Dear Friends, A happy new year 2012 to all! I am the owner of a month old Punto 1.3 MJD Active, and would like to share my experience with others. The Decision: With marriage around the corner, I had to invest in the first car of my own. I love traveling, and have a trustworthy Bullet 350 which has served me admirably over a few lakh km, and will continue to do so in the future. For a car I started by looking out for the most VFM option, and immediately zeroed in on Wagon R. Spacious, economical, low maintenance and a decent resale value. All in all, it hit all the check marks for a first car which can be used for 2-3 years, and then sold off or kept as a second car. BUT the heart wasn't in it - for all it's pros, the biggest con of Wagon R is that it is not meant for somebody who loves driving. Second reason was that with the rising costs of petrol, more research into Diesel cars was certainly warranted. After looking through many forums, speaking with friends, looking through reports predicting future fuel prices for diesel & petrol - in short getting thoroughly confused, decided to shortlist a diesel car and then decide. Shortlisted candidates (based on price) were Beat Diesel, Figo and Vista. Went to test drive each one by one. Beat was discarded after test ride due to cramped interiors and a relatively unproven engine with lesser power. Vista didn't have great reviews, so had almost decided on a Figo due to spacious interiors and absolute VFM image. However, wasn't entirely convinced due to its low suspension, brittle mudflaps and varying reviews regarding build quality. Decided to test ride a Vista at my elder brother's insistence (he is a big Tata fan), and then just for the heck of it test drove a Punto. While I liked the experience, the long clutch did take some getting used to. Asked the price, and was stunned to find out that after the running discounts, the basic model came a whisker over my budget!! And not only that, it had the two things I was really looking for - AC and front power windows. For ICE, I always prefer aftermarket as I am yet to hear a manufacturer fitted system which has blown my mind Immediately went home and started more research about Punto. And as I went through different ownership threads, it became increasingly clear that this car was after all what the heart had been yearning for. It took me all of two days to decide on the Punto for the following reasons: 1. Solid build quality - going by family history, it's a safe bet to say that the car will be with me for at least 5-7 years. 2. Manufacturer warranty - With an extended warranty of up to 140,000 kms / 50 months, it shows that the manufacturer has absolute faith in their product. 3. Fiat chassis, engine and gearbox - for the ultimate driving experience! 4. And the best part -with around 1500 kms of monthly running, the actual out of pocket expense (EMI + fuel cost) is almost comparable to a Wagon R! So, all in all, Punto it was to be for me and so be it. The buying experience: Spent another couple of weeks meeting all dealers in Bangalore and negotiating for the best deal. Finally decided on Prerana because, well, they were the only dealers who had the color I wanted (medium gray) ready for delivery. In addition to the standard fittings (3M coat, floor mats, sunscreen, idol, mud flaps), wrangled a central locking for 7.5K more. The overall experience was quite good, with a courteous and helpful staff. The best part was that they have been receptive regarding a couple of issues I faced even after the sale had been completed, so full marks to them. Don't recall a single sour note during the entire experience. They even arranged for a vehicle to take me to their stockyard 40 kms away as I wanted to have a look at the vehicle before finalizing the purchase! The driving experience so far (2400 kms): The brand new vehicle was inaugarated with a 10 day, 1500 km to Goa and coastal Karnataka. The car ran smoothly, handled beautifully and best of all returned an average of 20.8 kmpl (Dashboard reading). The underside did get scraped on a couple of occassions, though it was more of my adventurous spirit in taking it on roads less travelled rather than the car's fault. A slight mishap with an unfortunate canine on the way back though left me with a dented front bumper and missing lower grill. Another issue faced was that the right back pillar plastic panel on which the rear speaker tray came off!! Left me a little bit disappointed, but it turned out it was due to a missing support. There were a couple of other niggles such as tight rear window winders, tight seat sliding mechanism etc so decided to give it for repairs and checkup on returning. The service experience: The service station I chose for these initial repairs was Prerana Motors Kudlu gate branch. The overall experience there was ok, though the waiting time for giving the car was a bit high due to only one service advisor handling some 10 customers who had been called for delivery. The following were the issues and outcomes: 1. Dented front bumper - Repaired and repainted, with lower front grill replaced (Rs. 291). Not a great job (the outer edges have become slightly wavy :|), but passable. Total damage to the pocket - Rs. 2497. 2. Detached back pillar plastic support for speaker tray - Repaired FOC 3. Tight rear window winders - All winders replaced under warranty (why?), but they more or less feel the same. To be taken up during 5k service. 4. Front door locks tight - Repaired satisfactorily 5. Slight wobble in wiper at lower end of windscreen - Repaired by adjusting wiper arm 6. Small leak in the right front door (realized it thanks to unseasonal Bangalore showers) - Seems to be still there based on last car wash. To be confirmed and taken up during 5k service. Overall service experience - Courteous staff, but felt the repair quality could be improved (for a car of this quality). The 'Help wanted' section: The showroom driver took the car today for permanent registration. After returning the car, I immediately realized that the engine was feeling different. Turned the AC on, only for the car to start vibrating! Kept my cool, informed the dealer sales mgr of the same, and did some trouble shooting of my own. Following are the symptoms: a. At 1000 rpm, there is a slight vibration. It's like when one cylinder does not fire in a petrol car (though a 100 times milder) b. On turning the AC on, the vibrations increase significantly and can be felt through the steering. c. No vibrations at 1300 rpm and higher. I am planning to get this checked at the 5k service - any reason for concern? What could be the probably cause? Till yest, the car was super smooth. For checking out the vibrations, I had stepped out of the car with the engine running (for the first time) to check for leaks. One thing which I noticed was that there is a strange hissing sound which is audible near the rear tyres (like air leaking). It was much louder on the drivers side than the passenger side. Is such a hissing sound normal or does it need to be investigated? Look forward to hearing from you guys and sharing more of my experiences with the doe eyed beauty!! Cheers!