Hi TFIANS, This post is the start of my Fiat Punto Sports ownership thread. I will be posting the whole buying and ownership report in parts. Not getting enough time to compile the whole thing at one go. If I wait for that my Punto would have clocked another 5K on odo by then. The Present ... Driving a Jan 2014 manufactured Punto Sports since May 18th 2014 when I became the owner of this Italian beauty. Have clocked 6K Kms in the last 112 days .I have been thinking about putting together this report for some time now. Delayed it deliberately as after having driven 6k kms and getting the car’s first checkup done @ 5k I am in a better position to judge the strengths and weaknesses of the car. Secondly I can present my perspective on FIAT's A*S*S after dealing with them for the last few months. So here comes the decision making process The Decision Making Process Part 1 ..... The search for my new car started in Feb 2014 after moving to Hyderabad. I had not owned a car myself in India as we stayed together with my parents. He has a 2006 Swift which we were sharing. Before that I had stints in US where I had cars but never owned one in India. Even the Swift that my father owns was gifted by me. I continue using my bike 2008 Avenger even now. I use my bike in most cases except for when I have to travel with family or my daughter. I have been a biker throughout but anything related to automobiles have always interested me since I was a kid. I have always kept a tab on the happenings through Auto car, Zig wheels, and Overdrive magazines when we did not have the luxury of Internet. Slowly moved on to the online versions and then to various forums like team-fiat, team-bhp. I knew very well that this year almost each and every manufacturer is coming up with a facelift or a new car. This would have meant that I would have to wait till Aug-Sep to get my hands on these new launches. So I and my wife decided to buy A Segment car or second hand B Segment car. We planned to keep it for a year or so and get a new hatchback or sedan after selling it off. So we started off on our search looking for second hand cars. Our requirements All safety features ABS,EBD and Airbags Spacious front seats and back seat good enough for two adults. Good resale as we would get a new car in a years’ time Had to be Maruti( preferably Swift or Ritz) within 4.5 lacs My wife should be able to drive the car Visited Maruti True Values and Mahindra First Choice but could not get any top end models with all safety features. Most of the cars were either the base or mid versions. We found a fully loaded SX4 diesel which was a 2006 model and had more than 80 K kms for 4 lacs. My previous experience with the Swift led me to believe that most of the cars will have good maintenance costs at such mileage. Secondly I was not sure how would my wife handle a big sedan. So dropped it from the list. But boy o boy how quickly things change in life. Fast forward six months and she easily drives her father’s SX4. And the average speed when my wife drives our Punto is usually 10-15 Kms faster than when I drive it. Found a 2013 make Punto 75 HP at Mahindra First Choice which had just 12 K on the ODO. I was told that it was used by the first owner for about 8 months and then he sold it off as he was moving out of country for work. The price quoted was 5 Lacs. When I enquired why such a low price for a car which is not even a year old they said that since the owner was in a hurry to strike a deal so he sold it off for a low price. I countered that you guys can still sell it off for a higher price and make more profit. Those guys just didn’t sound convincing to me. I felt that the previous owner may have got a lemon and would have just got rid of it after being unable to deal with FIAT A*S*S. I didn’t pursue it any further. Slowly it dawned on me that getting a Swift Z version in used market is difficult. I never looked at classifieds or individual sellers due to lack of time as well as me being new to the city. So we dropped the plan of getting a second hand car. The next option was getting a new A Segment Car.The requirement list though changed now Spacious front seats and back seat good enough for two adults. Good resale as we would get a new car in a years’ time. Budget max 4.5 lacs Will be purely used within the city. The safety aspect was ignored as most of A Segment cars don’t have it anyway. We considered the following cars from various manufacturers. Hyundai: Eon: For: Styling - though I personally do not like it. I feel the fluidic design looks good on bigger cars Quality inside out better than all competitors. Good seating position especially for shorter people. Gear knob positioning. My wife just loved it. Interiors feel a class above all contenders Against: Lots of creases on the body. Without those creases I guess it will be a look much better Extremely dull to drive. These was no fun driving it. Puny Engine. It should have been launched with the 1.1 i10 or Santro engine right from the beginning. Small boot Pricey for what it offers Santro: For: Tall boy design – Easy ingress and egress. Spacious car for the segment it is in. Can take 5 medium built easily. Brilliant to drive in the city. If Hyundai comes up with a variant with all safety features it can be an all-rounder in the small car segment. Brilliant visibility all round. Feels more spacious because of the big windows Usable boot space for a small family. Build quality better than most cars in the segment Against End of life cycle. It still sells 3K copies every month shows how well engineered this product was. Lack of safety features. Though it was not in my list of requirements I feel this car deserves a fully loaded version. Somehow this car felt more robust than its younger sibling To be very frank I didn’t find much against this car for what it offers for the price. We may nitpick but I felt this car to be near perfect in its segment. If this car was to be face lifted today it will beat all cars in it segment.We didn’t consider i10 as it was costly for what it offers now. Maruti Alto 800/ K10 For: K10 engine on Alto. Power to weight ratio shames bigger cars for many segments above. Maruti should seriously consider creating a more robust version with better tuned shocks, better brakes and safety features. This will then be a brilliant small car to drive Reliability Maruti A*S*S Against: Alto 800 looks plain ugly and Alto K10 design has started to show its age Fit and finish strictly average. The seats didn’t feel as comfortable as the Hyundai’s Low seating position. Can be uncomfortable for elderly and people with back problem. Didn’t consider Wagon R and Celerio as they were a segment above. Didn’t find Celerio interesting at all. No USP other than AMT but that too comes without all the safety features. Liked Wagon R a lot. Extremely practical car with lots of space. Brilliant seats with acceptable driving dynamics. Only omission is the passenger air bag in the top version. Might have considered it has they provided the same in the top end version. Tata Nano For: Space, Space, Space and still more space. I sometimes get amazed how Tata engineers can carve so much space inside the cars. Just compare it with A-Star which is a bigger car with less space. Even space in rear is more than that of Swift. The medium built van fit in but not so in Swift. Feature rich for the segment. ICE with four speakers and Bluetooth connectivity. Dual glove box. Multicolored dash etc. Twist version with PS is brilliant to drive. Very peppy engine. Good pick up to keep up with bigger cars in city driving conditions Easy to park almost anywhere one can think of. Cute looks. The Blue shade looked pretty cool with the dual colored dash and black interiors. Steering feel pretty good for a car of this class. Weighed in nicely at higher speeds and feather lite at parking speeds VFM. Against: Feather lite tinny build @ 624 kgs. That engine noise. Still feels like a sophisticated auto. Nano will sell more copies if they can somehow refine the engine Back seats feel like benches. Not much padding or support. Can get tiring over long distances Strictly city car. Not that it cannot be driven on highways but the compromises made to keep the price in check makes it a dicey proposition to travel extensively on highways. TATA A*S*S. Just do not get it after being a dominant domestic manufacturer how have they not evolved well as a service provider for personal cars. Chevrolet Spark was not considered even though I like it as resale value was an important deciding factor. Me and my wife both love Beat, but the top end models would have been out of our budget. Honda Brio, Renault Pulse and Nissan Micra would also have been out of budget. Ford, VW, Skoda, Toyota, Mahindra do not have any small cars. Of all the small cars considered and test driven Tata Nano was the one which appealed to heart, the head as well to the pocket. I found it to be a very practical car which acres of space inside when compared to its competitors. Pretty feature rich for its call and once price is considered it becomes a superb VFM. Extremely easy to drive maneuver and park. The new PS has made it a more complete car. So it was decided that Tata Nano would be the one ferrying us between various destinations over the next 12-15 months. But future had something else in store for us. Coming soon ….. The final decision.