The second series of Fiat Group’s successful and widely acclaimed Grande Punto has just gone on sale in the UK.
The popular supermini range, which is an important player in the hotly contested B segment of European markets, receives a number of significant changes, notably a five year unlimited mileage warranty, Fiat’s Blue&Me hands-free entertainment and communications system as standard equipment across the range, the introduction of a new ‘GP’ version, and the addition of Fiat’s acclaimed 1.4 8v engine to Active and Dynamic specification cars.
“Two and a half years after the launch of the Grande Punto, we have used the opportunity of the Series 2 range to adjust it to respond better to changing market trends and customer demands,” says Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK. “We are delighted to announce the arrival of this new car.”
The 1.4 8v engine joins the Grande Punto’s current range of 1.4 16v and 1.3 and 1.9 MultiJet turbo diesel engines. The petrol units provide a significant improvement in performance and driveability while maintaining low levels of fuel consumption and emissions. The 1.4 8v engine will be available in Active and Dynamic specifications and is expected to form the core of sales in those trim levels.
Last year Fiat introduced the Active Sport range and created the choice between comfort (Dynamic & Eleganza) and sport (Active Sport & Sporting) versions. The introduction of the new GP version has helped to simplify the structure. It joins the Sporting version under the ‘sport’ banner while Dynamic and Eleganza trim levels come under ‘comfort’.
New GP version added to range
The new GP version replaces the Active Sport. Featuring a unique sporty interior trim, sports instruments, new ‘dark’ headlights, foglights, rear spoiler and new, larger 16-inch alloy wheels, its price positions it competitively in a part of the market which includes young drivers who want chic styling and a sporty appearance without insurance-crippling performance. The new GP is available with the latest 1.4 8v (77bhp), the lively 1.4 16v StarJet (95bhp) and the widely acclaimed 1.3 16v MultiJet diesel (75bhp) engine.
New interiors, instruments and front grille make the Series 2 Sporting version visually distinguishable, while the addition of cruise control as standard will please many customers. The 1.4 16v engine has been deleted from this version but the 5-door 1.9 130bhp MultiJet has been added. The prices of the petrol T-Jet versions have decreased slightly when compared with the outgoing range.
The addition of Blue&Me to the entire range includes the entry-level Active specification, which also gains body-coloured wing mirrors and a digital instrument display incorporating an exterior temperature read-out. This version is also now powered by the 1.4 8v 77bhp engine as well as the 1.3 16v MultiJet. The Dynamic version also gets Blue&Me while the 1.2 engine has been replaced by the 1.4.
The top-of-the-range Eleganza version is enhanced with even more equipment. As well as attractive 16-inch alloy wheels, the Eleganza gains ESP, cruise control and rain sensors as standard, for a minimal increase in price. Two engines, the 1.4 16v StarJet (95bhp) and the 1.3 16v MultiJet (90bhp) have been added to this range.
Colours and trims
Three new colours have been added to the range while four colours are deleted. In come Rap Yellow, HillBilly Azure and Ska Red, and out go Bolero Red, New Wave Blue, Caribbean Orange and Psychedelic Azure.
The GP version gets an all-new sporty interior trim, while Dynamic and Sport both have minor revisions – instruments are differentiated between ‘comfort’ (white on black) and ‘sport’ (white on grey) versions, and all types now get the digital display including an external temperature read-out. The coloured strip across the dashboard becomes ‘carbon-fibre’ effect on Dynamic, GP and Sporting versions.
Grande Punto GP and Sporting owners will now be able to personalise their cars with a series of stickers and door mirror covers. The addition of these options further highlights the sporty characteristics of the car and are designed to appeal especially to younger drivers.
The scheme follows the success of a similar personalisation plan for the Fiat 500, and offers five different sticker styles and four door mirror covers. Among the sticker designs are an Italy flag sidestripe, chequered finish sidestripes, and bonnet and roof striping. Door mirrors are finished in white, steel grey, chrome or black. Stripe designs cost £150 while the mirror covers cost £70.
Blue&Me is an innovative system that allows drivers to use their Bluetooth mobile phone in the car and listen to music in digital format. Blue&Me can be controlled either by voice or by steering wheel buttons, which means that the driver’s attention is not distracted from the road.
It consists of:
- Controls on the steering wheel.
- Hands-free kit with Bluetooth technology.
- High level voice recognition.
- Compatibility with most Bluetooth mobile phones.
- USB port in the glove compartment.
- Compatibility with most media players with a USB connection.
With it, owners can make and receive phone calls, see the names and numbers of their phone book on the display of the instrument panel, use voice controls to call a name or number from the phone book without taking hands off the steering wheel, and listen to MP3, WMA and WAV audio files loaded on a device with a USB connection.
Drivers can choose the categories (Artist, Album, etc) by using voice control and can scroll through the list of songs shown on the display of the instrument panel using the steering wheel controls.
The USB connection is a standard USB port which enables drivers to connect an MP3 music player to the car. In the Grande Punto, the port is in the glove compartment. As some USB pen drives can stop the glove compartment door closing if plugged directly into the port, Fiat provides a USB extension cable with each car.
Options: The options range on the Series 2 is similar to that of previous versions, but some significant changes have been made. These include ESP, which has now been reduced from £420 to £200, and side and window airbags which have been reduced from £450 to £300. A leather interior is now available on the Dynamic and Eleganza (with 5 seats) for £750, and new 17-inch alloy wheels are available as an alternative on the Sporting.Published 22 July 2008