Many purists consider that the small hatchbacks converted into vans for commercial purposes don’t have too much sense. The Fiat Grande Punto however is one of the most practical converted vans in this segment and its good looking too.
The standard Grande Punto held a top position on the sales charts for a good number of years. The van version however wasn’t received with the same enthusiasm.
The Fiat Grande Punto Van was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and is one of the best looking small vans available on today’s market. The vehicle has a starting price of $ 18.700 and it’s powered by a 1.3 liter diesel engine which develops a maximum output of 75 hp.
The Fiat Grande Punto Van features a dynamic design, with sleek headlights and a raked windscreen. The front is dominated by a thin grille that bares the company’s logo in its center, while the clean bonnet features two small creases which underline the dynamic appearance of the vehicle.
The wraparound bumper is seamlessly integrated into the body and continues the dynamic design language initiated by the sleek headlights. The bumper it’s also fitted with two sharp fog lamps that flank a big air intake.
The Fiat Grande Punto Van features a high waistline and around the back it gets two vertical taillights mounted high on the C pillar. The tailgate has a wide opening angle and offers easy access to the load area.
Maximum cargo capacity is rated at one cubic meter with a payload of 520 kg. The cargo area and the driver’s compartment are separated by a bulkhead to protect the occupants. The goods are kept in place by four anchor points and a non-slip lining.
The Fiat Grande Punto Van has a decent looking interior design. Space isn’t exactly first class, but you won’t have major complains about it either.
Unlike the other vans in Fiat’s lineup, the build quality and materials seem pretty solid and the overall interior is surprisingly refined as well.
The centre console has a clean design and it’s fitted with all the common controls for ventilation and stereo system which are extremely easy to use.
The driver’s seat offers a decent driving position and it’s firm and supportive with adequate side bolsters and enough adjustments to help you find the perfect position in no time.
We also like the modern steering wheel which falls easy into hand and gives the cabin a sporty feel. The instrument cluster has also a modern style and its big gauges are easy to read even during night trips.
The road visibility is pretty good too, while the exterior mirrors will keep you well informed about what’s going on behind.
Storage isn’t exactly first class but the cabin is fitted with two cup holders, door pockets and a pretty big glove box.
At the safety department the Grande Punto Van stays pretty good, as it was capable of scoring the maximum rating in crash tests. All versions are fitted with standard ABS and electronic brake distribution, two front airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints and anti-submarining seats. There are also offered standard remote central locking and an anti-theft alarm. Other standard equipments include a CD stereo, electric wing mirrors, a height and reach adjustable steering column and dual drive electric power steering.
Engines and performance
Under the hood there is a four cylinder 1.3 liter Multijet engine that develops 75 hp. This engine is also available for the Doblo Cargo and is one of the most efficient units in its class, scoring an average fuel consumption of only 62. 8 mpg.
The maximum torque is rated at 190 Nm and it’s achieved from 1740 rpm. Equipped with this engine, the Grande Punto Van isn’t a sporty performer, but offers decent performances with an adequate acceleration.
It’s also able to keep it up with the city traffic pretty well and it’s fairly refined and smooth too.
Fiat Grande Punto Van Engine Specifications
|Engine||hp @ rpm||Nm @ rpm||Fuel|
|1.3 Multijet||75 @ 3750||190 @ 1740||Diesel|
Ride and handling
The Fiat Grande Punto Van is equipped with front McPherson struts and rear torsion beams. Given the utilitarian nature of the vehicle, the ride is very comfortable and soaks even the biggest road bumps without too much fuss. On the other hand, the overall stability isn’t something to rave about and the vehicle could’ve had a better road holding.
The light steering makes it a doddle to maneuver in town, but its lightness becomes disconcerting once you’re going faster. However, its compact dimensions and the tight turning circle will make it easy to maneuver in tight working situations.
The vehicle is fitted with front discs and rear drum brakes combined with both ABS (anti lock brakes) and EBD (electronic brake force distribution). Thanks to this setup, the middle pedal has a good bite and inspires enough confidence to make you feel safe behind the Grande Punto’s steering wheel.
The Fiat Grade Punto Van it’s fairly easy to drive and it’s also quite nimble around town. Interior comfort is part of the high class and the materials and build quality are better than expected. The 1.3 liter Multijet unit it’s also fairly economical and copes great with the city traffic.
But these qualities aren’t placed on the first place when a commercial vehicle operator seeks a new car. Features like cargo volume and payload capacity are usually on top of the list and luckily, the Grande Punto Van won’t disappoint in this department either, as it offers a spacious cabin and a practical load bay. It’s true that the vehicle has its limitations when it comes to carrying capacity, but for those looking for a super compact van it could prove to be a smart choice.