Presenting Fiat Punto with 90 HP & Variable Geometry Turbine... India's most powerful hatchback… blah blah blah!!
Anyways, I dont care a damn as this is my ownership report! For those who like to keep it short & prefer compact reports, please
stay away... The following is a story! It's more of a biography, just that it covers only 3 months of my life.
The story has many characters-
1) Main lead : raj_5004 (thats me!)
2) Main lead's best friends : Naveen & Aditya
3) Main Lead's GF : Fiat Punto
4) Punto's "sautans" : i20 & polo
5) Side actors : Swift, Micra & Figo
The saga starts in - November:
I am living a peaceful life. I am having fun, enjoying with friends, hanging out… driving my scorpio – which I love to do! I have no idea what is about to come though… December comes:
I am on the hunt for a new job. Sent my resumes to various organizations. Got a call from Navnit motors that I was appointed in their Land Rover division… Hurrayyy! I was very delighted but at the same time, due to some reasons, I could not take my scorpio to my workplace. I needed a “cheaper” car. So the decision was made to buy a new car!
By December end, I was asked to join LR on 3rd Jan. In the meanwhile, I started my research on cars. Many hours where spent on the web, Google, etc. In my anxiety, someone who got bugged the most was my dear friend & fellow TAI
'n Aditya (Renegade) & Naveen! Initially I decided I would buy a second hand hatch. I strictly wanted a diesel car only. I was searching the web for used Swifts, i20s or Puntos. When I could not find a good bargain anywhere, I decided to buy a new hatch. But in the lower end, all I liked was the santro & swift. The santro was not available in diesel & swift diesel had a huge waiting period. Also, it on-road price was more than 6 lakhs. That was no longer “cheap”! All this while, Aditya was of GREAT help, thanks buddy… (I call him “the GOOGLE boy”! ask him anything, he comes with an answer in 5 minutes flat – courtesy google!) January arrives:
Here comes New Year & I join LR. I am yet to decide on a car. Lots of hours were spent it front of the computer. Finally, the following diesel hatchbacks were considered-
1) i20 – Looks good but a little too curvy for my taste. Has good performance but is notorious for it’s turbo lag. Moreover, the 8.5 lakhs price tag put me off. I was wondering what would I be paying for?
2) Polo – Again a hefty price tag & no features on offer. I was not too impressed with it’s looks either.
3) Punto – I love the way this car looks. But performance was lethargic & A.S.S. is a suspect.
Looks was my top priority, so the micra & figo were not even considered. Finally, the Polo was also removed from the list. I dint find anything “exciting” about the car. Time was running out, I had to make a decision fast. I quickly registered myself for a test drive for the Punto & i20 diesel. I got a sms from fiat & Hyundai that I would be receiving a call soon.
Next day, since I got no reply from either of them, I visited Fortune motors (Thane) & test drove the punto 75 hp. As expected, after driving the scorpio, the fiat felt painfully slow in comparison. But I was amazed by the refinement, the build & the ride quality of the car. The steering felt amazing & the car looked hot! It could do with better interiors though.
The next day, a FIAT rep called me to arrange for a TD but I told him that I am already done with it. Till now, the Hyundai guys dint turn up. So I called them on the number provided in the SMS & they assured me they will arrange a i20 CRDi soon. Two days passed by & I got a call from a Hyundai dealer that they can bring a i20 petrol!!! When I told them that I was looking for a diesel, they bluntly replied that i20 CRDi is NOT available for test drive… I asked them that how they expect me to book a car without driving it to which they replied that I have to decide after driving the petrol… GREAT!
In the meanwhile, I called my friend Naveen. He owns a Punto for almost a year now. We talked about the car, its pros & cons & issues. He was very frank with me & his most commonly used phrase was “Let me be honest with you, ……”! Thanks a lot buddy, you eased off some of the apprehensions I had with FIAT.
Meanwhile, I visited Galaxy motors (mulund) & took a TD of the punto 90 hp. It was marginally better than the 75 hp but frankly, I was still disappointed with the performance. The Fiat guys were very courteous & helpful… I was still waiting for Hyundai’s reply. I had driven a friend’s i20 petrol & frankly, though I like it’s interiors, I was not much impressed with its ride & steering feel. Somewhere in the back of mind, I did think that if this is the way Hyundai treats it’s potential customers, God knows how they will treat me during service. I did a search on the web & I found that both cars have their own issues. While the punto seems to more reliable that i20, the Fiat A.S.S. is a pain. On the other hand, i20 does have its own issues like ACC problems & sterring rattle. Also, I did read horror stories about Hyundai’s A.S.S., so in the end, both the cars were neck to neck on every parameter. So the final decision was to be made based on the pricing. The top end i20 was a cool 40,000 more than the punto 90hp. This gap would further increase with the discount offered on the Punto. Also, Hyundai strictly said that the waiting period on i20 is 6 weeks. Fiat assured delivery within 2 weeks. (I wanted a 2011 made car only).
Finally, the decision was made to go for a white coloured Punto. We opted for the 90 hp punto as it costed just 30k more than the 75 hp one. To be continued... (No popcorn in the break please!)
After you have read the entire story which ends here
, you guys can go through the following links for easy navigation through my thread -
Initial impressions - click here
Photoshoot after alloys - click here
1000 kms report - click here
First service report - click here
4000 kms mini review - click here
First minor accident - click here
5600 kms update - click here
Pics from friend's farmhouse - click here
Why would anyone buy a Punto? - click here
Underbelly scrape - click here
General report about quality - click here
Black roof - click here
3M exterior detailing - click here
10000 kms experience - click here
170 kmph experience - click here
Second free service report - click here
Pics from NH3 drive - click here
Highway drive mini report - click here
First issue (wheel bearings kaput) - click here
FIAT meet pics - click here
Wheel bearing issue solved & 2 free upgrades - click here