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Old 7th July 2010, 18:08   #1
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Thumbs up Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold

This thread is an extension to my Initial ownership thread (Exchanged Swift with Grande Punto EDIT: 15000 kms update) of my Red Punto Emotion pack Multijet which i exchanged with my year old Swift VDi ABS exactly one year ago.

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The Swift i had earlier was not exactly a bad car, it had peppy performance and entertaining handling plus the added bonus of brilliant FE and very good after sales support. But this car did disappoint me with 2 of my essential requirements- Ride quality and Build strength, I do travel a lot on all kind of roads from Expressways to National highways to State highways to Link roads and No roads at all, the Swift never felt at home on bad and uneven sections of roads unlike my other car the Hyundai Elantra. I always picked Elantra over Swift whenever it was home. So i wanted a car that offered Ride quality and high speed stability as good as or close to the Elantra but should be a hatchback as the rear seat space and boot was not that important. Another issue was the uncontrollable rattle from unknown places that started within the first month of ownership.

Exactly when thoughts of selling the Swift started popping in my head Fiat India launched the Punto. The Punto had the same proven engine as the Swift plus i have always liked Fiat cars for their build and Ride+Handing setup, earlier before i bought an Indica in 2002 i almost bought a Palio but moved to Indica just because Palio did not have a Diesel option then. I always wanted Fiat to launch the Punto in India, It was an perfect opportunity to own this car since the Swift D had excellent resale value.

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I testdrove the Punto i don't know how many times at all the dealerships around Gurgaon to be sure this time that i really buy the car i wanted. I spent endless hours sitting in the car, surfing internet, comparing paper specs etc. In the mean time the i asked the staff at the local Fiat dealership to evaluate my Swift for exchange, they gave me a figure it was close to the actual market price, i negotiated very hard and then they quoted a figure i wanted them to say. The price for Swift was finalised but it was the first week of Punto in market and ABS motors did not have a car for me as the waiting time was 1-2 weeks, i spotted a Red Punto EP in the stockyard but they said it was for someone who booked it, I told them I'll pay in CASH, they gave me the car.

The next day the car was delivered. I was a very very happy man, Driving a car which everybody was staring at all the time. Every one from cabbies to Merc owners were surprised to see a red Hatchback that looked so good. Everyone who visited my office never forgot to gave me complement on how sexy a red Punto looks. Now one year after i bought this car, Punto does not attract as many eyeballs as Punto is a common car on our roads now.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo092.jpg

I have logged 23,000kms in a year. The car has proved to be very reliable with no major issues. Otherwise all the minor issues i have faced are due to poor quality of localisation/cost cutting and POOR quality support from Tata-Fiat dealerships.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo089.jpg

Things i love about Punto:
  • Looks: Looks are subjective but everybody here will agree with me if i say Punto is a stunner. Even after more than a year's ownership i still find the looks very exciting. I am happy i chose Red colour.
  • Build: This car has vault like build missing all other hatchbacks, even the cars in segments above can't match it(Except the sibling Linea).
  • Ride: Punto has a brilliant ride, it soaks up the bad roads extremely well. I have not seen a car with non-independent rear suspension ride so well.
  • Handling: Punto has a very good handling setup, the grip levels with 195 section stock tires is awesome. Not an entertainer like Swift though.
  • Steering: The steering is just perfect. It screams about what's under the tires, it has just the right weight and the steering wheel is great to hold.
  • Blue&ME: Blue and Me system makes the life behind the wheel a lot easier, with all the controls on the steering, heads up display and stored phone book its a feature i miss in all other cars.
  • Multifunction display: I love to be updated about all the data MFD display shows up.
  • FE: Even though Punto is heavier than the Swift it manages to match Swift's FE. With FE so good its very easy on pocket.
  • Driveability: The retuned MJD engine and close ratio gearbox means you have all the torque available for you just after 1700rpm. I have a habit of short shifting.
  • Brakes: The brakes have just the right feel with excellent stopping power, even with the rear drums.
  • High speed stability: Punto always feels slower the actual speed it's at. The car feels in control at all speeds.
  • Equipment: The equipment list is very good. Except for the mats i did not have to get anything from after market. I got HID's and better horns though they were not required.
  • Seat belt buzzer: Reminds me to buckle up everytime i start. I would have loved a reminder for passenger too, just like the i20.
  • NVH below 2500rpm: With age the Engine now sounds absolutely silent below 2500rpm.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo076.jpg

Things i hate about Punto:
  • Messed up ergonomics: Overall Punto scores bad in ergonomics. The adjustable steering is a joke, it only feels comfortable at lowest position. The pedals have too much travel and are weirdly positioned, i took long to get used to them.
  • Poor fit and finish: Most parts in the interiors are misfitted with either free play or visible uneven gaps present. Even the latest batch cars have the same problem.
  • Cheap quality plastic and rubber parts: The quality of some plastic parts is bad and quality of rubber parts is POOR. A lot of parts would not feel at home even the Tata Nano. The plastic cover near wipers on bonnet dried up within a week of purchase and now feels atleast 2-3 decades old.
  • Top end power delivery: The torque tails off after 3100rpm, there is no point revving the engine beyond 4000rpm, though it can reach 5000rpm easily. The engine feels strained after 3000rpm.
  • Gear ratios: I hate the choice of gear ratios. The first 2 gears are just too short and the engine gets too boomy and uncomfortable at speeds above 100kph, it either a needs a sixth gear or a taller 5th gear. Its the gearbox in the Punto which spoils the acceleration time, the European Punto comes with a different GB and ratios. The gear shift quality is not as good as both Polo and Swift.
  • Pathetic after sales support: The sub-standard after sales support from Tata-Fiat dealerships is poor. Quite possibly my last Tata-Fiat car.
  • Rear suspension Thud: the rear wheels of the Punto get airborne whenever the car jumps speedbreakers or passes them at speed, when the car lands on the road it makes a loud THUD sound. This thing does not occur when the rear seats are occupied, the reasons behind this may be insufficient travel and stiff setup of the rear suspension. I have checked this in various Puntos, all the cars behave the same, meaning this is not a manufacturing defect and the dealer cannot do anything about it.
  • LHD lights and wiper controls: The LHD configuration lights and wiper controls are confusing for people like me who drive more than one car. It can be a safety hazard.
  • Huge turning circle: While most Punto fanboys do not agree with me on this but it's a fact that Punto has huge turning radius, it requires a 3 point U-Turn at places where most other hatchbacks can do it in one go.
  • Space at rear: While not a concern with me as i rarely use rear seats but space at rear is tight and its very difficult to squeeze anyone behind my seat.
  • Just one flippy key with remote locking controls: A clear case of cost cutting, Punto only comes with a single flappy key with remote locking buttons, the other key is a plain key with no remote locking buttons.
  • Constantly clogging windshield washer jets: The windsheild washer jets get clogged frequently in a dusty city like Gurgaon, and they need adjustment every now and they as they have a lot of free play, another case of poor plastics.
  • Poor HU: The sound quality of the OE music system is bad. The emotion pack owners who would like to retain Blue&Me and steering controls functionality have limited upgrade options. I have upgraded from the stock speakers to JBL components, they too sound equally worse. The discussion on upgrade options can be read here.
  • Boom Above 2500rpm: Though the engine is absolutely silent below 2500rpm, things start to get worse after that, the engine has an annoying boom which makes cruising above 100kph uncomfortable.

I will keep this thread updated about my experiences with the car. All my previous experience with the Punto is posted in this thread.

Sorry for poor quality Mobilephone clicked pics. Newer high resolution pics to be added soon.

Last edited by .anshuman : 5th April 2011 at 10:36. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 7th July 2010, 18:21   #2
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A very nice and honest ownership review of the GP. Love the car in red, the ride and handling but do not love the after sales. But the red one looks absolutely smashing!

I felt the thud that you describe in my i20 Crdi too. Could it also have something to do with the weight of the car? Both these cars are quite heavy.
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Old 7th July 2010, 18:26   #3
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Posting some more pictures.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo102.jpg
^^Interiors lack the premium feel.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo104.jpg
^^ Hard plastics with only small patch of fabric insert. The fabric quality used on seats is poor.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo105.jpg
^^ Note the quality of Plastics and rubbers near wipers.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo107.jpg
^^ A close pic.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo108.jpg
^^ Does not consume Oil.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo109.jpg
^^ Screws have to be removed to access Air filter.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo141.jpg
^^ Uneven fit and gaps can be spotted on any part in the interiors.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo142.jpg
^^ The gear knob got loose, Fiat guys had no solution for this. Fixed it at home.

Life with a Fiat Punto *UPDATE* Car sold-photo145.jpg
^^ Note the quality of materials used on the gearknob.
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Old 7th July 2010, 20:09   #4
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Nice review, very true. Yes the turning circle is HUGE and is quite a pain, so is the noise when the rear seats are empty.
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Old 7th July 2010, 20:32   #5
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good review there anshu 22g
one thing i'd like to suggest if i am not intruding is just shifting over to yellow lights for the monsoons. with hids running without projectors, it doesnt make a lot of sense when you cannot see the depth of the water at twilights and high speed driving at night.
osram makes a good set of bulbs rated at 100/80 and called "All Weather Prismatics"
i am using the same on my punto and the driving experience during rains is simply amazing. while a lot of cars around are trying to find their way on the road, the car just whizzes past them with a nice yellow purple tinted beam on the road.
the spread of the bulbs coupled to the foggies placed at just the right spot on the bumper is quite decent and you'll be amazed to see the prismatics pierce the darkness on empty stretches.
my car just crossed 26000 and is up for a tire change.
drive safe
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Old 7th July 2010, 20:37   #6
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Thanks for a Great and honest review. Really helpful.
Will help me narrow down from a huge list of options in the segment.
Especially the unbiased acceptance of demerits in a car you really love is great to see.
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Old 7th July 2010, 20:52   #7
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Nicely collated points there...great job with the LT review ! Considring its well run in now, are you planning anything to improve the performance... a.la. TB's, ECU Remaps ?
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Old 7th July 2010, 20:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Posting some more pictures.

Attachment 383019
^^Interiors lack the premium feel.

Attachment 383020
^^ Hard plastics with only small patch of fabric insert. The fabric quality used on seats is poor.

Attachment 383021
^^ Note the quality of Plastics and rubbers near wipers.

Attachment 383028
^^ A close pic.

Attachment 383029
^^ Does not consume Oil.

Attachment 383030
^^ Screws have to be removed to access Air filter.

Attachment 383031
^^ Uneven fit and gaps can be spotted on any part in the interiors.

Attachment 383032
^^ The gear knob got loose, Fiat guys had no solution for this. Fixed it at home.

Attachment 383033
^^ Note the quality of materials used on the gearknob.
Hi.. Since I am planning to buy a fiat punto , I would like to throw a few questions..
1.What are the problems which you had faced with the TATA-FIAT service centre?
2.What about the availability of spare part?
3.What is the approx service cost for the paid service?
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Old 7th July 2010, 22:04   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakthi350 View Post
Hi.. Since I am planning to buy a fiat punto , I would like to throw a few questions..
1.What are the problems which you had faced with the TATA-FIAT service centre?
2.What about the availability of spare part?
3.What is the approx service cost for the paid service?
1.We have 3 Tata Fiat dealerships here in Gurgaon. Each one of these have unprofessional staff, they waste a lot of time for even minor issues. My Friend took his 2010 Punto to one of these workshops as he his car's AC was making strange noises, the service guys tried everything and they could not even diagnose the problem. The actual problem was insufficient gas in AC system, which was diagnosed after several visits to different service centers after wasting wasting hundreds of work hours.

Even the Fiat customer care is a Joke. I sent them an E-mail six months ago and i am still waiting for their reply. God save anyone who has some serious trouble in his Fiat car. More details on Fiat service centers can be read in my initial ownership thread here.

2.The availability of spares depends on how willing is your local service center to spend on stocking spares. Generally the availability is poor, i tried sourcing AC pollen filter (A part recommended to be changed at every service by Fiat) for more than a month, finally i had to settle without one, despite the fact that we have 3 Fiat service centers and thousands of Fiat cars running on roads in Gurgaon.

3.I am yet to experience a paid service.
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Old 7th July 2010, 22:31   #10
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sarkar,

well written.

my honest to god suggestion to you is to take some time out on a weekend and take the car to samyak/elegant - you will be pleasantly surprised. and go jap-oing the name of our architect and life will be SMOOTH sailing
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Old 7th July 2010, 22:57   #11
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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
sarkar,

well written.

my honest to god suggestion to you is to take some time out on a weekend and take the car to samyak/elegant - you will be pleasantly surprised. and go jap-oing the name of our architect and life will be SMOOTH sailing
Sir, Currently i do not have any major issues except misfitted and squeaking seats which the new CRO has promised to fix within a working day. Let's give this dealership a last try.

The good old Palio had much better fit and finish. It was assembled to last decades, not a case with Punto.
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Old 7th July 2010, 23:27   #12
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Your relationship with Punto is funny. I have read your comments on Punto and FIAT on other threads also. And boy you don't mince words.
But at the end of the day I am sure you cannot live without this flawed in places but a beauty overall. Now thats what I call love hate relationship.
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Old 8th July 2010, 00:57   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by download2live View Post
Your relationship with Punto is funny. I have read your comments on Punto and FIAT on other threads also. And boy you don't mince words.
But at the end of the day I am sure you cannot live without this flawed in places but a beauty overall. Now thats what I call love hate relationship.
I was thinking about this as well . Most of the feedback though is quite constructive.
I do not agree about Fiat Customer Care, mainly because I think they are one of the best in the country, have sent them 3 e-mails, got replies within 1 working day for all of them. Maybe they missed one e-mail, perhaps re-sending the mail or writing another one might not be a bad idea. Although I have not personally experienced the Fiat First service, I've read good things about it on teambhp itself.
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Old 8th July 2010, 07:09   #14
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.anshuman,

Well-written long-term ownership review.

The ride, handling and high-speed stability qualities, which we all like, are due to huge turning circle [long wheel-base] that we dislike!
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Old 8th July 2010, 09:21   #15
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yes, Punto looks beautiful. With the FIAT heart and looks that win people's heart! punto is a real winner. Wish you all the best for years to come by
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