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Old 14th May 2017, 00:29   #1
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Default Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Hi fellow auto enthusiasts! I've been suffering from insomnia for weeks now, and my mechanic says there's nothing wrong with me. I'm convinced only you guys can help me out.

I'm sure you've answered a dozen questions with regards to this matter, but one peaceful sleep is all I ask for. Hear me out.

The story so far:

After reading much about the legendary Abarth Punto, I test drove it recently (in Bangalore), and needless to say, every last word in every review I've ever read has been a testament to the incredible machine's sheer ability to negate one's existential crisis, for however brief a period.

The catch: The dealer told me that because of sluggish sales, the production has been stopped and only the 2015 White Abarth Punto, whatever is left in the yard, is the only model available on sale. Thanks to this, a massive 1.2 Lakh is offered as discount, meaning the on-road price of 11.92L boils down to 10.7L.

Meanwhile, I test drove the Figo Diesel, and for what it's worth, it sure has got a cracker of an engine, which delivers the smiles and the miles (per litre) which, to my middle-class mentality, is a win-win situation. It's priced a good 1 Lakh below the White Scorpion. But it's just not quite the Abarth.

(Just FYI, I didn't choose the Polo GT TSI for consideration, because I want a manual only.)

What I like about the Abarth:
1. Superb engine that puts a smile every time
2. Quiet engine (I love it!)
3. Juicy 'now or never' pricing
4. Built like a bull

What I don't like/not sure of:
1. Fiat's terrible after sales. Just 3 service centers in Bangalore, each not even remotely close to where I sleep. The dealer promised to call me days ago with the final quote and finances, but not even an SMS so far. It just seems like a prelude to things to expect from Fiat.
2. I don't quite like the White Scorpion. I prefer Black, though it's difficult to maintain.
3. It's a 2015 model. Already 2 years old. Can't call it a "new" car, can I?
4. Riding position seemed weird but not a major gripe
5. The TD vehicle had rickety interiors with loose door levers and broken lever for the seat height adjuster - should I expect better?
6. Bare features inside


What I like about the Figo
1. Delivers 70% of the smiles of an Abarth, but is a joy in itself to drive
2. Inexpensive to maintain, compared to Fiat
3. "Yes Mr. Wayne, it comes in black"
4. Very good mileage, though it's a crime to consider it in this comparison. Still, great mileage IS great mileage

What I don't like/not sure of:
1. Noisy diesel engine but not a deal breaker
2. Not that great build as the previous gen Figo
3. I've heard Fords don't age gracefully (?)
4. It's not an Abarth

Usage: My primary usage would be to commute to work daily, but I also want the car to be my weekend getaway ride. I don't intend to have multiple cars anyway.

Somewhere in-between this dilemma, my dad suggested to skip both and go for the Baleno. Baleno's spacious interiors, "decent" diesel/petrol engines and Maruti's after sales, seem to make more logical sense albeit at the cost of what the heart wants.

I know, I'm comparing apples and oranges and tomatoes, but I can only afford one fruit so I want to choose the right one that'll help me sleep better, as much weird as that sounds.

Is it worth going in for a 2015 Abarth? Or should I just settle for the Figo?
Or even, listen to my dad and go with the Baleno?

What would you suggest I do, to book a ride and finally sleep peacefully?

Many thanks and may the lullabies be with you.
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Old 14th May 2017, 03:03   #2
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

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Originally Posted by foxworkz View Post

Is it worth going in for a 2015 Abarth? Or should I just settle for the Figo?
Or even, listen to my dad and go with the Baleno?

What would you suggest I do, to book a ride and finally sleep peacefully?

Many thanks and may the lullabies be with you.
I would say settle for the Figo. It makes the most sense and gives you a fair bit of fun. As good a car Abarth may be, buying a car lying around for more than 1.5 year isn't the best thing to do. Knowing that Fiat's storage at their plant is completely open, the car would not feel new enough.

With the Figo, you now have the option of the Sports Edition as well which is what you should go for. Slightly stiffer suspension, nice wheels, all black interior. Black car gets contrast white roof. Satisfies all your needs. Also, the money that you save over the Abarth can be used to upgrade the tyres right after delivery, getting leather interiors and maybe a remap at a later stage.

Buying a Figo isn't a big risk now. They have ensured parts are cheaper than competition by having child parts. Maintenance costs are substantially lower than earlier Fords. Decent service network across India. So you can completely forget the Baleno.

Hope this helps.

Cheers!
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Old 14th May 2017, 06:46   #3
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Test drive a 2016 Fiat Urban Cross Abarth and ask for a 1.5 lakh discount on a late 2016 model. It provides 95% of the fun of the Punto Abarth and is more practical by way of ground clearance.
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Old 14th May 2017, 08:00   #4
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Well it's a game of heart vs mind. Major issue with the fiat is the long period it has spent in the yard. It might need a battery, tyre replacement. If you can convince the dealer to change both of these over and above the discounts, it would be a great deal.

Coming to the ford, yes it's lighter than earlier model but better than its current competitors. It would age gracefully for sure. The sport edition does look hot. You can also get the titanium plus and change to better rubber. And yes it would deliver a good fuel economy. I would suggest to settle down for the ford.

You can also check out the baleno rs just for comparison.

Last edited by Blow Horn Ok : 14th May 2017 at 08:03.
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Old 14th May 2017, 09:31   #5
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Brother foxworkz, I feel your pain. I too had test driven the Abarth Punto earlier this year. I've also driven the Figo and the VW Tsi. Nothing, i repeat nothing under 25 lakhs comes close to the visceral excitement and pure joy of the beast that is the Abarth Punto.

The Figo is the good girl your mom wants you to settle down with in an arranged marriage. The Abarth is the wild Italian temptress you want to elope with and fight dragons for.

So the question lies deep within your soul: what kind of man are you?

Get the Abarth, my brother.
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Old 14th May 2017, 11:56   #6
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxworkz View Post
5. The TD vehicle had rickety interiors with loose door levers and broken lever for the seat height adjuster - should I expect better?
The plastics don't look the greatest, but are hardy except for the guides for the seat belts which have broken off. No squeaks or rattles in my Jet during the 3 years of ownership.

Good luck on your selection.
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Old 14th May 2017, 14:37   #7
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

If you are really keen on an Abarth Punto, then I suggest look for a pre-worshipped 2015 model for around 8-8.5 lakhs rather than the 2015 model parked in the stockyard.

I would strongly advice you against a 2015 car with the dealer because it must have been parked in the yard exposed to the elements for such a long period. The tyres and wipers would have gone hard and components such as battery might need attention immediately.

Personally I would pick up the Figo Diesel or wait patiently till I come across a pre-worshipped low-mileage Abarth Punto.
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Old 14th May 2017, 15:48   #8
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Considering the three cars, I believe you should go for the Figo. The abarth has a great engine, I can testify​. But it has been lying there since 2015. The baleno is a good car. But compared to the Figo diesel, it has a bit of turbo-lag and you may need to downshift to overcome it.
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Old 14th May 2017, 19:12   #9
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxworkz View Post

Is it worth going in for a 2015 Abarth? Or should I just settle for the Figo?
Or even, listen to my dad and go with the Baleno?

What would you suggest I do, to book a ride and finally sleep peacefully?

Many thanks and may the lullabies be with you.
Personally, I will just try to decide between Abarth and Figo. Baleno is, well - not quite in the same league, even though it ticks most of the boxes for most of the buyers. I personally believe that if it has to be a Maruti, it has to be the 1.6 S Cross.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpullockaran View Post
Test drive a 2016 Fiat Urban Cross Abarth and ask for a 1.5 lakh discount on a late 2016 model. It provides 95% of the fun of the Punto Abarth and is more practical by way of ground clearance.
+1 to this, or try to get a better deal on Abarth Punto (1.5L Discount+fresh set of tyres+wipers+all consumables+service before delivery).

Or, if you are ok with sedan, take a look at Linea 125.

I have serviced my Punto at both Vecto and KHT and am happy with the service. Please read the extremely detailed thread by Crazy Driver (here) to get detailed info about the service and support.

In the end, I think it boils down to heart vs head - Figo may offer 70%, but the missing 30% will haunt your heart and will never quite paste that stupid grin on your face every time you take the car on the highway or on that hill station trip.

For some people like me, that matters more than anything else

--Anoop

Last edited by GTO : 15th May 2017 at 10:23. Reason: Language
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Old 14th May 2017, 21:17   #10
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

I own a Figo 1.5 Tdci Titanium, bought last October and has run about 20K kms ever since. So what I tell you is from my personal experience of this fantastic machine.

Like you, I was also in a similar dilemma between the Abarth and the Figo. Wasn't considering the GT Tsi because of its gearbox and the GT Tdi because Figo is a better car than the GT Tdi completely.

About the performance of the Figo, it is simply mind blowing and striking. Mind you when I say this, it takes an above average driver to extract that from it, but once you are sync with the car, it is unbelievable what this hot hatch can do.

A standing start to a 100, with a launch at about 2K revs will come easily under 10 seconds. First gear launch it at 2K revs for minimal wheel spin. The torque is insane once the turbo kicks in. Slot the 2nd gear at about 40 kmph and there is wheel spin, again. 3rd gear at 70 kmph and you hit 100 kmph under 10 secs. A time of 9.xx seconds can be achieved easily.

All this from a car which gives has an efficiency of 19.x km/l.

The handling is good in my version, non Figo S that is. But with the stiffer suspension setup and the fatter rubber it is a different story. The car dives into corners and the grip levels are great. Also, the car is comfortable more than you would expect from a car this performance oriented.

In the traffic, the comparatively small size is a blessing in disguise as it feels like a go kart. You can zip through the open spaces in traffic and the low end torque,which kicks in at revs as low as ~1600 results in fewer gear changes.

Get this hatch home and there won't be a day when it won't make you smile.

Last edited by bhphog : 14th May 2017 at 21:29.
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Old 14th May 2017, 21:58   #11
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Being a Die Hard Fiat fan my heart says go with the Abarth Punto but the mind says Figo. Ford service is much better. Resale values are better too. Ford also makes great drivers cars. Just too many things tilting the balance towards the Figo.

However why Figo Diesel. Petrol will be a better choice.

I was just about to say it but Greenhorn just beat me to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
Just curious, have you looked at the figo s?

Last edited by pedrolourenco : 14th May 2017 at 22:00.
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Old 15th May 2017, 00:10   #12
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

This dilemma is very similar to the one I faced 5 years back.
I was besotted by the Linea T-Jet at the time and since Fiat had stopped its production, only a 2 year old car was available. The Figo Diesel meanwhile had many good points (including a superior steering feedback - there. I said it ) but wasn't simply the Tjet.
Went for the Figo and fall in love with it everyday while taking a particular curve on the highway. Interestingly, coming from a petrol car, the diesel economy did wonders and I travelled more and more. 19 states and 10 more to go.
Yeah - I do have those moments when a TJet goes by (thankfully it didn't sell too much so I barely see them ) and I feel a tinge of sadness. But then, the same happens when I see my college crush on Fb.
Yes! I am a happily married man
Take the Blue pill!

Last edited by Mik : 15th May 2017 at 00:13.
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Old 15th May 2017, 00:33   #13
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

This is indeed a very difficult situation to be in.

The Baleno (assuming it is RS) needs to go. No two thoughts about it. The Figo diesel is as quick and way more efficient. The Abarth is way punchier.

If it is the Figo, I feel it should be the S (even though I haven't driven an S) as the regular Figo is considerably behind in terms of suspension and steering.

Coming to your point about your weekend rides, if it is cruising on the highways at 100-120, get the Figo. The diesel's efficiency will make you happy. Also, what's your daily usage distance going to be? Because T-Jet's efficiency is quite bad inside the city.

Also, what kind of a driver are you? Are you the one that enjoys low end power (or torque) and upshifts at 2.5-3K RPM or are you someone who revs all the way till peak power point frequently? If it is the former, get the Figo. If it is the latter, it should be the Abarth. There is nothing this side of 20L that gives the feeling that the Abarth's engine does when it is in the 4K-5.5K RPM range. It really is EXPLOSIVE. The difference between a regular T-Jet and the one on the Abarth is really apparent in that band.

Coming to the pricing, you can get the 2015 Abarth at 10L easily (at least that was the case about a month back) or may be even a little lesser, in Bengaluru.

All the best

Last edited by theredliner : 15th May 2017 at 00:39.
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Old 15th May 2017, 00:51   #14
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

And the pre worshipped car would have no exposure to the elements either?

Regarding the other stuff you mention such as hardened rubber, weak battery etc. Do note that 99% of the time dealers will remove batteries from vehicles once they cross a certain time threshold in the yard to avoid exactly that situation. As for wipers & tires, Fiat dealers have been known to not only exchange the wipers etc but also offer additional discounts towards tires that may have to be changed asap. Besides this if pushed a bit they are quite amenable to changing all of the fluids in such cars. This is from my personal experience of buying a nearly 15 month old stock but brand new Fiat with 14H on the odometer.

However after reading the 1st, 5th & 6th points on the OPs "cons of Fiat" I would recommend that he go with the Figo or any other brand but Fiat. One either connects with Fiat or doesn't. This is not a case where one can sense a connection and rather than continuing with something that always leaves one wondering for the worst, it's best to settle for the mundane but supposedly smooth vehicle ownership experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by //M View Post
..........
I would strongly advice you against a 2015 car with the dealer because it must have been parked in the yard exposed to the elements for such a long period. The tyres and wipers would have gone hard and components such as battery might need attention immediately.
.............
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Old 15th May 2017, 10:43   #15
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Default Re: Insomnia - Punto Abarth vs Figo Diesel

Ask any 1st-gen City Vtec owner if he regretted buying that car, despite the Lancer being a superior overall car.

Likewise with Octavia vRS owners.

Ditto with Fiesta 1.6S owners.

You will hear an emphatic NO, followed by long stories of special drives & wonderful memories. I'm telling you, I still miss my City Vtec.

Cars like the Punto Abarth aren't launched too often in India. It's legendary. That's why, if you are a driving enthusiast who is currently in the position to get one, just go ahead & buy it. You will have many years of grin-inducing drives, reliability & poor service be damned. You got to live a little, man! The Abarth easily matches cars costing thrice as much in terms of driving pleasure.

Must add that the Figo Sports is also an excellent hatchback & you can't go wrong with it. Quick engine, firmed up suspension & classy mods. But while the Figo Sports is 'excellent', the Punto Abarth is 'incredible'. You have to decide yourself how much a new car + better reliability + after sales matters to you.

What you should do:

1. Bargain harder for discounts. Just 1.2 lakhs isn't enough. Considering the dealer hasn't been able to sell it in 1.5 years, it's not like he has customers waiting for it. Needs a better discount. I usually never recommend buying cars that have been lying idle for so long (would prefer a daily-run car any day), but this is a unique situation as the model is out of production.

2. Look in the pre-owned market. Just heard of a BHPian who picked up a Punto Abarth with 30,000 km for 6.5 lakhs .

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxworkz View Post
Or even, listen to my dad and go with the Baleno?
No ways. It's not in the same league. If Maruti, then the S-Cross 1.6L.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedrolourenco View Post
However why Figo Diesel. Petrol will be a better choice.
The Figo's 1.2L petrol is too weak for an enthusiast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
One either connects with Fiat or doesn't.
Are you kidding me? Is he buying a car or an airplane? What is all this 'connection' thing about? I buy cars based on their competence levels. If Fiat is banking on only 'connected' customers buying their cars, it's time to change their strategy. Please understand that not everyone out there is a Fiat fan. Most of us are just looking for a good car.

Quote:
it's best to settle for the mundane but supposedly smooth vehicle ownership experience.
Mundane? Please drive the Figo Sports. It's anything but mundane.
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