It was quite a while after the UK launch of the passenger car lineup, but the front-wheel drive Grande Punto Van finally appeared in showrooms in the Autumn of 2007.
There’s just the one offering and it uses the same Euro 4, 1.3-litre common rail turbodiesel as found in the previous model, but this time around it produces 75hp; an increase of 14 per cent. Peak torque of 190Nm is available from a usefully low 1,750rpm.
Front suspension is an independent MacPherson struts arrangement with an anti-roll bar while the rear relies on a torsion beam axle. Telescopic dampers are fitted all round. Brakes are ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear. ABS is fitted as standard and an ESP system is on the options list. Dualdrive electro-hydraulic power steering comes as standard. Prod the ‘City’ button on the dashboard and extra assistance is provided to aid with those tight parking manoeuvres. In our opinion the standard setting is a bit on the light side to begin with, so this is really a bit unnecessary.
Access to the 1m3 cargo bay is by means of a top-hinged tailgate. A wash/ wipe system is a £20 option, which seems a might stingy. A half-height steel bulkhead topped off by a full-height plastic mesh grille is fitted to protect the cab occupants from any errant load items. The flat load floor is 1,200mm long, has a maximum width of 1,034mm and is 842mm high. The maximum gross payload is 520kg.
The standard specification is good with remote central locking, electric windows and door mirrors, heightadjustable driver’s seat, rake and reachadjustable steering column and a radio/ CD player.
Servicing is required every 18,000 miles and the warranty is Fiat’s standard three-years/100,000 miles.
Grande Punto is a stylish, small carderived van powered by an excellent and fuel-efficient 1.3-litre diesel. All that really lets it down is the over-assisted power steering system.