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Punto Evo - 2014 - Test Drive and Review

Discussion in 'Punto' started by nkrishnap, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Punto Evo - 2014

    IMG_5517.jpg

    For
    • The facelift infuses new lease of life to the aging Punto
    • High quality chrome on the exterior
    • The interiors have been revamped and induced an airy feeling in the cabin. Ambient lighting is a segment-first.
    • All the positives of the earlier Punto are very much present in the facelift. Excellent build quality, the ride quality and handling, steering feedback, superb braking ability are to name a few.
    • The black and beige combo in the lower variants a welcome addition.
    • The hatchback too finally gets 3 bottle holders one in each front door pads and one along with the rear AC vents
    • The 75 HP and 90 HP variants gets different interiors as well as alloys as differentiating factor. All black theme for the 90hp extends to the roof lining as well, and the cabin feels significantly different compared to the other variants.
    • The Automatic Climate control is good. The AC vents have directional as well flow control now and the knee level AC is now included in the Emotion variant.
    • Placement of the Aux and USB port, it's no longer a trouble to use
    • Punto facelift now gets rear AC Vents.
    • 7 colors to choose, however a couple of additional colors should have been exclusive to the 90 HP variant.
    • 90hp variant rides on Apollo Alanac 4G 16 inchers tyres. These tyres have received good interionational reviews. Compared to the earlier choice of Apollo Acceleres / Goodyear GT3s, most owners will find no reason to upgrade. 16 inchers alloys are also a segment first.
    • Better under-thigh support for the rear seat, which has a longer base now compared to the earlier version.

    Against
    • The Punto facelift deserved to have the 1.4 Tjet/ 1.6 MJD under the hood for the enthusiasts.
    • Missed opportunity to work on the gear ratios, specially the initial two gears which has been the Achilles heel for the car when it comes to 0-100 timings. Gear ratios have seen only a light change, which is rather insignificant.
    • The automatic headlamps and Rain sensing wipers should have carried forward from the Linea to add more to the equipment list. DRLs would have been a welcome addition in the looks department. Reverse sensors should have been standard. Competition (specially Hyundai) offers a lot more kit as a differentiating factor.
    • The interior space packaging not as great the Japanese / Korean counterparts.
    • The low speed ride is a little stiff, but isn't alarming.
    • The rear wiper and defogger is no longer available in the mid variant. A glaring omission from the mid variant.
    • Increased weight on the facelift across variants
    • Front seats have increased travel, and this will really cut down on the rear legroom if the front passengers decide to play spoil-sport.
    PS: We would like to thank Vecto Motors and KHT Motors for providing us the opportunity to review the Punto facelift.

    This review would not have been possible without the support of Turbo_karthik (Karthik) and CrAzY dRiVeR (Sujai). Thanks mates.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  2. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Prologue

    Fiat India announced going solo and its future road map in December 2012. The year 2013 was all about expanding the dealerships, strengthening the service set up and stable supply of parts. Fiat India has managed to open 116 dealerships, launched the Linea Classic in Sept 2013 and the Linea Facelift launch in March 2014. The Grande Punto is on sale in India from 2009 and has seen a few of changes during this period like higher ground clearance, improved AC, lighter grey interior fabric. The variants line up was rationalized from four to three. Unlike Linea Facelift, the Punto facelift was not showcased during the Auto Expo 2014.

    A glance at the Old Punto Vs New Punto pricelist

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    Competition Price Check

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    Weight Comparision

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    Power to Weight Comparision

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    Specification

    Specifications.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2014
    sudipz, pratul, 5u3zEr0 and 19 others like this.
  3. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Exteriors

    Punto has always been a good looking hatch nicely proportioned with beautiful curves at the right places. Fiat would have had to think really hard to facelift the already gorgeous looking car, specifically for Indian market. The front gets the most drastic change majorly driven the Avventura concept. The front grill, bumper, bonnet fog lamps are new. The side profiles carries forward the same clean door and windows from the preface lift Punto. Like the Linea facelift, there is heavy dosage of chrome on the Punto facelift too both at the front and the back. The Punto now has seven colors to choose from the Glitterati Gold, Magnesio Grey, Pearl White, Exotica Red, Hip Hop Black, Minimal Grey and Tuscan Wine

    Front

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    The car now gets the new grill and a bumper design. There are a few changes to the bumper to include the chrome accents and the new grill The FIAT logo at the front now sits higher and is ot placed on the grill. The chrome additions (a tad more than what it should have been) is a welcome move as the market loves chrome. The quality of the chrome strips, surrounds, and the paint quality is top notch unlike the Japanese counter parts.

    New Bumper with chrome strip for the grill and the fog lamp console. Notice the lines running in the middle of the bonnet and the windshield spray housed on the bonnet

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    HeadLamp upclose

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    90 HP headlights gets all black treatment

    90 HP Headlight.jpg

    Fog Lamp up-close. Please note the quality of chrome used.

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    The 90 HP in the new Glitterati Gold avatar

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    Dual horns standard on the car - Quite loud for an OEM

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    Side Profile

    The side profile of the car has remained untouched and now the the turn signal indicators are housed in the ORVMs instead of the fender and the fender does not get the engine variant logo like the Linea. The facelift gets two new alloy wheel designs for the 75 HP and the 90 HP. The 75 HP gets the 15 inch diamond cut alloys shod with 195/60 R15 Goodyear Duraplus tyres which looks fabulous and the 90 HP gets the 16 inchers shod with 195/55 R16 Apollo Alanac 4G tyres which look bland compared to the 15 inch alloys.

    Alanac 4g range, developed recently by Apollo are a not cheap tyres in any sense of the word and have been acclaimed for their performance internationally (2014 Test World Summer Tyre Test - TyreReviews). Kudos to FIAT for providing better rubber on at least the sport variants.

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    The stance if lowered a bit would look close to perfect more so from the rear, but the 185 mm ground clearance was incorporated for practicality reasons and to match our infrastructure.

    A little closer

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    Alloys on the 75 HP

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    Alloys on the 90 HP

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    Turn signal on the ORVMs

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    Rear

    The rear gets a few changes which has a new bumper design and those fabulous tail lamps. A chrome strip runs across the bumper and continues to surround the reverse light and the rear fog lamps consoles. The rear now loses the variant logos except for the 90 HP with a 90 HP stuck on the rear hatch. The 90 HP gets a factory fit spoiler which looks quite nice for the Punto.

    The rear - Notice the variant logo missing from the rear and the only logo present is the Punto Evo 75HP variants.

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    The 90 HP gets the 90 HP badge in addition to the Punto Evo badge

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    90 HP badge up close

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    The rear bumper a little closer - Notice the placement of the reflectors in the bumper. The middle portion of the bumper is not as strong as the out going version and a mere tap on the old punto and the new ones makes it quite evident

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    Rear fog and Reverse light gets chrome accents

    Thankfully, the reverse lamps now come in a light shade of red and doesn’t break the symmetry. Earlier version had white reverse lamps on one side and red fog lamps on the other, and it is common for non-enthusiats to point out that one side lamp is broken.

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    The tail lamps during day

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    The tail lamps during night

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    Changes in the engine bay

    Bonnet stay rod location is changed due to the swooping headlamps and the bonnet stay rod feels a bit flimsy compared to the out going model. But the clips has the built to last feel to it.

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    The bonnet gets two sets of dampers one on the bonnet and one on the frame. The older one had one set on the frame.

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  4. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Interiors

    The facelift has brought about a host of changes which has freshened up the interiors a lot. The interiors now follow the Linea facelift theme and the black and beige combo which are now introduced. However, the 90 HP gets an all black interior. Both these combinations feel better compared to the black and grey interiors of the earlier version.

    The interiors are now well put together and does feel premium. However, all is not well, when it come to the fit and finish. The keyhole console continues to be plagued with inconsistent finish. Saw three cars and all of them had different finish. However, the overall fit and finish has improved from the previous version and should no longer be a deal breaker. One major turn-off expressed by potential customers in the earlier version was the gap left between the dashboard and the glove box and this has been rectified in the new design.

    The dashboard is all-new along with the speedometer console carried forward from the Linea Facelift and the center console. The dashboard gets soft touch plastic and the texture is quite good. Like the Linea, the center console gets a storage box above the AC vents, which is quite well built, it needs a firm push to lock it and also has dampening material inside to keep away the unwanted rattles when coins are placed in it. The speedo console too is carried forward from the Linea which has black background with silver fonts and is orange lit. The center console too has follows the same black back ground and is orange back-lit. There is a single cup holder in front of the gear lever and the other cup holder location now houses the Aux and the USB port. Like the Linea Punto too gets 3 bottle holders one each in the front door pads and one along with the rear AC vents. The glove box is damped and get a light too which turns on when the glove box is opened. The AC vents now have the direction as well as the flow control and feels nicely built and should last the distance. The steering still has only height adjust and the reach adjustment has not made it into the facelift.

    The new dashboard layout

    75 HP version

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    90 HP version

    Please note the red ambient light in the dashboard which goes well with the all black interiors.

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    Notice the missing sun glass holder, Linea has it and Punto doesn't which is another unwanted omission

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    Center Console - 75 HP

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    Center Console - 90 HP

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    12V Power Source (The cap comes with much better material and finish. Should last the distance)

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    Illuminated glove box

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    Glove box when closed

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    The soft touch dashboard a closer look. Notice the amber light on the dashboard, looks cool during the night

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    The AC vents with flow and direction control

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    Speedo console. It gets the faux leather cover to hide the empty spot below the console just like the Linea

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    Speedo console illuminated

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    Infamous key hole console

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    The leather wrapped steering wheel. Notice the change in symbols on the steering wheel from the outgoing Punto

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    Control Stalks feels nice and is of good quality

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    Door Pad with bottle holder - 75 HP

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    Door Pad with bottle holder - 90 HP

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    The Rear AC vents and the bottle holder for rear passengers

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    The seats as such are quite comfortable, but they feel a little soft compared to the outgoing version and the sport variant should have got leather seats again to differentiate against the 75 HP and the competition. The rear seats get 2 adjustable head rests and the seats still retain the 60:40 split like the out going model and can be folded away completely to make space for luggage. It also has the metal back for the seats for safety. The rear seat legroom is a little tight and more so as the rear seat is at least 1 inch longer than the outgoing model and to reconfirm we did measure the seat length with the old Punto. The transmission tunnel is not too high to be intrusive but the fifth passenger will be a tight fit if they are well built or if the bottle is placed in the bottle holder. At best, the Punto Evo is a comfortable for four people and the fifth passenger will surely be unwelcome for longer journeys.

    Leg room rear - Maximum and Minimum

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    Seat Texture - 75 HP

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    Seat Texture - 90 HP

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
    8 people like this.
  5. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    The engine line remains the same as the outgoing Punto. The Punto facelift has the 4 engine options to choose from 1.2 and 1.4 Litre Petrol Engines and 1.3 Litre Multijet in 75HP and 90 HP. The 1.2 FIRE is available in the Active and Dynamic variants where as the 1.4 FIRE is available on the Emotion only. The 75 HP version is available in active, dynamic and Emotion variants whereas the 90 HP is available on Emotion variant with an all black interiors. None of these engines exploit the full potential of this brilliant chassis. The 1.4 Tjet / 1.6 MJD options were eagerly awaited, but given a miss.

    1.4 FIRE

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    The 1.4-liter is rated at 90 PS at 6,000 rpm and 115 NM at 4,500 rpm. The acceleration is linear but slow. However, once the engine is kept on the boil beyond 3500 rpm, the car makes decent progress but nothing dramatic. The engine puts out a throaty note as the revs climb. For once, the noise produced by the engine is a plus point than a sore point. The gearbox is rubbery with long shifts, though the gear slot without much fuss. The increased weight on the facelift makes the slower car a little more slower. The highway relaxed cruising is its core area, but brisk overtakes needs a downshift or two. One plus point of this engine is, the knocking is almost nonexistent even one is trying hard to lug the engine. The NVH is quite decent, however as the speeds rise, the engine note along with the road noise enters the cabin but not a deal breaker.

    1.3 Mulitjet - 75 HP

    DSC_0421.jpg

    The 1.3-Mulitjet comes in two states of tune. The 75 HP in 3 variants (Active, Dynamic and Emotion) while the 90 HP version is available only in the sports version. The 75 HP version is rated at 76 PS at 4,000 rpm and 197 NM of torque peaking at 1,750 rpm. There has been minor change to the final drive ratio on the 75 HP version which makes a little better in the bumper to bumper traffic as the first gear can easily hold up the 5 - 8 kmph speeds. The acceleration is linear and the turbo starts spooling around 1800 rpm and the drivability is quite good on the 75 HP with lesser lag. Keeping the 75 HP engine above 2000 rpm should one see it make good progress. However, the engine once revved beyond 3500 rpm, the engine feels strained and not much is on offer. The 75HP now does 100 kmph at 2300 odd rpm on the speedo. However, the Torque app proved it otherwise, the true speed of 100 kmph comes close to 2490 rpms. The speedo has considerable error in terms of speed. The 75 HP managed a decent but not a quick 0-100 dash of 16.24 secs. The competitors outshine it in the 0-100 dash, but the in gear acceleration is quite strong and the drivability is better as the roll on acceleration is quite strong in the 3rd and 4th gears. In the speed range of 80, for overtaking no downshift is required, just tap the accelerator a bit more and the car builds up speed up to 140 kmph, beyond which the progress is slow. The top speed was not tested but should be in the range of 160-170 kmph.

    The gearbox is rubbery with long shifts but slots without much fuss. The increased weight on the facelift is not very evident on the facelift in terms of the drive on the diesel. The highway relaxed cruising in the speeds between 80-120 kmph is its core area. Like any other diesel engine, the 75 HP too does not need accelerator inputs in the bumper to bumper speeds. The 75 HP engine also puts out a nice note but as the revs climb the higher rpms can sound a bit coarse. The noise insulation is decent and feels intrusive when revved hard beyond 3500 rpm.

    Ride, Handling and Steering Feedback

    The existing positive traits of ride, handling and steering feedback is carried forward in the facelift too. The perfectly calibrated hydraulic steering keeps you connected to the road at all speeds and the steering is nice to hold as well. The ride is a little stiff at lower speeds due to the stiffer suspension to counter the increase in ground clearance. As the speeds increase, the suspension dismisses the uneven road surfaces like nobody's business. There is increase in the body roll compared to the pre-2012 suspension set up. Even with the increased body roll, the Punto still is a benchmark for the ride + handling + steering dynamics (PS: The new refreshed Polo comes arguably close in the ride and handling, but the steering feedback is not comparable) in the segment even with the 185 mm ground clearance. The Punto does not lose composure when pushed hard in the corners even with the stock Goodyear tyres. One will have to push really hard to make the car lose its mechanical grip and make the tyres squeal. The stock Goodyear tyres too adds to the stiffness of the ride. Even an economy comfort tyre should do a lot more in improving the ride as well reducing the tyre noise. With better tyres, it will be literally impossible to make the car lose composure around the corners. The Punto masks the speeds cleverly even with speeds above 100 kmph and feels planted all along. The cross winds has no significant impact on the composure of the car. The brakes are a strong point of the Punto, it does not lose its composure even under hard braking.

    The real life fuel efficiency in a city like Bangalore should however around 14-15 kmpl with AC and the highway mileage depends on how much one is pushing the car, driving sedately the mileage cross the 20 kmpl without fuss. Even the spirited driving, the mileage does not drop too much.

    PS: The 90 HP version of the multijet engine is yet to be driven. The drive report will be posted after the drive.
    11 people like this.
  6. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Whats Better on the Facelift and Whats not

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    Better Things
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    Storage slot below the my car buttons panel

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    LED indicators in action

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    The Wheel wells gets the plastic cladding as well as the under-body coating

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    The bonnet stay rod, neatly tucked in and the clips are of good quality

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    Access to the OBD port above the accelerator pedal

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    Height adjustable seat belts

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    New design nicely integrated on the bonnet

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    Fog lamp - now gets H7 spec bulbs

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    Rear Bottle holder with bottle, fits snug and no rattles here with the bottles placed

    Bottle Holder Rear - 2.jpg

    Another storage spot inside the glove box

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    *************************************************************
    What could have been better
    *************************************************************

    On the petrol top end, the noise insulation under the bonnet is missing

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    The key hole console still lacks consistency

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    Both the 75 HP and 90 HP versions get one size smaller spare wheel

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    The beige headrests can get dirty quite easily

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    The middle portion of the rear bumper below the number plates feels quite flimsier than the out going version. A mild tap at the middle of the bumper reveals it

    IMG_5582.jpg
    17 people like this.
  7. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Old Vs New - Pictures

    **************************************************
    Exteriors
    **************************************************

    Front

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    Side Profile

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    Rear (Only main sore point in the earlier design was the rear reverse lamp housing which broke the symmetry with the rear fog lamp housing. This has been taken care off in the new design)

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    Alloys

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    Tail Lamps

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    Windshield Wiper Spray Nozzle Position (Although the nozzle was concealed in the earlier version, the plastic was bound to fade over time. Most owners had to resort to carbon fiber stickers. Welcome change in the new version)

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    Door Pads

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    **************************************************
    Interiors
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    Old Punto (Please note the ugly gap left between the glove box and the dashboard)

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    New Punto 75 HP

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    New Punto 90 HP (Black interiors a welcome change compared to the earlier grey and now a distinguishing factor with the lower versions. All black theme even extends to the roof!)

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    Cup Holder - Old Punto

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    Cup Holder - New Punto

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    Speedometer - Old Punto

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    Speedometer - New Punto

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  8. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Overall Impression

    The Punto facelift infuses a fresh lease of life in to the Punto which was in the market 5 years with minimal or no changes. The facelift retains all the existing positives, improves on the interiors and also the engine line up. The solid build quality, good ride and handling, excellent steering feedback, very good braking ability and the features list makes it quite a contender in the premium hatch back segment. The 1.2 and 1.4 FIRE engines are not great performers nor fuel efficient as the competition. The 1.3 MJD (75 HP and 90 HP) forms the diesel line up with adequate performance. A better gearbox along with well chosen ratios could have made this adequate performer and strong performer. The segment has moved on to the 1.4/1.5 litre diesel engines and Fiat should follow the same while upping the displacement and power, but retaining the tax benefit. Plonking the 1.4 Tjet into the Punto should have a petrol variant in sports avatar. With all said and done, its now on Fiat to price the hatchback well, give a significant marketing push. How far this will be successful compared to the competition only time will tell.

    A few parting shots

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  9. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
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    Competition Check

    Maruti Suzuki Swift

    New Swift.jpg

    Positives
    • Maruti Suzuki service network
    • Block buster seller with tonnes of Swifts on road giving confidence to the prospective customer
    • Nice K Series petrol engine
    • The 75 HP version of Mulitjet with sporty tune
    • Neutral Handling
    • Perceived cheaper maintenance and TCO

    Negatives
    • Not so great build quality
    • Skinny tyres on lower and mid variants
    • Interiors prone to rattling due to lower build quality
    • Slightly overpriced compared to what is on offer and the competition. The facelift is due and it will push the prices a little further with the introduction of the facelift

    Hyundai i20 (Outgoing car. The Elite i20 has not been launched at the time of submission of this review.)

    hyundai i20 - 2.jpg

    Positives
    • A good 1.4 litre CRDi engine under the Hood
    • Service network and perceived better quality service
    • List equipment quite long and high
    • Decent build quality
    • Good quality interiors with tight fit and finish
    • Good low speed ride quality

    Negatives
    • High speed handling and steering feedback nothing to write about. On a lighter note, it famously nicknamed as boat
    • Suspension thuds enter the cabin due to its softer sprung nature
    • Higher list price, facelift around the corner will push the price further by a few thousands

    Volkswagen Polo

    VW Polo.jpg

    Positives
    • European build quality
    • Superb TSI engine with the DSG auto box
    • The downsized 1.5 litre engine, higher state of tune for the GT Variant
    • Neutral handling
    • Premium Brand image
    • Numerous options for modifications for both features and performance

    Negatives
    • Inconsistent service quality
    • Relatively higher service bills
    • Long waiting period for the GT Versions (Both Petrol and Diesel)

    Image source: Respective company websites and the photo credit to the respective manufacturer.
  10. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Performance Upgrade FAQ

    Disclaimer

    1. The forum or the reviewer have no commercial interest or association of any sorts with any of the performance mod vendors
    2. This post is only to highlight the capability of the Multijet engines with respect to performance modifications
    3. Any mods done will be at the sole discretion of the car owner. The forum or the reviewer is not responsible for any damage or issues arising out of the modifications
    4. As with any modifications, please take into consideration that the car stands to lose warranty. Please take this into account before proceeding


    The latest trend in the segment has been that the manufacturers provide engines with power ranging from 90 bhp to 105 bhp and torque from 230 to 250 NM, Hyundai and VW. Since the Fiat's factory tune though has 90 HP of power, it stands to lose out in the segment. The Punto can match these numbers without going overboard with respect to the state of tune or losing the reliability as such by either plonking a tuning box or getting a remap. With this though the 0-100 acceleration time drops quite a bit, it will still be higher than the competition thanks to the 1st and 2nd gear ratios on the Punto/Linea. This modification of tuning or remap may cost anywhere between 20K-30K depending on the vendor. Do note that any additional mods may cost more.

    Dyno Charts of the remap and tuning box for illustration purposes. Note all numbers available here are measure at the Wheel and not at the crank

    Dyno - ToT.jpg

    Dyno - RD Box.jpg

    For information on the vendors, please search the forum for contacts or get in touch with members who have got the modifications done.

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