First Drive: Fiat Punto Van

Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

While Ford and Vauxhall have been trading blows between the Fiesta van and Corsavan respectively in their quest to offer ever-improving emissions lows, Fiat quietly sneaked up on the rails with a revised Punto van.

 Revealed at the Commercial Vehicle Show earlier this year, the new three-model line-up uses the same 1.3-litre diesel and spans a pre-VAT £1000 price range, at £500 intervals, from the 75hp sub-£11,000 entry point through the 85hp middle model to the 95hp range-topper.
The two higher models both feature stop/start as standard, which makes them more efficient than the 75hp model, where it’s a £180 option. The 85hp model driven here comes with a fuel economy figure of 80.7mpg, which compares well with the big two in the car-derived van segment – the Fiesta van’s 85.6mpg and the Corsavan’s 78.3mpg.
The revised Punto Van replaces the Grande Punto Van in a facelift that adds colour-coded front and rear bumpers for a “more sophisticated look” according to the Italian brand, while the interior is updated with what Fiat describes as sportier seat fabrics, and on the 95hp version – the only one available in the higher SX trim – new soft-touch materials. Better standard kit includes electric and heated door mirrors and a reach- adjustable steering wheel. The extra £500 step from the 85hp model tested here to 95hp also brings aircon (a £420 option on the other trims), driver’s knee airbag and rear spoiler.
The interior quality isn’t quite up with the Vauxhall or particularly the Ford, but then that’s also the case with the car version so there’s little surprise with the LCV derivative, although the Punto is an older model than its competitors.
But the Punto Van does come in around £750 cheaper than its most efficient Ford and Vauxhall rivals. That’s a fair wedge of cash, even if it’s 10hp less powerful and not as enjoyable to drive as the others, and gives the Fiat a useful edge to bring it back into serious contention for businesses looking for one of these handy urban vans.



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