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Old 27th July 2004, 23:43   #1
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Default Fiat Palio S10. Now updated to 72,000 kms!

Likes : Looks, Solid Feel, Space, Comfort, Engine, Performance, Ride & Handling, Boot Space.

Dislikes : Rear View Mirrors, No Rear Seat Belts, ABS and Air Bags, Turning Radius.

A car is like a life partner- the more time you spend with it the more you get to know about it. Almost 10 months and 12,900kms later, I have decided to write my first report on my car.

Looks - Exterior.
* * * Italian cars are all about passion. Flamboyantly designed by Giorgio Giugiaro the Palio looks good from any angle and is easily one of the best looking cars in the country today.



*Canary Yellow color, side skirts, S10 specific spoiler and great looking alloys means the car is a limited edition car in the true sense.

* *The European looks are unmistakable with the narrow grille in the front flanked by those gorgeous clear headlamps. The bumpers sport well integrated fog lamps. The rear looks brilliant thanks to the exquisitely designed flame shaped tail lamps. Indian's aren't known for being friendly to strangers, yet, thrice I have had absolute strangers come upto me and compliment me on my choice of car. It's a magnet on the roads. I have seen people ogling at the car on signals. Through the rear view mirrors I have seen people frantically pointing their fingers at the car and at Sachin's signatures trying to tell their passengers to look at a great looking but rarely seen car. In a way the Palio has ruined my privacy. People look at the car and try to look inside at the owner. This is like having Bipasha Basu as my girl-friend! *



S10 specific spoiler gives the rear a very squat sporty look.



Side Skirts make the car look lower than it actually is. (That's me



S10 India's first signature car although personally I would have preferred Micheal Schumacher's signatures. Buying a car with Sachin's signature is ridiculous! Would you buy a cricket bat signed by Schumacher?
Note: Italian eccentricity : 16V stickers on both front fenders came off when the car was being washed. Will get them back on at the third service.



The European feel extends to the build quality as well and the car feels really solid and built to last. Tipping the scales at a heavy 1080kgs the Palio is heavier than all hatchbacks and most mid-sizers too. To put things into perspective, it weighs about 240kgs heavier than the Wagon R and almost 100 kgs heavier than the Ford Ikon! Naturally, this penalizes FE a bit but I personally love the safe solid feel of the car. Almost 10 months into owning the Palio, I still get impressed every time the doors close with that re-assuring "THUNK'. Unlike the Korean and Japanese hatche's this car doesn't have that "compromised in many areas" feel. Ever tried lifting the engine hood with one hand? Sadly, immature Indian car buyer's still haven't understood that the car is a B+ segment car and still wrongly compare it to the one size smaller Zen's/Santro's & Wagon R's.

Interiors:


The insides are the weak point. Over 2 generations old they lack the Italian design flair of the exteriors. Quality of plastics used could be better as they tend to get dull pretty fast. I have a dash board cleaner to counter *this and it seems to be working quite well. Silver finish center console and on side air vents freshen up the dull, dark, plasticky interiors to some extent. Seat fabric and door panels are of dirty dust color and looked old even when the car was brand new!
On the positives, the interiors also have that built to last feel about them and there is acres of room inside. Seats are nice and comfortable - a boon since the palio makes me take the long route home *Sliding switch to start the fan feels cheap and is cumbersome to operate. BTW, the AC works even with the fan off - a nice feature - call it the minimum of minimum settings. The AC works well cooling the insides quite fast. Personally,I love the loudish humming sound of the AC fan. *Ergonomics are excellent. It's easy to find a perfect driving position and all controls are well laid out and easy to reach. Position of steering-foot pedals-gear is P-E-R-F-E-C-T. The clutch feels nice and positive and the gear shift is smooth. S10 comes with different gear ratios than the GTX to give it more zip. Don't know how much of a difference it actually makes though. Kudos to Fiat for giving height adjustable seat belts on front, something that many C/D segment car's don't have. leather wrapped steering feels great to hold and gives the right amount of power assist. sharp steering is one of the reasons why the palio is such a fun to drive car.

Performance.



1596cc DOHC 4 cylinders 16 valves engine with 32 bit ECU displaces a thumping 100hp@5500rpm. 14kgm torque @4250rpm gives this car the ability to rocket ahead of almost everything avaliable under the million rupee range in India. So whether I am blasting down the Expressway or pottering aroud in Mumbai traffic, thanks to the perfect balance betwen HP and torque, the Palio feels totally at home and the enigne never feels like it's struggling. From 90kmph, the engine takes on a sporty rasp- it's time to switch off the stereo and listen to the Italian symphony! Engine is also the most technologically advanced unit for the price.
I believe before buying a car one has to understand the philosophy behind it's design. DOHC and 16 valves layout is used world over to maximize performance and not to give 15kmpl. Still for a heavy car the mileage is decent. (mileage section follows shortly)
The engine never feels like it's running out of breath. I have shifted to 5th while climbing up the flyovers in mumbai with 4 medium sized adults and AC working because the car actually picked up speed on it's way up! I always call it a simulated automatic. I have de-accelarated from 90 to 50 and re-accelareted without downshifting from 5th. Remember that torque?! I know many of you will say that the old city goes faster from 0-100 but please remember that the palio is about 80kgs heavier than the old city. (maybe some of you can provide the exact difference in weights. I think it's about 30/40 kgs heavier than the new city too)

Suspension.
*We all know bhp alone doesn't make a fun to drive car. Chassis and suspension play as important a role as the engine.
*The S10 is blatantly tuned for handling. no doubt , it's ride quality is still light years ahead of all hatchbacks and many mid-sizers too but having test driven a 1.2NV and 1.9D I can tell you that the car isn't tuned for ride. I do hear muted thuds (dhup dhup) when the car goes over the oversized ridges and joints on the road but nothing causes irritation or alarm. Bad patches and pot holes are despatched with great authority. Bad patches where i had to slow down my Matiz & Santro to 35-40kmph are now despatched at 70! Even at that speed I have never made frantic corrections of the steering to keep the car straight - something that I had to do a lot with the Santro.
once the car picks up speed the great chassis and handling comes into play. I have done curves at 80-85kmph and the car just keeps going arrow straight! It never gets rattled by bad roads, sharp curves or turns, nothing and I mean NOTHING rattles the Palio. The excess weight helps in giving the car great grip on the road. Sometimes I feel like the car is bolted on the road below! I have done 120 and felt like it was 90. Fiat has got the things that matter spot on and there is nothing much to fault the palio with when it comes to performance. The brakes feel a little spongy and applying them is sometimes a 2 stage process. I press them and press them some more to stop the car. I am comfortable with them now though. Shocking is the absence of ABS and Air bags especially since the GTX which costs a good Rs. 50k less has them. The day after i got delvery of the car I was at the temple when this guy came to me congratulating me. He gave me his card which said he worked at the suspension tuning section at Fiat. he said that Sachin didn't want ABS on the car as he believed it takes away the pleasure of driving! Remember it's his signature car. If this is true than Fiat deserves to be kicked on their backsides for listening to Sachin. This is like Schumacher saying that the pull shot is a bad shot to play in cricket! Non-inclustion of rear seat belts, ABS and air bags is a major, major grouse I have against Fiat.

Fuel Efficiency. I drive daily from Chembur to Vashi and back -65% highway with AC working all the time. I don't drive to maximize mileage. Driving the palio with a light right foot is really difficult. *Tyre pressure is maintained at 29psi and fuel used most of the times is Speed93.
Overall FE is approx 10.6kmpl.
Worst : 8.62kmpl
Best : 13kmpl.

After Sales Service:
one of the reasons that had me in 22 minds before i bought the car. A few days after i got the car J.D.power listed Fiat as the most improved brand - 16 points improvement in a year.
These are my expereinces with Fiat dealers:
1. A week into purchase the car was taken to Anuroop for change of right head light due to moisture condensation. 15 mins is what they took to attend to me and make my job card and I got the car back after about 45-50mins.
2. First service at Angad. i was out job card in hand in 15 mins with promised delivery at 3.30pm. Got a call at 3pm asking me to take the car! Amount paid Rs. 0
3. Second service at Anuroop. had a 11am appointment. Had job card in hand and out of the center at 11.20am. promised delivery at 4pm. Got a call at 3.30pm asking me take the car! Amount paid Rs. 617.
Will update you guys of my exp at third service.
Trip meter is malfunctioning from day one. Didn't complain at Angad as i have had bad expreinces servicing my matiz at their pilot auto service center. These fellows have skoda and mahindra dealerships too. God bless Fiat, Skoda and M&M! Didn't trust them enuff to use genuine spares. Anuroop didn't have the instrument cluster at the time of second service and I did'nt follow up after that. Will get it done at the third service. Call it priveliges of being under Warranty

* The Palio like any European car is not for someone who wants to get from point A to B. It's for someone who has a passion for cars (remember it's Italian), it's for those who love to drive, who want a throughly engineered product. The 1.6 TORQUE engine is one of the many jewels in Fiat's crown and has been used world over in many models. It impresses with it's power delivery and driveablity. The Palio 1.6 is a car that will make you take the long route home. It will make you go for a drive just for the heck of it and after you come home and park it for the night it's gorgeous looks will ensure you give it a 2nd,3rd and maybe even a 4th look before you go into your house. After dinner you may find yourself at the window giving it a last longing look before you switch off the lights for the night. When you close your eyes you will hope morning comes soon so you can get back into the car!.
As of now , I am very happy at my decision to go in for the Palio. Great Car.
Thank you Fabrique Italino Automobilo Torino.



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Old 28th July 2004, 00:05   #2
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Good review - Fiat should quote you ! Even Overdrive vindicate the Fiat experience with their LT Diesel updates !
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Old 28th July 2004, 01:13   #3
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Hats off to the first honest and allround review of the Palio that I have read. From the reviews that praise everything Palio to the ones that hate everything...this is the only one I have come across that illustrates everything in utter transparency.

As Amit has stated, comparing a Palio to a Zen or Santro is ridiculous since the italian machine just offers so much more. Its got ride and handling that can beat many of the C segments and is very very S-A-F-E - A very important factor in Indian driving conditions.

I wasnt aware of altered gear ratios in the S10. I hope we can check your Palio out at a future Team-BHP meet?

It was interesting to read about your service experience with Anuroop. The quality you received was nothing short of fantastic, and Fiat would certainly do well to adopt Anuroops methodologies and example toward other dealerships (provided all three players have the motivation).

After reading your review, I am just so tempted to pick up a Palio 1.6....just trying to figure out where I will be able to use it

Thanks for sharing this comprehensive review with us Amit...I am dead sure it will clear some doubts up for other users, and add more Palios to Team-BHP!!!

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Old 28th July 2004, 01:15   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]Ever tried lifting the engine hood with one hand?
Now where have I read that before? Wait!! The letters section of Autocarindia August 2004...correct, Mr. Raisinghani?

I like the way you started the letter: " Being an owner of the best B segment car in India..."

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Old 28th July 2004, 01:34   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (amit @ July 27 2004,22:13)]Shocking is the absence of ABS and Air bags especially since the GTX which costs a good Rs. 50k less has them
For yr info, there are 3 models in 1.6 palio

gtx
gtx sp
S10

Say for eg , the gtx costs rs. x
THE GTx does not have airbags and abs

the gtx sp costs ( x + 50 k )
this has air bags and abs

the s10 costs ( x +50k + 10 k)
S10 dosent have abs and airbag
But S10 has
1. A differeent design alloys
2. yellow color , available in no other model
3. different spoiler.
4. stereo system
5. side skirts
6. Different leather wrapped steering and geear know and red stiching on it
7. Sachin signatures and bat signed by Sachin

if i missed anything guys , please add it
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Old 28th July 2004, 01:36   #6
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Hi Amit
That was a good review..

It has raised my excitement levels to buy my Palio ASAP
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Old 28th July 2004, 02:27   #7
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Hey Amit

Gteat review on the Palio 1.6. The 1.6 is surely a scorcher and one of the best cars I have driven too. A perfect report by you along with pictures. Excellent job

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Old 28th July 2004, 03:10   #8
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Hey Amit,
That's a great review. Good pictures too.
Thanks.
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Old 28th July 2004, 03:28   #9
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Hey Amit,

Great review, and your car looks absolutely spectacular in those pictures!! Thats bright yellow against the dim surroundings
Have you driven any other palio 1.6s? do you notice the difference with your lower gear ratios?
Also, maybe you should give that fiat guy who gave you his card a call and tell him about TBHP! Im sure he would have a lot of interesting things to say!

Great review pal.
cya
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Old 28th July 2004, 09:59   #10
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Fantastic review.
Wondering if Fiat service is the same all over the country!!
In Bangalore it seems to be pretty bad with Sundaram. People I know are going to local service station and getting better value. One of my friend went to Sundaram with his engine knocking problem (1.2) and found out it's a faulty spark plug. Well, let say this can happen but what do you expect when Sundaram say that they don't have a spark plug in their stock?? *
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Old 28th July 2004, 11:35   #11
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Hey cool pics and review amit. Are you plannin any mods on ur car??
The Limited Edition Palio [I refuse to call it S10 for obvious reasons ] is one of my most fav cars. Seen quite a few modded LE Palios with free flows and fancy sticker work and fatter alloys. It really looks good. I wish the LE was available in F1 red too. The F1 red color looks amazing on the Palio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]
BTW , was this pic taken in Panvel???
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Old 28th July 2004, 12:52   #12
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i actually agree with the new palio tag line "no drivers only lovers" sounds a bit corney but very true...am a die hard palio fan (and i only have a 1.2)...cant wait to get may hands on a 1.6.
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Old 28th July 2004, 13:43   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]BTW , was this pic taken in Panvel???
hey v12,

lemme see ... i guess (actually quite confident) these pics are at the lion's point in lonavala. some where in the mountains on the road to amby valley ...

am i rite?

cheers
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Old 28th July 2004, 15:28   #14
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amit nice write up...........
keep it up ..........
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Old 28th July 2004, 17:29   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]The letters section of Autocarindia August 2004...correct, Mr. Raisinghani?
Yup thats me *yea the S10 does have revised gear ratios and sure you can check out the s10 at future team bhp meets
Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]if i missed anything guys , please add it
you missed out the steel tipped exhaust pipe, another S10 special.



Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]That was a good review..

It has raised my excitement levels to buy my Palio ASAP
hey satish you are buying the palio D isn't it? good car. I took a test drive of the palio D after i bought my S10 at anuroop. These guys have really given me good service in every way. Anywaz, the diesel is also the most advanced diesel hatch today. When OD says that the best diesel hatch is the palio then it must really be! After all they picked it over their own Indica!

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]Wondering if Fiat service is the same all over the country!!
Sundaram is the only fiat dealer in Bangalore isnt it? no wonder they are so lethargic. But ya Fiat does have a very weak service back up in the south. I think they have the western part, specially Maharashtra well covered. eg. Mumbai has 3 dealers and thane 1. thats pretty good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]BTW , was this pic taken in Panvel???
Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]these pics are at the lion's point in lonavala. some where in the mountains on the road to amby valley ...
ya those pics are at amby valley and lion's point. Sadly it wasn't raining that day. I feel that the palio will look awesome in the rains. Water drops all over it's body will look great. Maybe I can take some pics in the rains and post them on here.



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