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First, Fiat Group's fortunes were turned around by the liquidity brought by GM's $1.5 billion contract buyout. Now it's hoping for a big seller to pull the Fiat brand back from the brink. The Giugiaro-designed Punto Grande, which will go on sale in Italy this fall and in the UK early in 2006, is a "supermini," a jumbo-shrimp grade incongruity that's practically unknown in the US market — but could be a serious value player for Europeans who are both cost- and style-conscious. In fact it's a larger version of the Punto II mini, from which it gets its first name. But if it's a relative by birth, it gets its looks from the other side of the family.

Compared to lesser Puntos, the Grande is far more attractively uo-to-date, considering designers appear to have cribbed much-needed frontal attitude from Fiat Group's Pininfarina-deigned Maserati. Still, mini is the name of the game, especially under the hood, with gas-powered 1.2- and 1.4-liter engines churning 65hp and 77hp, respectively. A rumored sporting version, with a 1.6-liter, 180hp engine, while tempting, is just a rumor. Two diesel engines, a 1.3-liter Multijet for economy (90bhp) and a 1.9-liter version getting a more substantial 130bhp, plus six-speed gearbox.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Related:

Regards from Fiat: GM's $2 Billion Diesel; Jalopnik Reviews: 2005 Maserati Quattroporte, Part 1; Fiat May Roll Out New, Nostalgic Cinquecento [internal]