Fiat Grande Punto

Fiat Grande Punto

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It’s been two and a half years since i bought myself a new Italian car called “Fiat Grande Punto”. Recently i haven’t been blogging much thanks to Google and how it is on verge of eliminating internet forever, but that conversation has to wait for another day. Also, i have myself to blame as i have not been concentrating on blogging at all in past few years. But hey, as they say, Better late than never. So here is my review and experience with the brilliant car Fiat Punto.

I bought Fiat Punto in May 2011. Obviously manufactured by the Italian company, Fiat. And similar to all famous Ferrari, the color for my Punto had to be red. There were other available options but i had my mind set on red color only. I opted for Fiat Punto Dynamic model which is a 1.3L MultiJet Diesel car. It costed me 6.2Lac INR back then.

Fiat Punto (Image courtesy: Fiat India)
Fiat Punto (Image courtesy: Fiat India)

We had other viable options for cars, like Volkswagen Polo, Maruti Ritz, Hyundai i10 and i20. But considering every factor that i could have possible imagined back then, i decided to buy Punto. It was easily the most stylish hatchback available in Indian market back then. The sleek contoured shape of the car made it the best looking car. Hyundai i20 was equally stylish but it was pretty expensive compared to Fiat Punto. I could have considered Maruti Swift as well, but then i already own a Maruti Swift Dzire, which is a sedan version of Maruti Swift. So understandably, it was not a part of comparison.

The next factor was the build quality. Volkswagen Polo was a big No when it comes to quality (Atleast back then the quality was poor). Cost reduction efforts can be easily seen in Maruti Ritz as well. Hyundai was okish too. So another thumbs up for Fiat Punto.

Third factor was the ride. I love driving this car. It’s mature. It’s easy and it’s very comfortable. Hyundai i20 couldn’t keep up in this factor. So Punto was one up now for it’s superb ride quality.

Now there were other factors which i can’t explain in detail, but to name a few, the diesel engine in this car is manufactured by Fiat itself. Rest of the cars in this segment use Fiat’s engine too. The engine is really efficient and works like a charm. The power steering is perfectly calibrated and weighted compared to any car in the same segment. That really makes driving a pleasure. I am also a little skeptical when talking about safety features of Hyundai’s and Maruti’s. Fiat has the best safety features in all segments.And if you can just understand what i really mean to say when i say that “Punto is the most muscular car” in the compared lot. The wheel arches are integrated so nicely which makes it looks heavier than the others. The exterior finishing and fitting is superb compared to it’s counterparts.

Fiat Punto (Image courtesy: Fiat India)
Fiat Punto (Image courtesy: Fiat India)

These are the factors that made me chose Fiat Punto and am still happy with the purchase. However, all is not gold with this car. There are few things that i have hated to begin with, or which eventually turned out to be a problem later on.

The interiors are okish. You won’t go gaga over these interiors. The plastic beneath the windshield doesn’t seem like work of quality. In fact doesn’t seem like work even. It’s hideous. The glove-box clip lock is pretty weak. I have already gotten it replaced twice in two years and till date, if i am driving and i hit a pothole on road, the glove-box will open up every single time. Cheepo plastic there too.

There is also lack of outright performance in diesel engine. There is no zap factor in pick up. No punch. It’s kind of boring as i would love a faster car or a high powered engine.

The most annoying thing however is the engine noise. Compared to Fiat’s counterparts like Polo and Swift, etc. Punto makes noise at high speeds. Also, somehow Fiat professionals can’t take care of the fan’s noise in my car. It’s just particular to my car though. Which bring me to next problem. The fiat service staff. It’s been only an year since “Fiat SPEED” opened their service centers in India. Earlier we had to get our car service and repaired from TATA Motors which were then, in collaboration with Fiat. Regardless, both of them were unsatisfactory. They are not even professionals and they love duping people off their hard earned money. It’s an argument day for me, every time i go for a car service. But then, i don’t know how other companies behave either.

Buying an alloy wheel for your car will be a problem too. I fail to understand that when every car manufacturer has a 100 PCD wheel system, why did Punto had to go with 98 PCD. I had to get my alloys/rims from Bangalore. 15″ Black alloys with 98 PCD holes. And then i also had to get hub rings made for them because those wheels would wobble a lot. What am trying to say is, why few people, have this problem that they can’t keep things SIMPLE? Is it that big a deal?

Fiat Punto (Black Alloys)
Fiat Punto (Black Alloys)

I went for Yokohama A Drive tyres straightaway, after i bought Punto. You will get the best ride quality with Fiat Punto, that’s for sure. But i am also sure about the fact that these expensive tyres will not even run for 25,000 kms. These Yokohama’s ran a total of 21,000 kms only. Another friend of mine owns a Punto and he has tried Continental’s and Michelin’s. Same result. The tyres cannot last for long in Punto. Probably has to do with the factor that it’s a heavy car. Or probably because there is something seriously wrong with this car which skipped their engineers’ mind.

Fiat Punto (Black Alloys)
Fiat Punto (Black Alloys)

The 195mm ground clearance is a huge benefit. Specially on these Indian roads where there are unmarked speed-breakers and potholes everywhere. I have taken this car to hills with no tarmacs and yet i have never had a problem. It’s a plus point really.

Fiat Punto has received a 5 Star safety rating in NCAP, so it’s definitely one of the safest cars available. Plus you will love the seat fabric and the company provided 12 spoke aluminum alloy wheels. I really like the steering on this machine, as well. It’s big and just feels perfect, while driving.

You will also like how doors opens/shuts in three stages. The stages are like locks. This feature is very practical and helpful. Thanks to the really good steel and build, outside noise stays out when the doors are closed.

As far as accessories are concerned. I have already mentioned the Black colored, Red lipped Alloys and the bigger, meatier tyres. I recommend everyone who bought or are planning to buy a Punto to get meatier tyres. You will love the comfort. Next in line were the ill plates for Punto. I didn’t gor the after market illuminated sill plates. I bought the original from company itself and they are really nice. I didn’t opt for leather seats cover but am planning to do so. The fabric is really nice and you won’t actually need to buy new covers for your seats. The best thing i did was that i removed all Punto badges from the back. I replaced the Fiat’s emblem on the back and on the front grill with Fiat Abarth’s emblems imported from UK. That really makes people turn back and have a look at the car. Some people often wonder if it’s a real Punto Abarth. Love that feeling.

Abarth Emblem Fiat Punto
Abarth Emblem Fiat Punto (Debadged)

Since i opted for the base model of Fiat Punto, i do not have the company fitted music system. Instead i waited for few months and bought the best of everything along with a limited edition head unit, and now my music system rocks. I wont mention the details right now as it requires a totally new post. What i can tell you is that the whole music system setup costed somewhere around 2 lacs INR. It ain’t cheap but it’s mind blowing. Worth every penny.

I still have not bought the front fog lamps because they are still expensive. But i would recommend everyone to go for it as it really brings out the looks of Punto. The front of Punto seems like a Mini-Maserati. Clearly Italians are good when it comes to styling.

I will write another post soon on how i modified the car and regarding the installation of music system in my car. But now, this is all i got for today. hope you liked it. Please do share the review with your friends by clicking any of the social networking buttons below. Thanks

My job is not to sell this car. I merely gave you my insights on the preview, initial review and experience for Fiat Grande Punto. You can read the major and minor specifications for this car on Fiat India’s own website : Click Here.

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