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Ecstacy of owning a FIAT:: Grande Punto 1.4 Emotion July 2009

Discussion in 'Punto 1.4 Fire' started by fiatlover, May 24, 2011.

  1. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Messages:
    1,599
    Bangalore/Kasargod
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.4
    I have been thinking of writing this for a long time. I postponed it several times and finally here is my experience of reviewing, decision making, buying and happily driving the Grande Punto 1.4 E.

    Why fiat? One of my colleagues had a Palio 1.6 Adventure Sport. I have seen how happy he is with his car. He used to tell me stories of his road trips with family, Palio being one of the members. I have a lot of friends who have high respect for the (build) quality and drivability of FIAT cars, cars that are build to last. But I hadn’t then decided that FIAT will be my first car. I was still in the Yes/No mindset about when to buy, if I buy, which one. I had taken TD of Indica Vista, Ritz, and Cedia and Xylo (both for the sake of it, no intention of buying as they were beyond my budget.).
    My Requirements: Big hatchback, strong and sturdy build, power and stability, ease of use in City as most of my driving will be in the most crowded Bangalore city. And it should look different from the ones I see on the road.
    Budget: 5L, but was ready to stretch till 6L if it is really worth it.
    Test Drive: Maruti and Hyundai were proactive enough to bring all their new cars to corporate offices for employees to test drive. I have seen i20 and Ritz several times in our office premises. I took a TD of Ritz. Except for the space and ground clearance, didn’t find anything much impressive. And the looks from the rear was too radical (?) for me to digest. None of my family liked the looks of Ritz. I20 was outside my budget, so gave up. I never liked TATA cars because there had always been a truck or vestiges of it in each TATA car, which comes out within a year of driving. To feel that, just listen to the sound of any Indica that is around a year old. Of course TATA cars have changed a lot in the recent years and they are a lot more refined these days. And both Maruti and TATA compromised on the structural aspects of the car to derive better mileage, which is what the average Indian customers wanted.
    Buying Decision: Still, I had Ritz at the back of my mind, but only until Punto was launched a month later in June 2009. I took three of my friends and headed to Concorde motors, Diary Circle for a test drive. One had driven a Matiz for 7 years, the second has a Getz, and the third owns a FISTA. All the three wers awe-struck seing the Punto. Looks were terrific, they are even now. Me and my friends tested the car, we took it through potholes, speed breakers etc to get the feel. I sat in the driver’s seat, co-passengers seat and the rear seats to get the feel. I was thoroughly impressed by the looks, feel and the handling. So were my friends.
    Now comes the budget part: I shortlisted the petrol version. (I am not very sure whether I feel the prick of conscience for not going for diesel). I wanted more power decided to go for 1.4. This was one of the side effects of reading the xxxx-xxx reviews, which complained that 1.2 is under-powered. I don’t regret this decision. With 1.4, I get power and more power. And moreover, lots of the features were not available in the 1.2 (ACTIVE and DYNAMIC) versions available initially. So I decided that it is going to be 1.4. The on-the-road cost was about 6.06 L. I was Ok with this. Tough part was convincing my wife about the stretched budget, she would not agree as she always preferred to go for a car below 5 lacs. I just went ahead and booked the car through the corporate car lease option available in my company. On the finance side, all I had to do was to select car, color, variant etc and decide the amount I plan to pay as down payment. A week later I told my wife that I have booked Punto and there’s no looking back. Concorde motors said waiting period will be 4 weeks as minimal grey was not readily available. I booked the car on 13 July 2009.
    Delivery: I took delivery of the car on Aug 22, a Saturday. I took couple of my friends went to Concorde motors to take delivery. No mud flaps, no floor mats, everything else was fine. We did a PDI, all looked fine. As compliments, they gave me the perfume and a Ganesha idol. My Punto finally reaches home. I believe mine was one of the first few Puntos in Bangalore. Those days, I used to see only 2-3 Puntos a week on Bangalore roads. I heard from Concorde that mine was the 72[SUP]nd[/SUP] Punto that concorde sold, though I rarely saw one on the road.

    TO BE CONTINUED...

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2011
    3 people like this.
  2. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Messages:
    1,599
    Bangalore/Kasargod
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.4
    First drive: On the same day evening, I took my wife and son to give them a feel of the car. We drove a few kilometers and came back. My wife was a little worried as I am yet to get used to driving a 4 wheeler in Bangalore city. Past six years, most of my city commutation was on my Pulsar 150.
    First Damage: A week later, while parking the car in the evening, the left headlamp kisses my neighbor’s gates and the lower portion of the headlamp chips off. I picked the broken pieces and put transparent tapes on them. My car went though that year’s monsoon with the damaged headlamp. I replaced it only during the first service. Cost around Rs.2500. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the broken headlamp was that I could ward off all the evil eyes away from my car. Anyone who sees the car would first notice the headlamp and only then the car. :)

    First Long Drive: Another week, I am on my first long drive to Kannur, Kerala for Onam. I had just covered some 200 kms by then. My brother accompanies me, saying driving a brand new car for such a long distance for the first time, so I will join you. Full tank from Shell bunk and 130kmph on Mysore road, though not a good practice for a brand new car. We took the Najangud- Gundalpet road, which has good roads with less traffic. When cruising beyond 120 kmph, we heard the beep with MID showing “exceeded speed limit”. The stability was amazing. My brother was impressed, my wife was impressed and almost everyone at home was impressed.

    The only question was “Why petrol and why not diesel? Well, my reasoning was that my monthly driving will be limited to 700-1000 kms” and very less long trips. These days, seeing the price of petrol soaring high, I sometimes feel the prick of conscience for not going for diesel. Petrol was around Rs.55 when I bought my car. But looking at the mileage I get these days, I feel that I decision wasn’t too bad, but still diesel would have been a better choice. But, I don’t see any reason to regret.
    On our return, we took the Kanhangad-panathur-bagamandala-madikkeri-kushal nagar-bangalore route. Around 35 kms of madikkeri-kushal nagar was in ploughed condition. They were relaying the road and virtually no roads existed, with huge craters every 10 meters. To add to it, there were heavy rains too. After some distance, I lost count of how many times the engine guard scraped the ground.

    What worried me most in the initial days was the sound of the engine guard scrapping the ground when going through bad roads. Doesn’t mean that they don’t worry me these days, but I have adjusted my driving to such an extent that I don’t hear that sound these days. I don’t mind saying that my car refined my driving style. Changing the tire pressure also helped a little bit. (Front: 32 and Rear: 30).

    TO BE CONTINUED...
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
    2 people like this.
  3. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Messages:
    1,599
    Bangalore/Kasargod
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.4
    More long drives: In one and a half year, I have taken six or seven long drives, to Kerala taking different routes, and one to Coorg, experiencing roads varying from excellent roads to no traces of road. Some of the routes I tried:
    • Payyanur-Kanhangad-Panathur-Bagamandala-Madikkeri-Kushal nagar-Hunsur-Bangalore
    • Bangalore-Hunsur-Nagarhole-Kutta-kattikkulam-mananthavady-boys town-Palchuram(5 kms of very steep ghats)-iritty-sreekandapuram-thaliparamba-Payyanur.
    • Bangalore-Hunsur-Nagarhole-Kutta-kattikkulam-mananthavady-Nidumpoyil-Kuthuparamba-Kannur- Payyanur
    • Bangalore-Hunsur-Virajpet-Makkutta-iritty- sreekandapuram-thaliparamba- Payyanur(shortest one about 340 kms)
    • Bangalore-Hunsur-Kushal nagar-Madikkeri
    First problem: I should not call this a problem; actually it was my problem in not reading the manual properly and understanding what the warning lights stand for. It happened during the first trip to Kerala. I suddenly say the yellow light glowing. I parked the car in a convenient place and checked the manual for indications and warning. It just meant that one of the lights may have gone off. At a closer look I see the MID displaying “check Front left indicator bulb” or something like that. We replaced it after reached back in Bangalore. It costed Rs 100 if I remember correctly.
    Actually it is funny. The indicator bulb in a brand new car going off in two weeks!

    Problem again: The front wiper blades do not wipe thoroughly. I take the car to KHT Motors where I had done the second service, primarily because it was closer to my apartment and my office. The SA comes, studies the problem and says the wiper blades are gone, need to replace it. As it is more than one year, it cannot be replaced under warranty. All rubber parts have only one year warranty, they say. Fine, I told them to replace it. Cost me Rs. 800 for the set. It is imported from Germany and BOSCH ones don’t fit in Punto wiper arms. Two weeks after replacing it, the issue appears gain. You can test wiper blades only when it rains and not from windscreen wash and wipe. I go to KHT again. They ask me, did you wash the wind screen with some hard chemicals? I said No, you washed my car two weeks back and before that during the second service. He says there should be something wrong with the wiper blades again. As they were replaced just two weeks back, they can be replaced under warranty. What I understood from the whole episode was this: Either the windscreen or the wiper blade(?) was washed/cleaned using some strong cleaning agents, which resulted in friction when the wiper blades were moving, which in turn resulted in improper cleaning.

    Others:
    Total Kms covered till date: 15000. I am a very happy user/driver. I never faced anything major which could be termed issues. The more I drive, the more I learn about my car. Perhaps the only time I was worried while driving the car was a few weeks back when the fuel was very low and it was late night with no petrol bunks in the city open. And the worry was whether my car would stall somewhere because of insufficient fuel late in the night. But we safely reached home and the first thing did the next day morning was doing a full tank.

    Current Mileage: 11-16 kmpl with 60% AC(City-highway) Worst in city was 9 kmpl in pathetic Bangalore traffic. I see further improvement in mileage these days.

    I accelerate when I want to and I don’t look at the RPM to press the pedal. I used to drive through most of the ghat sections in 3rd or 4th gear.

    Other details:
    1st Free service done at Concorde motors at 3000 kms, Just general check up, topping up fluids etc
    2nd Free service at KHT at 8000 kms as I had completed one year by then. General check up, oil change, replaced filters, wheel rotation etc.
    At 11000 kms I started getting a feeling that there is deterioration in the brake performance, and there is some krr… noise when braking. I was coming back from Coorg and heard the noise so many times that I was driving carefully without speeding. Once back in Bangalore, I went to Concorde motors. The brake pad had almost completely gone and using further might damage the discs. So I got them replaced as I didn’t want to take chances.

    Replacements:
    Left headlamp, brake pads, front wiper blades,
    AC Upgrade and CSC replacement (under warranty)

    What I like most about my car: The build and the looks, the power, and the steering

    I Love My Car, My 4 years old son loves my car, and he says it is his car.:D
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    6,001
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Nice report. Please continue with some pictures.
  5. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Messages:
    1,599
    Bangalore/Kasargod
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.4
    This is the first pcture that I took during the first drive. I will upload more under the album.
    myCar.jpg
  6. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Messages:
    1,599
    Bangalore/Kasargod
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.4
    Here is one more picture.
    carfront.jpg
  7. sungoa2010

    sungoa2010

    Messages:
    2,878
    Goa
    Fiatlover, What is the rpm reading while cruising in 120 kmph in your Punto . In my Punto 1.4 at 3000 rpm the speed is 100-110 kmph. It may be due to bad quality of roads.
    Thanks
    Sungoa
  8. gurjinder

    gurjinder Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    3,989
    Punjab
    Sungoa, the quality of the roads will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the rpm and speed reading of your car.

    Gurjinder.
  9. karan desai

    karan desai Superiore

    Messages:
    805
    Morbi, Gujrat
    1.4 usually revs more than other cars. normally a car would be at 2300 or 2400 rpms at 100 whereas my linea does 2800 rpm at 100. the rpm really shoots up when you rev up unlike other cars where the rpm does not shoot up abruptly.
  10. sungoa2010

    sungoa2010

    Messages:
    2,878
    Goa
    Thanks karan and Gurjinder. Does speed increase after oil change for a fixed rpm ? Mine is running with the initial oil. Gurjinder, I felt that my Punto was simply flying on the leveled newly constructed four lane road between manglore and Surathkal. I never felt such a easiness in other roads.

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