Grande Punto was launched in SA last week

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

Though the Italian car manufacturer Fiat has experienced after- sales problems in the past years , it has not given up.

Last week Fiat launched its new Grande Punto in Gauteng - a move Fiat is believed to have made to grab a share of the growing South African demand for cars.

Grande Punto is not Fiat's biggest seller, but it is one of the cutest machines in the small car segment.

The vehicle in theory belongs to the B segment. But its size, equipment and characteristics represent an alternative to many segment C cars.

This makes the Grande Punto unique because it introduces a concept of larger "dimensions".

By debuting two engines in the new Grande Punto, Fiat has launched a two-pronged attack on the competition.

First up is the all-new 1,4 16V Starjet. This catapults Grande Punto in the upmarket Dynamic guise.

The introduction of the 1,4 16V Starjet means the 1,4 8V powerplant will now only be available in the entry-level Active version - the 1,2litre model disappears from the Grande Punto lineup.

The new 70kW 1,4litre 16V Starjet applies three technologies at the same time.

The other new motor that's been shoehorned into the Grande Punto is the 66kW 1,3litre 16V Multijet diesel - that's a full 11kW more powerful than the outgoing 1,3litre 16V Multijet.

Like before, this little diesel model is only available in the top-spec Dynamic outfit.

The manufacturers tout it as the smallest and most advanced second-generation direct injection common rail diesel engine.

The model now features an important novelty - a new variable geometry turbo.

With this turbo-boost system, the 1,3 16v Multijet delivers a power output of 66kW at 4000rpm and peak torque of 200Nm at 1750rpm.

Convenient and safety features such as ABS and EBD, six air bags - front side and head - and remote central locking with immobiliser are standard.

The manufacturers have a tendency of overpricing their cars.

Grande Punto 1,4 16V Starjet Dynamic is priced at R141800.

Grande Punto 1,3 66kW 16V Multijet Dynamic at R150900.