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Old 25th November 2015, 19:21   #46
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Thanks S2 for the nicely written "up to the point" review

Though this car has some setbacks(like gearbox, clutch, ergonomics etc), Fiat still deserves applause for launching the "most powerful hatch back" in the price range.

I hope there would be a good number of buyers for this car, so that we could see manufacturers launching some more powerful hatches(like Polo GTI).

On a lighter note: I own a remapped Polo TSi, and now I would need to respect the Punto
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Old 25th November 2015, 19:25   #47
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
Awful cabin ergonomics. Driving position is weird!
I have heard this being repeated many times by many people in many threads. But I haven't seen anybody elaborate on it. Can somebody tell me what is wrong with the ergonomics? Does the driver have to sit too low, too high, too close or too far? Are the controls out of reach? Do one get neck/back/thigh/ankle aches while driving?

Somebody please reply. This car is on top of my next purchase list. As a man nursing several muscle aches, I have to be careful choosing my next car.
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Old 25th November 2015, 19:30   #48
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Wonderful Review S2!

I have been trying to get a test drive car with KHT, they seem to be busy running around.

A couple of points, I currently drive Punto (my new buy), Liva(Ex- doing duty back home now, and a Beat (Most weekends).

Seating - Feels different at first go, nowhere as welcoming as the Liva/Swift. But over a period of time it grew on me, now I cant get adjusted with the other cars.

Switchgear - They need to flip the levers as per Indian needs, HL lever on the left side is not convenient and is cumbersome to use.

Gearbox - Yes, its rubbery, not a quick shifting stick, since I have the 75 MJD doesn't hurt much unless I am on a Drag lap looking for 0-100 timings. Funny its found its way into the Abarth as well, but its not as vague as the on the Liva or the hard shifting one on the Beat. People generally like the Swift GB, but I felt it wasn't as precise as the i20 or the Polo. My vote for the Polo/i20 GB anyday.

P.W. Switches : the front ones aren't the most well placed, I mostly open the rear windows, instead of the front. The rear switches are pretty OK though. On the positive side they are all back lit. Even though placed perfectly, finding the switches in the dark is a task in the Liva.

Missing Equip : I would have expected Electric/Auto folding mirrors and Sat-Nav + Reverse display touch screen entertainment system. Its available now as an accessory though. Never felt the need for Start-Stop button, auto HL or Auto Wipers, these felt more gimmicky that utility to me.

Key Slot : Well, never had much trouble with any of the cars.

Last edited by anand.shankar : 25th November 2015 at 19:39.
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Old 25th November 2015, 19:52   #49
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by civic-sense View Post
Does the driver have to sit too low, too high, too close or too far? Are the controls out of reach? Do one get neck/back/thigh/ankle aches while driving?
Few pointers based on Grande Punto and not EVO.

1. Having driven the Punto since 4 years i can say that driver position is its best when you set the driver seat height to its MAX position, as you get good view of the road and the bonnet seems to be visible and provides good visibility and a boon when one needs to pay a lot of attention to the road ahead.

2. Ingress will be a slight challenge for elders even in front as the dashboard is protruding. one has to pull the front seat back for easier ingress. (Compared to a Ritz, which was very much easier)

3. Controls are not out of reach but if you need to open the Left hand side rear view mirror sitting in driver seat you will not be able to do it wih out opening the seat belt, rest all very easy to access.

4. Cigarette lighter 12 v socket is placed in an awkward place near to hand brake lever and is not very easy to use.
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Old 25th November 2015, 19:54   #50
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

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Originally Posted by civic-sense View Post
As a man nursing several muscle aches, I have to be careful choosing my next car.
No. You need to visit a doctor

Jokes apart -

Does the driver have to sit too low or too high?

No. The seat has height adjustment.

Does the driver have to sit too close or too far?

No. That adjustment is also there

Are the controls out of reach?

Yes. Some are. The power window switch is slightly our of reach and I have to lean a bit forward.

Do one get neck/back/thigh/ankle aches while driving?

No. I have driven my T-Jet for 19 hours non-stop (except fuel,food & bio breaks, of course). I never felt any aches or fatigues.

Just for the record - I am 52 years old. 5' 9" tall. I have lower back pain, knee issues and am also diabetic.

You will need to take the car for extended drives to really know.
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Old 25th November 2015, 20:16   #51
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

The car is definitely worth the HOT Hatch Title, A little Pocket Rocket for sure. Fiat has done a good job by introducing an Affordable HOT Hatch in India. It has everything in it to keep a Petrol Head addicted to it, but coming to the Mass Market or general folks that might be a different story all together.

Speaking of Mass Market Appeal, this car might just lack a bit in that department. Especially considering the cars it's put up against such as the Polo GT Twins or even the i20 Elite or the Honda Jazz. I agree that it's totally unfair to compare a HOT Hatch with those puny 1.2 Engines but, there's always a but, to a common man out there to purchase a car, it makes more sense to go for other options in the same price range rather than the Punto thanks to the lack of features and Gizmo's which are now default in the other cars. Even the Polo GT Twins which demand a higher premium in the segment, offer better ergonomics when compared to the Punto. Try talking about Powerful Engines rather than features which gain bragging rights such as Auto Dimming IRVM, Electrically Foldable ORVM's, Top Notch Interiors to the general populace, you'll be rather disappointed when they prefer the latter. Hopefully, FIAT will take that extra step in future upgrades and help differentiate the Abarth version in more ways than just the Engine.

Taking no credits away from FIAT India, it is a welcome move in our country a bold one at that which will hopefully be replicated by other manufactures so that us end consumers benefit from the same. After all competition helps move the market in the right direction!
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Old 25th November 2015, 20:46   #52
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Nice and crisp review, although I think some of the words used to describe certain aspects of the car come across a little 'extreme'.

I test drove the Abarth recently and I was impressed. The thing is they have give you the important stuff - Engine, brakes, steering and the suspension. Yes the gearbox is an issue. It's much better than the initial Punto's though - The 2010 1.4 Punto in my garage has a extremely rubbery shift.

Ergonomics is a very person dependant thing, and while I have had no problems with the seating position (even with shifting between the Figo & Punto regularly), the power window switches are designed for the long armed Italians and I end up putting down the rear windows instead of the front sometimes

All in all, to Fiat for having launched this. I am personally looking forward to the newer Fiat's that will hopefully get the Abarth treatment in a few years - Next gen. Punto perhaps!

To potential buyers reading this thread, please go on an extended test drive and see if the much debated ergonomics suit you - no body can answer that question but yourself !

Last edited by fiat_tarun : 25th November 2015 at 20:50.
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Old 25th November 2015, 21:27   #53
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Excellent Review S2!

More power to Fiat for biting the bullet and launching a hell of an engine! Enthusiast or no enthusiast I am not buying another manual car especially in the city so I am hoping that Fiat will equip this with the AMT from the 595 and then I would seriously consider this over the GT TSI. Until then the GT TSI is still the car for me!

Hope VW launches the GT with the 1.4 TSI and GTI with the 1.8 TSI soon!
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Old 25th November 2015, 22:23   #54
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Was waiting for this review to get the exact details. No other reviews can match its honesty & un-biased nature. So another car which wouldn't appeal to anyone but the Fiat fans. The rubbery gear shifts remains the spoiler for me. Quite disappointed as the gearbox in a 2002 GTX is not half bad as this one.

But thanks Fiat for bringing it. Hope they take a lot of learnings from these products & work on the pain points. If they could the next gen variants probably will appeal to wider audience.
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Old 25th November 2015, 22:41   #55
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Fantastic review - 5 Stars!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Umm all I meant is that the engine is not as much of a masterpiece as the TSI motors for example
The 112 bhp T-Jet has been detuned and extracting power gains from a forced induction motor is not a very difficult process.
I merely highlighted the reasons why I think it does not deserve to be sold as an Abarth product. Simple.
IshanIan, the engine changes are anything but trivial. There are 3 versions internationally, and this is the mid-one. The EssEss with 180 bhp is far more mental. Fiat could have remapped the existing T-Jet engine easily, but did not and went the full hog. Hats off to them. With 170/180 bhp proven remaps, what's not to admire? Not as much of a masterpiece as the TSI? That's a pretty strong statement, and in my opinion, unwarranted.

Also, this deserves an 'Abarth' badging more than the Polo TSI deserves a 'GT' badge

And before you bash me for being a 'fiat fanboy', I'm the proud owner of a remapped GT TSI

Can't help but compare it to my Polo GT TSI

+ points of Abarth vis-a-vis GT TSI
1. No 'convenience oriented' folk behind the wheel - only enthusiasts.
2. Engine, Suspension, Brakes, Steering - I think the basics are fantastic. While the 1.2 TSI has a good engine, the suspension isn't meant for spirited cornering, braking is strictly average, steering is accurate but mushy.

-ve Points of Abarth vis-a-vis TSI
1. Gearbox is the weak link. Nothing much can be done about it. I love the DSG, but I admit, a manual is a manual though I'm getting too lazy for one.
2. No ESP. Again, no aftermarket solutions. Really wish this was there.

Equipment
Frankly, I'd say nothing much to choose between the two...
Polo GT : No LED taillamps, no glove box light, no rear AC vent, no height-adjustable seat belts, no soft plastics anywhere, no underbody protection, ugly wheel well gap
Abarth Punto : No non-driver doors auto up, no steering reach adjustment, no aluminium pedals, no autofolding (my GT doesn't), no reverse sensors
However, the VW parts bin can be raided for the Polo and a fortune spent.

If Fiat manages to get a dealership in Mumbai, if the driving position suits me, if the gearbox is bearable and if they add a bit of equipment from the Linea (just a wish!), I'll sign a cheque. And rush to Wolfmoto for a remap. Cars like these don't come along at this price everyday...
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Old 25th November 2015, 22:53   #56
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Superb work S2!!!. A well written article for an outstanding product. Fiat should read this!

My two cents -
1. Please upgrade the gear box. I know costs need to in check, but still
2. Make the loud graphics an optional add on. The college kid would love this not the office goer
3. Improve your service and get the improvements highlighted

Please up your marketing game, get this Abarth noticed dear Fiat! You need to reach out to the unread/sleeping enthusiast buyer. Niche customers are already scarce. The car is priced very well to be within reach of most buyers.

I am ok with the lacking feature list, they wanted to build a product in a cost sensitive market. I could do with a car having this lovely engine, steering & ride quality combo, what else does an enthusiast want!

- JB
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Old 25th November 2015, 23:19   #57
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by sriramr9 View Post
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.
I have done 63K kms in my 2009 Linea MJD. Gearbox is not sure slotting alright, but after owning a 1st generation Indica sometime ago, everything seems good . But, regarding reverse, I had read in the manual that the recommendation is to wait 4-5 seconds before putting it into reverse. I have followed the approach to wait a few seconds once I depress the clutch and the gear slots into reverse perfectly. Each and everytime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
5 years of driving my Punto and till today I've never understood this one point that many people on this forum talk about.
Seating position has been an issue for me only if someone else drives it and adjusts the seat. Takes me a couple of minutes to find my position back. Off late it's been easy, as I have marked out the positions on the seat base - so I just use that reference, and works easily for me.


one question I have is whether the gearbox on the tjet and the mjd variants are the same, or are they different?
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Old 25th November 2015, 23:30   #58
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Excellent review , S2 !

I'm relatively a noob in the driving seat, though I got my license 16 years ago. Although I won't term myself a Fiat fanboy, I put my money where my mouth is and got my first car - a pre-owned Linea TJet+.

There's a bit of exchange going on about the seating/eegnomics. My 2 cents - I have driven only the WagonR and Figo over short distances, as well as the Linea. Last month, I made my first long trip , Pune to Goa. I drove (alone) with few breaks, 11 hours. I don't quite have a frame of reference to compare with other cars, but atfer 11 hours at a stretch in the seat, with few breaks, the number of body/joint aches was zero. Same with the return leg - I arrived in 9.5 hours and quite fresh - despite a minor accident that resulted in a broken window (wind noise). I've found my legs cramp up sometimes on a (Volvo) bus seat.

I sit with the seat height at max, backrest incline fairly upright, at maybe 10 degrees. Too much tilt and my arms can't reach the controls. For long stretches, I rest my knee on the centre console's side, foot on the floor. Yes, the gearbox is notchy/rubbery, the clutch throw in long, but I could cope well even in slow B2B jams, crawling every few minutes - though I don't have to face it every day, since my driving is very low.

One weird thing is when I flash the high beam (pull the stalk) to signal others, inadvertently the headlight switches off , accidentally rotating the off-lo-high switch in the process of flashing !

We certainly are paying for the imported engine. For 12 lac, it could be better specced, no doubt, but it's not poorly specced and where it matters - brakes, suspension - it's up to the task. That is more valuable than creature comforts without the dynamic or structural safety margin.

If I was looking for a fast car with limited running, the Punto Abarth would surely top the list. More than the gearbox and features, it's the fuel consumption though that strangle Fiat petrol car sales to just the few enthusiasts - and the lack of reliable dealer network.
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Old 26th November 2015, 01:07   #59
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by civic-sense View Post
...Somebody please reply. This car is on top of my next purchase list. As a man nursing several muscle aches, I have to be careful choosing my next car.
Well, I have driven a Punto & Linea for around 100 kms in a shot and have always ended up with shoulder pain. I guess it could be the position of the steering. Have driven a Captiva on the same route & never had this problem. Another one is the placement of power window switches on the driver side (Fiat twins), but that should not be a concern.

I believe Fiat's ergonomic issue is specific to taller people - I am 6'2". Have driven a Swift / Wagon R over 600 kms and never had this problem; neither any kind of problems with a M800 or 1st gen i20 either over distances of ~100 kms.

I get a similar shoulder pain on my GTX too, but not as severe as the Punto/Linea.

Last edited by swiftnfurious : 26th November 2015 at 01:08.
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Old 26th November 2015, 03:28   #60
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Well, I have driven a Punto & Linea for around 100 kms in a shot and have always ended up with shoulder pain. I guess it could be the position of the steering. Have driven a Captiva on the same route & never had this problem. Another one is the placement of power window switches on the driver side (Fiat twins), but that should not be a concern.

I believe Fiat's ergonomic issue is specific to taller people - I am 6'2". Have driven a Swift / Wagon R over 600 kms and never had this problem; neither any kind of problems with a M800 or 1st gen i20 either over distances of ~100 kms.

I get a similar shoulder pain on my GTX too, but not as severe as the Punto/Linea.
I'm 6.3 with a pretty large build, though the Swift and my Liva have a more neutral and welcoming position, there is no major issues with the Fiats position apart from the initial shock.
I am highway regular each of the trips lasting at least 1500kms I can vouch I have lesser pains than what I end up with in my Liva. Not saying Liva is not comfortable, but I find Fiat better by a minute margin. You cant compare the comfort of a high end SUV with that of a tiny hatch, I used to own a humble Scorpio before, till date never had more comfortable highway drives in any other vehicle (all hatches) I owned after that.
The P/W switch placement might be lil off, doesn't fall into your hand automatically. But again no showstopper there. The Fiat Ergo discussion I feel is a long dragged one, the only real ergo issue I have is the dumb reverse placement of the control stalks and the absolute lack of storage space.
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