Grand latte, grand design and now Grande Punto. While Fiat will tell you their latest supermini is more than just a bit of froth, it's also beautifully styled and brimming with chic. It fits into the manufacturer's range alongside the current Punto, which will continue in production for the time being at least. A definite contender for European Car of Year, it's the best vehicle to come out of the Fiat factory in years and will help give the Italians a much-needed image boost. If want something that little bit different to a Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio then this is the one to go for. It's the first model to sport the new Fiat 'look', comes with a choice of great diesel engines and is remarkably spacious. Grande Punto has just been awarded an NCAP five star safety rating too. Measuring almost 20cm longer than the old Punto, the new one will carry five adults in relative comfort, as well as their luggage. It's based on the same platform as the next generation Vauxhall Corsa and the handling is a big improvement, although the steering is still a bit lifeless. The engine range is unusual in that there are more diesels (four) than petrols (two). Pick of the bunch is the improbably fast 1.3 90 bhp diesel - so rapid that the 120 bhp 1.9 diesel is not really needed. The dashboard is clear and uncluttered, with digital heating controls and eye-catching trim, while the seats are firm and supportive. The big question is whether Fiat has ironed out the gremlins over reliability and build standards. Only time will tell.
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