Hi All, This is the ownership review of my Fiat Grande Punto. Brief Prelude: Our first car was Accent Viva Crdi, I have my happiest memories of driving this car, for 4.5 years before we sold it. Parting with this car was really tough, I had emotional attachment towards this baby. Our second car, Swift Ldi (Dec 2007), we had to buy this one while the viva was still at home, as a second car, bought this one with a way stretched budget at that time, went with this one as it was a diesel car and decent handling(huge dip from viva's handling). But it was only after we bought it that, I found out what we bought was not as great as it was hyped out at the time. Our third car, Ford Fiesta EXi LTD Edition, this one was bought after we sold off the Accent viva. The reason for buying this car was very clear, we wanted a well built, good handling, and a frugal sedan. This was a perfect car for the purpose and has served us well so far so good and is still with us. At that time, I researched a lot on this car's pros and cons and made a decision, luckily for us this decision made with mind, did match our pockets and managed to win our hearts. What car and Why: It had been four and a half years with the Swift Ldi, and I had had enough with poorly built car, yes it was!. There are threads on how I installed the ICE in this car, the lengths I went to make this car's interiors more attractive and pain I took to make this car rattle free, but it did not come around for me. In-spite of all my efforts, there was always something or the other that went wrong with the car. Given its poor build quality. Now, after having owned these cars, and after having driven many from the family for a few years now, my requirements were very clear. My Requirements: 1. My next car should be a Hatchback/Notchback. 2. It should be well designed, well built(quality of parts wise) and well made(no more damned rattles/jugaads). 3. It should have better/equivalent handling and steering precision compared to my Accent viva(crdi). (Man, I still miss that car.) 4. A decent Authorised service station was okay by me. As per me, except the Maruti and Hyundai, no other service station is awesome enough to write home about, that is by and large.(There are always exceptions) 5. It should not be super expensive to maintain. 6. It should be a diesel for only one reason alone, the turbo kick! 7. Most important of all, the car should have, A Balance between the power it produces, the power its body can handle, and stability while cornering and braking. The Contenders: #1 Volkswagen Polo Tdi. #2 Skoda Fabia Tdi. #3 Ford Figo Tdci. #4 Tata Indica Vista Quadrajet. #5 Fiat Grande Punto Multijet. Now reasons for not choosing the above contenders, 1. Polo tdi. Pros: Solid body and build. Good Handler. Good mileage. Decent maintenance cost. Decent engine power with well matched gear box. Cons: It still was new and had to prove itself. Three cylinder engine. I did not want to take change again with this one, as it was very reason to sell the Viva, since its three cylinder engine gave up. The A.S.S. was still being set-up. Parts cost was super expensive at the time in comparison. Cramped interior space in comparison. No turbo lag nor kick. 2. Fabia Tdi. Same are the reasons for the Skoda Fabia, this was the rebadged cousin of the polo so dint bother. One addition among cons is the horror Skoda A.S.S. stories of-course. 3. Figo Tdci. Ford figo, was one strong contender after the trouble free and happy ownership experience of the Fiesta Tdci. Pros: The car is well built and made. Good Handler. Good mileage. Lower maintenance cost. Good A.S.S. Cons: Okay-ish engine power with not so well matched gear box(Compared to Fiesta diesel). Interior feel and finish was not good compared to competition. Missing rear power windows on even top variant. Non-modification friendly(after market alloys wise and ICE wise). 4. Indica Vista Quadrajet. Tata Indica Vista Quadrajet, this was another contender for me as the vista was not a regular run of the mill indica, it was a well designed and tough built car, though not well made, it offered a good value for money. Pros: The car is tough built. Has national Engine and Fiat gearbox. Has good mileage. Lower maintenance costs. Excellent A.S.S. in Hyderabad. Good value for money. Cons: It was Tata, so image was a issue for the family members. A.S.S. was a gamble(except in Hyderabad). Soft suspension. Niggling issues. I did have the plans to even wait for the polo 1.6tdi ~ GT tdi, man I am glad I dint wait. Reason being that, this car was launched one and a half years after my purchase, although had all those aspects as per my expectations, still dint match the stability and solid road sticking quality of my Punto (of-course as per me). One more worthy mentioning negative aspect regarding the polo 1.6 Tdi is its really hard clutch. Now the reason for not choosing any of the Japanese or Korean or the re-badged Japanese was very simple, they either lacked the build or handling or both. Why Fiat Punto and why Punto 90hp? It was FIAT Punto 90hp for me, after I took a long test drive on the ORR, which the malik cars guys were kind enough to oblige, I was set that, I would get this one. The other reasons for picking this one was the AWESOME service support from Malik Cars dealer Hyderabad. Sadly, it dint last long, Fiat and Tata parted ways around 6months, after I bought my car. Pros: The ride, cornering ability and that balance I was after was in this car. highest power in a hatchback at the time ~ 90HP. Solid build. National Engine on this car meant, the service/parts availability benefits it comes with. Cons: EPS unit not as perfect as I expected.(Accent Viva's Hydralic steering unit was dead on target incomparison.) Interiors could have been either all black or beige like Linea's. A.S.S was very questionable out of Hyderabad at the time, as it was Tata A.S.S that serviced Fiat too. Here, it was, my Grande Punto 90HP. A big thanks to Malik guys for that long test drive and arranging me with 16" Linea T-Jet alloys on the car even before delivery. This is how the car was delivered. I wrote the car's Pros in brief above, now some of them in little more detail. Ever since Accent viva, I wanted a car with as precise steering as this one, and a better handling car. I admit accent-viva dint handle well. But, when I said precise, I meant, I always knew where my cars wheels would land next when under 3 digit speeds, people who have driven this car would know this. This was my primary expectation from Punto. Well, I test drove all the other cars I considered and rejected them for reasons above. But, when I test drove punto, this car did not have that kind of steering, but matched 90%. What it lacked in steering precision, it made up for the same in terms of Handling. I put this car through bad-broken patches and corners. It handled all those road undulations and still stayed in a Straight Line. There was slight body roll too, but this is due to the raised suspension on cars sold 2012 on wards. This din't matter much because no other car in my budget handled like this car. By the time I finished the test drive, a had a smile plastered to my face. I went in and paid the booking amount the very same day. These drive dynamics and all other aspects considered, I knew this was the car. I think God smiled up on me and said, I grant your wish of seeking such a car that I could afford. This pro of the car made me so happy that, I forgot all the vices it came with. Pros: #1. Again, that balance between power it has, the stability and braking all in excellently caliberated balance. #2. Good interior space. #3. Frugal enough to maintain, both KMPL and annual maintenance wise. #4. This car is built like a tank. #5. Light clutch pedal. Cons: #1. cramped pedals. #2. Not bad, but ergonomics of this car need getting used to. #3. A.S.S. of Fiat. (they always remind me FIAT=Fix it again Thambi). Its not the car, its them. But, they are not as bad as they used to be, they are getting better each year for sure. #4. Car was on offer only in 3 colors at the time. I really really wanted the Navy blue punto, but they dint give me a choice. BNW was rejected at home, and Black I dint want for technical reasons. There are is one thing, I want to write about the gearing of this car, while most people consider this a con, I find it okay. Most of the people here are used to Japanese/Korean tuned cars, where the 1st and 2nd gears are tall enough, but in this car they are short causing a problem to drive in traffic here. But, the trick I came about to counter this was pretty simple. stay above 1500Rpm and below 2000Rpm in 1st & 2nd gears while in traffic and one would not need as many gear changes. Once above 30Kmph shift to 3rd and cruise, but stay in the power band. This did not affect my car's mileage. Its just the way this car is tuned/made. The first year's ownership experience was a breeze. The car clocked close to 12000kms first year. I kept the car dead stock, and used it like shut it, fill it, forget it. Deep down I wanted to upgrade audio and a plethora of things on this baby and I patiently saved up for the same. The above pics were shot while on holiday. This trip was right after the first year's service. Come year 2. These are the list of upgrades I got for the car based on my expectation and the feedback after driving the car for a whole year. Now, it was past one year since I brought this baby home, and my vitamin M was also accumulated enough to start the upgrades. First thing I wanted off the car were Fiat's OE 16" alloy wheels. The reasons being, 1. These were unbelievably heavy. 2. They were softer than other manufacturer's alloy wheels. 3. They did cost me a bomb. They aided more in slowing down a already heavy car and braking. But, the drive dynamics considerably improved with lesser side wall height tyres on these 16" wheels, that's all there is to them. I scouted hard and found these alloy wheels, These weighed 5+Kg per wheel as against 9.5+Kg per wheel of the 16" Fiat's. That is almost half. These are plati's limited edition racing wheels and I got hub rings for these, boy o boy did I instantly feel the car pick-up after the change. PCD was a match but, ET~offset of stock wheel was 44 and these had an offset of 40. I dint face any problems with these. Next, the suspension was up for an upgrade. Given my driving the car is on bad roads, highways being constructed kind of roads, the stock suspension did become a little weak compared to cars with similar mileage on the ODO. This meant a little more body roll. So the solution I chose was, These are Bilstein B6. The car transformed in to a steady almost no body roll machine. Admittedly the ride became a little stiffer, but I loved the way car moved after this.