Wow, as a van insurance quote company it's not every day we get to review a vehicle designed by the Car Designer of the Century.. Yet, in taking the new Fiat Grande Punto van for an educative spin this is precisely what I was instructed to pack my bags and do this Monday morning.
The hand of Giorgetto Giugiaro, legendary designer of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bugatti, Mustang and the DeLorean, is in evidence everywhere in the compact and sporty look of Fiat's latest microvan.
Although it is in essence nothing but an adapted version of the its car cousin, thanks to the work of Giugiaro it avoids the photoshop hybrid feel of so often the downfall of other car to van offerings.
The interior is a step up from anything offered by its competitors. Spacious, with stylish bolstered seats and a neat and functional CD player, it has the comfort and feel of a slick sports runabout. The adjustable seats and steering wheel also meant that I was able to feel at home with my long and lumbering frame.
Performance-wise the Fiat Grande Punto doesn't disappoint either. The 75bhp 1.3 16v multi-jet engine is smooth and quiet, glides effortlessly between gears and, like all good Italian cars, is an easy drive without ever seeming like a simulator by muting the weight of the car and the reality of the road.
The vehicle suffers slightly on the motorway though as it quietness gradually becomes compromised as it approaches the speed limit, though it is worth remembering that it is really designed for city running. But, where it matters, Its "City" mode button allows you to glide through traffic with an ease and lightness that would place belong in the top class for any vehicle.
Vitally, the van is brilliantly fuel-efficient. Its hi-tech Common Rail diesel engine manages to clock in at an incredibly economic 62.8mpg. And, just as with finding the right van insurance quote, where margins are tight, cheap running costs can make all the difference to a business's profitability.
There is never going to be a surfeit of load space in a microvan. This is one of the reasons why around only 7,000 are sold in the UK each year. However, the Grande Punto is remarkably efficient in its use of space, from inside the cab to the rear load space. It has a 1m3 load volume and a full mesh bulkhead. Perhaps limited when compared with other classes, but very good for a microvan.
All in all, this van has set a new benchmark for the microvan market. Top of its class: an A+.
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