In addition to a very mild facelift, the Fiat Punto has undergone a raft of modest changes elsewhere, including updated trim levels, a slightly revised cabin and a pair of new engines.

Blink and you’ll miss the cosmetic upgrades, but they consist of a new front bumper and grille, marginally different rear lights, new alloy wheels and more paintwork options. The dash material has changed but that’s about as far as it goes inside, while trim levels have been brought up to date with the rest of Fiat’s range and are now referred to as Pop, Easy and Lounge.

The big news for the Punto is exceptionally low running costs courtesy of the additional engines, both of which generate 85hp. The two-cylinder turbocharged Twinair petrol unit, familiar from the 500 and the Panda, offers 98g/km and 67.3mpg, while a new 1.3-litre Multijet diesel generates 90g/km and 80.7mpg. They’ve been added to the outgoing line-up, so all of the Punto’s existing engines remain available.

The Twinair engine is billed as the most refined version yet in the Punto, courtesy of a dual-mass flywheel to cut down on noise and vibrations. That’s a realistic enough claim, but its Achilles heel is the fact that it has been fitted

to a car that’s too heavy. Its sprightly nature in Fiat’s smaller cars is lost on the larger Punto and you really need to be reaching the top of the rev counter to experience significant progress, negating some of the mpg benefits.

The new diesel is much better. Though not the traditional choice for a supermini, it’s punchy and reasonably refined until driven hard. Factor in the exceptionally low costs and it becomes a no-brainer. Neither of the new engines is expected to make a big dent in the sales charts, with the more conventional 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol units tipped to account for the majority of sales.

The Punto is competent enough and the rock-bottom running costs are compelling, but the cheap-feeling interior and the fact that it’s getting on a bit leave it lagging behind the stronger competition.

Fiat Punto 1.3 Multijet Easy
P11D price £13,345
Model price range £9,900-£15,600
Residual value 27.9%
Depreciation £9620
Fuel £4749
SMR £1531
VED £0
National Insurance £2325
Cost per mile 34.7p
Fuel consumption 80.7mpg
CO2 (tax) 90g/km (10%)
BIK 20/40% per month £28.9/£57.8
Service interval 21,000 miles
Insurance (1-50) group 13
Warranty 3yrs 60,000 mls
Boot space 275/1030 litres
Engine size/power 1248cc/85hp
Top speed/0-62mph 107mph/13.1secs
On sale June 2012
Score 7/10
Verdict Low running costs
but behind the
times in most other areas