My Italian Babe! - Fiat Grande Punto 75HP 2012 Dynamic BNW


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Buona sera!

Pre-Prologue

Ignorance is bliss

I’m transitioning from petrol to diesel. With that said, I had driven my Zen 2K LX around for the past twelve years. Zen being my first car, the buying experience is nothing short of the topic mentioned above. When we (myself and, who else, my better half) wanted to buy a car, my cousin suggested to go for M800, at that time. He took us to the dealership; sat inside the 800 and sat inside the Zen too; took a TD of the latter. We liked the chiller AC, more spaciousness;huge, moulded armrests on the doors (all better than the M800 we were initially planning for. My cousin told me that that (Zen) should be the car to buy. Voila! Selected the peacock green LX (LX for budget and thePG as white wasn’t readily available at that time). Took delivery within the next two or three days. No frills attached. That’s it!
So simple! Wasn’t it?

With that said, you could have easily come to the conclusion that I’m not an auto guy. Yes! All these years of driving my (oh! Not anymore now) Zen around, it had been pleasure.Let me list out the pros and cons of my ex-Zen here with my little knowledge gained through by going through various net forums in recent times.

Pros (of Zen):

1. Chiller AC
2. Good mileage Around 16kmpl (Highway) and 11-13kmpl (in city); 100% AC & I’m a sedate driver
3. Comfortable space for 5. Especially, the moulded arm rests on the doors were really comfort providers.
4. And very important one, all wheels with disc brakes, even on the LX variant. (Today, I found the old specs manual for the Zen. It says “Front-discs; Rear-drum”; However, my mechanic confirms thall it was all wheel disc brakes. [confused])
5. Great boot space for a hatch standard; I could keep my Samsonite along with 1 strolley . (I used to be shippie, by the way)
6. Comfortable ride; back bench cushioning and thigh supports are commendable; back seaters (usually my daughters) never complained of tiredness or stiffness even after 6 to 8 hours drives.
7. Rear leg room is sufficient enough for 5’10’’s even with the front seat s moved back considerably (not full though)
8. I could stow two strolleys in the rear leg room space and make a bed out of the back seat so that my kids could sleep off the long journeys.

Cons (of Zen):

1. Too low to sit into. Always needs some adjustments for the tall persons who weren’t used to the Zen’s USP to get seated. Knees and heads hitting the car’s body parts.
2. Low ground clearance; actually, very, very low it was. All of the Chennai’s speed bumps would have my Zen’s signatures on them (or the other way around too); my Zen used to have all of the speed bumps’ signatures. Neverthless, I never had issues with Pondicherry’s spped bumps. (Though they also have bigger bumps, their sloping is such that the car glides over them easily. I like their speed bumps as well their open air storm water drainage system unlike in Chennai’s canals which are always clogged with debris)
3. I’ve to mention that I’d made a mod on the front struts to increase the GC. Bushes of 1.5” size were added to the front suspension struts and after that…….. I never had to sign at the speed bumps. J
4. Alternator gave up within three years of ownership. Replaced it
5. AC developed some snags ater 4 years. Compressor and blowers were overhauled and were fine after that.
6. Being an one litre engine, 5 people on board times, pick up was a bit on the low side.
So, having shifted my base back to India, I’ve found that the refueling costs are more and more unbearable. We’ve started to look for a diesel replacement for this pertrol head

Prologue
One of my friends was looking for a duo (Petrol plus LPG) option and he had H’s eon in his mind. So, I piggy backed him to TD the Maruti’s Versa duo , Hyundai’s eon duo. At the Hyundai showroom, I saw i20 with all the goodies loaded. I fell for it the moment I saw it in flesh, though the budget was a bit more than I’d planned for. And then, we went to TATA showroom to enquire about LPG duos, and they said only XETA came with LPG option.

There I saw this Italian beauty, the Linea in all whites. Wow! Amazingly stunning! I was just awestruck just by the clean curve of the B pillar along with the nose. The beauty was there all for the nonchalant viewing pleasure. Both of us were just going around and around the car for the next 45 minutes. In fact, we just forgot what we came for and started looking at the Linea and its sibling Punto. Nevertheless, Linea was a scorcher. A superlatively beautiful looking car with minimal flaring and looking so good in white. Any one wants to know the meaning of the phrase, “it just grows on you”, and then they should just take a look at Linea. Wow!

With that said, internet has made our lives much easier (?) all through these years. The day wasn’t over yet for me yet; had a long night going over the TD and ownership reviews of Linea (only Linea) that whole night. From next day onwards, my family members were laughing at me for going ga-ga over Linea. All my conversations either began or ended with Linea. In fact, one of those ownership reviews impressed me so much that my next car should be Linea only. The following nights were much longer reviewing the below mentioned hatches along with the Linea. Why hatches too? My Finance Minister wasn't in the mood at all to approve the Linea as it's stretching our budget a lot.
 
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Shopping!

On discussing with my wife, she felt that the Linea was a bit stretching our budget and i20 might be okay for its feature rich options. Then, it’s shopping time.

First visited Hyundai showroom to take a look at the i20. The car was there waiting for us as it had been waiting for everyone else. Opened the doors and sat inside. Actually, tried to sit inside. Oh, no! It was just like our Zen. We had to sit very low and right away it was ticked off the list. If at all we’re going to buy a car, then, we don’t want to sit down to get in and out. Then my wife tried the i10. Voila! She was perfectly happy. Easy ingress and digress. Immediately took a TD; very nice. U-turns were as smooth as silk; easy drivability. Everyone was happy with it. Later found that only petrol head was available; no diesel. Even “kitna detha hye” aspect wasn’t encouraging. And from my side (driver’s sideJ), no ABS & no feedback from the steering. It was like driving on a glass. So, dropped that one too.

Now the search on the net went much deeper. More hatches were reviewed and considered. Oh! Definitely the three strokers weren’t considered as I started to gain a bit of knowledge about the auto car industry. Remember, I’m not an auto fanatic. By now, we had realized that we were looking for a Diesel hatch (me: Linea only[][]); with some decent mileage & space and comfort and drivability and most importantly with ABS (we travel quite a bit on highways). Airbags alloys, steering mounted controls optional.


By now, our list had shrunk (or grown?) to

1. Linea
2. Swift
3. Punto
4. Indica Vista Refresh
5. Liva
6. Figo

Asked for the TDs. Ford dealer promised but never arranged to send the car to my home. In the meantime, I also got some feedback from Figo owners that the ground clearance is too low and the chances of AC compressor scraping the speed breakers are more; and also we need to really sit low to ingress and digress. So, Figo was out of the list even without a TD.


Linea: didn’t do any TD. But my wife was against it as it’s a bit stretchy on the budget. Also my garage is too small (by a whole three feet) for the Linea. And, I don’t want to park the beauty outside my house every night. What a shame! Just a newly built house but not planned for a sedan of such a class. By the way, you can tuck in a scooty in Linea’s booty, you know! J


Swift: No TD!
Visited the Maruti showroom. Sat inside swift and swift dzire; oh...no! (Again) The rear leg room was found wanting. And in swift, the boot space is painfully small. Though the mileage aspect was good on these cars, we struck off these from our list. And a surprise! My wife liked the tall boy versa. But for its outdated exterior my daughters weren’t impressed claiming that it was a very old model.

Some of you might know that I’m into equities. There are a couple of clichés from the financial markets I want to quote here.

One is “Trend is your friend” and I’m a trend follower. With that said, I should have booked the Swift with my eyes closed. But the claustrophobic cabin and the not so comfortable rear leg room and the almost non existing boot space made me to think otherwise.

Another cliché is, “bull markets are built upon pessimism; and the bear markets on optimism”. For Punto, it’s like pessimism among the public which is going to turn into a market leader. (Ah! High hopes??) Of all the people I interacted with (like the school van drivers, driving schools’ helping hands at the RTO offices, call taxi drivers, sabji wallahs and chai,pani waalas sort of normal guys) almost 70 percent of them don’t know about Fiat’s Linea & Punto. They all can easily remember or recall cars like VW, indicas, nanos, Fords, Hyundais and Toyotas. So, this must be the right time for the FIAT people to upscale their promotional activities to cater to those people as well; to make the FIAT brand an household name; they should try to carry the FIAT brand from enthusiasts to the common man; it shouldn’t be restricted only to the net savvy enthusiasts; for which they need to spice up their marketing and sales activities; and beef up on the service part and spare parts availability. FIAT – Are you listening? Can you do it? Or can I do it for you?

Punto:

My daughters simply loved the gorgeous looks. The front nose indeed is a head turner. On our way to the showroom itself, we spotted one BNW punto and I tagged along to get a feel of it. It was very nice! Another pointer is that none of their friends’ dad owned this one. But, my wife wasn’t impressed with the punto as the price tag was a bit stretched for the hatch standards.


TD-ed Punto thrice twice at home and once at the showroom

The tank like build quality and the sound of “thud” closing door made me not to go beyond (Linea at first and then the) punto. The cranking was smooth; the engine came to life. I shifted into first gear; wait! The clutch! What is it? It’s got a long ply! Its long ply made me very, very uneasy. But the SE assured me that once I get a hang of it, everything would be fine. (Fly by wire clutch, SE mentioned). And the gears weren’t as smooth as my Zen. The ORVMs were too tiny to look at. To make matters worse, the rear view mirror wasn’t exactly the way I’m used to in my Zen. Wait for more! Those A and C pillars were creating blind spots too. These were the things I noticed within a couple of kms driving away from the showroom. My wife was mentally noting down all these concerns to reject the car, when given the chance. Then, the SE asked me to take the car to the nearby highway. Once on the highway, I let her go. Gee! She could munch miles. The SE hid the speedo and asked my wife and daughter (who were sitting at the back) to guess the speed; both of them said like 70 or 80. Well! I was into the triple digits already and he took his hands off the speedo. My wife was surprised at this speed masking ability. On the highway, I could really feel the car transforming into a beast. (I came to know from the net that it’s due to the design and placement of the ORVMs. I feel that the punto also lacks proper around the door beadings on the doors). However, the beast became a bit noisy when revved a bit more. There was this “whoosh” wind noise also creeping inside the cabin in triple digit speeds. And I was zipping with gusto and applied the brakes. I was happy with ABS plus EBD. From the 3rd gear onwards on the highway, it was gem of a drive. Off the highway and into the b2b traffic section. As that was my first drive in diesel, I really felt the torque much more easier to drive in b2b traffic. The 1st and 2nd gears were totally different from my Zen. By this time I got used to the torque drives. The steering was communicating to me unlike what the i10 did. The hydraulic PS was a treat to drive. Forgot to mention! The ACC chilled the cabin within a couple of minutes in the Chennai’s hot summer. Fantastic! (The TD car was parked outside in the hot sun, FYI) Big boot space. On the whole, I was okay but my wife wasn’t happy with the way I drove the car. She felt that I wasn’t as comfortable as driving the i10. (She still had i10 in her minds but it got ticked off from our list during later stages for the reasons mentioned above in the i20 section) So now, it was three of us together for punto against one (my wife). Now you all could have found out who had the majority and who would have easily won, right? But that’s not the case. My wife was eyeing for “the “ deal breaker in the name of….


Indica Vista Refresh

TD-ed twice (one at home and one at the showroom)

Wow! There was a cool one lakh and some 30 k difference between GP Emotion and Vista Vxi models with TATA’s really exciting exchange bonus and offers. For that difference, my wife was looking for some jewellery. (Sigh! This gold has really gone out of our reach nowadays! Isn’t it?)

The dealer brought one TD summer sparkle Vxi to our home. It was spaciously spacious! I was a bit skeptical of the 165mm GC. The drive was peppy when compared to the punto TD. However, the AC wasn’t that great. The SE mentioned that being a spacious car, it takes a bit more time to chill. Bright looking interiors; steering mounted controls; USB plus Bluetooth; centrally located instrument clusters (didn’t make a difference to me!).

What else do you want for a VFM package? Marvelous!

My co-brother accompanied us for the second TD (this time on a LS grey – odo was disconnected. Not happy with the concorde motors for this aspect. The SE said that the car was going for another TD after mine. Later, I found out that Concorde motors doesn't have any TD Vista Refresh. They just disconnect the odo from a new car and use it as a TD car for a couple of days. Then, they rotate the TD process with another car. Too bad!). He (my co-bro) was also not happy with AC on the second car also. TATA’s niggling issues also were considered to tick off this car from our list
(much to my wife’s disappointment)

Liva: TD-ed twice (once at home and the next at the showroom)
Wow! Very, very easy drive-ability; great mileage; bigger ORVM make it easier to look at. We found this one as a user friendly car within the first five minutes of our TD. Space, space and space at the rear bench. My wife and two daughters along with a toddler soaked up in comfort at the rear seat. The cabin was airy and real cool! The AC was fine too. My wife was very happy with the car.

But the caveats were that NVH can be heard & felt in the cabin; the car was crying to touch the 100km mark. Moreover, there were only two variants available with messed up combos; like only four speakers (two front & two tweeter provided) and you need to spend some more Vitamin M for the HU. No fog lights in the base variant. When these things were added together, it almost touched the GP Dynamic pricing. So, reluctantly stuck this one out too.

Most of the netizens are talking about the lack of rubber beadings on the Liva doors. I find that the Punto Dynamic has partial rubber beadings only; only the upper portion of the doors have the rubber beadings with a bit slightly extended downwards; bottom of the doors lack the rubber beadings. The slush and mud from recent rains in Chennai have found some space on my door ledges; on dry, summer days, the door ledges are dust magnets. L. My Zen LX had rubber beadings all around the doorsJ.

So, we decided on the Punto Emotion BNW. But wait! There is no easy way out. The dealer didn’t have BNW emotion. He had only Dynamic BNW. And there was this talk about probable Excise duty hike going on around. So, I let go off the ACC, alloys, steering mounted controls and Blue & Me and took the Dynamic. My wife was happy that the bill was some 70k lighter. It’s a WIN-WIN for both of us.

P.S: if any of you’re building your own houses/or going to build one in future (all the best!), please have your garage space well planned to accommodate a much bigger car. Please don’t think of a hatch only. You never know! If at all I had an iota of an idea about it, Linea Emotion or Dynamic BNW would be in my garage by now. (I’m sure that I could have convinced my wife into itJ)
 
Thread Starter #3
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PDI process

The SE assured me that the car would be in the showroom for the pre-registration PDI. But on reaching there, he made me to wait for an hour and then informed me that he couldn’t bring the car to the showroom due to the non-availability of the drivers. Very unprofessional of Concorde Motors, Ambattur IE, Chennai. Then, he took me to the yard on the TD Linea. Here, I must admit that the ride on the back seat was fantastically perfect one. The road to the yard was full of pot holes and undulations of over one foot. And the Linea took everything in her stride and I had fabulous ride.
For further details on this PDI, I'll write about it in the near future.

OTR price for GP 1.3 MJD Bossa Nova White

Ex showroom 6,36,857

Insurance 4,000

Registration 71,236

Extended Warranty 5,093

Total 7,17,186



Accessories by Concorde Motors

Mat & mud flap, car cover, door sills, Reverse parking sensor (Autocop – the beeping one).

Took delivery on the 21st June; got around 450 kms till date. Past five days, not able to take out the car as our road is dug up for road laying. I had two choices. Either to use the car daily but park it at the end of the road (some five houses away from my eye sight) or don’t use the car and let it rest in the garage for the duration of road laying process. I’ve chosen the second one for obvious reasons J.

I’ll write in detail about my driving experiences in the forthcoming posts as I haven’t yet done any highway trips. Of the three days of traveling around Chennai city, all I can say is that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed driving her around. On delivery day (evening), I filled her up for Rs.1,650 and she has got about half a tank more of fuel still left. If it had been my old Zen, the petrol for the same amount would have vanished by this time. J I haven’t checked the MID settings yet. I prefer doing the tank full to full method for the mileage.

By the way, I’ve a query. I park the car so that the exhaust is against the wall. I’ve noticed a black smoke mark on the wall against the exhaust. Is it normal for the diesel? Do I have to rev it harder to let go the unburnt fuel? I take care not to rev it more than 2000rpm as she’s still in her run in period.

P.S: My review may not have all the complete details. Those newbies who are in search of

Here are some pictures of my babe!
Grazie! Arrivederci!
 

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Congratulation's on your Punto, Very well written review i purely enjoyed my 15min reading your report( it had me hooked on)

Did you get any discount's?
 
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Congratulations on your Punto buddy.[clap]

Very well and detail review. And Punto is looking nice in White.
 
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Congratulations on your new PUNTO buddy. BNW indeed is a nice color to maintain as well. [:D]


I also had Zen VXI before PUNTO and yes ingress and outgress was bit of a problem, so when I decided to buy new car 2 requirements from my parents were

1. In new car ingress adn outgress should be higher.
2. Rear windows should be power windows.

Anyways, I hope you have many many drives that bring a big smile on your face.
 
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Nice writeup bro and congrats for your new drive.

This may be a silly question, you had mentioned took the delivery when the odo was 96Km with "H". What does this H stand for?
 
Thread Starter #13
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Congrats for the Punto.

Your Punto looks good in white.

Happy motoring
Thank you, AppU

Congratulation's on your Punto, Very well written review i purely enjoyed my 15min reading your report( it had me hooked on)

Did you get any discount's?
Thanks for your compliments, Visran! About the discount, there was this insurance waiver of Rs.16,712 (originally it's 20,712)

Congratulations on your Punto buddy.[clap]

Very well and detail review. And Punto is looking nice in White.
Thanks for the compliments, Singh890

Congratulations on your new PUNTO buddy. BNW indeed is a nice color to maintain as well.

I also had Zen VXI before PUNTO and yes ingress and outgress was bit of a problem, so when I decided to buy new car 2 requirements from my parents were

1. In new car ingress adn outgress should be higher.
2. Rear windows should be power windows.

Anyways, I hope you have many many drives that bring a big smile on your face.
Thanks dharmesh! Definitely! Looking forward for long journeys with her.

Congrats for you new pinto. Wish you many happy miles with it.
Thank you, Superbad!

Hey congrats buddy for your Italian beauty. Welcome to Fiat club! Happy and safe motoring!
Thanks carfreak! Of course, I'm first time FIATian! Excited!

Nice writeup bro and congrats for your new drive.

This may be a silly question, you had mentioned took the delivery when the odo was 96Km with "H". What does this H stand for?
Thanks Jango.
It's a very valid question, Jango. Even, I came to know about it only after surfing these forums. Fiat (I don't know if any other manufacturers) has coded the vehicle in such a way that the brand new vehicle will have the "H" on the odo for the first 200 kms. So that the dealers can not mess around by using the new cars for Test drive purposes. And one catch is that the dealer can reset the odo before the "H" disappears, i.e within the first 200 kms, then the H will not be there on the odo. They can't reset the odo, once the H disappears.
The H will not be there on odo after the initial 200 kms. Like now, I took the delivery at "H" 96 kms and lost the H somewhere along the line (Didn't think about it) as I've completed about 400+ kms now. Hope this clarifies your doubt.

Congrats bro and welcome to the club. Nice choice of colour. Planing to add alloys?
Thanks raj_5004! Alloys? No way! My Finance Minister isn't in any mood to sanction any further funds for the car. I've added a seat cover (Rs.7,500) plus steering grip (650). Pictures will follow later.

congrats ur punto looks awesome !!!
Thanks sarath!
 
Thread Starter #15
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Any Mod's planned?
Visran,
I can't even think of it as I had earlier mentioned in my previous post. As we've just finished building a new house, the mods are definitely not our priority. Actually, the punto is an accessory to our new house. Hi,he,heeee [:D]
and the house's accessory list is so huge that the italian babe has to wait for a while.

Most of you here in the forum might have already experienced what I'm going though now; with a newly built house and a long accessory list, the money just vanishes in thin air. Grrrrr.....
 
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