Hello Guys! The story goes like this.. Here I was happily driving around in my Chevy Beat with no reason to buy or even think of a new car! But then a location change at work and a few new assignments meant I would have to use the car for a minimum of 1500km a month. This started draining a hole, given that Beat wasn't very frugal. Voila! I had a reason! A reason to convince my family to believe that I really needed a new car! The petrolhead me gave in to the diesel mania and started looking out for a B+ diesel hatch. The Requirements: 1. Should have adequate horses to not feel under powered (at least not worser than my Beat petrol) 2. Should be well built as I intend to keep this car for at least 5 years 3. Has to look good, to not just me 4. A decent list of equipment (ABS, Airbags, Alloys, ACC) I must admit I am a huge Fiat fan right from the day I was taken for a short ride in a Palio 1.2 when I was 14. I have even influenced purchase of a couple of Fiats by my friends in the past year or two. But back in 2010 when I was to put in my money on my first car, I couldn't get myself to trust Fiat for their after sales support and stayed away from my dream car, a Palio. Now though, the service experiences that my friends had with their Fiats in spite of not being great, made me believe its not as bad as I had thought. But still the niggles being reported on the forum and a high probability of frequent unexpected necessities to visit the service centre made me to not blindly go with the Punto. In fact, it made the Punto to be not even the first in my short list. So the next step, The Short list: (in the order of preference) 1. Suzuki Swift ZDi 2. Fiat Grande Punto Emotion 3. VW Polo TDI Highline SUZUKI SWIFT ZDi: Why: 1. Perceived reliability 2. Ease of service. 3. Excellent resale value Likes: 1. Eager engine. 2. Decent quality inside out. 3. Had all the equipment I was looking for 4. OE music system was better than I expected. 5. Good ride-handling balance Dislikes: 1. Huge waiting period (>6 months for ZDi and 2 months for VDi) 2. Its way too common a sight on the roads FIAT GRANDE PUNTO: Why: 1. Because its a FIAT! Likes: 1. Great ride-handling balance 2. Looks gorgeous 3. Good engine performance. 4. Has all the equipment i needed and more Dislikes: 1. Tata after sales support 2. Poor quality of interior plastics (My Beat's plastics felt much better) VOLKSWAGEN POLO Why: 1. Solid build 2. Snob value Likes: 1. Its built like a tank, almost literally. much better than the Punto 2. Looks sharp 3. Every tiny little bit that would fall into the users' hands exudes quality Dislikes: 1. Turbo lag highly distracting in the city 2. High service costs. (No free services!) The Decision: The Swift's huge waiting period kept me away from it. The Polo seemed to be expensive to maintain and so that's out as well! This left me with the Punto. I felt really happy with this as the little Fiat fought its way to the top with my bias having no role to play. I was finally about to realise my dream to own a Fiat! But the decision couldn't be frozen yet. The Punto had engine options! 75hp or 90hp. I am not going to say I am all for power and so it was an all eyes shut decision in favour of 90hp! I have been in my friend and TFIan DRIV3R's 75hp for quite a number of times and never felt it was in need of more horses. So why did I choose the 90hp Sport? 1. The price difference was around 50K and that wouldn't add up much to my 7 year EMI 2. Power is always good to have. 15hp is a welcome addition 3. I quite liked the Sport kit. The aluminum pedals, red stitching, decals et al!. Thought that would make my ride stand out The colour choice was a no brainer. The Sport had only 3 colour choices. Red, White or Black. My earlier car was Red. I needed a change, so it was out. We have a Black Optra Magnum at home and am more than just aware of the woes of keeping a black car shining. So that's out was well. And I was left with white. So the BNW it was! The Buying process: Now that the car was finalized, I had to look for a dealer. Had two choices fairly close to where i live. 1. VST, Anna Nagar 2. Concorde, Ambattur I had quite a few reservations against VST from the experience during DRIV3R's Punto delivery. Plus they are located at quite a congested place with no proper parking for visitors. So headed out to Concorde, Ambattur in spite of VST offering me a better deal. It was pooja holidays and almost all dealerships were closed. But Concorde was on! Was suprised! Stuck the deal at 8.25L OTR post all discounts. The car was not readily available and had to be brought in from Pune. They stuck to their promissed delivery date and my Tigress was delivered on 10th November. The delivery experience was neither anything to be happy about nor had anything to complain. Got car cover, floor mats and mud flaps free of cost. The FIAT Experience I must say I am totally smitten by my Fiat. This car has soul! What I like: 1. The engine is pretty eager. Power delivery feels more linear than 75hp with VGT playing its role here. It packs quite a punch post 1800rpm and responds to the slightest pedal inputs. Tigress loves the highways! 2. This car is pretty tech laden. The geeks would feel at home here. There is something new for me to discover everyday! Tigress is pretty intelligent too! 3. The handling! Its nothing short of brilliant! No, I am not exaggerating. The steering is well weighted and combined with the slightly stiffer suspension set up than most hatchbacks, makes this a terrific handler. No speed feels too high for the Punto. It absolutely masks the human ability to sense speed! 4. Its pretty frugal. have done 2200km till now. The best I have managed is 21.4kmpl with 70% AC on the highway at a 80-100kph. Was pretty surprised by this figure as I was always expecting the 90hp to be a bit worser than the 75hp on this front. Only then did I know its actually the other way around! 5. This car still makes heads turn after at least 2 years in India. Quite a graceful design. On a side note, almost everyone who enquired with me about the car asked me if I painted the mirrors red and got the decals done! What I don't quite like: 1. The interior plastics 2. The OE music system is bit of a let down. I am not an audiophile by any means. But still even I couldn't stand the sound. There is absolutely no bass! Have replaced the rear speakers for 6x9" Morels on an aftermarket wooden parcel tray. Now the sound is a lot better. Enough to keep me happy. 3. The build quality though very good thanks to thicker sheet metal and adequate rubber beading, still does not induce the built to last feel of the little German I'm spoilt by. I till now haven't been able to get my door properly locked the first time I slam it! Will I recommend this car to a non FIAT friend? A definitive Yes! This car has made me a lot better driver compared to what I was while driving the Beat. I am no more bothered by Swifts and Innovas that think they are on a race track and let them pass. May be with power has come responsibility In all, I am extremely satisfied with the smile my Tigress puts on my face every morning I see her out of my window! Priceless! Thanks zenwalker for prompting me to write a review of my baby Tigress! and a huge thanks to DRIV3R for being my Punto encyclopedia! Here are a few pictures of my Sport. The minimal grey Emotion is DRIV3R's ride.