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My own T-90. The Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Discussion in 'Punto 1.3 MJD 90 HP' started by ramjn, Mar 15, 2011.

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  1. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    My apologies for long and late Post :)

    I have previously owned Fiat Palio 1.2 ELX and then Hyundai Getz 1.3. I sold my Getz last April. My search for a new car began on 03-Jan-11. I made up my mind that it should be a Diesel Hatch. Why Diesel? Being a frequent highway traveller, Petrol doesn't seem to be apt for me. Why Hatch? There is no room for parking a sedan (except for Dzire) at my home ::D

    I came down with the following priorities for my new car.
    - Has to be Diesel Hatch.
    - Should have both ABS and Airbags.
    - Good Ride and Handling.
    - And ofcourse, good mileage.

    Based on the above priorities, I shortlisted i20 CRDi Asta, Grande Punto 90HP, Polo 1.2 TDI Highline, Figo 1.4 TDCI Titanium. I opted out of Fabia, Indica Vista, Swift and also Ritz. Somehow, these cars didn't impress me (completely my personal opinion). Don't know why.

    My first visit to a showroom was for i20. I walked into Express Hyundai located on the OMR. I was immediately attended and a sales guy was with me within minutes. He started explaining me about the features available in the car though I am not much interested to hear on that. I asked for the pricing. The i20 CRDI Asta costs Rs.8.10 L OTR in Chennai. I checked for any discounts being offered. But, no discounts for i20. I was told that they can deliver the 2011 model car by the first week of February. 8.1 L appeared to be expensive for me. I asked for a Test Drive and I was told that test drive vehicle is not available at that time and he would arrange for the same at my doorstep. I walked away from the showroom that day. I was not prepared to spend above 8 Lakhs and almost decided to remove i20 from my list.

    I started the next round by visiting Concorde Motors in Chennai. There was huge difference in ambience, cleanliness and professionalism when compared to my previous dealership visit. Hyundai is way way ahead. It was so crowded at Concorde and I was anyway attended by a Sales person without much delay. I immediately asked for the pricing for GP 90HP. It was 7.83 L for the 2011 model and discount offered are Free Extended Warrenty (Rs. 5000), Free RSA and corporate discount of Rs. 9000. It will be around 7.69 L after the discounts. I asked for the test drive. It was arranged immediately and the test drive vehicle was not clean at all. The ODO showed around 2K. I felt like the car accelarated well and didn't feel the Turbo lag (I may not be familiar with this. I have never driven a diesel before). Enough has been said about the ride quality of Punto. Still, it needs a mention here. The ride was simply superb. And also, the handling was amazing.
    I was completely satisfied with this vehicle but what worried me is the declining sales number of Fiat and also the OTR price of 7.69 L. I asked them to give free insurance and after a lot of talk they agreed to discount 50% in the insurance. Now, the OTR comes down to Rs. 7.6 L. My mind told me to be practical and opt for cheaper/VFM hatches. Still undecided.

    My next stop was at MPL Ford, Taramani. It was a small showroom but neatly maintained. They were extremely helpful and a sales executive was with me within minutes I entered there. Unfortunately, test vehicle was not available there but they promised me to bring the vehicle to my home the same day itself. Got the pricing of 6.37 L OTR for Titanium. There was another Top-end version with this dealer, Titanium option pack. In this version they will provide 4 alloys, front fog lamps and Vinyl Seat covers. This costs Rs. 23k above the Titanium. I didn't like one component in the quotation, the insurance. It was quoted at Rs. 20,000. I asked him whether I can go for my own insurance instead of the one provided by them. They agreed. And, they offered a discount of Rs. 5000 (extended warrenty) and a corporate discount of Rs. 3500. Everything looked attractive to me. But, I felt like the vehicle is too small from outside. Decided to wait for the test drive.
    As promised, the test drive vehicle was brought to my home that day. I felt the engine noise to be very audible inside the cabin. But, it was really a fun to drive vehicle. Though it looked very small from outside, it got a very decent space inside. I told them that I will make a decision in couple of days. But, I almost made my mind to go with it.

    I wanted to check out the Polo before I make my decision. I along with my friend (owns a Figo) went to the VW showroom in T.Nagar. They were really professional and the guy who attended us was good and has good knowledge about the vehicle he is selling. Polo TDI highline is Rs. 8.1 L and has a waiting period of 3 months. I smiled and soon we walked away even without a TD.

    10,11 - Jan - 2011
    Thought Process.

    Booked Figo 1.4 Titanium with clubpack. Yes. I booked the vehicle and started the loan process with SBI.

    This is the day where all my decisions turned around. I got a call from Fiat directly and they offered for a test drive. Got to know that my friend (he owns a Punto) in Hyderabad has referred my name. Fiat told me that they will send the TD vehicle to my home itself. They connected me with TAFE Reach, Pallikaranai which is the nearest Tata-Fiat dealer from my home.
    Evening, I got call from MPL Ford and I was told that SBI has declined my loan application. I was shocked. The reason - I have too many commitments (I only have a Home Loan). I asked them to keep everything on hold before I decide on the next step.

    Got a call from TAFE Reach and they offered me a TD of Punto. They asked me whether I am looking for 2011 or 2010 model. I told them that I was only looking at 2011. Again, no discounts for 2011 model vehicle. I was told that they can give me good discounts on the 2010 vehicles and they have only 2 Punto 90 HP's with them. Exotica Red and Fox Trot Azure. Suddenly, some thought process went on in my mind. Definitely, I am going to stick with the car for the next 5-7 years. Why do I need to bother much about the year (if good discount is offered)? Went to their showroom in Pallikaranai, the very next day. The following are the discounts offered on a 2010 vehicle.
    Free Insurance + Corporate discount of Rs. 9000 + Extended Warranty Rs. 5000 + Free 50 month RSA + Cash Discount of Rs. 10,000
    After the discounts, the OTR of Punto 90 HP is Rs. 7.43 L. I quickly told them that I would book the vehicle immediately if offered for Rs. 7.3 L. After a series of negotiations, they priced at Rs. 7,31,500 for the Exotica Red Punto 90 HP. The deal looked attractive and booked the vehicle right away (Still, I regret my decision of buying car from TAFE Reach. I had very bad delivery experience with them. I will post more on this in the dealership thread). I gave a cheque for Rs. 20k as a booking amount. For finance, I decided to go with SBT with whom I got the finance for my previous car. SBT processed my loan application in 2 days flat. Got the cheque from the bank on the 3rd day. I wanted to do a PDI before the vehicle is registered. The sales executive at TAFE Reach, Pallikaranai told me that they will inform me when they bring the vehicle to their showroom in Mount Road branch (They don't allow customers to visit their Yards) and I need to inspect the vehicle there. And also, I have to take the delivery in Mount Road branch and not at the place where I booked my car. Reason - They don't have facility for the delivery process (Yes, its true. Actually, this showroom doesn't even look like car dealership at all).

    PDI. I went to TAFE Reach, Mount Road showroom. And, the car was parked in the showroom itself for display. I inspected the vehicle thoroughly. The top rubber bleeding in the car was out of its place. Another Executive who is in-charge promised that he will fix it before delivery (Well, he didn't keep his promise). Vehicle fixed for registration on 03-Feb and delivery will be on 05-Feb-2011.

    It was a big day for me. I actually did not have proper sleep earlier night dreaming about the Car. Me and my friend reached TAFE Reach, Mount Road at around 11 AM. Bad experiences starts again after reaching there. The executive in-charge for me was off that day and the actual sales executive who took my booking sits at Pallikaranai. Now, no body will handle the delivery for me. It will just happen at the delivery bay. Well, the rubber bleeding issue was not fixed at all. All documents were not ready to hand it over to me. They started doing these things after we reached there. And, the insurance certificate had my home address printed wrongly and it was written that the vehicle is hypothicated to State Bank of India (Let us leave here now. I will post a detailed review about the dealer in the dealership thread).

    They gave a demo on the features available in the car. The ODO showed a total of 109 and I saw a letter 'H' before the mileage figure. When asked about it, the guy who gave the demo told that it will disappear after 200 kms in the ODO. They have provision to reset the mileage in the ODO till 200. After that, they can't. I wasn't aware of this (may be only me?). I don't know how many of the members know this. After the demo, Customery pooja was done by them and the key was handed over to me. Finally, I going to drive my tank for the first time. I slowly came out of the delivery bay and hit the road.

    We headed straight to Balaji Agencies (3M dealer). I decided on CR70 for the windshield and CS20 for the windows and rear. The total quote was Rs. 10,000 and they offered a discount of 10%. Meantime ordered for the Seat Covers (Autoform) and floor mat at Motomall. It was planned to be done at my doorstep. Here, I was billed Rs. 10,000 (7k for seat cover and 3k for mat).

    I think its enough of buying experience. My initial driving report will follow. I drove the vehicle to my native town, the very next week after delivery.

    Some Photos taken during PDI.

    Vehicle ready for delivery.

    During religious formalities.

    During Seat cover installation.








  2. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Ownership report

    The ODO in my Car showed 1800 Kms when I wrote this Initial ownership report. About half of this was done on the highway during the trip to my native town.

    As I have mentioned earlier I have never driven a Diesel before. And, I am not an expert to comment about the engine and its performance at this time. Still, I can provide my feedback about the car. When I drove the car for the first time, I felt that the punch was missing in my car unlike the one we did the test drive at Concorde motors. The test drive vehicle did accelerate well and I did not feel any lack of power. I felt that my vehicle is very different. I hope things will improve as I clock more miles and the engine opens up as mentioned by other Punto owners in the forum.

    The first 2 gears were very boring and things improve once I switch to the third gear. I understood and felt the Turbo lag after driving the car for couple of days after delivery. As pointed out by others there is definitely a lack of outright performance. But, there is a drastic improvement once we go past 1700-1800 RPM. One good aspect I noticed is that I am not shifting gears frequently in the city traffic. This should be because of the linear delivery of power. I couldn't compare 90 HP version to that of 76 HP. I have not driven 76 HP version recently and I just test drove only the 90 HP.

    A brief highway report
    I drove to my native town (Salem) from Chennai, a week after taking the delivery. I decided to take the route, Chennai-Krishnagiri-Salem. The total distance was around 375 Kms. And I was able to reach Salem in 5 hours with 2 brief stops. I maintained the speed at 80-100 KMPH. Occasionally I reached 3000 RPM level and kept at 2500 constantly. Through out my journey to Salem, I was able to spot only one Punto (a KA registered 90 HP version) on the highway. The return journey took me 5.5 hrs due to heavy traffic from Sriperumbuthur. On the whole, I can say that it was a breeze to drive this machine on the highway.

    Fuel Efficiency
    I didn't record for the efficiency seperately for city and highway. I will do it in coming days. With about 70% highway and 30% city I got about 17.5 KMPL with 100% AC (Temperature was set at 22'C).

    Things I like about the Car
    - Looks. Ever since I bought the car, I feel like my car has a road presence always. When I brought the car to my home after the delivery, the very next day, I was congratulated by some of my neighbours and they admired its looks.
    - Highway Performance. Its just amazing even without revving beyond 3000 RPM. This vehicle is definitely a Highway cruiser.
    - Ride and handling. Its known fact. Still I have to mention it. It handles bad roads effortlessly.
    - Braking.
    - Auto A/c. I am just enjoying the Automatic climate control in the Car.
    - Steering.
    - Blue&Me. I am new to this and just enjoying this feature.
    - Other things - Electric ORVMs, Light provided in the Boot.

    Things which I don't like
    - Cramped footwell. There was actually no room for dead pedal at all. It was just fixed too close to the clutch and I feel difficult to switch between the dead pedal and the clutch. My previous car Getz was far better in this aspect.
    - Thick A-Pillars. It definitely limits the visibility on the curvy roads. There is a curvy stretch before I reach my home and I am finding it difficult evertime I pass through this stretch.
    - Ground Clearance. My car already got hit quite a few times on bad patches/Speed breakers. I didn't have much issues with Getz. In my four year ownership, I hardly had issues.
    - Music System. How I can miss this? The one which is given in the car is just a crap . I had a Alpine music system with JBL components in my Getz. The one which is given in Punto, I don't even feel like using it.

    Some comparison between my current car and my previous car Getz
    - Gear shifting was much more smoother in Getz. I am not saying its bad in Punto.
    - I enjoyed more space in Getz. Punto has less space compared to Getz.
    - Getz will struggle in highways beyond 120 KMPH. But, this car has just stunned me. The car was willing to move faster and faster.

    Problems faced so far
    - I hear some sort of 'creech' noise from the front left door. This needs to be fixed. Don't know if this has surfaced after tinting the glasses.
    - The steering wobbles after 80 KMPH but its reduced at 120 KMPH. I guess there may be a balancing issue.

    As I have mentioned earlier, I have done sun films and the seat covers for my Car. The next in line is the up-gradation of ICE. I am totally not satisfied with the quality of the Stock Audio in Punto.

    Here are some of the photos that I picked from my photo shoot.
    Disclaimer:- I am not a professional photographer :)







  3. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    ICE Upgrade

    I am a novice in this area and was in need of an expert advice on the same. I headed straight to Power Zone, Royapettah in Chennai. Met Mr. Saravana and he is extremely good and knowledgable. He understood what my expectation would be and gave me clear explanation on how ICE can be upgraded. Given my budget (I had 15-20k Max in my mind) he gave me two options.

    1. Upgrade the front speakers to Components. This is less expensive and would fit within my budget.
    2. Upgrade front speakers to Components with an Amp installation. He suggested for Focal Amp and Focal components. Total cost would be near to 25k. Sub can be reserved for the future installation.

    After a brief thinking I decided to go with option 2 and upgraded with Focal Amp (4 Channel) and components.

    Very Good. The audio output has now become very crisp. Mr. Saravana told me that it would become excellent after the initial run-in. May be after 10 hrs of running or so.

    Some pictures on the installation.


  4. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    More ICE Upgrade

    After two weeks of usage (with Amp and front components), my mind was in search of something more out of this system. Decided to upgrade my setup with a Sub-Woofer. Headed to Power zone again and discussed with Saravana. Finally, decided on installing MB Quart 12" Shallow Sub. This will not occupy much of my boot space. This costed me Rs. 10,500 with enclosures and the installation. Now, I would say that I am totally satisfied with the output.

    Here are some pictures of the Sub installation.


  5. Nice report, Ramesh. Waiting to audition your subs this Sunday ;)

    Sent from my Galaxy S using Tapatalk
  6. shashanknathani

    shashanknathani Superiore

    Nice write up buddy and wonderful choice... you r the owner of most powerful, most beautiful and most stable hatch in india...
  7. teky

    teky Esperto

    Nice report Ramjn. Man your ICE upgrade story alone can be written for pages. But it doesn't end here, we've a long journey to make.

    Where are you planning to get the first service done?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. jayadev

    jayadev Esperto

    Kannur, India
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    congratulation ramjn.

    yours is the most transparent review of punto90hp i have ever seen.

    wishing you happy miles ahead

  9. J Ravi

    J Ravi Esperto

    Congratulations and best wishes, ramjn, on becoming a proud owner of a precious Punto. Happy and safe driving in your Punto.
  10. Ichimaru

    Ichimaru Regolare

    Gurgaon, India
    Congratulations and must say P90 is the best premium hatchback in India.
    The ICE upgrade looks nice.
    Enjoy and drive safe.
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