are 5-speed manual
for the 1.2 8v, 1.4 8v and 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet engine,
or 6-speed manual for the 120 bhp and 130 bhp 1.9
Multijet engine and the 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet. A robotised
Dualogic gearboxes will also be available later.
Equipment - Depending on
versions, the rear seats have a fixed or 40-60 split squab
(boot volume is 275 litres in normal configuration). The
3-door Grande Punto offers seating for two rear passengers
as standard (a third passenger on request), whereas the
5-door version is homologated for 3 rear passengers.
In Italy, the basic version (Active)
standard equipment list includes ABS with EBD (the ESP
which comes standard on the Sport version), Dualdrive
electric power steering, front airbags, electric front
windows, remote control door release, reach and height
adjustable steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s
seat, rear head-restraints, radio wiring with 6 speakers
and a trip computer.
is continuing its perceived quality
The Dynamic version adds manual
climate control, curtain bags, sidebags, radio with CD
player and steering wheel mounted controls, leather
covered gear lever knob and steering wheel, and a split
folding rear seat on the 5-seater version.
Emotion specifications add a
dual-zone automatic climate system, 15” alloy wheels,
fog lights, Cruise Control, electric lumbar adjustment and
a front armrest.
The Sport version gets 17”
sporty alloys, side skirts, a spoiler, fog lights and a
visible chromed exhaust terminal. Customer can also ask
for one of the two special bodywork shades that are
exclusive to this version: Passionate Red and Entertaining
Orange. The Sport is also equipped with ESP, a leather
covered steering wheel, gear lever knob and handbrake
lever, special suspension setting, aerodynamic kit under
The Active and Dynamic specifications
offer a choice of three interior colours, while the
Emotion and Sport outfits offer two environments in two
different shades. Leather upholstery is available as an
Optionally too, the Grande Punto offers
three levels of audio systems (Hi-Fi, Hi-Fi with subwoofer
and an ‘Interscope’ Hi-Fi sound system), a large
panoramic opening sunroof, a hands-free telephone system
with Bluetooth technology and voice recognition, cruise
control, rain sensor, parking aid and a tyre pressure
Instrumentation is available in two
different versions. The multifunction display gives access
to different menus and sub-menus in Italian, English,
German, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Flemish or Polish,
and allows the use of many functions such as the time,
date, programmable beep, radio data display, check
control, etc. The trip computer provides a set of data on
journeys, consumption (both instant and average), average
speed, remaining range, traveling time (from the start of
the journey), and mileage traveled.
* ACEA's EU-15
countries include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United
Kingdom. For more information: www.acea.be