Finally its here !!! Disclaimer: The following is the background, thought process and the decisions made by ME. The views expressed are strictly PERSONAL and they are not intended in any manner, to ridicule or humiliate other car owners or manufacturers. I wouldn't be surprised if any or many of you do not agree with my views. As said they are personal opinions and hence lets agree to disagree. All the cars that are discussed below are of Diesel variants only. The post is quite long, so have patience and read on if you have enough time. Lets Roll... Background: Where do I begin?? Let me start with few details about my previous (P)ride!! The Punto. As many of you know, I used to ,own an Exotica Red Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Active, which was bought in Dec 2010. I was checking out various Diesel hatches, back then and when I went to check out the Tata Indica Vista, I saw an Electric Blue Punto on display. I casually enquired with the SE, about the price and I was delighted to know that it was with-in my budget. I always thought that the car is too premium and very expensive to get one home. The down side though, was that I fixed my budget for 6 Lakhs OTR and din't want to stretch it to huge amounts. I was getting a Vista top end model with all rings and bells at 6 Lakhs OTR and the basic Punto Active variant for the same amount. Heart ruled over head. Was bowled by the looks. For the first time in my life, I researched about cars and Punto in particular. One review from the Definitive forum and I was almost sold for it. I researched further, being a bit skeptical about Fiat's unpleasant history during the Palio days. My research lead to a link from the Definitve forum and I landed straight into the 2010 Fiat factory visit thread on TFI. I went through various reviews and posts here and thought I can never go wrong with this vehicle, with such a huge mine of information and passionate owners around. My only grouse was that I thought the car wouldn't fit in my parking lot as it is quite cramped and the huge turning radius was one of the major cons of Punto. I raised my concern with the SE and he offered to bring the car to my place the next day and demonstrate the parking. The SE came the next morning with the car and had difficulties finding my exact location. I was instructing him the route over the phone and while doing so, went down stairs to the main gate of the building. I see this gorgeous Punto in Exotica Red and I decided the very moment I lay my eyes on it that this is the colour I would buy. (I only saw couple of BNW Puntos on the roads and had decided to go for it earlier) I joined TFI after buying the Punto and was quite active around. I ocassionally used to come across posts, where the importance of safety and the safety features offered in our cars were being discussed. I mostly ignored them as I knew that I have already got the car and there is nothing I could do about the safety features then, as there was no way one could retro fit them into the existing car. I always was under an impression, that we can do well without these features (though I always agreed that it is always a good option to have). To strengthen my opinion, I had nearly ran over a biker when he fell down and I could stop the car just in time. There was a post by me regarding the same somewhere on the forum, praising the braking abilities of Fiats. I did drive on highways ocassionally and even my wife was quite comfortable in doing so. Years passed by and there was this one incident which planted a bug in my head. I was going to Vijayawada on the newly laid Highway and it was a bliss to drive on it. Being the sedate driver I am, I was cruising at decent speeds. I spotted a cyclist who was standing on the left corner of the road looking at the other direction. It din't take much time for me, to realise that he was intending to cross the road. I was honking and he din't even look at the side he was supposed to, from where I was zooming in and started walking across the highway. Because of the speeds I was at, I was approaching him quite quickly. I was pumping the brakes instead of standing on them (what I usually do to avoid wheel lock) but still the gap was closing very fast. He was already bang in the middle of the road and I had to brake very hard. The wheels locked and with a loud screach the car came to a halt just meters before him. I don't exactly remember, how far the vehicle dragged. But felt like a life time. This I would say was the most horrific experience, with heart-in-the-mouth situation I ever had. The bells rang all over and rang so hard that I couldn't take off this incident off my mind. Slowly the fact that my ride wasn't having any safety features at all, was occupying me. Many people would find this reason quite stupid. But I was wondering, what if it were a stationary truck and I din't have enough time or distance to come to a complete halt. (Please remove the thought of advising to drive slowly. As I mentioned earlier, I am a sedate driver. Also, accidents may happen while being stationary too. Don't believe me?? Read on ..) Many of you might remeber, that there was this nightmare experience of one of our member from Chennai, who was sandwiched between a truck and a tipper while waiting at a traffic signal, who came out without a scratch, thanks to the Air bags. I also discussed this issue with my wife and then decided, if we are going to buy another car, then the safety features would top the priority list. Thought Process: Seeing many members, who got sweet deals for a car manufactured in the previous years, I always was on a look out for similar deals from Fiat in Hyderabad. There were several deals, but more on the petrol or lower variants. Last year, I got a news about a 2011 make Linea MJD Emotion Pack. The deal was set and I also had a buyer who closed the deal to buy my Punto for 4.5 Lakhs. Unfortunately, the information that I was passed on to, was wrong and I had no option but to drop the idea. August - September, 2013 : I was on one of my regular trips to, The Netherlands. I discussed with my wife and after much coaxing she was ready for an upgrade. For me an upgrade should be more of the safety features and not the next segment. I was very happy with my Punto and all I wanted was safety features. I was considering either 75HP Emotion or the 90HP. I finally decided that it would be a 90HP Punto. I was continuously discussing this with the mod team. I was also discussing with, vj_v1 and Hurricane (both 90HP owners and my closest pals from TFI) regarding the same. Almost every one asked me not to go for a Punto 90HP and that it was not a proper upgrade. My reasons for not to go for a sedan was that my daily running was around 60 kms in peak city traffic conditions, with occassional highway runs. Also the number of people travelling 99% of the time were 2, including me. I wasn't convinced that I do not need a sedan yet. When I proposed the same to my wife, she was dead against my decision. Changing a Punto to a Punto was not an upgrade according to her either and my other pals. After many hot discussions, my wife finally agreed to go for a top end hatch back, but her only condition was that it would be anything other than a Punto. Back to square one. I couldn't find or to be precise could'nt think of a hatch back other than a Punto which would suffice my requirements. The Search: October 2013: I was back in India. Didnot waste much time and I immediately started looking for cars that are available under 12 lakhs (my max budget). First it were hatch backs. Hatches: VW Polo GT TDI: I enquired about VW Polo GT TDI. Heard and read, a lot about it. But the price tag never seemed to be worth the car and given the maintainance costs, it was a big NO for me. Hyundai i20: Went to the showroom and this time the sales guy was pretty enthusiastic (unlike the time when I was buying my Punto) and showed us the i20 and Fluidic Verna (wife was drooling all over it ). The TD Verna was not available and were promised one the next day. We settled for a TD of the i20. My wife, who was earlier pushing me to consider i20, instead of Punto 90HP was very disappointed after the TD. Hyundai Grande i10: Not even close to consider as a replacement for my Punto. Punto 90 HP: I din't want to lose hope and literally dragged my wife to a Fiat Showroom. She sat in the display car and said I donot see any differnce in our Punto and this except few places. Doesn't feel like a new car to me at all. Dead End. Other Hatches, that could have been on the list but were not even considered: Maruti Suzuki Swift Regular Polo Ford Figo Atlast, I decided that if it is not a Punto 90HP, then I wouldn't go for another hatch back. So, Sedans it were. Sedans: Hyundai Verna: We never went back for a TD of Verna as I was least intrested in it. I was also backed by couple of people, who straight away told me that I would never like a Verna for my kind of driving style. VW Vento: Somehow, both me and my wife din't like it. Was not taken into consideration at all. Skoda Rapid: Had a TD of the Rapid. Liked the power on tap, handling and Solid build. I din't like the tractor like vibrating feel of the pedals. The clutch was vibrating all the time and I read that this is common in all Rapids. Missing features. No Blue tooth connectivity, steering mounted controls and even USB port was missing. And the price tag that it came wasn't VFM at all for me atleast. And before I forget, it comes with all the horrifying stories about the Skoda ASS. Peace of mind will be missing for sure!! Ford Fiesta: The only car which came closest to a Fiat IMO. The drive was excellent. Mature ride and handling. Best part was the smart steering, which would weigh up according to the speeds we were in. Solid build too. Came with all features and creature comforts including voice recognition, cruise control was like icing on the cake. Then again, rear bench was drastically opposite to the front seats. High price tag (though I was offered an OTR of 10.5 Lakhs for the top end) were the main reason this car did not sell. The looks of the car were not very appealing too, but nothing that one could not live with. (I see a lot of new fiestas on the roads these days) Again a war between head and heart. I kept this option on hold. Fiat Linea: As mentioned earlier, went to the showroom along with my wife. Parked there was a HHB Linea Emotion (Now its my turn to drool all over it). We sat in and I was feeling at home. My wife somehow din't like it. I still don't know the exact reason. I was very confused between Fiesta and Rapid. Heart kept on saying Linea. But, would it be wise to buy a Linea at the verge of an updated Linea being Launched from any time now? After much deliberation, I decided to wait for the launch of New Linea. But there was and is a lot of uncertainity as to when the New Linea would launch and if it would have the 1.6 heart. I was even ok for the 1.3 Linea though. Edit: The forum has a limitation of 20,000 characters per post and my post had 24,000 + characters and hence this post is being split into 2 parts.