Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fiat Punto: First Generation

The first-generation Fiat Punto (1994-1999 model years) was voted European Car of the Year for 1995, according to this Wikipedia entry.  It also mentions that styling was by the Italian master, Giugiaro.

That vintage Punto holds a special place in my memory.  Not for its styling.  And not for any other characteristics it might have had.  As a matter of fact, I have no real memory of the latter.  That's because a 1996 Punto was the first car I ever drove in England and my still-strong memories are of my disorientation and struggle to deal with driving on the"wrong side" of the road.  (Tip: before setting out, fix in you mind the location of the inside rear-view mirror -- that done, much of the rest falls into place.)

As for the Punto's design, it was tall and space-efficient.  But the exterior was a bit soft and nondescript.  Presumably Giugiaro was breaking away from his hard-edge, crisply-formed, large-windowed "three-box" mode he used successfully for Volkswagen and other clients.  The Punto was not one of his better results.


A four-door Punto similar to the one I rented, though this seems to be a 1999 version.

Two views of the two-door Punto.  Rather soft and bland, though the side and bumper rub-strips helpfully tighten things up a little.  The blending of the rear impact panel and the rear wheel opening is a bit awkward, but the package Giugiaro was given left little room for creativity here.  I might have opted for more squared-off openings front and rear.

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