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Old 13th July 2011, 09:13   #16
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessie007 View Post
Wait is over. Le Bleu is finally here.


6) After you sit in the car, it does not lock automatically after some time or after reaching a certain speed.

Points to Note:
1) There are NO rear vents under the front seat in my car – tried all settings on the air direction flow knob. Maybe this could also be one of the contributors towards the significant weight reduction in the 2011 model (1190 to 1130 kgs).
2)

Dealer: Autolinks
Inspite of purchasing two vehicles from them previously, the dealing was very average and there was delay in every step. Everything took either hours instead of minutes or days instead of few hours. The delivery commitment was as always off by a couple of days – thanks to most of the staff going on holiday. Following are the number of days it took for certain formalities:
1) Number plate* - 11 Days
2) User/Service manual - 6 Days
3) Installation of remote locking - 6 Days
4) RC (is around 45 days) - God knows

* Apparently registration number for Fiat cars is not with the Tata-Fiat dealers – they say they have to contact and get directly from the transport authority. However for all Tata cars, they have pre-approved list of numbers from the authority and number plates are fixed on cars on the date of the delivery itself.
Congratz on the Le Bleu, Jessie. Wish both of you tons of happy miles.

Some points:

1) When I checked with Fiat for the OE central locking for my Active, they told me that the central locking will not auto lock. Not sure why, but they said the auto lock feature is not supported.

2) Are you sure about the rear vents? My May2011 Active do have the rear vents. Push the front seats all the way and look under them - I think you should be able to find them.

3) Sorry to hear that the dealer was not giving you any extra attention when you are buying your third car from him. Did he give any loyalty bonus? Usually they are happy to get loyal customers and even offer loyalty bonus.

4) I think each car have to get registered at the RTO -About Tata cars getting number on same day, it might be because these cars are already registered by the dealership in the name of the owner before the delivery date. But 11 days to get number is too much, once you register the car, you should get the number on same day itself and 6 days to get the User/Service manual? I thought each car came with the User/Service manual from factory itself.
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Old 13th July 2011, 11:22   #17
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Congratulations Jessie ! And welcome to the Punto club. The percentage of Punto owners on this site is quite high I must say !

Congrats again, and enjoy the highway. This is a car that was built to be driven on our Indian highways.
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Old 13th July 2011, 12:30   #18
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Thanks everyone for their wishes

@selfdrive – Thanks for the info will do a tankful and compare with on-board average reading
@A350XWB – yes I stand corrected, I meant under-thigh support only and not lumber support which in fact is pretty good in the front seats
@krish3 – have mentioned stock tyres in the post (165/80 R14 JK Tornado tyres). I feel 185 is the ideal size (though would have preferred a lower profile) for a hatch and find 195 an overkill
@shk 8896 – I like to keep the car in stock condition. I feel it still looks fantastic without blackening pillars and find black ORVM & handles quite nice as they give a nice contrast and break from the sea of blue
@Reinhard – Actually the opposite is true now, as I have got used to Puntos stalk configuration and turn on the wipers in my dad’s Grande and sister’s Santro. I don’t think one should keep a hand on the gear lever as it may result in excessive wear and tear of gear components over time
@theexperthand – I’ll check again for rear A/C vents again. But at what direction setting can one feel the air flow from those vents??? Didn’t get any loyalty bonus per se but did get a discount – all in all it cost me about 5.5 big ones including the first EMI of around 8k, extended warranty & 5k for premium colour.

Last edited by jessie007 : 13th July 2011 at 12:31.
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Old 13th July 2011, 12:40   #19
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Hey Jessie congrats on the car! Love that color. I am very much interested in the stabilizer bar at the rear which you say Fiat have omitted in interests of weight and fuel economy. Can you please show us by the way of pictures which is that bar? I am sure handling would have suffered because of that or not?
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Old 15th July 2011, 11:56   #20
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

@akhilesh - can only comment about the rear stabilizer if someone can post an image with the stabilizer bar. I have clicked a couple of images of the cars rear suspension and am posting it. Its not very clear in these images, will try and click one of the comple rear suspension setup.

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@theexperthand - Yes I checked again and was able to locate the A/C vents for the rear under the front seats - the vent was sort of hidden by the mat and a piece of cloth & newspaper I keep under the driver and passenger seat respectively. And yes was able to feel the cool air, didn't check the heating - who needs it anyways in this sun-scorched land.

Saw an image uploaded by better4worse, which am attaching again.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-under-seat-ac-vents.jpg
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Old 15th July 2011, 22:36   #21
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Quote:
After you sit in the car, it does not lock automatically after some time or after reaching a certain speed. Also, once the car is started, you can only lock the doors via the central locking and not by the buttons on the remote. You have to lock all doors from the driver’s side door lock. Though if you open with the remote then the car will lock itself if the car is not started (the key can be in the ignition) for a period of 1 minute. I have found a way to make use of this feature every morning when I leave for office – I unlock the car by the remote while coming down the stairs, keep my bag and lunchbox inside, unlock and open the gates and by the time I sit in the car and turn on the Bluetooth in my mobile the car locks itself. Then it is time to fire the MJD. I know this is quite inane but nonetheless a quirky find.
Auto locking after a certain time interval may lead to one outside and the car getting locked. Further if the key is in the switch, as per norms, the remote should not function.
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Old 13th May 2012, 19:46   #22
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Default Re: First main service & update after 1 year of ownership

Just got the first oil change service done which is due at 15k kms or one year from the date of purchase. I had taken a sabbatical for the last few months as my wife was expecting a baby who was born on 11/11/11. So there was little driving done and since my office earlier was only 3 kms from my house, Le Bleu’s running was relatively less. Any outstation trip was done in my Dad’s Sumo Grande MkII. So the service essentially was done at just 3500 kms. Although I would have as it is liked to have the oil changed at around 10k kms (in my 2006 Indigo Tdi I got oil changed at between 5-7k kms instead of 7.5k earlier & 10k interval later mandated by Tata Motors), but circumstances meant that the service was done so early – no problems as such for me, but it does bump up the per km cost. Hope to even it out in the coming year, though would anyday like a job close to house than in chaotic Gurgaon, which sadly is the most likely place for my next job as most corporates have either moved out to Gurgaon or Noida.

I was actually waiting for a FIAT workshop to open that would cater to only FIAT cars, but that hasn’t happened till now. So just a day before Le Bleu was going to complete one year I got a call from Autolinks regarding a summer camp with discounts on labour and parts, even on regular service. So booked the car for next day – reached at 9:30 a.m. and the car was delivered at 5:00 p.m. Only issues reported by me were w.r.t. a couple of plastic bits and also got the wiper changed. More on these later. The car was cleaned/vacuumed and washed to my satisfaction and at one time there were 6 people cleaning/polishing it! Checked under the bonnet as well, as once after my Indigo’s service I found out after reaching home that the coolant bottle’s lid was open. Had to refuse the engine flushing (at just 4k kms!?) and also the alignment & balancing as the car was tracking perfectly and I had tested it at good speeds.

The one brilliant thing about FIAT is the 15k/1 year kms service interval, so now I have to visit A.S.S. only once a year (as compared to almost thrice earlier for my Indigo 5-7k kms service interval), barring any untoward incident or malfunction. Following is the scanned copy of the service bill. I got the wipers changed as it was not wiping cleanly partly due to the car cleaners child paying with it and that resulted in a gap which was not correctable any further – I used to bend it earlier and make the arc shape. So the regular bill (without the charges for the wiper-Rs.550) came to around Rs.5300. Although I feel there is some amount of ripping off as was charged for 3.7 litres of engine oil whereas the sump capacity is just 3.2 litres and even after 200-300ml of leeway for the soaking up by the oil filter and in the piping, the max they should have charged is for 3.5 litres I guess. Didn’t argue with them as wasn’t in a mood and had to reach home and take my baby to the pediatrician.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-15k12m-service.jpg

Following is a comparison of service expenditure of four cars owned by our family (Indigo was sold when Le Bleu bought)

Consolidated Service History.xls

Chatted up with another Punto owner as his car’s number was the same as mine! (only the registering authority was different). He was quite anguished with his ownership experience of a red emotion petrol, as it had clutch related issues which was going to be changed the second time (I believe) at 45k kms and he didn’t have extended warranty. He said something like “FIAT le ke phas gaye”. Also funnily the owner was complaining about the key getting stuck and not cranking in one go. I was surprised the owner till date didn’t know about the “Double Crank Protection” feature – the SA was advising him about it, though even he didn’t know that this was a feature. He just said, ‘you have to crank in a flow and not wait after the heater light goes off’ and continued ‘it is like this in FIAT’. So an important consideration for FIAT – look after its customers and have trained technicians as people would not hesitate going back to their trusted brand once they are dissatisfied with another brand.

Got the insurance also done from Bajaj Allianz as Le Bleu has completed one year. Insurance was given free by the dealer when I bought the car and it was from Future Generali. Got the best quote now from Bajaj Allianz online (Rs. 7515 with an IDV of Rs 4 lakhs and no voluntary deductible), though wasn’t able to use the 35% NCB certificate that I got after transferring is from my Indigo’s policy. No insurance company is clear about NCB – someone said it can only be redeemed when buying a new car and some said that max NCB I would get is 35%, whereas I have as it is accumulated 25% over the last one year in addition to the NCB certificate. Went through the insurance thread also and I’m still not clear about it. If someone could advise on this matter with clarity regarding the insurance for next year and how can I got about it, I would really appreciate it.

Le Bleu looks as bewitching as I first saw her. The Foxtrot Azure colour is a charm and I find it the best light blue colour among all the blue shades offered by other manufacturers – yes I’m biased to my choice. Nice light colour for the scorching hot weather (almost year round) and scratches are not very apparent, though not as conspicuous as in silver.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-sideview.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-bewitching-angle.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-left-rear-bumper-scrape.jpg

Following is a result of an office parking scrum by a female colleague who just said a sorry with a smile as if it was nothing. People don’t know how much we BHPians love cars – not just the ones we own but all cars in general. And my car was just parked – damn the long nose! The car was just around 15 days old then. I felt like . Note the scrape on the right side - just next to the grill, below the headlight.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-front.jpg

Have got a couple of rubs on the rear bumper both on the left and right side near the fenders. One was by an uncle ji in an Ikon – part fault was mine as the bumper was sticking out on the right lane, and I should have kept left – though uncle ji banged and overtook from the right and if he continued to take the dedicated right turn it would have been fine but he was also going left – then what was the point of overtaking me in thick traffic – I chased him down slowed him and vented my rage but had to turn off to pick my mother & wife who had gone for sonography and I was coming from office. I was quite apprehensive that there would have been metal sheet damage, but the mudguard which juts about a centimetre out of the bumper from the side absorbed some of the impact (the mudguard itself was fine) and the Ikon only grazed that and a part of the bumper. It’s a good thing that the bumpers are wraparound, so the fenders are somewhat shielded by the bumper and thankfully no fender benders for me – fingers crossed!

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-bumper-scrape.jpg

Here is an embarrassing incident wherein I sort of rammed Le Bleu at our house gate when parked inside. I had stared the car to warm it up as hadn’t started the car for few days. I always start the car after pressing the clutch. I slowly released the clutch, but didn’t realize that the car was in gear as a few days earlier I had disengaged the handbrake and put it in gear as I read somewhere on Team-BHP itself that if the car is not used for few days, the hand-brake should be disengaged as it might jam on the wheels. Bang! And I was stunned. The guard from the neighbouring house came – the bolt (kundi) on the gate was bent and wouldn’t move and a small metal piece for resting the bolt was also bent. I tentatively peeked at the front of the car and had to literally search for any signs of damage and was amazed at what I saw - just a speck of paint had chipped off from the outer most protruding part of the bumber. I said sorry to Le Bleu and made up, but was really impressed at its solidity and built-to-last feel – though the plastics are another story.

Exterior as well as some of the interior plastic quality is quite average. The panel near the wipers is all warped and so is the one on the C-pillar and this is within JUST one year of ownership and that to on a less run vehicle. The car itself is built quite solid, but don’t know why FIAT can’t offer better plastics that don’t self destruct. The plastic sash below the wiper area was changed during the service but still doesn’t inspire much confidence in terms of its durability. As far as the plastic cladding on the C-pillar is concerned, it was not available in stock.

Plastic below the wipers

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-plastics-wiper.jpg

The culprit on C-pillar

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-c-pillar-plastic.jpg

The plastic on the other side is fine and this is how it should have been

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-c-pillar-fine.jpg

The Engine is the same sweet award-winning Multijet common rail injection with 4 valves per cylinder and DOHC – all state of the art for a small diesel mill. The murmur at startup is acceptable and after warming up, is fairly muted with the windows rolled-up, A/C & music on. Responsiveness is good and part-throttle inputs are rewarding – no point in revving beyond 3500 rpm as after it and the engine starts lamenting. Power peaks at 4000 RPM, but I don’t think I’ve gone beyond 3500 RPM ever. The ideal driving band is 1800-2200 rpm, which offers the perfect blend of drivability and fuel efficiency. In this state of tune, the national engine with 197 Nm of torque peaking at just 1750 rpm, is simply sublime and perfect for city driving. Though the short gearing (especially 1st & 2nd) mar low-end drivability a bit, else one could just stay in 2nd gear from 10 to 40 kmph in traffic conditions. More in the gearshift section.

I have re-worked the Punto’s acceleration timings after the weight reduction from 1190 to 1130 kgs in late 2010. One can see that the Punto is no longer the laggard, with quick in-gear acceleration timings. Have posted this in the Punto review thread earlier as well. Reviews by Auto magazines were done with the heavier Punto MJD. After the removal of the stabilizer bar, etc from the rear suspension, the kerb weight has reduced by 60kgs (~5%). Keeping this in mind I’ve reworked the acceleration figures of the 1.3 MJD (75BHP) taken from Auto Car India magazine. The Aria 4X2 is taken as the benchmark with a weight reduction of around 10% (as compared to the 4X4 version) and a minimum of similar percentage improvement in acceleration timings.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-wt-comparo.jpg

Note: All acceleration timings from Auto Car India magazine


From acceleration to braking. I find Punto’s brakes to be quite good as compared to the other cars in the family and even the old Swift. Brakes have a nice linear feel and stopping power is quite adequate if not good for a car of this size. Thank God there hasn’t been emergency braking situations, but speed retardation as such is quite reassuring and one feels confident doing 80kmph (the max safe speed limit in the city atleast). Have read about excessive brake pads wearing in some of the pre 2011 Puntos and heard that the composition of the brake pads have been altered to afford a slightly longer life without affecting the braking efficiency. Hope the brake pads in Le Bleu last atleast 40k kms.

Gearshift is decidedly notchy – I had hoped it would become smoother but hasn’t till now, but anyways I haven’t driven the car much. One has to ensure that the gear is slotted in with a decent shove. Third gear is the best, as it is in most of the other cars – one can manage speeds between 20-60 kmph without changing gears.

I have got used to the long clutch and it is not a problem even after driving my dad’s Grande or sisters Santro. The clutch action is fairly light, but the long stroke coupled with a notchy gearbox, doesn’t welcome spirited driving.

Coming to air-conditioning, I must say I’m pleasantly surprised. For one I didn’t expect it to be as good as my Indigo’s, considering the complaints about earlier models (especially petrol) having average cooling. But I guess in my May 2011 model it is all sorted and the A/C chills to my satisfaction. I don’t like gusts of air, so just keep the fan/blower at no.2 setting (would have loved if it was a little quieter) and the thermostat just a notch below max cooling and that to in 45 degrees. The cabin cools quite well and if the outside temperature is not too high (below 35 degrees) then at this setting after a while I start feeling cold. Rarely have I had anyone sit at the rear but whenever someone has sat there have been no complaints about cooling.

After having been blessed with a baby, priorities suddenly change and I now drive a little more sedately and I must say this kind of driving suits the Punto. Now the space on offer has been really put to test. I was picking up my wife (and baby) from her parents place and had to keep a big green box (some 2 L x 1.5 B X 1.5 H ft) and a pram in the boot. The pram was laid perfectly on the boot and the box could be kept on top, though had to remove the parcel tray. In comparison when this stuff was kept in my in-laws’ old Swift only one thing could fit in the boot and that too if kept vertically – there was no space to keep it horizontally/flat in the boot. Since there were 5 adults travelling in the Swift, the idea of the pram was dropped and only the box was kept vertically, which jumbled up all the neatly stacked clothes inside. Here is a picture of the boot with the box and the pram in Le Blue.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-boot-space-1.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-boot-space-2.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-boot-space-3.jpg

Here is picture with the rear seat double folded – the best comparison would be if I’m able to fit a full bicycle in here like in my Indigo earlier. Will try it whenever I get the opportunity.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-imag0390.jpg

Since I’m talking about space, would mention that me being 5’7”, no one has felt any dearth of space on the back seat and I don’t really drive with the seat pulled up to the steering wheel – I like a decent gap to allow comfortable actuation of the long clutch and the recline is also at a comfortable angle. The seats (both front and rear) are quite comfortable and I like the lumbar support on the front seat (would be really comforting on long drives), though my BIL felt it quite peculiar after his Swift. I feel the under-thigh support for the driver can be an issue in long drives as it is felt wanting – no issues for me so far in in-city driving. Following are pictures of legspace available with my driving position.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-front-legroom.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-rear-legroom.jpg

A major irritant still is the wiper and light stalks being the other way round in the Punto. For the past few months I was driving the Sumo as much as Le Bleu, so invariably I used to use the wipers when I had to use the indicator in the Sumo and vice-versa in the Punto. This is really irritating, especially when one wants to use the dipper to seek right of way and in the urgency I turn on the wash-wipe. If Punto was the only car I drove, then it wouldn’t have been a problem as would have got used to it – but changing cars complicates matters. There is one thing though - one can only mistakenly turn on the wipers instead of the indicator while indicating a left turn as the wiper stalk only moves up, but not down. I still believe by law all cars in India should have lights on the right and wipers on the left stalk. For me, what is wrong is wrong and I can’t defend this move by European/American car manufacturers.

Regarding the ground clearance (GC), I have measured it in my May 2011 Le Bleu and it is just 150 mm at the front (as against 171mm as per FIAT), from just below the metal protection plate. Partly it is due to the 185/70 R14 tyres as the GC reduces a few mms as compared to the stock 165/80 (Active & Dynamic) and 195/60 R15 (Emotion) tyres. But anyways haven’t bottomed out the car, except once in a potholed road that had potholes as big as the entire car. I was going slightly faster than necessary and the metal engine guard hit something. Though the GC has been improved in the 2012 refresh, I have no qualms about it. The Bridge Turanza ER60s are quite alright, just that tyre noise is quite prominent. I understand Michelins are softer and hence quieter tyres but I went for longevity, as I was quite satisfied with the S255 on my Indigo earlier which lasted around 60k kms. I have measured the GC at the rear as well and following is a picture with all the measurements (though not very scientific and may be there is some measuring/parallex error).

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-gc-1.jpg

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I and even my sister is enamoured by Le Bleu and revels in the occasional drive to her office in Noida especially the high speed poise on the DND expressway on which her Santro has a floaty feeling at speeds above 70 kmph plus the tall boy is not confidence inspiring during high cross-winds. For a short drive or visit to a congested place with limited parking, the Santro is everyone’s first choice, as even the Punto is a bit of a handful in comparison, due to its biggish turning circle (though this has been taken care of in the 2012 refresh which has a turning diameter of 10m vs. 10.5m in my car). I as such haven’t done any three-pointed turns to do a U-turn on the road, but the turning circle is evident while manoeuvring in a tight spot.

Coming back to the high speed poise, have tested Le Bleu on the Greater Noida Expressway enroute to watch F1 Practice session. The wide and fairly smooth road was inviting and I saw the needle nudge 140 but was concentrating on the road. A few seconds later my friend told me that it was close to 150 kmph. The composure of the car at such high speeds was amazing, though I was not swerving around. And guess what, Le Bleu wasn’t the fastest car at that time – a Q7 and a BMW were ahead of me! I was so chuffed at the opportunity to flex the cars legs that forgot to notice the engine or tyre noise – which would have been fairly audible, but must have been somewhat muted by the music. Plus the speed masking done by the car contributed in banishing any thoughts of trepidation or caution that is often felt at high speeds.

A major contributing factor to the poise of the car is the composed ride that imparts it a big car feel. I always see how the car traveling in front of me handles bad roads and see most of the cars (hatchbacks atleast) tossing about, but when Le Bleu passes over that bad road patch it just glides over it without any fuss or jiggling about. The thing is that the average Ajay will notice the acceleration of a car but not necessarily the ride – but for me ride is more important on our roads which do not allow us to drive fast or carry high speeds. In fact when I bought the Indigo earlier, it was, I believe the only car with independent rear suspension this side of one million rupees. Though sadly Tata’s have also now shifted to the ubiquitous torsion/twist beam axle setup for the Indigo and Manza. My point is that most of the sedans (City, DZire, Fiesta, Manza, Sunny, SX4, Vento, Verna) sold in India (derived from hatchbacks or otherwise) do not cut the mustard for me as they have a basic semi-independent suspension set-up (torsion/twist beam axle). I believe in more mature markets, most sedans have more sophisticated if not completely independent suspension at the rear. Amongst the hatchbacks Punto undoubtedly has the most accomplished ride, which I feel is better than most hatchback derived sedans. It has the perfect blend of rigidity and suppleness without compromising on handling or comfort.

Even though there are limited opportunities in the city to experience the handling of Le Bleu, whenever I get a chance I really enjoy the handling on chicanes and long sweeping curves on flyover loops. I distinctly remember one incident wherein a Wagon R just overtook me and was going fairly fast with a flyover loop (decent) approaching and there was sparse traffic – the Wagon R had to slow down considerably due to the body roll inherent in a tall-boy design and I just maintained my speed and before I knew it the Wagon R was a small speck on my rear-view mirror.

Coming to fuel efficiency, please note that I’m quoting only figures with A/C (as it is used even in the short winters, atleast in the morning) and readings are from MID which is quite accurate – I have compared the same with thankful method and the variation is in the range of 0.3-0.4 kmpl, which I must say is pretty accurate. In short runs (less than 10 kms) the average hovers between 10-13 kmpl. Medium distance runs (10-20 kms) result in an average between 12-14kmpl. Long distance runs to Noida/Gurgaon (15-30 kms one-way) fare a little better at 13-18 depending upon traffic. Best I have got is 19 kmpl on a weekday run to the airport and back (some 25 kms), though it was in the afternoon and the traffic was light. The worst was around the 9 kmpl on a rainy day with clogged roads that involved a lot of idling. No complaints on this front as for me, as the cost of diesel doesn’t hinder in the driving pleasure. Rs. 500 still gets half a tank, if I fill just before the needle drops to the red line. Also the 45 litre tank gives a decent range and fill-ups are not frequent. Considering my office run was just 6 kms earlier and weekend run was around 30 kms, the car ran for about 60kms a week which is 240 kms a month and even if we take a conservative average at 12 kmpl, the earliest I had to visit the fuel pump was after two months!

No highway run so far – I know I’m missing the whole point (Punto incidentally is the word for point in Italian) of having a dynamically sound car by not going on a long drive – but the thing is when the family goes, it is in the Sumo Grande as it is comfortable and there are a minimum of 4 adults (if not 5 or 6) and one infant and when a bigger car more suited for the highway is available why go in a smaller one. Same way with friends we prefer friend’s Scorpio or my dad’s Grande for our outstation trips.

Central locking is ideal for silent locking & unlocking, when one doesn’t want to use the remote locking which beeps. I simply hate the beeps during un/locking and especially the annoying ones while reversing when used late at night, thank God this contraption is not there in Fiat’s remote locking system. Though I do miss the option of unlocking only the driver’s door that was there in my Indigo that had Tata’s Autocop remote locking system. All the doors unlock when the key or the remote is used in Le Bleu.

The JVC Bluetooth music system and JBL speakers are working perfect. Initially I had kept the sensitivity of the Mic at the highest setting (3) but it resulted in a lot of echoing, reducing it to no.2 setting resolved this issue. I just have to turn on the Bluetooth on my mobile and the unit recognizes it within 10 seconds and have paired two other phones in the family, so my father and sister use it if they take the Le Bleu. But a Punto specific irritating thing is that you can’t turn on the music system without initiating the heater and the fuel pump – which is required when one switches off the car at long traffic signals. I believe it is due to the double crank protection safety feature. Following is a picture of the cockpit – note that orange glow of the music system that perfectly matched that of the instrument cluster and HVAC controls. I had specifically searched for a system wherein one could change the colours of the display so that I could have a uniform colour backlighting in the cabin – so no riot of blue, green and red colours on the music system that just looks plain ugly. I prefer a neat look and this looks quite dignified and pleasant to the eyes.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-cockpit.jpg

Another thing is that the area around the music system’s radio antenna is not water tight. Once on a rainy day a applied the brakes suddenly and a small splash of water fell from the headlining onto the dashboard – I was like what is that?? Got the antenna tightened from the accessory guy but checked a few days later and water was still collecting on the roof lining board just ahead of the roof lamp. So finally had to resort to covering the entire area above and around the antenna with multiple layers of black insulation tape and haven’t had any water seepage since. Will look into getting some rubber washer fitted around the area so that the antenna has a watertight fitting on the roof. I feel the fitting isn’t snug as the roof curves where the opening for the antenna is given so the plastic doesn’t form a water tight seal.

On another note, I wanted to know whether the front headrests come out of their slots? I have a hook for hanging bags (a la VW Polo) and that is to be placed in the stem of a headrest, but I’m unable to take the headrests off. From the hook I remember that I got a clip-on vanity mirror for the passenger-side visor as my wife missed as it was there in the Indigo. A good addition for just Rs.100.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-vanity-mirror.jpg
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Old 24th May 2012, 11:50   #23
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Did another airport run recently. Dad was out-of-station in the Sumo Grande, so had to take my Grande. Since only two relatives were coming, I thought luggage shouldn’t be a problem. But guess what – they came by business class and had three full-size (America ones) and one medium size suitcase. So eventually one big and the medium suitcases were fitted in the boot (with space for a soft bag next to the medium one) and the other two big ones were kept on the rear seat. Since there were only three of us in total, the airport run was managed fine with all the luggage. Essentially it was confirmed that one can easily carry one full-size and one medium-size suitcase in the boot and that also fully stuffed ones – though I had to take out the parcel tray. It is not possible to fit two full-size bags in the boot, due to the slope/recline of the rear seat. Don’t have a photo as was busy lugging all the luggage.


Since I went early morning (6 a.m.), was able to manage good speeds, but didn’t turn on the music system this time to check on engine noise – which was quite apparent & strident at 120 kmph. No traffic and signal free travel over flyovers resulted in an average of 19 kmpl for the 32 kms return trip (correction for my previous post where I’ve mentioned the airport run was around 25 kms – checked it this time accurately and in fact the way to the airport is shorter than the way back, due to the new construction of roadways near the airport). The average was with a high speed (80-120 kmph) run to the airport and a moderate speed (60-80 kmph) run back from the airport and not to forget the added weight of passengers and luggage on the way back:


3 adults : 65 X 3 = 195 kgs
3 big suitcases : 30 X 3 = 90 kgs
1 medium suitcase : 20 X 1 = 20 kgs
________________________________________
Total : 305 kgs (approx)
________________________________________


One point I missed in my update earlier was how much I still love the “thunk” on closing the doors. The sound just reeks of solid build quality and feels one is driving a bigger car.
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Old 24th May 2012, 12:22   #24
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Superb and well written review Jessie. You have covered all the points well.

Congratulations and welcome to be club!


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Originally Posted by jessie007 View Post
6) After you sit in the car, it does not lock automatically after some time or after reaching a certain speed.
Yes, the Active does not have automatic door lock.

Last edited by raj_5004 : 24th May 2012 at 12:25.
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Old 27th May 2012, 02:23   #25
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Got the insurance also done from Bajaj Allianz as Le Bleu has completed one year. Insurance was given free by the dealer when I bought the car and it was from Future Generali. Got the best quote now from Bajaj Allianz online (Rs. 7515 with an IDV of Rs 4 lakhs and no voluntary deductible), though wasn’t able to use the 35% NCB certificate that I got after transferring is from my Indigo’s policy. No insurance company is clear about NCB – someone said it can only be redeemed when buying a new car and some said that max NCB I would get is 35%, whereas I have as it is accumulated 25% over the last one year in addition to the NCB certificate. Went through the insurance thread also and I’m still not clear about it. If someone could advise on this matter with clarity regarding the insurance for next year and how can I got about it, I would really appreciate it.
If you use the NCB, you will get only what is mentioned in it losing any additional bonus you might have accumulated. I too had a 35% NCB from an earlier car, and when the time came to renew, I used the NCB as it would have expired in a few months (it is valid for three years). I had to forgo my 20% NCB that came out of no claims for the first year on the present car's insurance. BTW, I also renewed my insurance with Bajaj Allianz - took their Drive Assure package which has zero dep, engine protector, and some road side assist. I was only interested in zero dep, but seems they give it in a package. I also went for no voluntary deductible and accident insurance for all passengers - strange they took insurance for 5 passengers considering the car could accommodate 5 persons but driver insurance is anyways separate and mandatory. I quizzed them about it but they insisted I either take for all 5 passengers or none. Since it was just 200 extra I did not haggle.
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Old 27th May 2012, 08:44   #26
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Originally Posted by jessie007 View Post
Solar powered blinking key chain I bought in Thailand last year in anticipation of buying a FIAT
Thats an ultra cool keychain- never seen anything like it on the forum before! Hope its still working perfectly.

Very well written review. I somehow missed it earlier. Punto is a very comfortable tourer and will suit its new role better than before - its amazing how comfortably it maintains speeds without breaking into a sweat.
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Old 27th May 2012, 15:59   #27
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Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
Superb and well written review Jessie. You have covered all the points well.

Congratulations and welcome to be club!

Yes, the Active does not have automatic door lock.
Thanks Raj - I also admire the zeal with which you keep tinkering with your Punto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sourav21 View Post
If you use the NCB, you will get only what is mentioned in it losing any additional bonus you might have accumulated. I too had a 35% NCB from an earlier car, and when the time came to renew, I used the NCB as it would have expired in a few months (it is valid for three years). I had to forgo my 20% NCB that came out of no claims for the first year on the present car's insurance. BTW, I also renewed my insurance with Bajaj Allianz - took their Drive Assure package which has zero dep, engine protector, and some road side assist. I was only interested in zero dep, but seems they give it in a package. I also went for no voluntary deductible and accident insurance for all passengers - strange they took insurance for 5 passengers considering the car could accommodate 5 persons but driver insurance is anyways separate and mandatory. I quizzed them about it but they insisted I either take for all 5 passengers or none. Since it was just 200 extra I did not haggle.
Thanks Sourav for clearing my doubts regarding this matter. So essentially, next year I would have as it is accumulated 35% NCB (No claim for two years - fingers crossed) and the NCB certificate from my previous car's sale will be of no use. I guess it makes sense only if you use it while buying a new vehicle - but matters get complicated when the dealer is offering free insurance (as was in my case also - though my Indigo was registered by the buyer after I bought my Punto)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Thats an ultra cool keychain- never seen anything like it on the forum before! Hope its still working perfectly.

Very well written review. I somehow missed it earlier. Punto is a very comfortable tourer and will suit its new role better than before - its amazing how comfortably it maintains speeds without breaking into a sweat.
Thanks Crazy Driver - I thought this would be a common keychain. Anyways I'm not using it anymore, due to the remote for the remote locking - I do not like to many things to carry one key. The solar cell keychain though still works - checked a few days back.

Yes the dynamics of the car are quite good and one doesn't realise the speed unless they look at the speedometer. One needs to be careful on expressways as one doesn't realise the speed and if three is a police speed check - you can get into trouble.
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Old 28th August 2012, 15:17   #28
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Incident update: Car stalled on rain-flooded road

Yesterday evening while returning from office, Le Bleu got stalled will traversing a flooded road here in Delhi. I had stopped just before a curved left turn as I could see fairly deep water on the road. Other cars stacked behind me and started honking. I decided to drive swiftly a few metres and climb up an incline which was on the left after taking a left-hand turn. This way I would be out of the water soon. Keeping the revs fairly high in first gear, I started-off, but mid-way the car stalled.

Once it stalled, I didn’t try to start it due to fear of hydro-locking, as I had read about it on Team-BHP itself. I sat in the car only and the water level was slowly rising as it was raining.

A few cars (about 10 maybe) passed me on the same road, including some hatchbacks, sedans (even a Merc) and M/SUVs (Innova, Sumo, Qualis) wading through the same water and none stalled – only a couple of auto stalled. Every time a car passed, my car shook in water as there was a wave effect and some water seeped into the car. The worst was a Qualis that came the wrong side (on my side of the road) and there was a huge water wave which might have swamped the engine bay.

After 15 minutes or so water had reached a couple of centimetres inside the car, but was below the door sill area inside. Don’t have any images from my phone as it was fairly dark and the in-cabin light didn’t help, plus there is no flash in my phone. Check image below (from the internet) to get an idea of the height of the exhaust pipe and the sill area below the doors (the tyre specs vary, but I believe doesn’t affect what we are comparing). I feel the tip of the exhaust pipe is at almost same height as the door sill line.

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Called my father, who in turn consulted his trusty TASC mechanic and he also concurred that the car shouldn’t be started in water. So I decided to wait it out till water started to recede, as it had stopped raining now. Then I called the service helpline, a number that the Tata service guy had given to my dad – it turned out to be of Tata mobile and internet services. Finally got through FIAT’s toll-free helpline and all lines were busy, so left a message. No revert from them till now.

After about 45 minutes, I saw a Traffic Police tow truck and ran out to ask for help. The water by now was below the door sill area and there was no danger of water coming in the cabin through the open door. The tow truck didn’t tow (maybe because of traffic ahead and a couple of turns which could get tricky), but two guys helped push it up the incline that I was initially trying to reach, but couldn’t manage to push it completely as it was fairly steep. But now the car was almost completely out of water and any water in the exhaust might have drained out. Though realise now, any water into the air-take from the Qualis’ wave might have seeped fast the air filter.

I was apprehensive about starting, but tested all the electrical (power windows, wipers, hazard lights which were on since the car stalled) and they were working and on the pre-ignition position all the light were going-off, except the check-engine light, which is supposed to go-off once the engine starts running (I read in the service manual while waiting).

Asked the same towing guy to push the car to my house which was about 500m away. Somehow reached home and I also had to push, while wading in water and steering as well. After reaching home, opened the bonnet to check for water damage. The engine bay was fairly dry at the top. Tried to put my fingers inside the air-intake and it was moist, same was with the exhaust pipe which was possibly under water for 30 minutes or so. Though the exhaust pipe is bent downwards a bit (check image below that I had clicked earlier), water waves due to cars passing by, could have pumped water into silencer/cat con. The major damage inflictor I feel was a Qualis that came the wrong side, which might have soaked some components in the engine bay (air intake in particular).

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Some measurements from my earlier post – as you can see I was quite particular about knowing the ground clearance. As you can see the exhaust pipe is probably at 230 mm.

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Decided to sleep it over and let things dry-out overnight. In the morning, tried to crank it up for a couple of seconds, but the starter did crank a bit, but then nothing – though the check engine light was on after the cranking. My heart sank & didn’t try again.

Today afternoon the car is to be towed to the service centre and am bracing for the worst. Don’t know what the diagnosis will be and in the worst case scenario what will happen with the insurance claim. Fingers crossed!

Since the incident have read many articles on the net, some re-assuring and some stating the worst case scenario. I would appreciate if some experienced members can throw some light on this unfortunate incident and calm my frayed nerves.
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Old 28th August 2012, 16:46   #29
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Thats a pretty unfortunate update jessie. I can very well understand your situation, its been raining like crazy and the roads have become more of a river. Never faced stalling issue with my Linea, just had a few abs failure warnings which stopped next day and have waded through water almost covering up the wheels but then its just a matter of chance, infact these days we have grounded both the sedans and using only Scorpio for the fear of getting stuck.

Good that you didnt start the engine there but why did you do that next morning, you should have towed the car to ASC and let them do their checks. Do you some insurance cover where they include engine damage like Bajaj Allianz where engine damage is insured against water etc?

Dont worry too much, i hope for a positive response and as you didnt start the car there, water shouldnt have entered the engine.
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Old 28th August 2012, 17:02   #30
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Thats a pretty unfortunate update jessie. I can very well understand your situation, its been raining like crazy and the roads have become more of a river. Never faced stalling issue with my Linea, just had a few abs failure warnings which stopped next day and have waded through water almost covering up the wheels but then its just a matter of chance, infact these days we have grounded both the sedans and using only Scorpio for the fear of getting stuck.

Good that you didnt start the engine there but why did you do that next morning, you should have towed the car to ASC and let them do their checks. Do you some insurance cover where they include engine damage like Bajaj Allianz where engine damage is insured against water etc?

Dont worry too much, i hope for a positive response and as you didnt start the car there, water shouldnt have entered the engine.
Thanks Coolboy007 for the post. I was apprehensive and couldn't stop myself for trying in the morning, though is was a very short crank and didn't try again. Yes I do have Bajaj Allianz policy and was reading the policy wordings only an hour ago. I understand that flooding / inundation are covered in the policy. Still a tense next day or so.

The car hasn't been towed yet and it has been raining almost consistently since afternoon, so most likely I believe they'll tow it tomorrow, as their tow vehicle is also broken-down (I came to know about it yesterday only as I had called them also - which I forgot to mention in my original post as I made quite a few call to Tata & FIAT helplines). By chance dad's Sumo Grande is also at the service centre for its 45k service - otherwise we ourselves could have towed the car to the service centre.
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