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Old 3rd September 2013, 23:43   #1
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Default My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

The flashback, My Red Devil:
It was the year 2010 at Hosur. I was at cloud 9 when I could finally afford my first car!
It was a red Chevy Beat LT. That little red monster used to be my identity back then.

I learned driving in it, made humpty number of mistakes and got comfortable with driving.
She had been so forgiving. More than a car did i love her! To this day, I miss her a lot.

That's my Red Devil
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_3218.jpg

Red Devil with my friend and BHPian Driv3r's brand new Punto
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_3289.jpg

The Punto saga begins:
My location changed, I was transferred to Chennai. This brought me closer to my hometown (little over 200km from here)
And that meant that the car cannot be confined to only the city. Started taking her on the highway every alternate weekend.

The Beat though adequately powered felt a little tired and overworked while on the highway. And with rising petrol costs and an average 12-15kpl meant a lot of drain on the pocket. This got me thinking, or rather this got me a reason to think of a new car!

The Requirements:
1. Had to be a hatchback given the limits of parking space or the lack of it!
2. Had to look good, to not just me and should be built tough
3. Had to be a diesel and at least more powerful than the Beat petrol to start with.
4. Budget: Up to a max of 8L on road
5. A decent list of equipment (ABS, Airbags, Alloys, ACC)

I'll keep the selection process short given that its a long term report! I zeroed in on the Punto after considering the Swift and Polo.

The Swift in spite of being strong on performance, lost in the build quality and the huge waiting period for the ZDi. I was quoted 6 to 8 months for delivery!

The Polo felt better built than the Swift and had top notch interior quality and finish. But I was not convinced on the 3 cyl engine and the relatively larger turbo lag. So out it went.

Then I decided to look no further, listened to the Fiat fan inside me and went straight to the Fiat showroom, totally convinced that I had enough reasons to eliminate the other contenders! I ve always admired Fiats since childhood. The Palio was and it still is the best car in my world
So it's the Punto that appealed the most to me.

Now between the 75HP and 90HP, I knew 75 would've been adequate for me. But the price difference between the two, around 45K at that time if I am right, made me tilt in favour of the 90. Another stupid reason was that the 75HP on paper was lesser power than my Beat. I knew, in the real world with that massive torque and brilliant handling it's gonna be in a whole different league, but still!

The car was bought from Concorde, Ambattur on 10-11-12 (Now that's an easy date to remember!)

This is when I first saw her!! Through the glass in the showroom when the SA told me that my car has arrived and pointed towards this beauty

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_1393.jpg

I call her 'The Tigress' for she has stripes and is agile and fast!

First service:
The 5000km service was done at Tafe Reach, Greams road.
Opted to get the oil+filter changed and that was done apart from the regular check up.
The car was delivered back the same evening as I opted to take the car without washing which otherwise would ve taken the next morning.
I was overall happy with the service.

Picture time!

Enjoying the break of dawn by the highway
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_1875.jpg

A lazy n sedate winter morning drive
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_1940.jpg

Look at my stripes! They are RED!!
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_20130126_15480123.jpg

With Driver's gun metal heeled mistress!
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-photo-121112-2-36-01-pm-1.jpg

The interior click from the first photo session
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-photo-121112-3-11-20-pm.jpg

Meet the silver girl!
My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-photo-121112-6-51-11-pm-1.jpg

Second service:
Miles kept clocking and by May 15K was fast approaching!
This time there was no Tafe, it only RDC catering to the whole of Chennai.
I had taken an appointment with RDC Motors, Chennai in the month of April itself, but somehow did not feel like leaving my baby Tigress there given the sheer amount of cars they were handling and the pressure RDC was under.

So I decided to drive to True Sai Motorss, Salem for the service. They had just opened up a dedicated Fiat service centre.
Called up Mr.Sakthivel who is the Service Manager at True Sai and requested an appointment on a Saturday as I would be driving from Chennai only for this service.
He was more than happy to give me a slot and gave me a clear idea of their location. Bingo! I liked his response

Then came the weekend. I started from Chennai at 11PM on Friday (May 17). Stopped at a couple of places for quick naps en route and reached True Sai, Salem at 8AM. I was there even before they opened up.

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_20130518_082202.jpg

My car was taken in as the first vehicle and the work started soon after.
I stayed around in the workshop, passed time in their lounge with the newspapers and the car was ready by 4PM!
Neat and Tidy! All the scheduled job completed and ready to go!

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_20130518_162547.jpg

I was mighty impressed and happy with True Sai's response and service. Much much better than the first service experience!

The clock's ticking and is closing in on 23K now.

The 'Mods' done:
The following mods (if I can call them so!) have gone into the Tigress:
1. Speaker upgrade - 6" JBL GTO components up front and 6x9" Morel Maximos at the rear on an MDF parcel tray
2. 3D Maxxpider Kagu mats
3. Osram Nightbreaker Plus bulbs
4. Gloss Black Vinyl on the roof
5. Blackened headlamps
6. Smoked tail lamps
7. Absolute edition mud flaps
8. OE neck pillows!

The Positives of the car
1. Brilliant driving dynamics.
Yes the suspension feels a bit hard and may not keep the elderly happy. I believe this is more pronounced in the Puntos made after the Ground clearance increase in 2012. Fiat has stiffened the suspension to compensate for the higher CG of the car and maintain the handling prowess
2. Has more than adequate power for my needs.
3. Is built tough
4. Looks gorgeous inside out
5. Has all the equipment and gizmos I would ever need

The negatives
1. I would put Fiat service on top of this list
Things have certainly improved by quite a mile post Fiat's separation from Tata. Regular services and running spares are no more an issue if we plan and take an appointment well in advance (at least 3 weeks in advance).
A wider service network and a good inventory of most of the spares (not just the filters and oil) is what is required for this point to be off this list!
2. Interior fit and finish - A few plastic bits and pieces feel crude and flimsy like the infamous steering column and the fuel flap opening lever. The sun visors in my car won't stay put close to the roof and keep drooping downwards a little since day one.
3. The space saver spare wheel:
The spare wheel in the Punto Sport is a "space saver"
Its a different size compared to the rest of the tyres. Its a 165/80R14 while the other tyres are 195/60R15. Its marked with a warning sticker that says "Maximum speed 80Kph" and that this tyre has to be replaced with a regular tyre as soon as possible!
This is the case only with the 90HP Sport. All models of 75HP get a regular size spare! I couldn't think of reason as to why Fiat would this to only the 90HP. Even if it's cost cutting it should have been so for all the models.

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-img_20130803_091400.jpg

I had a tough time having to drive with this tiny spare wheel on the highway sticking to 70Kph for around 200km after a puncture! Have got a 15" Linea steel rim fitted with a 195/60R15 tyre for the spare now

The niggles thus far
I have thankfully not had any major issues with my Tigress till now.

The only one to report is the left door deciding to not cooperate with the central locking system last week. It wouldn't lock / unlock in response to presses on the key fob and had to be locked / unlocked manually.

Took the car to RDC motors. The door lock was found to have gone kaput and was replaced under warranty. That's got the left door happy again!

Some recent pictures.
Shall keep this thread updated!

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-dsc_0405_2.jpg

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-dsc_0442.jpg

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-dsc_0883.jpg

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-dsc_0727.jpg

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-dsc_0749.jpg

My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!-dsc_0869.jpg

Last edited by Auto freak : 4th September 2013 at 00:05.
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Old 4th September 2013, 07:36   #2
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Hi Auto Freak. Excellent review. Nice Mods there. How about adding the OE spoiler that KarthikK has on his 'Abarth'

Also could you please let me know as to where you got the headlamps and taillights tinted?
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Old 4th September 2013, 10:06   #3
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigy07 View Post
Hi Auto Freak. Excellent review. Nice Mods there. How about adding the OE spoiler that KarthikK has on his 'Abarth'

Also could you please let me know as to where you got the headlamps and taillights tinted?
Thanks Prodigy07!
The OE spoiler is in the plan. But sort of in double mind as it requires drilling 2 holes on the top of the boot lid to get it fitted.

The back headlamps were bought as such from Kawa Automobiles in Mumbai. Costed 5K for the set. The tail lamps were smoked at Speed Freaks, Anna Nagar. It is painted with translucent paint. Costed 2K
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Old 4th September 2013, 11:13   #4
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Congrats on the purchase! 23K in how many months? Good to know that you don't have any niggles so far.

One thing I like about Fiat is (even when it was in JV with Tata) that they honor the warranty claims without any fuss. They replaced my rear power window motor even when I was 6 months out of the 2 year warranty period.

Punto MJDs are definitely fuel efficient, when driven in the range of 1.8-2.2K RPMs. I usually manage between 22-25kmpl on highways. But with its great handling and speed-masking ability, it is not achievable. :-) Just like the 120+ BHPs not being useful in many cars sold in India due to their bad handling.
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Old 4th September 2013, 11:32   #5
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Quote:
Originally Posted by devansn View Post
Congrats on the purchase! 23K in how many months? Good to know that you don't have any niggles so far.
Thanks Devansn!
Got the car in Nov 2012. So its 23K in 10 months

Quote:
Originally Posted by devansn View Post
Punto MJDs are definitely fuel efficient, when driven in the range of 1.8-2.2K RPMs. I usually manage between 22-25kmpl on highways. But with its great handling and speed-masking ability, it is not achievable. :-)
Absolutely True! Keeping speeds between 80 - 90 on the highway with 50 percent AC i got an MID indicated 25.3Kpl once! But as you said, given the speed masking ability and handling what i average on the highways is around 18 - 18.5Kpl!

Btw, Your Tuscan wine Punto looks gorgeous! 90HP?

Last edited by Auto freak : 4th September 2013 at 11:34.
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Old 4th September 2013, 12:05   #6
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auto freak View Post
Thanks Devansn!
Got the car in Nov 2012. So its 23K in 10 months



Absolutely True! Keeping speeds between 80 - 90 on the highway with 50 percent AC i got an MID indicated 25.3Kpl once! But as you said, given the speed masking ability and handling what i average on the highways is around 18 - 18.5Kpl!

Btw, Your Tuscan wine Punto looks gorgeous! 90HP?
Thanks! Tuscan Wine looks good when its clean. But a hint of dust, and the looks are gone. No, mine is mid-2010 model and is 75 HP. 90 HP was released a few weeks after my purchase. :-(
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Old 4th September 2013, 13:03   #7
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

You bought the car on 10-11-12 and writing a review on 03-09-13.

Anyway, many congratulations for the Punto Sport.
Wish you a niggle free and absolutely thrilling performance from the car.
Enjoy the excellent ride of the Punto and drive safe.
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Old 4th September 2013, 14:24   #8
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Quote:
Originally Posted by devansn View Post
Thanks! Tuscan Wine looks good when its clean. But a hint of dust, and the looks are gone. No, mine is mid-2010 model and is 75 HP. 90 HP was released a few weeks after my purchase. :-(
Yes! I absolutely understand because my dad's car is black and every tiny spec of dust pops out on it. It's tough to keep a Tuscan wine shining but nothing can match the elegance and grace of a shining, glossy TW Punto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
You bought the car on 10-11-12 and writing a review on 03-09-13.

Anyway, many congratulations for the Punto Sport.
Wish you a niggle free and absolutely thrilling performance from the car.
Enjoy the excellent ride of the Punto and drive safe.
Thanks a lot for your wishes Sommos! Blame the really late review on my laziness! That's why added it to the long term review section :P
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Old 4th September 2013, 14:46   #9
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Default re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Congrats AutoFreak! The pictures were shot at the Sholavaram track?
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Old 4th September 2013, 18:27   #10
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Quote:
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Congrats AutoFreak! The pictures were shot at the Sholavaram track?
Thanks anachronix!
They were shot in an unused air strip in my hometown. :-)
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Old 4th September 2013, 21:04   #11
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Default Re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Congrats on the gorgeous FIAT! white+black tinted adds a nice touch to punto, sadly the black tint isn't legal anymore. The biggest problem with these FIATs, it makes you to hate the cars which don't have good driving dynamics, atleast it made me .

Sadly not many people know, handling isn't just a fun factor but a safest aspect too. Take it to a hill station to see its true potential, it can widen your smile .

Have more fun miles!!
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Old 4th September 2013, 21:34   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIC.BURNS View Post
Congrats on the gorgeous FIAT! , atleast it made me .

Sadly not many people know, handling isn't just a fun factor but a safest aspect too. Take it to a hill station to see its true potential, it can widen your smile .

Have more fun miles!!
Thanks Ric!
It was only last weekend that I took her up a hill for the first time.

Drove all the way to Yercaud early sunday morning just for the drive on the ghats. Loved every moment of it. That was the first time I got to experience Punto's handling prowess at its best. And yes I was gleaming wide all the way!! :-D

It was a 768km round solo trip just for the drive on the hills! Was absolutely worth it :-)

Here are some pics,

When the climb just started
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Back down from the hill and cooling off
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It was 768km in 12.5 hours. Chennai - Yercaud - Chennai
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Old 4th September 2013, 21:49   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIC.BURNS View Post
Congrats on the gorgeous FIAT! white+black tinted adds a nice touch to punto, sadly the black tint isn't legal anymore. The biggest problem with these FIATs, it makes you to hate the cars which don't have good driving dynamics, atleast it made me .

Sadly not many people know, handling isn't just a fun factor but a safest aspect too. Take it to a hill station to see its true potential, it can widen your smile .

Have more fun miles!!
Congrats on your car.great report. The fact that you drove to salem to get the service done speaks volumes . Have loads of fun.

Edit: quoted the wrong person by mistake

Last edited by arvind71181 : 4th September 2013 at 21:50.
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Old 4th September 2013, 21:55   #14
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Default Re: My (B)Ride, My Tigress: Fiat Punto 90hp Sport!

Heartiest congratulations on getting home the perfect driver's hatchback available out there. There is something magical about these Italians; once you fall for them, they just leave you captivated in their charms forever.

How about getting those black grilles from the Active trim? They would really suit the 90HP's character, IMHO.

Quote:
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Its 23K in 10 months
That is the hallmark of a true Fiatian.
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Old 4th September 2013, 23:06   #15
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Congrats on the Punto 90 ! It really is a great pick in the segment. I only wish fit n finish of the interior was better,the plastic quality was good.Wish you many happy miles in your new car
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