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Home run in common man’s Maserati in Ferrari trim –aka PUNTO 90HP ER arrives in style

Discussion in 'Punto 1.3 MJD 90 HP' started by raj29, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. raj29

    raj29 Superiore

    Hi Friends,

    Am really excited while I write this post.
    This is my first post, writing about a vehicle that I own and that too my lovable Punto.

    I will divide my post in to 3 sections trying to share my experience
    Choosing/Shortlisting the car
    Buying experience
    Initial ownership and thereafter


    Choosing/Shortlisting the car
    I love automobiles, I wonder who don’t for the various thrills they bring to me!!
    As I have written in my introduction post, I like travelling from my child hood. Although I might not have travelled to different parts but I have been travelling a lot, may it be short distance or long distances :D .

    From the bicycle rides to travel in bus to the first bike/scooter ride and the latest drives in a car, I have always enjoyed travelling and even more so when I ride or drive vehicles (not driven a bus though :rolleyes:, although I would like to do so).

    Where ever I travel, I always prefer travelling by road (where possible) and also prefer the front seat or window seat to have a view of the road and the oncoming and overtaking vehicles when I am not driving. You might be surprised to know that I have travelled in trains the number of times that can be counted on fingers (in single digits).

    I like to drive on 2 wheeler more than 4 wheels but 2 wheel drive is not feasible all the time and especially when you have to accommodate more than 2 people. Also by time I felt not so comfortable in troubling my parents by traveling in public transport or 2 wheelers and also was not able to take both my parents at the same time keeping in mind their growing age. With my sister married and by brother abroad for studies (both younger to me) I felt the need of a car sometimes when I had to take both my parents with me somewhere. It was also becoming difficult to arrange a cab whenever needed by the growing demand of cabs by various sectors of people!!

    This is when I felt the need for a car and started the search for a suitable vehicle. I didn’t want to buy a car for just the sake of having one. This was in the month of February’2012 when the search for my lovely ride started.

    I had been with my friends in their car buying experiences from start to end, so was already aware of the cars and how they fared against my requirement – at least to an extent. As with almost everyone’s car buying experience the first questions that came to mind were pretty standard.
    • Sedan or Hatchback?
    • Petrol or diesel?
    • Which car?


    The answers in my case were pretty straight forward for the first two questions
    • As I was taking the car in my company corporate car scheme, I knew my budget and its flexibility. So it was a Hatchback, as no good sedan fitted in that price range considering the fuel type I was finalizing on.
    • I was sure that my travel will be more than normal keeping in mind my travelling enthusiasm/expectations. I would be using the vehicle more for highway rides than city rides, say 80% to 20 % split. Diesel it was.


    But the final question was a very tricky one, which car?
    Budget higher limit was @ 8 Lac INR, ex-showroom
    Even before going to any car showroom or doing a test drive, I had fixed my mind on Ford Figo.

    Now started the actual process of going to showrooms and looking at vehicles before booking for test drives to get the details about price quote, waiting periods and understand about the car (the looks and features I mean).

    My expectations were
    • Decent/good looks
    • Availability of as many safety features possible (Airbags, ABS etc.). Was always looking at the top end variants of any car.
    • Build quality
    • Service

    These were the cars that considered and looked at

    As I said I didn’t go for a TD of any vehicle initially because I wanted to drive all vehicles back to back. This was to be able to actually feel the difference of what they offer drive and driver/passenger comfort wise.

    I went to the showrooms to have a look at the following cars

    • Ford Figo
      • +ves: Conventional looks (not actually a +ve but I was ok), Good price point, enough feature and safety list, Good space (both interior and boot), Good engine specs (later on this), increasing service and dealer network
      • – ves: Interiors and their quality not up to the mark, rear windows manual control, ground clearance and small tires.
    • Volkswagen Polo
      • + ves: Good looks, Solid build quality, Good interiors and quality, good boot space
      • – ves: 3 cylinder engine, high pricing (compared to what is on offer), not enough feature list as compared to competition, low sitting positions (not very comfortable), not so good reviews about service and less service network
    • Skoda Fabia
      • + ves: Good build quality, Good interior quality and space, class leading boot space, conventional looks
      • – ves: 3 cylinder engine, pricing, not enough feature list compared to competition, Skoda service/sales horror stories, bad sales exec response/behavior
    • Maruti Suzuki Swift & Swift Dzire
      • + ves: Looks, Nice interiors, Good engine, enough feature and safety list, best sales and service network
      • – ves: not so good space on the inside especially rear and the boot, very long waiting periods, higher pricing too
    • Honda Jazz: Had a look at it as I like this vehicle very much and wanted to see what it had to offer. This was the only petrol on my list and was ok to go for it had I like it, but alas there was not even a display vehicle available due to the Thailand floods and also very long waiting periods. However managed to have a look at friend’s vehicle.
      • + ves: Looks, very good interior and boot space, nice feature list
      • – ves: Pricing, waiting period, build quality not as expected (had a higher expectation from Honda), more powerful engine needed.
    • Hyundai i20
      • + ves: Interior and boot space, very good feature list, very good sales and service network
      • – ves: ground clearance, pricing, reviews about drivability, looks not to my liking, not so good build quality

    Oops there is no Punto yet in the list, yes you are right!!

    Had Punto at the back of my mind but never really thought about it as an option, really don’t know why. Even after hearing good about Punto drive, dynamics etc.
    After looking at all these vehicles I had decided to call for test drive of vehicles that I would really like to buy.

    Volkswagen Polo:
    Very noisy engine, turbo lag was evident but not a big concern. Drivability was also good. Overall liked the vehicle and also the sales advisor had promised an immediate delivery as the vehicle was available readily. They had stocked vehicles since it was March and budget was around the corner and they expected diesel vehicle price to go up.

    Ford Figo:
    I already had the experience of one of my friends owning a Ford Figo TDCI and also of going on a long drive of 2000 KMs. So I had a pretty good idea of what it could offer.
    Felt very comfortable driving the vehicle, felt as if it was perfectly tuned. Steering was very good too, had a nice response.

    At this time I was still thinking about Punto on the back of my mind and wanted to give it a try.
    Called KHT and asked to get the 90 HP 2012 model test drive vehicle. They had informed that 2012 90 HP was not available for test drive but a 2011 model 90 HP was available. I was ok with it as the change was with the interiors and not with the engine. The vehicle arrived for test drive in the next 1 hours’ time.

    Fiat Punto:
    As soon as I looked at the vehicle, I was bowled over by the looks. This is for sure one of the best looking or the best looking hatch in India. As soon as I opened the doors it was heavy and closed with a thud assuring the build quality.

    Started the engine, the NVH levels were very good at idling.
    Put the vehicle in first gear and the vehicle pulled effortlessly, but the first gear was very short and had to switch to 2nd and 3rd gears quickly and it was easily pulling @ 20KMPH on 3rd gear with 5 on board. I was very impressed. Even on the reverse gear the vehicle pulled easily without touching the accelerator, which none of the other vehicle could!! All the vehicles were test driven on the same stretch to get a good idea of each vehicle. The steering was the highlight of the drive, what a comfortable steering it is. Gripping the steering was easy, it had the right size and the response/feedback of what was on the road was just awesome. Punto has the longest clutch travel but like it that way as I felt it gave a good chance to manage the engine revs and gears.

    Punto would gulp all the pot holes and handled bad roads with much more ease than the rest of the vehicles.
    Checked the interior space and felt it was adequate, although little more space on the rear bench would have been good. The boot space was also good.

    After the test drives of vehicles finalized on the below vehicle (in the order of my preference)
    • Punto
    • Polo
    • Figo


    Buying experience
    As I wanted to check a 2012 Punto to see what it had to offer, I went to a FIAT showroom and checked the vehicle. I was impressed with the interiors too and looked at the various colors it was offered in.

    I was particularly interested in Exotica Red, but none of the showrooms in Bangalore had them in stock in 90HP before the budget sessions to avoid any price hike.

    I was so smitten by Punto that even though Polo and Figo were readily available I went ahead with Punto for what all it had on offer.

    Most of the dealers told that it wouldn’t be a big hike and that it would be marginal. So went ahead and booked at Prerana motors as they had to offer better deal and also promised an earlier delivery date than others. But now I was not so much concerned about the delivery date as I was only interested in getting the vehicle and ready to wait. My corporate car lease company had a good offer from Prerana Motors (Lalbagh Road) and hence they booked the vehicle from them.

    The booking was done on March 20th’2012 and was given a delivery date of April 20th’2012.

    However after the budget the pricing got changed by a small margin and new invoice was made. But the car delivery data got delayed citing high bookings of Punto. My car leasing company was in constant touch with the dealer and also member in Pune factory to get a correct date of delivery.

    Finally delivery date of May 3rd’2012 was suggested.

    However I preferred to collect the vehicle on May 5th’2012 due to some auspicious reasons.

    I went on May 3rd‘2012 to the dealer and did a PDI of the vehicle that arrived for me. Found out from the VIN number that the vehicle was March’2012 make with 55 KMs on it (with the H still there). Checked all the components and found everything up to the mark and confirmed for this vehicle to be prepared for delivery on May 5th’2012. I had ordered for few accessories, some free and some paid.

    In the meantime, dealer got the registration number and was ready on the D day.

    On the D day, arrived at the showroom by 10 AM accompanied with my Mother and a friend of mine.
    The car was almost ready except for the number plate fitting. Checked the vehicle and was very happy to finally see the vehicle with the accessories and gleaming in that beautiful red color – It indeed looked like a common man’s Maserati/Ferrari. My joy had no boundaries.

    Finished all the formalities, like paper work etc. The dealer gave sweets, puja items along with the papers and 5 liter fuel token. My mother did a small Puja and then I gave a pack of sweets to the sales person and their team as token of gratitude. After all this off we went on our ride, filled the fuel and reached home.

    In the evening wen to the temple and got the puja done. There were no bounds to the feeling that I was going through. Shared my feeling by sharing sweets with friends and colleagues.

    In the entire buying and delivery process the sales representative and his manager were very courteous and patient. They full filled all my requirements and requests, I should commend them for the great job they had done and they never said no for any of the things that I asked them. Except for the little glitch in the delay of delivery data the entire process of interaction with the dealership was a pleasant and fruitful one.

    Initial ownership and thereafter
    After the sweety/dhanno (my mom calls it Sweety & Dhanno) came home and settled down, I was eagerly waiting to drive it as much as possible. My office is just 800 mtrs away from home so didn’t have much opportunity to drive. Also was not able to get leaves for the next 2 weeks to be able to go on a long drive. Managed to drive on weekends to 2-3 places in and around Bangalore.

    But driving sweety/dhanno needed some getting used to, especially the clutch travel and the short 1st and 2nd gears (Swift & Figo score well here) although I didn’t really feel any lag in power as such.

    After 2 weeks of getting dhanno home, got a long leave and started to Hyderabad with my parents. This would be dhanno’s first highway drive. The ODO was just below 450 KM mark. My dad is a driver by profession and has been driving Cars, busses etc. Currently driving interstate Volvo buses to various destinations like Shirdi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai etc. So I was all set with the best person I could have with me to guide on the ride.
    It was bliss driving dhanno as it was easily catching up speeds of 100 with lower RMPs and that too the car doesn’t feel like it’s doing so. Had to keep myself in control keeping in mind the drive in periods of new vehicles. My Mom and Dad both felt so comfortable that after this till now my Mom never wants to travel in a bus to Hyderabad from Bangalore or vice versa. The drive was so relaxing that everybody felt fresh even after reaching Hyderabad. It took 8 Hrs. to reach my home in Hyderabad, including all the breaks. This was a total distance covered of 602KMs from start to end with Average Fuel consumption of 16.5KMPL.

    I will keep updating this section about my sweety/dhanno with my various drives that I have done till now and its maintenance.

    I have achieved the best FE figures of 24KMPL once and average FE has been hovering between 15.5 to 17.5 KMPL. Have done some short and very spirited runs and also have touched a top speed of 185KMPH once on Nehru ORR (Hyderabad). The car felt solid and very stable even at those speeds, but I don’t recommend any one doing it. I constantly used to travel at speeds of 120KMPH + initially but off late have calmed down myself a bit and now do between 90-100KMPH with occasional 100+ runs depending on the scenario’s.

    ODO now stands just above 12500 KMs, Got the first service done @ 5600 KMs. All is well till now in all aspects related to the ride, Touch Wood :-D

    I cannot be happier and satisfied with my first car as am with my common man’s Maserati in Ferrari trim -- sweety/dhanno

    Thank you to one and all for reading my long (It’s very long, I know) post, but that’s what is my excitement level about my ride (that too first car) and wanted to show off here where I have found likeminded people with love for their cars and that too FIAT.
    I haven’t done enough justice to my car in terms of its pictures. Planning for a good photo session of dhanno. Sharing few here, will continue to update with more pictures and details as and when possible.

    Looking forward to your wonderful comments :D

    All comments above are my own views and is not intended to hurt anyone





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  2. Excellent write up Raj...Post more pics,as you said your father is a professional @driving so did he drive the car?what was his take on dhanno over the volvos(its like comparing ant and elephant but still would be good to know how good is our fiat)?
    What freebies you got with your car?
  3. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto

    Messages:
    2,150
    Bangalore
    Very nice write up raj. Liked your post. You got all the interiors as it is in Sport only thing is the external paint is quit different. So was wondering is it exactly as punto sport?
  4. raj29

    raj29 Superiore

    Arnab, thank your for liking my post. Yes my dad liked the punto very much and he is happy with the way the steering responds. He likes the lower NVH levels looking at all the diesel vehicles he had driven over the past in his experience. The only complaint he has is about the clutch having a longer play. The light/indicator and wiper staks are similarly placed in Volvo and he was feeling at home as soon as he started driving it. By the way, my dad drove only 200-300KMs as i won't let him drive and am always at the drivers seat. He has actually commented once that it feels as if he is driving a bike :evilsmile as you rightly pointed out he felt like comparing rat and elephant.
    Will post more pics.


    Thank you zen, mine is a 2012 Punto 90 HP and and not a sport. I had fitted these as part of accessories, little did i know FIAT was going to launch a version with these simlar accessories and name it SPORT ::V
    So, it looks exactly like Sport except for the red stich on the steering and gear knob, where i have the black stiching and the missing sport decals.

    I have the below accessories fitted, some purchased and some free.
    • Rear Spoiler
    • Fifth Alloy
    • Reverse Parking sensors
    • Sporty Pedals
    • Door Sill plates
    • Neck rests
    • Pillows
    • Car cover
    • Floor mats
    • Mud flaps
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
    Murphy_Fiat likes this.
  5. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto

    Messages:
    2,150
    Bangalore
    Hmm... Nice to hear. So the cost of having your versions with all accessories is closer to Punto Sport cost? How much is the difference?
  6. raj29

    raj29 Superiore

    Am not sure what is the on road cost for Punto Sport, but with the accessories the total on road cost for my Punto was 8.67 Lac.
    I see from the FIAT site that Punto Sport costs 7.51 Lac ex showroom, where as mine was 7.3 Lac ex showroom.
  7. KRUDRACOY

    KRUDRACOY

    Messages:
    32
    Bangalore
    Woww..
    I got perplexed for a moment seeing 90HP emotion, not the punto sport(I missed your date of purchase part :D). Then for a moment I even thought that Fiat stopped sport and brought back old 90HP version, as I was informed by a sales guy in last May :p

    Congrats Raj. :)

    I have a punto, so called sport with all of the parts listed by you minus the fifth alloy but with some stickers and a newer mudflap::T

    Ok! Now OTR.. around 9L, edited after seeing the above post :p
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  8. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto

    Messages:
    2,150
    Bangalore
    Wow ~9L is quite more.
  9. KRUDRACOY

    KRUDRACOY

    Messages:
    32
    Bangalore
    Oh!, I dont think so! If I see all aspects, I find it(the current deal) VFM as I got carpad5 free!(absolute pack):p Worth 20K, according to map my india website then. Then the difference of 10K is for 4 months delay in purchase :D all manufacturers increased their prices during this period...
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  10. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto

    Messages:
    2,150
    Bangalore
    Agreed about price increase. I do not have much idea about worthy of 9L with all that offers. Not much of a car geek you see. Now i am learning ;) :ugeek:
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012

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