1. Introducing the smashing new Team FIAT T-Shirt !! To order yours click here : Team FIAT T-Shirt

Grande Punto 1.4 Emotion Pack 16k km Ownership Review

Discussion in 'Punto 1.4 Fire' started by winimation, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    All,

    I have been a satisfied owner of Fiat Grande Punto for over a year. Though I was always keen for a fiat, I had my own concern about their A.S.S. But still my heart ruled over my head & bought Punto 1.4 EP. This is a review of owning a Punto & what makes it different from other hatchbacks.

    I'll start my post with a cool pic of Punto taken in Pune during monsoons

    [attachment=0:1fdcev0k]IMG_1385.JPG[/attachment:1fdcev0k]

    View attachment IMG_1385.JPG
  2. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    i had actually been to BU Bhandari to buy a Palio but I was stunned by the beauty of Grande Punto. I had compared it with Swift & i20 & I felt Punto scored over the other categories in hatchback. I found it to be perfect value for money.

    I will categorize the segments which I was considering when i bought GP
    1) Design & Durability- Exterior & Interior
    2) Innovation
    3) Technology
    4) Ride & Handling
    5) Safety
    6) After Sales Service

    1)
    Design- Exterior & Interior - There is no doubt GP is one of the most beautiful hatchback available. i20 comes very close but I found it to be more expensive for the value I'm getting out of it. The interiors are dark in black color whereas even I'm of the mindset that a light color makes interiors look spacious. But Nevertheless I find the quality good enough.

    [attachment=1:1l1pvnhw]IMG_1002.JPG[/attachment:1l1pvnhw]

    [attachment=0:1l1pvnhw]IMG_0987.JPG[/attachment:1l1pvnhw]

    The seat fabric & everything looks build to last. I haven't yet change the factory provided fabric as I found it to be pretty strong. The plastic is good though even i feel there are few large gaps. I wonder why people concentrate so much on plastic quality. Inside you get a feeling of sitting inside a tank where the door close gives a thud.

    View attachment IMG_1002.JPG

    View attachment IMG_0987.JPG
  3. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    2) Innovation
    I truly value innovation & I find GP quite well thought off. I think all Fiat cars are designed that way
    1) The moment car touches a speed of 20km /hr the doors automatically lock
    2) The seat belt reminder stats buzzing, the moment you cross 20km/hr & you have not worn your seat belt. Very usefull from the safety & discipline viewpoint
    3) The child lock button on the rear door is actually screw unlike a slider in most of the cars.These days kids are smart to know how to deactivate the "child lock" by sliding the button. When I saw the screw button, my immediate reaction was " who will carry a screw with himself...." & the reply I got from the salesman was that it can be operated by the car key which is generally there with the driver.
    4) The wipers are speed sensitive when set in an "intermittent" position. That means it can adjust it speed based on the speed of the car
    5) The music can change its volume based on the speed of the car. This feature is known as "Speed Music"
    6) The outside mirrors can slide backwards in the event of an impact
    7) The Multi-Information Display on the dashboard employs a system which has a series of sensors & can give the driver lots of information. If a door is open,it can actually tell which one is open...If a bulb is fused, it will inform you. I have read somewhere in forum that, a person had taken his car to Manali where the display was saying "Caution: Possibility of an ice..." This happens when the outside temprature is around 1 - 2 Degrees
    8) The Blue& Me can understand voice commands & dial phone numbers. Though it can understand most command sometimes it makes a mistake. Once I was driving, & I was trying to scroll the phnebook & dial. I got a message "Please stop the car...." :cool:
  4. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    3) Technology
    It is one of the most advance hatchbacks.
    1) The top end variant comes with Blue & Me which a voice recognition system by Microsoft. it can connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth & can dial, recieve calls, read sms etc. The system can also browse through your pendrive via the USB. You just need to say standard commands like "Next", "Previous", "Folders", "Artists" etc. This was one feature which made me go for a top variant in Punto. Other hatchbacks now provide bluetooth which can recieve calls but I think Fiat has the most advanced system. The system is so thoughtfull, that if you are talking to someone on Blue&me & you switch off the engine, the call does not get disconnected & you can talk for further 20 mins. When it is 20 mins you get an audible warning.
    The USB can detect most devices from cellphones to pendrives. I have connected my Sony Ericsson Vivaz with usb & I could browse the tracks through the steering. One can also update the Blue& Me version by connecting to a usb. Only feature lacking in Punto is lack of "Eco-Drive". I thing this feature is available in new GP models & the user ca install the software through usb.

    For those of you who do not know what Eco-Drive is, it is a software which takes all your driving details.. Gear change, Pickup braking etc into a pendrive through a usb. This data can then be transferred to a laptop/ computer & the system can review your driving habits & advise your correct driving. These days cars are becoming just like computers. Amazing...!!
    2) The car comes with "Rolling Code Immobilizer".Basically whenever you lock or unlock your car, the remote sends a dynamic code to the car ecu. It keeps on hopping to a different code. The engine would start if the two codes are in a sync. Theoretically, if you keep on pressing your car key away from your car's range, a new code is generated everytime. In such a case your car would fail to recognize your key code. That is why your car remembers the last 256 codes used. So if your code is 257th your car would fail to recognise your key. This sounds very high-tech but its provides great safety.
    3) The dashboard is pretty advanced in providing warnings to the driver. It can compute the average, distance, speed etc. The system is so advanced the Maruti Swift cannot comes close to it even though they may re-design the exteriors quite easily. I think that is why Maruti is taking their own sweet time in coming up with a complete new swift which can match the competition.
    4) The car has a automatic fuel cut-off which cuts off supply to the car in the event of a crash.
    5) In the event of a crash, the door unlock automatically allowing the passengers to escape
    6) The doors automatically lock after you have unlock the door by remote & you do not open any door. If you have open any door even once, the system does not automatically. This is to prevent you leaving the keys inside by mistake & the doors getting locked automatically. Thoughtfull...is'nt it?
    7) The technology of the car is so advanced that FIAT has no provided any security alarm. Door locking is indicated by all turn lights blinking once. If any door is opened & the system cannot lock all doors, you hear a sound & the turn lights blink twice.
  5. Dilip_dmk

    Dilip_dmk Superiore

    Messages:
    649
    Delhi, India
    New Delhi
    Grande Punto 1.2
    osm pics ::T ::T !!!!!
    Nyc write-up ::T ::T


    Dilip
  6. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    4) Ride & Handling
    Punto does not need any justification in ride & handling. It is the best in ride & handling. It soaks up potholes & gives a feeling of carpet ride. The hydraulic steering gives a nice feedback where you will always feel in control of the car. I have driven in curve roads at high speeds (60-80) on Expressway & I stay on my lane. The ride & handling inspires confidence. The R&H is better because of the weight that the car carries (1140+kg ) & the wide tryes (195mm radial). All other hatchbacks provide much lesser, even ANHC. The tyre with small width has less surface area in contact to the roads & hence less friction. This helps in providing a higher mileage. This compromises on safety. In a market where everyone gives great importance to mileage, Fiat has not compromised with safety & has offered thick wide tyres for better stability.

    I have compared this with R&H of i20. Somehow I did'nt feel confident with the feedback of the steering though I found it good on suspension. The steering of i20 is very light & wonder how safe it feels at high speeds.
  7. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    5) Safety
    Fiat makes one of the safest cars & GP is no exception. Gp has got a 5 star rating just like i20. I'm not sure if the Indian version qualifies for the rating as Fiat themselves do not advertise it.
    The top-end variant is loaded with ESP, ABS & Airbags. The Airbags is a dual stage Airbag which can inflate the bag based on severity of the collisions. This is detected by multiple sensors. There is also a sensor below the seat to detect the weight of the person. It's a complex technology. The manual also states in which conditions the airbag may not inflate like rear impact etc. That is why one should be cautious while fitting After market accessories from local shops. They may disconnect/ damage the sensors. I think most other hatchback esp Maruti provide only single-stage airbags.

    It makes sense to remind the users to know that airbag would activate only when electrical system are active. If you have parked the car & then engine is switched off, then the airbags would not inflate if some other vehicle hits you. Vice-versa, if the electricals are active & a child is sitting in the front, the airbags would be activated on impact, even though you may not be expecting it to activate. Hence children should never sit in front seat or have passenger side airbag deactivated.

    The airbag safety is coupled with Seat Belt Tensioner which rewinds the belt in the event of impact. You can notice the belt locks in impact.

    The MID helps in knowing if a bulb is fused or which door is not closed properly. The 195 mm tires maintains good road traction.
  8. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    6) After Sales Service

    This is one area cos of which everyone is afraid to buy a FIAT. Palio was a great car but A.S.S was very poor & which resulted in poor image of FIAT in India. This is applicable for all companies which enjoy a great brand value like Skoda, Volkswagen, Honda etc. It's a different story that they charge so much premium that there cars hardly have any problem. What they don't realize is that too much arrogance will only harm them in the long run.

    Fiat has learn't this the hard way. The company has tried to improve service by having a joint venture with Tata both for sales & service. The focus does not stop here. The company is offering a 2+2 yr unlimited kms warranty on its vehicles. Very few companies offer a warranty for 4 years.
    - The engines are new age engines which require a service interval of 15000 km
    - The engine does not require a run-in period. However One should race the vehicle for initial 1000 km

    GP has around 60-70% part localisation. This has helped in lowering the price of the product. Otherwise, The feature with which Punto comes cannot be sold at the price of Swift. Look at the price of i20. The high localisation has resulted in people complaining about plastic coming off or small issues. Also, when the suppliers of spare parts are changed there is always a stabilisation period after which the models are almost trouble-free. Nano & swift had their own share of problems during the inital production models. I had read a lot about small niggles in GP but with the high quality of the technology & FIAT, I was willing to take the risk, To my satisfaction, I found FIAT willing to go that extra mile, if you notice small issues with the product & they replace the components without asking any questions.

    To further ensure customer satisfaction, FIAT offers a 4 yr road side assistance which is truly a world-class service. I have myself used the facility & it is truly world-class if someone is offering it in India. The road side assistance says that if a TASC service centre exist within 100 km of your car breaking down, FIAT would tow & repair the vehicle free of charge. The following are the salient feature of road side assistance
    - Free 24 hr Pickup of car in case of breakdown.
    - The pick-up trucks are flat-bed trucks which are much safer than two trucks.
    - If the car can be repaired on the spot, it will be done
    - If the car would take time to be fixed & if you require hoteling facilities, the company would assist you.
    - They will arrange for a taxi for you till 50 kms
    - If you have forgotten the key at home & you want to open the car, FIAT will arrange for a person to collect the key from your residence with due validation & deliver it at the site of car.

    I have experineced it myself & I would elaborate about it in the next post.
  9. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    Road Side Assistance

    This problem started surfacing few days before where I was facing difficulty slotting gears after driving for a while. Probably this happened after Service at BU Bhandari where I had told them that gear shifting is not smooth.

    I had travelled from Pune to Mumbai & was driving down in Andheri. Suddenly the gear got stuck on my way to Seesha Lounge. I got scared & panicked as traffic started piling up behind me. I switched on my hazard lights. I prayed god & tried to slot the gear again. Luckily I was able to slot the gear. Rather than driving I parked the car on the side & tried checking if the problem has been resolved. I noticed the gears were still not slotting properly.... I was nervous. Then I thought of using FIAT Road Side Assistance. I even did not have their number. got it through FIAT service center.
    ->I was nervous If I would be put on hold but the call was immediately answered in two rings.
    -> I explained the problem & I was asked the location & the car details. At first I could not recollect the chasis number. I was politely told that it is present in RC book.
    -> They quickly registered the complaint & was asked to be on hold while they check the availability of nearest towing vehicle which is near to my location.
    -> Soon I was put on conference with towing vehicle (TV) fellow with toll free customer care (CC) on-line. The TV guy enquired about my location & gave a estimate of 1 or 1&1/2 hr since it was raining that day & there was traffic.
    -> I asked for TV's cell number but was politely refused by the Tollfree CC that i need to call CC & they would put me on conference everytime as he would be coordinating everything.
    -> I waited for sometime & then thought of calling the cc again.
    -> On calling I thought I will have explain the story again. The moment I told my city, they recognized my name & transferred the call to the guy I was talking to. I was taken aback at the quick recognition :eek:
    ->In around 1 hr a towing vehicle arrived & I was impressed to see flat-bed trucks than the tow vehicles.
    -> I don't know somehow he managed to engage the gear & he drove the car on the truck. As it was raining I & my friend preferred to sit inside the car
    -> The vehicle was taken to Bharti Automobiles in Goregaon & the service center was already informed of the car arrival. This was around 10 pm in the night.
    -> The car was promptly taken in by the guard & I breathed a sigh of releif. Actually, the moment the towing vehicle arrived I was relaxed as someone from company was there to take care of my car.
    -> I tipped the TV guy 50 rs & asked him how often FIAT cars break down. He said, this happens only during monsoons that too cos of water seeping in.
    -> As it was a Sat, I was called on Mon & a job card was opened. They change the Clutch Slave Cylinder (CSC) saying this was from the series of GP in which CSC had to be replaced. I knew about the CSC problems in few GP versions & had repeatedly enquired at BU Bhandari. I was told that the this car is not from that batch.
    -> When the vehicle was collected, all the problems were resolved & I was very satisfied.
    -> I'm thankfull to FIAT for offering such a great road- side assistance. They will even come & fix your punctured tyre or replace it with stepney. which is great news for female drivers or those who don't want to fix the tyre themself. So you always have that support. I dont think such a great service is offered by any other company. With such a great road side assistance, I don't feel frightened to take my vehicle anywhere.

    About A.S.S, I feel that the company is trying to turn every little stone. The problem is generally with different TASC centres who are not experts. In case you have such a notion, You may try servicing it from a different service center. The product which comes from the company is far superior.

    The 2+2 yr unlimited mileage support coupled with 50 month road side assistance shows that FIAT is keen to offer great A.S.S & the quality of the vehicle they have produced.

    Recently the company is also undertaking "AC improvement" progamme where they are changing the AC system with a new & improvised condenser & hosings free of cost. This was result of complaints from customers regarding poor AC cooling. This is costing the company around 30k per car. I don't know of any other company who has taken such a step in India.
  10. winimation

    winimation Amatore

    Messages:
    100
    Mumbai
    Grande Punto 1.4 Emotion Pack Value Proposition

    Verdict
    Considering all this, I feel Grande Punto offers a great value for money for the price they are charging. I bought it for around 6 lacs on road in Pune where I got discount on Insurance + Roadside Assistance. This price was around 20 k more than the price of top-end Swift & the difference in features was phenomenal. I also considered i20 but that was further 50-60k north of Punto price.

    I have driven it for a year & 16k kms & have become used to the luxury it offers. Everytime I have a break for one two days before I drive GP, I truly enjoy the luxury it offers.

    & Here the top-end variant actually is top-end which is not provided by competitors some of them who are charging more like Honda Jazz, Polo, Ritz, Swift
    - Electrically adjustable side-view mirrors & backlit buttons
    - Automatic AC
    - Driver Side height adjust

    I hope I have provided a detailed & well informed review. Will see if I can do a hatchback comparison review. I haven't tried FORD FIGO as yet but for the price they are charging, it makes an attractive proposition for people who are tight on budget.

Share This Page