She could have worn the diamond logo
In 1993, the Fiat Uno celebrated its 10th anniversary, and the time had come to replace this icon which had been manufactured in more than 6 million copies in Italy, and even 11 million if we include the versions produced in Italy. abroad, especially in Eastern Europe! The Fiat Punto which was presented on September 9, 1993 is based on a design by Giugiaro, which was first proposed at the end of the 1980s for Renault’s X57 project, namely the future Renault Clio. Not retained by the diamond, the concept of the Italian design office was retained for the FIAT project, internal code name 176.
A versatile city car, an inspired design
Longer by 11 centimeters (3.76 versus 3.55) and wider by 7 centimeters (1.62 versus 1.55) than the Uno, the Punto is a visual and technical leap forward in the city car category, almost approaching the proportions of the compacts of the ‘era. Of the monobody type, it immediately appears larger and more modern than its French rival Clio, which in its time has already redefined the versatile city car, but already going on for 3 years of its career. Peugeot has not yet replaced the 205, which already has a decade under its belt, and Volkswagen has not yet renewed its aging Polo II. This modernity comes from his inspired pencil stroke, with this front face that is both simple and elegant, optics with slightly rounded edges which give it a good look that is neither aggressive nor too soft, and above all an immediately recognizable stern with its vertical lights of on either side of the tailgate, something we’ve never seen on a city car.
New finishing and safety standards
In addition to its excellent habitability, the level of finishing was a significant leap forward also for a small category car, because the Punto could receive equipment worthy of cars of a much higher range, such as variable assistance steering, tinted electric windows, automatic door closing, ABS, airbags and air conditioning as standard.
The progress is also enormous from the point of view of passive safety: bodywork with programmed deformation, high torsional rigidity, inertia firebreak as standard on all versions, front seats with anti-submarining crossmember to prevent the seat from sliding. basin, electronically activated airbags (optional for the driver and front passenger, except on certain versions), associated with pyrotechnic seat belt pretensioners.
Which choice !
The success will also be based on the diversity of the model, which was launched in 1993 with 4 petrol versions, ranging from the Punto 55 1.1 Fire 54 CV to the 85 16 valve 1.2 86CV, and two diesel versions of 57 and 71 CV. It also offers mechanical or automatic gearboxes with 5 or speeds, 3 finishing levels, 14 body colors, the choice of 3 or 5 doors as well as a convertible version designed by Bertone and launched in 1994! Never has a “city car” offered such a choice!
The GT version also arrives quickly, the sportiest of the range, with a 1372 cm³ engine, the same as the second Fiat Uno Turbo series, delivering 136 HP and capable of pushing the car to more than 200 km/h and go from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds. It offers power steering, ABS, electric windows and mirrors and even headlight washers are standard, all for a low price and a look that smells like the GTi of the 80s.
One of the stars of the 90s
Very well received by the public and the press, the commercial success then exceeded even the wildest forecasts of FIAT: 640,000 units were sold during the first year of marketing, between 1993 and 1994 and it reached the milestone of million and a half cars sold in just a year and a half! Until 1999, when the Punto 2 arrived, 3.5 million units of the Punto 1 were produced. The Punto 2 and Grande Punto will also be successful, but not as much as the 1. The line stopped in 2018, after an extended end of career for the Punto EVO, but FIAT did not operate at the time replacement for this bestseller, which still remains an absolute enigma for many fans. It is the Nuova Fiat 600, crossover version, which is now the designated heir, but in a completely different register.