First of all: Thank you all for the comments and encouragement on my previous queries. This is a wonderful forum for us to share and learn from each others’ experiences. Thank you TFI! Punto: Hey Guys, I bought my Exotica Red Fiat Grande Punto diesel [Active] in September 2010. I have clocked 6000 Kms on it now. Before this car, I had a Santro Xing and second-hand Maruti 800 (for my wife to learn driving) for a couple of years. Now Santro is with my dad and Maruti 800 has found a new home. I test drove Figo TDCI, Palio, Ritz, Swift, Ford Ikon, Hyundai Verna, I20,Punto, Linea multijet in diesel segment and Accent, Chevy beat, i10 in petrol segment before deciding on this one. VW Polo and Skoda fabia showrooms are not in Mysore so I was not able to look into them. It was June 2010, after driving the first diesel in my life [Hyundai verna diesel], my legs were itching to get on to diesel cars and feel the turbo kick rather than the boring petrol. Maruti 800 was lying idle most of the time and it was my duty to get a new home to her. Sold her with just 3% loss on the investment I made on her a year back. Now the diesel was too much to bear for me and the best way to get a new diesel was to decamp Santro, gifted it to my father Started looking into almost all reviews on diesel cars, one ad caught my attention – Palio on discounted sale, upto 95K off!!. Went on and booked it. Note: I booked palio, a fully loaded palio sdx at 4.5 lacs on road in Hassan! Dealer [Automatrix, Hassan] promised me to deliver it in 30 days. I was also okay with that waiting period. I would call him every week and he would promise ‘on time’ delivery. This continued till the last week and then he started to tell me that it would be delayed by week. This story also continued for one more month. July passed, August came. By August, I was really losing my patience and called up main distributor of fiat in Karnataka. I was horrified by his reply, he said “Palio won’t be delivered as there are few problems with its parts vendor, there is not enough parts in stock and it is better to withdraw your booking amount”. If parts are not available for a brand new car, what the hell I do after an year or two? I was looking like a fool now, with no car at all with me. Started searching for cars again, test drove all the above [except for palio and verna] once more just to ensure my decision is correct for my new car. The only change I did this time was in all the test drive I took again, I had my wife with me. Punto’s look was somehow haunting both of us, especially after seeing a RED Punto. Whenever we see a punto on road, we would just STARE at it. This is the thing one would expect for their investment right? So I decided to go for the Fiat Punto diesel Active (base model). The sales experience was not hassle free. Anyway, I am extremely pleased with my decision to go for the Punto. I asked the same dealer to convert my booking of Palio to Punto. He readily did it and also offered some freebees including: • Painting the ORVMS and Door handles to body color • Floor mats • Body cover • Cool sheets for side windows and rear door glass. • Free installations of accessories [I got antenna and fog lamps installed] • Mud flaps • Idol and car air freshener. Now one more problems started, there was no ER Punto in stock and he has to order now from the factory. This would again take close to 20 days!. With all this incidents, I just thought that the car would only reach me on the day it is supposed to belong to my family Dealer took almost 40 days to deliver; I did not even bother to check with him during this time. Finally the Car was delivered on September 19 and the car I got was also manufactured in the same month/year! Since it was close to Diwali, I also got additional offers: • 4 years warranty + RSA • Free insurance • Free gold coin • Fiat T shirt After spending 8 months with it, I find the following Pros and Cons Pros • Looks. ‘Wow!’ factor that pulls the fans in their droves. • Solidly constructed. • Very uncomfortable on long journeys. • Headroom is plentiful and the bench comfortable. • Light clutch. • The driving position is great and the good-looking seats are supportive. • Doors shut with a solid thunk and there is none of the rattles or squeaks found in some rivals. A distant, steeply raked windscreen and clear, logical dash enhance the big car feel. • The car is sluggish and a bit rumbly over the opening stages but once the revs start to build and the turbo kicks in the performance is actually quite bright and pleasing. • Very good grip and handling even with skinny tyres of the base model. The car gives some pleasure through twisty roads, showing a confidence and stability almost unexpected in a quite tall vehicle. • All round-visibility is very good. • Great steering feedback, the steering wheel itself is very good to hold. • The AC is reasonably good if the car is not parked under direct sunlight, else it would take its own time to cool down. • Mileage –will smile for every litre of diesel. • Excellent brakes. • Servicing once a year. • Load space is good. • Base model also comes with two ORVMS and body colored bumpers along with full wheel caps!! Cons • Short people will find it difficult to get a good view of the road. • Compared to the Santro, ingress and egress for older people may be a bit of a bother. • Turning radius is like that of a truck. • Reversing is a bit of a bother too with large "C" pillars. • The big, swooping "A" pillar needs you to peek around it when making right turns, especially in crowded places. • The skinny tyres on the base model are a problem. • In the active model, the cabin light comes on only when the driver’s door is opened [This was solved by installing the remote locking system from fiat] • Engine lacks a lot of refinement. • Gear box is awful. Punto looses time not just because of short gears but also the rubbery, notchy gearbox it comes with, I personally find it difficult to slot to proper gears as compared to Santro. • The car is also let down by its top speed and acceleration, every time I see a swift in orvm catching up quickly, my heart sinks . • Dated A/C ventilation dials. • The passenger compartment is not as large as you might hope. Adults in the rear will find their knees brush the front seatbacks. • Boot is saddled with a high sill. • Cramped foot well and awkward dead pedal. • Door opening locks from inside and ORVM adjusting knobs are of the poorest quality. • Thud sound coming from rear shocks over jumping speed breakers especially when driving alone. Faults: • AC gas leaked on 4th month, got it refilled under warranty • Cabin light was not turning on when front right door was opened, switch was replaced under warranty Accessories installed: • ICE: Sony head unit with JBL comp in front and JBL speakers at rear doors. • Remote locking [Cost a whopping 9k] from fiat accessories • Dorado seat covers – 5500 INR • Garware ICE Cool shield for front wind shield [50% heat rejection and 100% UV rejection] – 3000 INR Finally To me, the decision to buy the Punto was as emotional one. I certainly feel very good when I drive my car and like its looks a lot. There are a few things which could have been better but I feel that is the case with most things in life. I strongly recommend this car as I feel this has the best compromise between emotional and practicality in its segment. What this car has in abundance is wonderful handling qualities. It corners like cars costing much more and is one of those rare drives when you always leave the car smiling.