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Old 25th November 2015, 13:28   #31
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by catchjyoti View Post
I have never driven a Fiat Punto or Linea so cannot comment from personal experience. But I do see many people commenting that the ergonomics are not right. And others saying it is the most comfortable.

I personally think whether you find the ergonomics of this car suitable or not may depend on your own body proportions. May be it becomes ergonomically difficult if you have the body proportions of a classical Greek statue? And comfortable if you have a longer upper body compared to lower body?
Usually I find people with smaller frames or folks with longer torsos can easily deal with the mis-aligned ergonomics of the car, and move on to appreciate the cushioning that the seats provide thus calling them comfortable. Fact still remains that the seat, steering and pedals are not perfectly matched, mixed with the long clutch pedal, it makes for some funny ergonomics. Compared to something like a Fiesta, Figo, Mk1 Octy rs, Kizashi etc. things do not fall as naturally into place as one might expect.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 25th November 2015 at 13:32.
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Old 25th November 2015, 14:05   #32
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
... I already mentioned it is mostly just the engine that one pays for, and while it makes 145 bhp, it is a forced induction motor at the end of the day so the quite obviously impressive figures apart, motor does not feel very special otherwise.
What motor do you expect in a car that is priced at 9.95L ex-showroom? A V6?

Interesting that you quote that the motor does not feel very special otherwise, have you taken a TD of the Abarth yet? I see most people going all in over online forums ranting about the gearbox and engine without even having an actual TD experience.

We are talking from multiple TDs and a track day with the hot hatch.

Quote:
Things like improved struts, ecu tune etc. are changes one can expect from the company itself without it having to introduce the Abarth name (Fiesta 1.6S was never marketed as a cosworth car now was it ).
So, what exactly is the problem? The Abarth branding, is it? And again, you mentioned improved struts/ECU Tune but leave out the heart of the matter which is the engine. The Fiat T Jet produces 112, while the Abarth in the Punto dishes out 145 BHP.

While we are at branding, what is your take on NEXA, which supposedly sells an overgrown Swift in the name of 'Premium' hatchback?

Quote:
Considering the premium and inclusion of the Abarth performance focused brand, the Apollo tyres definitely seem like an attempt by a pure-performance oriented brand, to short-change its customers.
Just out of curiosity, what brand of tyres did your Kizashi come equipped with?

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BUT if you are going to stick Scorpions all over the place, you got to do a better job of convincing folks like me.
In a way, sticking scorpions is much better than sticking decals to a mid variant model with puny tyres, no ABS/Airbags, add some messed up colors to the theme, throwing in a couple of neck pillows and call it a Limited RS Edition or whatever.

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
As of now, there are only 4 exclusive Abarth dealerships in India - Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
The Abarth Punto would be sold at all Fiat dealerships, only the 595 C would be sold at Abarth exclusive.

Quote:
The rear stabilizer (anti-roll) bar is listed once again on the Abarth's spec sheet. It was there on the 2009 Punto's data sheet, but disappeared when the Punto lost some weight. We can't say for sure whether this is reintroduced on the Abarth only, or is also there on regular Puntos.
True, the initial lot of Puntos had it, it was withdrawn later.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th November 2015 at 11:08. Reason: Quoted post removed.
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Old 25th November 2015, 14:18   #33
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
What motor do you expect in a car that is priced at 9.95L ex-showroom? A V6?
Umm all I meant is that the engine is not as much of a masterpiece as the TSI motors for example

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Interesting that you quote that the motor does not feel very special otherwise, have you taken a TD of the Abarth yet? I see most people going all in over online forums ranting about the gearbox and engine without even having an actual TD experience.

We are talking from multiple TDs and a track day with the hot hatch.
Admittedly I have not had a track day with the thing but have driven it quite extensively myself.

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
So, what exactly is the problem? The Abarth branding, is it? And again, you mentioned improved struts/ECU Tune but leave out the heart of the matter which is the engine. The Fiat T Jet produces 112, while the Abarth in the Punto dishes out 145 BHP.
The 112 bhp T-Jet has been detuned - you ought to know that yourself, and extracting power gains from a forced induction motor is not a very difficult process.

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
While we are at branding, what is your take on NEXA, which supposedly sells an overgrown Swift in the name of 'Premium' hatchback?
Not sure really it is not the same as a performance brand as long as they give a premium buying experience (which admittedly they aren't succeeding at ensuring everyone) I suppose it is okay. At the end of the day NEXA is not the same as Abarth any fool can see past the NEXA name and review the actual product for what it is.

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Just out of curiosity, what brand of tyres did your Kizashi come equipped with?
Yoko Decibels.

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
In a way, sticking scorpions is much better than sticking decals to a mid variant model with puny tyres, no ABS/Airbags, add some messed up colors to the theme, throwing in a couple of neck pillows and call it a Limited RS Edition or whatever.
I don't have any issues at all mate. In fact it is the only hot hatch in our market presently and I have no qualms in admitting so.

I have not ignored its advantages I merely highlighted the reasons why I think it does not deserve to be sold as an Abarth product. Simple.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th November 2015 at 11:03. Reason: Removing the unwanted bits to keep the discussion clean and civil. Thanks!
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Old 25th November 2015, 14:23   #34
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Admittedly I have not had a track day with the thing but have driven it quite extensively myself
Which dealer gave you the TD and how long did you drive it to term it as 'driven extensively'?

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th November 2015 at 11:03. Reason: Removing the unwanted bits to keep the discussion clean and civil. Thanks!
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Old 25th November 2015, 14:26   #35
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Again an Excellent Review and the Most awaited one I believe apart from the Baleno.

Its the same excitement and feeling which I felt in 2001 when the Palio GTX where out. I simply couldn't believe that car for the performance and numbers.

There is a lot of similarity between Abarth and GTX. Now all I have to do is wait for 5 years when this car will be affordable in used car market.

I don't think by then anyone else will offer a hatchback which will beat Abarth

Regards
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Old 25th November 2015, 14:42   #36
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post

The Fiat Abarth Punto has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 9.95 lakhs (ex-Delhi).
Brilliant review S2 and arguably the most awaited one for the year 2015

If only FIAT had revealed the launch details a year back, I probably would have had one in my garage instead of the 1.6 GT TDI.

I however have absolutely no regrets on my decision and am very glad that Indian automotive industry is really coming of age and this is such a perfect time to be a petrol head in our country!!


Quote:

• Unlike the Polo GT TSI, this car won't appeal to regular folk or women due to its heavy steering and messed up ergonomics. While the Polo GT appeals to both - the comfort and the performance seekers; this Fiat will only appeal to the hardcore driving enthusiasts.

• Fiat is head-quartered in Mumbai. Despite that, and Mumbai being India's financial capital, there is NOT a single Fiat dealership in Mumbai. A sorry state of affairs.

• Fiat could consider introducing a cheaper variant of the T-Jet Punto with the Linea's engine tune at a lower price, to attract a wider audience. But they won't. If they wanted to, they'd have done it already.
Brilliantly put together S2 and these really are some glaring areas of improvement that FIAT India must really work on.

In fact I have seen just as many women as men driving the GT TSI, which really comes through as a "PREMIUM VFM" product and probably goes to show how a performance car can flawlessly transform itself for the duty on hand.

As GTO (many others) have pointed out, if not anything else FIAT MUST HAVE fixed the ergonomics aspect on the Abarth EVO. Even today when I drive the 90HP Punto in my family circle, I just can't seem to get the right comfortable position, irrespective of what permutation/combination I try.

But all said and done, I SOLUTE FIAT INDIA for this idea/effort/launch. A real 4* product from FIAT and undoubtedly a 5* review by S2.

Last edited by Vik0728 : 25th November 2015 at 14:49.
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Old 25th November 2015, 14:53   #37
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
[
This steering wheel isn't only for steering - it's for holding on to.
This is EPIC ! This one line sums up the entire review

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Originally Posted by SKavuri View Post
I feel this will do far better than Palio 1.6 in terms of sales.
The Palio GTX was sold in very high numbers due to the initial hoopla and the fancy of the aam junta to go for the most top end model (they got a break from the regular Marutis and PAL's), until they realized the FE it returned and then shortly after 3-4 years, when time came to replace some of the spares (which were all imported) all hell broke loose and these flooded the used car market for 1/4 of the actual price of the car. A treat for the enthusiasts I would say.
In fact GTX bookings were sold as "on". I remember my uncle book two when launched, waited a couple of months, sold one booking for double the booking amount and kept the other.

I do not see that happening to the Punto Abarth. Very limited numbers will be sold. Not as high as the gtx.

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Originally Posted by chandrda View Post
There is a lot of similarity between Abarth and GTX. Now all I have to do is wait for 5 years when this car will be affordable in used car market.
I do not see much similarity in both. Me thinks, reading about all the ergonomic issues with the Punto, that GTX is better, or maybe they are the same but I got used to it.
The only similarity is that the Abarth offers to the current market what GTX offered more than a decade back, albeit then the market wasn't matured enough (reasons just listed above) and it dented the Fiat image, at least for the FE (and also for the costly and unavailable spares)
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Old 25th November 2015, 15:05   #38
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Thank you Guys!!

Worth the wait. I liked the Engine review part so much that I read the whole thing 2-3 times . Now I fully believe this is a FAST car since it has been reviewed by Team BHP.

Now where are the ownership reviews. No Abarth Punto in petrolhead community yet.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 25th November 2015 at 17:07. Reason: Smileys = 2 per post.
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Old 25th November 2015, 16:53   #39
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Amazing review - sadly though it will sell fewer cars than the number of posts in this thread.

I own a pre-used linea t-jet and I love the car - the handling, poise and serene calm while cruising at 100 kph is outstanding. Even in the city, I quite like the mature ride, the silent suspesiona and ability to ride comfortably over potholes that would otherwise diss any other car. I test drove an abarth for just two minutes - as there was an issue with the TC plate and we had to get back to the show room but the initial pull is on par with the linea t-jet. I am sure given the bigger turbo 2000 + rpm performance would be much better.

Sadly though, as a self taught student of economics, I know fiat's perceived utility curve and the stereotypical indian buyer's utility curve (of what they expect in their cars) have very little overlap. For eg., bling stuff like touch screen, reverse camera, GPS and even more juvenile stuff like puddle lights with the car's logo are the ones that turn indian drivers on. An increasing number of owners in teh 10 lakh bracker want a diesel car that's inexpensive to drive and get a chauffer to ferry them everywhere, at least in urban areas. heavy hydraulic steering, thick grippy tyres are all stuff that unfortunately an anti-thesis of what the indian buyer wants which is easy to drive, easy on the wallet kind of cars. on top of it throw fiat's diastrous ASS and brand name (my experience with ASS has been luke warm - parts take 2 weeks to come from their factory, the dealer has no motivation as he has very few cars to service, the company apparently supports them with no advertising/TVCs/launches/promos nothing). This will be another dud - unless fiat can do a viral marketing campaign asking for owners/prospective owners to spread the word, given the unique, niche positioning. Given an expat at the helm who has never worked in india and has no idea about issues at ground level, chances of that happening are remote. Wat such a niche product needs is far more on the ground marketing - like pro active test drives, buzz on social media, viral videos, sponsored rides on a track/off the beaten trails to get the non mainstream folks in.

On the brighter side, I think the punto and linea t-jet are simply the best petrol cars if you are primarily self driven for that price. Would I buy one ? absolutely yes, but in used form. Fiat's resale value plummets and I got my linea t-jet ( 2 years old ) at a price that's cheaper than a new loaded alto. Most main stream buyers cannot digest 8 kmpl, the laggy ride in the city, hard gear changes, heavy steering.

Given that fiat has no good products to launch for the next 2-3 years (even the aegna is so so) and the only new whiff could be a linea abarth (which could be too little, too late), I think they are going to be just an engine manufacturer. Soon enough,, they will start manufacturing the 1.6 MJD locally and sell it to maruti and every one else and milk their plant and make more money.


But I have no hesitation in saying that fiat makes the best mass market petrol drivers cars in India - period. You got to upgrade to an octavia 1.8 tsi to find a car this capable and that's saying a lot.
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Old 25th November 2015, 17:01   #40
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Excellent review as usual. Rated 5 stars. satisfaction of knowing a car only comes after I've read a TBHP review

I was floored when I floored this car during a test drive few days back.
After 5 years of using a Punto, The itch to change to a new car is definitely there and with my budget and tastes, this is the only car that fits me.
I'm trying really hard and controlling myself from falling into my temptations My family is telling me that I've to be more responsible with my expenditures.
a new car is definitely not a priority spend according to them

Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
Ideally, I would have started this review ranting about how Fiat has been dragging two (almost insignificant) cars in India, without really working towards boosting sales or increasing its market share, or how slow and confused their India-specific strategy seems to be with a dwindling dealer network, or how they're just happy seeing Maruti add to their cash register (as per the 1.3L diesel engine agreement), but I'm not going to do that.
In saying that you'll not do it, you've actually started with it

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
What you won't:
Awful cabin ergonomics. Driving position is weird!
5 years of driving my Punto and till today I've never understood this one point that many people on this forum talk about.

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
The ignition slot is located at a weird angle on the steering wheel column.
Instead of 'weird', it would be better to call it 'different' IMO. no other car has this position but it is the best position if you ask me.
Even before I owned a Punto, I sometimes ended up 'searching' for the keyhole and to take a look at the keyhole, bending my neck was a struggle witht he doors closed.
But in this Punto's case, it so easy to insert and even if I missed it, taking a look is the easiest.
Since no other car has this placement, it will be easy once you are used to it.

Quote:
A start / stop button would have added a nice touch to the Abarth:
This is sorely missed and you are spot on when you say that the market has moved a long way in terms of the bells-and-whistles since the 2009 Punto launch.

Quote:
Pull the driver-side door handle once to unlock and second time to open the door. Other doors can be opened with a single pull.
Even the passenger door has the two steps. Only the rear doors has a single pull.

Quote:
These switches are a stretch for any driver - very poorly placed.
Again these are different and not poor IMO. Infact On other cars especially on the rear, I find it really tough to operate the power windows by getting my hand back. I either do not get sufficient elbow room or when I bend a bit I end up hitting my elbow somewhere.

Quote:
The dead pedal is positioned excessively high. If you end up resting your left foot here, your knee will bend uncomfortably. I'd recommend not using it at all:
I thought I am alone! Punto is my first car that I have owned which has a dead pedal and I've never used it. When I made an attempt to use it, my foot hurts. So the floor is my dead pedal.

Even after all the positives, I'm very sure that the market will not accept this car like the GT (for various reasons). But anyway, I can only wish good luck to Fiat.
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Old 25th November 2015, 17:22   #41
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Excellent review! If anyone "Just" wants the power, and can sacrifice on the feature list, This has to be one. Hoping VW will get us a 1.4tsi soon.
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Old 25th November 2015, 17:27   #42
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Wonderful review and special thanks for it. The boldest launch of the year, with no one really expecting a success in commercial term. Impressed to see the prominent Abarth branding. The underlying Punto however is for all to see and that seems the reason of competitive pricing.

One acquaintance who drives Punto said once that his gearbox turned smoother after 20K km drive. Or possibly he became accustomed to it. If any Punto owner can throw light on this aspect.

Registered it as capturing opportunity in pre-worshipped form, maybe an year down the line.

Last edited by rsm97 : 25th November 2015 at 17:28.
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Old 25th November 2015, 17:47   #43
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Wonderful review!! It is a wonderful move by Fiat to bring this car in.
Sadly, it may not catch the public eye as the Polo GT twins have, you get to see quite a few of those in Kochi.

Need to check if the showroom has a TD Vehicle. Would love to test this one out.
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Old 25th November 2015, 18:34   #44
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Thanks a ton for the wonderful, wonderful review.

The enthusiast tribe is slowly growing in India and methinks this vehicle will not perform too badly. If FIAT up's their dealer development activities, opens more outlets, we do not need fancy blingy dealerships with touchscreen interfaces et al: just open small outlets with space to service 10-15 cars and a regular supply of fast moving spares. That would be enough to instill confidence in the minds of consumers.
Have almost made up my mind. Was hanging onto my ageing G13B, 1st gen Swift, waiting for such a motor to hit our shores- now seems to be the time to break the piggy bank and butter up the friendly neighbourhood banker!
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Old 25th November 2015, 19:13   #45
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by rsm97 View Post
One acquaintance who drives Punto said once that his gearbox turned smoother after 20K km drive.If any Punto owner can throw light on this aspect.
I have done 31,000 Km in Grande Punto MJD and feel the gearbox feels OK and not very rubbery. It shifts right the first time (Reverse is an exception some times). The sure shot slotting of gears in place can never be achieved though.

As one keeps driving and once the internals keep polishing to the right working clearances, the rubbery experience starts to get muted. This is definitely not a comment made after merely getting used to the gearbox.

Quastion: Why does FCA not develop their own DSG like the VW did ?
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