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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.