Fiat may finally redesign the Punto

Spring is pretty much knocking on our door, but we’re not quite out of the cold season yet. So, some manufacturers are still taking advantage of the cold and performing cold weather testing on their future models. It’s the same story we get every year about this time, but today I’m here to talk about the next Fiat Punto. That’s right, after more than ten years, our spy photographers have caught what we believe to be the next Fiat Punto playing in the Swedish snow.

This new Punto is expected to hit the market in 2017, so it’s still a bit early in the testing phase. Early enough, in fact, that the new Punto is wearing so much camo and padding that we can’t really make out any of the underlying design cues. As far as we know, this prototype is code named X6H, and it’s being developed mainly for the South American market.

Even though we can’t make out much under that camo, and information is rather scant at the moment, we can still speculate on what the new Punto brings to the table. It should certainly be interesting, given the long tour of duty the current Punto has endured. Something fresh is certainly overdue, so let’s take a look at these new spy shots and talk a little bit about X6H.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Fiat Punto.

Spy Shots

February 22, 2016 - First testing session

2017 Fiat Punto Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Fiat Punto Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Fiat Punto Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

The Punto’s name was officially changed to Grande Punto when it debuted in 2005, and even with a facelift in 2008, the car remains rather bland. Unfortunately, the new Punto is under so much padding and camo that we can’t see any specific design cues, but it doesn’t look like it will incorporate a similar grille and air dam as the current model. The air dam appears to be a bit taller, and the fog lights don’t look as sunk in on the prototype. It looks like the headlights may also employ a similar design, but that’s only an assumption based on how the headlights get smaller as they approach the grille.

It looks like the new Punto might be significantly taller compared to the current model, with dimensions similar to a small crossover.

It looks like the new Punto might be significantly taller compared to the current model, with dimensions similar to a small crossover. Then again, that could just be extra padding giving the appearance of a taller model. If nothing else, it looks like the door glass will be shorter, while the door panel itself will be taller. The mirrors also extend straight from the body – also a hint that the window glass will be shorter than the current model.

Around back, someone deserves an award for concealing the design of this prototype. It looks like the taillights will feature two red lenses with a clear lens mounted below for turn signals and reverse lights. Outside of that, we can’t make out much of anything. It looks like there is a small spoiler or overhang on the top of the rear hatch that supports a high-mounted brake light. One shot of the rear also shows cutaways in the padding on the roof, indicating there may be a skylight feature available for rear passengers. We’ll just have to wait for more revealing images to see what this new model will really offer up.

Interior

It’s pretty clear Fiat was concerned with keeping this model as concealed as possible. So, as you would expect, the driver certainly wasn’t stopping or giving the opportunity for shots of the interior. At this point, the inside is a complete mystery, but I would expect the interior to closely resemble that of the Fiat Tipo. That means the Punto will have a functional interior with a lack of luxurious amenities. Even the infotainment screen will be little, probably no more than six inches in size. Cloth material will be used for the seats and the door trim panels, while plastic will be used for the rest of the interior trim. Then again, you can’t really fault the Punto in that regard – it’s designed to be a functional vehicle.

Drivetrain

2017 Fiat Punto Exterior Spyshots
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No information about the drivetrain has been released, but we suspect the same powertrains from the Tipo. That would mean two available gasoline units and two available diesel units. On the gasoline front, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder pumps out 94 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque. The other option is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 108 horses and 112 pound-feet. Diesel options may include the 1.3-liter and 1.6-liter Multijet engines. The smaller engine produces 94 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, while the larger produces 118 horses and 236 pound-feet. The six-speed manual from the Tipo will probably carry over to the Punto, as well as a five-speed for the 1.3-liter diesel and the six-speed automatic for the 1.6-liter diesel.

Prices

It’s pretty early to talk about pricing, considering we have no clue what the new Punto will look like. That said, the current 2016 Punto retails for R$48,880 in Brazil, which, at current exchange rates (02/22/2016), comes out to $12,388 here in the U.S. This may be a hefty redesign, at least hopefully, so expect starting prices to increase a bit. A starting price of R$50,000 isn’t out of the question.

Competition

Honda Fit Twist

2015 Honda Fit High Resolution Exterior
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You probably don’t recall hearing the name “Honda Fit Twist,” but that’s because the Twist trim level was developed specifically for the Brazilian market. It’s basically a Honda Fit with a body lift, different fascias, and some body cladding. The Fit Twist features the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder found in the Fit from the U.S. It puts out 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Given the fact this prototype looks like it’s a bit taller than the outgoing Punto, the Honda Fit Twist should be a worthy competitor. The Honda Fit Twist does appear to be a bit more expensive, with prices at the time of its debut in 2012 set at R$57,900, or around $28,000 at the exchange rate at the time.

Read our full review on the Honda Fit here.

Hyundai HB20

2017 Fiat Punto
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Apparently, Brazil is the market where auto manufacturers like to give their worldwide models a special little twist. Just like the Honda Fit Twist, the Hyundai HB20 is a version of the Hyundai I20 that was designed specifically for the Brazilian market. In current form, the HB20 comes with either a 1.0-liter Kappa engine that delivers 80 PS (78 horsepower) and 10.2 kg-m (74 pound-feet), or a 1.6-liter Gamma engine that produces 128 PS (128 horsepower) and 16.5 kg-m (119 pound-feet) of torque. The HB20 is new for the 2016 model year and starts out at R$40,545, or $10,283 at current exchange rates (02/22/2016).

Conclusion

2017 Fiat Punto Exterior Spyshots
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I must say that it’s about time a new Punto is finally in the works. I don’t know if Fiat just doesn’t care about this poor little car, or if it honestly thought nobody else cared. But to carry on since 2005 without a redesign is a bit lazy in my eyes. I appreciate that the car is functional, and performs its given task well, but I still hate these little cars. To be honest, it doesn’t help that, as an American, they aren’t exactly appealing for long road trips. In a lot of other markets, however, they do make a lot of sense. Finally, Fiat has stepped up to the plate to bring a new Punto to the market. Hopefully, we won’t just see a whole lot more of the same.

  • Leave it
    • * Too much camo
    • * Body may sit higher than outgoing model
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