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Essential value from new Punto

2011-07-05 12:36

ITALIAN POLO: Exchanging Emotion for Essence, Fiat’s Punto range now offers better value. Picture gallery.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Fiat
Model Punto Essence
Engine 1.4-litre petrol
Power 66kW @ 6 000rpm
Torque 115Nm @ 4 500rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 15 sec
Top Speed 160km/h
Fuel Consumption 7.3l/100km
Service Intervals 20 000km
Warranty 3 year/100 000km
Price R139 900
Fiat has replaced its headline Punto Emotion with the Essence nameplate.

Though powered by the same 1.4-litre engine (good for 66kW/115Nm) found in the discontinued Emotion, the new Punto Essence is sustantially less expensive than the car it replaces, at R139 900 versus R158 500.

What distinguishes the Essence from its entry-level 1.2-litre Active sibling?

Well, the exterior carries front fog lights, body-coloured door releases and 15" alloy rims wrapped in 195/60 rubber as opposed to the 1.2-litre’s 165/80 profiles.

ABS AND AIRBAGS

Mechanically, the Essence has anti-lock boosted brakes (not standard on the Active) with electronic brake pressure distribution. The car’s suite of safety features is completed by two front airbags, an upgrade from the Punto’s Active grade, which has no inflatable crash protection.

The Essence’s greatest gain in equipment involves cabin comfort and convenience features. Its automatic aircon, trip data computer, front and rear power windows, Bluetooth phone synchronisation and CD/MP3/USB enabled six-speaker sound system are all add-ons from the Active specification level. There's also a dual-tone cabin fascia and leather- trimmed steering wheel.

With its characteristically stylish Italian design and comprehensive equipment levels, the Punto Essence would appear to offer better value than the Emotion grade it replaces. Factor in, though, that the three-year/60 000km service plan is an R8 310 option…

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