The Fiat Punto Lounge.
The Fiat Punto Lounge.

Fiat Punto returns to Oz with $16,000 drive-away pricing

THE Fiat Punto is packing another big punch for the surging Italian brand.

Hot on the heels of the pint-sized 500 pricing realignment, Fiat has revealed the Punto will now start from $16,000 drive-away. That's more than four grand cheaper than when we last saw it in showrooms back in 2010.

The Punto is available in three trims but with only one 1.4-litre petrol engine.

Fiat Chrysler Group president and CEO Veronica Johns said the latest prices maintained the company's ethos to make brands like Fiat and Alfa Romeo "available to everyone".

And if early indications are anything, they have got things right.

In about two months, they have sold out of the 500. Wait times are out to between eight and 10 weeks.

"We don't like to talk about volumes but we obviously undercooked it," Johns said.

"To be out to eight and 10 weeks is incredible, so we now have some pretty heavy production months coming. In Q4 we will be able to start delivering and fill all the orders."

She said while metropolitan sales had been strong, there had been a solid spread through regional dealerships.

And the group is expecting big things from reintroducing this Punto small car.

"Our concept behind 500 is about offering something else to people who are in that segment. Perhaps people are tired of driving the same car as every second or third person is driving," Johns said.

"We followed the same strategy with Punto so consumers will tell us if we have got it right."

For $16 grand drive-away, the kit includes air-con, six airbags, Blue&Me system with Bluetooth audio streaming and phone connectivity, trip computer and CD stereo - to get alloys you pay an extra $500.

The Easy gains 15-inch alloys, premium dash, an extra airbag, leather steering wheel and shifter, rear parking sensors, centre armrest, electric rear windows, USB/AUX connection for the stereo and dark finish on the headlamps.

The Lounge has dual zone air con, body kit, leather seats which have power lumbar support, 16-inch alloys, rain sensing wipers, chrome exterior mirror covers and exhaust tip as well as a spoiler.

A dual pane sunroof on the Easy and Lounge are $1500, while Tom Tom navigation which juts from the dash is $595 and is available across the range.

Fiat isn't picky with five-door targets, anyone and everyone is in its sights, including the Toyota Yaris (from $15,690), Mazda2 (from $15,790), Hyundai i20 (from $16,590), Kia Rio (from $16,290) and Mitsubishi Mirage (from $12,990).

Fiat Punto.
Details: Five-door small front-wheel drive hatchback.
Engine: 1.4 -litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 57kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 115Nm @ 3250rpm.
Transmissions: Five-speed manual or Dualogic automatic.
Consumption: 5.7 litres/100km (combined average, manual); 5.4L/100km (auto).
CO2: 132g/km (manual); 124g/km (auto).
Bottom line: Pop (m) $16,000 drive-away; Pop (a) $17,500 drive-away; Easy (a) $19,300; Lounge (a) $21,800.

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