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Old 30th August 2012, 12:20   #31
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Default Re: Incident update: Car stalled on rain-flooded road

After a few more phone call was finally able to get a tow or should I say piggy-back to the service centre. Since the break-down vehicle of Autolinks (Vasant Kunj) was itself broken down (what an irony!), I called up FIAT helpline again and explained that I had left a message and no one called back. The executive was very helpful and co-ordinated (from Mumbai) the car to be picked-up from my home to the workshop. At 8:00 p.m. yesterday, a flat-bed truck with a winch came to pick-up Le Bleu. Check images below. I was glad that Le Bleu car was not going to be towed behind another vehicle, which would have been cumbersome without the full effect of brakes and no power steering.

Essentially the TASC is itself swamped with so many Tata vehicles that they can’t / don’t want to take the extra load of servicing FIAT vehicles. Here I feel, FIAT needs to open atleast one company owned and operated centre in each metropolitan city – I have iterated this view on another thread as well.

Fingers crossed now as news of the diagnosis is awaited.


Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03192.jpg


Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03195.jpg


Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03198.jpg


Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03199.jpg
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Old 1st September 2012, 11:22   #32
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Le Bleu is finally back. It was supposed to be dropped home day before yesterday evening, but no one can and when I called the service centre it was closed. So I picked the car up myself yesterday. The good news is that there was no major damage and I had breathed a big sigh of relief when I got the first update from the workshop. As I had suspected, the air-filter box was swamped with water, so the air filter was replaced, which is fine as it had borne the brunt of the harsh Delhi summer. The main component they changed (though it says renew on the bill) though was the water pump.

The initial diagnosis was that only the air filter box was swamped and they would check the injection system and also do an ECU scan for which they’ll charge Rs.2000! My father spoke with the head over there and got the charges for the ECU scan waived off, which are excessive or there was some miscommunication as I believe ECU scanning should not cost that much. Maybe they had to adjust that somewhere or may be genuinely the water pump had to be replaced. Usually they keep the old component in the boot, but it wasn’t there - so most likely it was just servicing. I'm not aware of the cost of the water pump, but I checked it on the internet & it seems to be in this price range only for a Palio 1.3 MJD on a FIAT forum. Total damages were Rs. 2831 (inc taxes) with the following break-up:

1) Air filter : Rs. 268
2) Water Pump renew : Rs. 2250
Water leakage system clean
3) Starter check-up : FOC

But the car is now fine and there are no strange noises or niggles – only the gearshift feels a little notchy or maybe I’m over analysing. Another thing is clear that the electricals and more importantly the ECU are safe even if water enters the car till about the door sill area inside. Same is for the exhaust pipe, even if it is submerged – only thing to keep in mind is not to start the car when submerged in water.

Coming to the air intake, even though it is located at the top of the front part of the engine bay, it is not actually the highest point as the bonnet slopes down around the area. But this position of the air intake must aid free flow of air into the engine and improve its breathability as with the increase in the speed of the car, there must be a ram-air effect through the front grille straight into the engine. On speaking with a service advisor I learnt that Tata Motors has shifted the position of the air-intake to the back of the engine bay to improve water fording in the Indian monsoon conditions.

Another thing I need to take care of is getting the carpeting in the car dry. Autolinks had no facility to dry-out the car, so the carpetting is still wet inside. On asking the service advisor, the reply was that it will dry out itself, no need to worry. .

I had the slightly absorbent mats from the dealer when I bought the car and these have absorbed some amount of water. When the car was pushed and it reached home, there was no standing water inside – so I’m guessing this mat and the car’s main floor carpetting absorbed all the water and if there are any holes below it, water must have seeped out from there. I have taken out those dealer mats to dry. I had purchased another set of plastic ‘Packy Poda’ mats as a preparation for the monsoons and they were on top of the dealer mats. So there were essentially three layers of matting. Now I plan to take two hair dryers and dry-out the entire carpet in turns, as these normal hair dryers get quite hot with continuous usage over a long time period.

Any other ideas (w.r.t. drying the carpets), precautions or checks (checking engine oil, etc) I need to be aware of, fellow BHPians please let me know.
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Old 1st September 2012, 13:00   #33
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

@jessie007 it's good that your car had minimal damage, & I was optimistic that the damage isn't as much as you were worried about. But, it is always better be safe than sorry, so I support what you did. I too had been driving the my car ('03 Santro Zing) & always hope that the old lady does not stall, & she hasn't disappointed me even once on any lake on the Mathura Road.

I hope you keep on enjoying the beauty, but, keep regularly updating the thread as well.
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Old 1st September 2012, 14:30   #34
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Good to hear that the car was out of major flooding very soon. Mats/Carpets in modern cars are quite thick and have fine recron like filling inside to keep the car insulated from noise. Although it may seem that the water is no longer present, I doubt most of it would be retained in the carpet itself. Trust me.. It won't dry of its own. The absorbed water would stink after some days and may also cause rust in the long run.

Contact any Car detailer and get the seats-carpets removed-vacuumed-dried! They may also come at your home do it at your door step.

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Old 4th September 2012, 10:08   #35
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

I was planning to give a mini-update before the incident took place. Before that a brief about the carpet drying - I spent an hour drying Le Bleu’s carpet on Sunday with a couple of hair dryers. The carpet was almost dry by now as the car was out in the sun for quite some time. But still I used the hair dryer till the carpet was very warm to touch and feel it is almost dry now. The carpet is hemmed in and can’t be taken our without undoing some screws, so I guess this should do. Pray for some more sunny days ahead. Now there is no musty smell inside – it is as good as before. By the way I do not believe in any in-car perfumes as I like the smell inside my car and it has never been foul in my seven or so years I’ve owned my own cars.

My sabbatical is finally over and started working. So the car is now running almost daily though luckily to central Delhi & back – a total distance of 23 kms daily. I love the roads around the C.P. area and chucking the car around the roundabouts is a delight. I can take the car at fairly high speeds into the round-about before I hear the tyres complaining. The biggest plus is that I don’t have to negotiate traffic (as in Gurgaon or Noida) except close to my house.

After crossing 5000 kms the average has started improving and is now consistently around the 15 kmpl mark. I have never really driven any car in the family without A/C, but the cool weather in August, prompted me to roll down the windows and enjoy driving with fresh air for a couple of days. A major contributing factor to this is the tree-lined roads with less traffic in Central Delhi, otherwise there was no question about rolling down the windows in hot and polluted environment. A plus side of not using the A/C was that the average crossed the 16 kmpl mark. Though this is the usual increment of 1 kmpl that is expected without A/C in any car, still I was delighted.

A recent full-tank to full-tank average came to 14.8 kmpl (including idling/running at the service centre after the recent flooding incident – else it should have crossed 15 kmpl), which is fine for me. Though not great if compared to the current crop of lighter Japanese diesels, that tip the scales at just around the one-tonne mark, compared to current diesel Punto’s 1130 kgs. Even the supposedly solid German Polo just about crosses the one tonne mark, though I personally feel the real solid VWs start from Jetta & above. Off-topic – my friend recently bought a Vento 1.6 Tdi and he also said that it didn’t feel like a 1 million rupee car (he earlier owned a Palio 1.2, after driving which I was attracted to FIATs). I had told him, when he asked my views before buying the Vento, that he should buy the car just for the engine and don’t expect much, even though the top-end model costed him almost Rs.11 lakhs on-road. He was feeling a bit short-changed.

One niggle I faced was that a bolt holding the windshield washer bottle had come-off and the bottle was hanging in the engine bay, separated from the ‘S’ shaped plastic pipe that ran from the from the filler cap down to the bottle. The culprit might be me not slowing down enough on the 4 or so rumble strips on the way to and from office. I found out this problem when while filling the washer bottle I saw water was just splashing on the floor. Feeling my way around with my hands I figured out the missing bolt. The bottle has another anchor point which is not a bolt but some kind of rivet. I ventured into my father’s workshop and found a bolt and nut. To ensure this doesn’t occur again I put a spring washer and added another nut (check-nut) to ensure that it does not shake itself loose. But I don’t understand why the plastic pipe is just inserted in the washer tank and not joined by anything and even after numerous tries the pipe doesn’t go completely into the bottle due to their anchoring.

Had a couple of friendly sprints and the cars lungs were made to work out really hard against a Civic once and a Laura another time. Both the cars were able to overtake me at the end of the 1-2 km stretch or so, but the little MJD gave them a good challenge. Le Bleu was no match for the Civic, but the in gear acceleration was a delight and I believe it is slightly better than Civics’. The sprint with the Laura was a close one and it was able to overtake my car just before we reached the next roundabout. The Laura seemed to be the 110BHP version (rather than the 140 BHP version) as it wasn’t really able to leave me for dead.

I would like to iterate that I did not break any traffic rules (except the speed for a short stretch) during these sprints and no sudden lane changes or even crossing the unbroken yellow line – I like it to be clean and safe. Though probably will not try again as it really stresses out the engine. A friendly mechanic had told me to rev the car beyond 3000 RPM once in a while to clear out the soot from the silencer, so this was my way of doing it – as I do not like to rev too much and stress the engine, though I keep the turbo on boil at around 2000 RPM. I have actually never even done a wheel-spin – I just can’t bear the torture to any car – even if it is a Maruti 800, which I remember my elder cousin brother really thrashed with frequent wheel-spins.

The only purchase since the May update (First service) has been the plastic mats. I bought the plastic ‘Packy Poda’ mats in June in preparation for the monsoons.
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Old 6th March 2013, 17:18   #36
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9500 kms update

• After 7000 kms there has been a perceptible improvement in the engines responsiveness (eagerness to accelerate) as well as fuel efficiency. Even though A/C usage during the past couple of months has dropped drastically (bitterly cold in Delhi), still I feel the average with AC during the coming summer will be better than earlier. The gearbox also had smoothened out to an extent. I must say that, there wasn’t such a perceptible change in my Indigo (or maybe I don’t remember), but FIAT’s Multijet in the Punto atleast, definitely smoothened out after around 7000 kms running in my case and it is something one cannot miss.

• The car has now done about 10,000 kms – I guess I’ll not even cross 15,000 kms before the second service which is due in April and this service is due after two years or 30,000 kms, whichever is earlier. My current running is less and since I was on a sabbatical for about 6 months last year, the car has run very little. With my current job being in Delhi and not NCR, running is limited to just 22 kms every weekday.

But I simply love the one year service interval and have no qualms of buying a diesel car, when a petrol one would have sufficed. But then my punch-line says it all! Now that petrol & hybrid centric Honda is also taking diesel engines seriously, it is slowly becoming apparent that diesel engines are here to stay. Also good resale value ensures that the overall cost of ownership and break-even kilometres come down quite considerably. The following thread that I started illustrates the same:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...tures-etc.html (Diesel Hatchback Ready Reckoner (Price, Specs, Features etc.))

• FIAT’s award-winning Multijet engine is often criticized for its turbo-lag, but it is a veritable torque beast in the hatchback segment. Sometimes under rapid acceleration I get a mini wheel spin squeal in second gear! Ford’s Duratorq, Renault’s K9K, Toyota’s D4D and even VW 3 cylinder TDi’s lag behind both in the power & torque departments in comparison to the Multijet’s 75 BHP variant, inspite of it having the lowest Cubic Capacity (after Polo). Also one needs to keep in mind that peak torque is delivered at a lowish 1750 RPM in the Punto, Vista & now the Sail U-VA, which aids drivability and somewhat mitigates the turbo lag, though it is quite apparent below about 1600 RPM.

Mind you, it is not a good idea to let the RPM needle fall below 1600 RPM in the Punto, as the power saps quite drastically and the car feels very heavy – so much so that quite often I’ve had to check if the hand-brake is pulled-up. It is the slightly average power to weight ratio that somewhat limits the Punto & even the Vista 75 HP for that matter in the outright acceleration department. The Vista D90 infact outshines the Punto 90 HP due to a different ECU calibration as all other factors – engine parameters, gearbox & even the kerb weight are similar. Don’t know why FIAT keeps such a conservative ECU setting in its cars.

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• I’m simply loving the range of the car. With an average of 15 kmpl and a 45 litre fuel tank (a technical range of 675 kms), I need to visit the fuel station once every 25 odd days. My daily running is 23 kms on weekdays and an odd 50 km run on Saturday or Sunday. I refill just before the needle hits the red zone and fill around 35 litres, so a good 10 litres is still there in the tank before a refill. So I do around 550 kms on 35 litres (~15.5 kmpl) which is good for me atleast, for a fairly heavy car.

The best average I got is recently – 18 kmpl as per the MID (overall average not instantaneous) for a total distance of about 170 kms. This is for a week’s drive – daily office run (11 kms one-way) & one trip on the ring road (20 kms one-way) with sedate driving and it was after a refill. Eagerly waiting to see the average in summer with AC - should be around the 14 kmpl mark atleast.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-06032013886.jpg

• Another reason for the marked improvement in fuel efficiency is that I’ve tried changing earlier from 2nd to 3rd gear. I compared the gear ratios of the Punto with that of the Swift (which along with the Ritz, are the most fuel efficient cars with FIAT’s multi-jet engine) and the difference is noticeable between second and third gears (other than the first & reverse gears). Change from 1st to 2nd gear is immediate, so no improvement can be made there. So instead of changing from second to third at around 30-35 kmph, I tried changing it at 25-30 kmph, at the expense of acceleration. Though it is highly unlikely that I’ll often do it, as the car is no fun to drive then!

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• The car tracks true and doesn’t veer off easily due to inbuilt camber on the road. I love it, as I had to religiously get wheel alignment done after about 5-7k kms in my Indigo as it used to lose alignment and start veering to the left (independent rear suspension also had its hand to play & the rear wheels also had to be aligned).

• Brakes are fantastic and very reassuring, no problems whatsoever. Haven’t felt the need to slam on them, barring one instance* on a round-about and even then the car stopped in an expected manner. Considering the car is driven in city only wherein the traffic is so much that one cannot, as it is, drive fast between 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., good brakes suffice in the car. Though I feel the pads are wearing unevenly of brake dust has accumulated, as I can feel a slight judder (for lack of a good word) on heavy braking

*The instance which required sudden slamming of the brakes was due to the A-pillar hiding a scooter (two-wheeler) on a round-about. The front quarter-glass at the passenger side is useful, but the one on the driver-side is at such an angle for the driver that it is of little use. Therefore one needs to be careful at round-abouts or wherever there is merging traffic.

• Have been checking each parameter as per MID for extended duration (a week or so). I noticed that the average speed that I manage with fairly spirited runs and less idling at traffic lights is in the range of just 25-35 kmph, which is symptomatic of city traffic nowadays. In fact I read somewhere that the average speed of vehicles is the same at 19 kmph for the city of London in the 19th century with horse-drawn carriages and in the 21st century with cars that are considerably faster and roads also a lot better!

• I’ve set the speed buzzer at 80 kmph (85 kmph earlier) as sometimes during early morning runs (8:45 a.m. or so – yeah that’s everyday early for me) I tend to speed. Since the Punto masks its speed so well, the buzzer is required as a polite reminder to slow down to sane city speeds.

• Since there is a trend of some newer cars doing without the temperature gauge altogether, I would like to iterate that it is required especially if one is staying in a place which experiences sub 15 degree temperatures. In the morning, I come to know when the engine has warmed up and I can rev and accelerate harder. In this way I don’t stress the engine when it’s cold / not fully warmed up. Another use of the temperature gauge is that one knows whether the coolant is warm enough to heat the air for the heater in the HVAC unit. If the car is not warmed up sufficiently the blowers throw ambient air only which is quite cold if the temperature is hovering below 10 degrees. Delhi witnessed a frigid winter with the temperature going as low as 2 degrees. It was the first time, I used the heater in any car for a long period of about 15 days - every morning and sometimes even in the evening.

• A mention needs to be made for the intermittent setting of the wiper which is regulated by the speed of the car. Though it is a nicely though-out feature, in some cases wherein the speed of the car is between 10-50 kmph one might need the swipes to be at a lesser interval and therein I have to make extra wipes. This is possible by just pushing the stalk up – which results in an extra single wipe without affecting the intermittent function. I was used to the five speed intermittent setting on my Indigo, which though a little fiddly was fairly useful during intermittent rain.

• From my fascination with solidity, I remember that I was looking for some stats (kerb weight to be exact) on the erstwhile Octavia 2.0 TDi and came across a comparison that included the Opel Astra 1.7 TDi and Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 TDi. While the Octavia weighed a portly 1330 kgs, the Astra and Lancer with their 1700 CC & 2000 CC diesel engines had a kerb weight of only 1140 & 1095 kgs respectively, which is surprising. The Punto diesel (75 HP) at 1130 kgs in comparison seems heavy for a hatchback due to modern construction, keeping safety in mind.

I remember the Astra and have been a passenger in one for some distance and it felt as a solidly built vehicle, so this came as a surprise to me. I felt quite nostalgic reading that comparison, even though I haven’t owned either of those cars - only sat in the Octavia and Astra.

Little delights

One needs to keep in mind that the following features/aspects are available even in the base Active variant!

• There is a beep for ‘handbrake on’ warning when trying to drive off. This beep is in addition to the light in instrument cluster which comes on when the hand-brake is pulled up. This happened once and don’t won’t to reconfirm, lest the brakes jam or something else happens.

• The interior light turns off after a couple of minutes to save on battery. If the driver side door is open for more than two minutes, then also the interior light switches off. I once left the light on and it must have switched off, as in the morning only I realised that I had left the cabin light on

• Similarly if the headlights are left ‘on’, they turn off after the key is taken out of the ignition

• Once used the Euro ‘one-side’ park light ‘on’ system as I had to park the car in such a way that the left rear corner was onto the road (colony road, not a main road). My mother said that the light was on and I had to explain that this is a feature. The light was on for a couple of hours and it was reassuring, that passing cars would slow down thinking the car is started and it might reverse. On can also turn on parking lights in other cars, but then it’ll drain the battery much faster as four bulbs are on, instead of just two.

• The power window switches are illuminated, which in addition to being useful at night, gives a little bit of definition to the otherwise plain-jane interior (this feature is missing in the Polo, in addition to the econo Japs – Brio, Liva, Micra & Swift)

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

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

• Even the 12V charging point is backlit

• The back-light for the MID stays on till the car is locked (it is ‘on’ even during daytime)

• The extra closed glove compartment on the dash (above the usual glove compartment) is very useful for keeping a tissue box. I don’t like to keep anything on the dashboard, so this space is very useful and easily accessible, as generally the main glove box is full of other knick knacks (service manual, first-aid kit, case for the music system’s mouthpiece & remote, mobile charger, etc)

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

Incident

I got a new year’s gift as apparently some biker rammed into the rear of my parked car (at roadside parking while at office) on 31st December. The casualty was a broken reverse light – the bulb inside was intact but the light isn’t working. At first I couldn’t figure out the impact, intensity of which has even cracked the bumper a bit at a right angle (about 1+1 inches). Then I found a broken plastic part with a strap lying under the car – at first I thought it was a part of my car, but on closer inspection could make out that it is the strap of a helmet which has ripped off along with the plastic to which it was anchored.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03968.jpg

So most probably the biker must have hung the helmet on the leg guard (affording protection where it is not required and leaving the thinking organ unprotected). No wonder the extra protrusion of the helmet might have caused the collision. I was somehow able to put the dislodged light back by slotting it back in the plastic tabs that held it and this required some force.
On enquiring with Autolinks, the part was not in stock and they said it will be ordered. Called again after a week and it seems Tata Motors is now not taking much interest in stocking FIAT car parts as FIAT is opening its own service centres. As per the last report, one service centre has opened each in Noida & Gurgaon, but none in Delhi so far. I have no intention to venture into chaotic NCR unless absolutely necessary. Since my second year service is due in April only, I guess I’ll have to get it fixed then and hopefully FIAT will have atleast two service centres in Delhi by then. Parts availability (especially those not required in regular service) is an issue and FIAT needs to resolve this at the earliest atleast at their own service centres.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03971.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03974.jpg

Could be better

• The turning circle is quite big and it is evident when trying to park in a tight space. Good to see that FIAT is acting on feedback and improved the turning circle considerably in the cars manufactured in 2012 and onwards. Though I do not intend to get it changed in my car as I don’t like visiting service stations as something or the other is left unattended or a new issue crops up due to poor service procedures followed. ‘If it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ is the best policy, according to me.

• The ground clearance on the other hand is quite alright, though could be better. I wouldn’t want 185 mm ground clearance as it would definitely mess up the handling on roundabouts (only slightly maybe – but being a BHPian it matters) – which I really enjoy. About 175 mm ground clearance would be fine. With my 185/70 R14 tyres, the ground clearance is about 3 mm less than standard, which was 171 mm for Punto’s diesel variant manufactured before 2012.

I haven’t scraped any speed-breaker, considering there is only myself in the car or that at the most another passenger. I would like to mention that I drive on fairly good roads and haven’t encountered a bad speed-breaker, bump or pothole that has hit the metal sump guard at the front (except once*), which essentially is the lowest point of the car. Though the mud-flaps do scrape sometimes.

*While parking I hit a low but raised concrete foundation block or something. The resulting grating sound caught the attention of even the passers-by. I tentatively got gown and had a peek – the sump guard has a raised (about 2 cm) bordering edge that bore the brunt and was slightly warped, but the metal plate itself was fine. Think will get it painted during service to stop the rusting of the exposed metal sections.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-dsc03980.jpg

• The fog lamp (only at the rear in the Active variant) can be turned on only with the headlights (low or high beam), not with the parking-lights. I would like to be able to turn the fog lamp by just turning on the park-light rather than turning on the headlight also.

• Door pockets could have been bigger, as the ones in the front can accommodate only 500 ml water bottles and rear ones are only cosmetic. I have to keep two 500 ml bottles – one in each door and one 1 litre bottle in the boot, considering the hot conditions in our country and scarcity of water – found it useful when a colleague got a tyre puncture and helped her out in the process got my hands dirty with no place to wash – thank god I had enough water & waste cloth and didn’t end up soiling the steering & interiors.
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Old 6th March 2013, 20:17   #37
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Great update, loved the meticulous reporting on your Punto experience. For the naysayers out there, you have to own it to believe it!

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Originally Posted by jessie007 View Post
9500 kms update
The ground clearance on the other hand is quite alright, though could be better. I wouldn’t want 185 mm ground clearance as it would definitely mess up the handling on roundabouts (only slightly maybe – but being a BHPian it matters) – which I really enjoy. About 175 mm ground clearance would be fine. With my 185/70 R14 tyres, the ground clearance is about 3 mm less than standard, which was 171 mm for Punto’s diesel variant manufactured before 2012.

I haven’t scraped any speed-breaker, considering there is only myself in the car or that at the most another passenger. I would like to mention that I drive on fairly good roads and haven’t encountered a bad speed-breaker, bump or pothole that has hit the metal sump guard at the front (except once*), which essentially is the lowest point of the car. Though the mud-flaps do scrape sometimes.
I have myself a 2012 Feb GP, haven't driven the earlier version. I have heard similar feedback from many owners that driving dynamics were greatly altered with the increased GC. Would love to drive the old version and see the difference. But it remains to be seen if the other refinements brought out by the 2012 ver. would be missed in the old one, well you can't have everything
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Old 7th March 2013, 12:10   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PremjitS View Post
Great update, loved the meticulous reporting on your Punto experience. For the naysayers out there, you have to own it to believe it!

I have myself a 2012 Feb GP, haven't driven the earlier version. I have heard similar feedback from many owners that driving dynamics were greatly altered with the increased Ground Clearance. Would love to drive the old version and see the difference. But it remains to be seen if the other refinements brought out by the 2012 ver. would be missed in the old one, well you can't have everything
Thanks. Yes indeed, Punto is the car to own if one enjoys motoring. But naysayers are there for a reason and it is not that much because of the product (considering the clutch slave cylinder issue has been resolved), but a result of policies followed by FIAT as a company. Also lighter and hence more fuel efficient cars (petrol i20 being an exception) are preferred by the general public, which is understandable considering the constantly rising fuel prices. In fact I believe FIAT might have been losing money on the Active variants of the Punto atleast before 2011-12. I had read earlier that the government slapped some fines on FIAT for selling cars (Uno, Palio, etc) below the cost price!

In 2011 there was no hatchback which was fairly spacious (passenger as well as boot space), had a world class diesel engine (75 BHP, 197 kgm torque @ 1750 RPM), in a Euro NCAP 5-star rated car with most probably no compromises made for the Indian market in terms of structural rigidity. Plus even in the Active variant, one got features such as power steering, full HVAC unit, front power windows (with auto down. Driver side even got auto-up), MID (with DTE, Average display, etc), double folding rear seats with full metal protectection, follow-me-home headlights, and a 15000 km / 1 year service interval - no central locking though: one could add central as well as remote locking for about Rs 8000. Not to forget, looks to die for. All this for a car priced at around Rs 5 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi that came to around Rs 5.40 lakhs on-road + Rs 5 k for the premium foxtrot azure colour that I definitely wanted (I remember in VW Polo's pricey base variant, one couldn't even choose the colour - it was earlier available only in either red or white colour )

In response to your post, in hindsight I would prefer higher ground clearance considering the erratic condition of roads in our cities - some good, some average & some outright bad. I stalled my car during heavy rains and maybe higher ground clearance would have helped. Considering water-logging is a problem in Delhi (which receives less rainfall as compared to coastal cities), a car with higher ground clearance makes sense (lest it is considered a SUV and one has to pay a higher excise, like the petrol version of SX4 )

I currently have to traverse mostly good roads, so am able to enjoy the car specially at round-abouts (in the morning with less traffic), but don't think the change in ground clearance from 171 mm to 185 mm would have a very perceptible affect on handling, unless one is into racing, go-carting or track-days.

n the 2012 model, I like the smaller turning circle & am alright with the higher ground clearance. Post 2012 the Punto is atleast a good city car - earlier it was neither a good city car due to the above mentioned reasons, nor a relaxed highway cruiser due to its short gearing and resultant high RPM at speeds over 100 kph. But don't like the fact that the price has now been increased for the base Active variant with the addition of a music system. One might not necessarily prefer this system as it doesn't have a USB or bluetooth connectivity, which I managed to get with a decent after market system costing just Rs 12,000 (with speakers).

Premjit, I believe you have the Dynamic variant which makes sense now, as it has a host of features: ABS, height adjustable driver's seat & front seatbelts, 60:40 split seats, electrically adjustable ORVMs, desmodronic foldable key & keyless entry, rear wash/wipe & defogger, front fog lamps, etc. Before 2012 the dynamic variant was neither here nor there with only central locking (not even remote locking) & rear power windows as the main additional features offered versus the Active variant (one could do without the other cosmetic features). Totally perplexing move by FIAT.

On another note, I am currently watching a series called 'Scam City' on National Geographic channel. In the episodes that show the cities of Rome, Barcelona & Rio - guess which car can be seen in the background on the streets/roads? There was even a Punto used by the Polizia in Rome. Talk about a world class car.
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Old 5th May 2013, 17:19   #39
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2nd year / 30k kms service update

Recently got the car’s 2nd year / 30k kms service done. Although the car has not even done 11k kms but all the oils were changed as stipulated in the user manual – since the life of all oils is supposedly 2 years / 60k kms. Was waiting for a service centre to open close to my house and finally one opened in Okhla phase III in Apr’13 (It is actually a sales and service centre). I got my car serviced exactly one year after the last service – it was a bit critical as extended warranty could be refused if it was serviced later. But had no choice as there was no service centre easily approachable- as mentioned earlier in my thread – didn’t want to venture to Gurgaon, Noida or any far away place.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-04052013908.jpg

Enquired one month in advance but was able to get time only one day before I actually got the car serviced. Booked the service one day before and it was all O.K. , not that there are only FIAT card – good riddance from the crowded Tata service centres. On reaching there was one other car and the service advisor was attending to that customer – I had to wait about 10 minutes (though was atleast offered water) before someone finally approached – giving them the benefit of doubt as the centre is recently opened, but they need to gear up fast to handle more vehicles – not that FIAT cars are selling like hot cakes, but with limited service centres, more cars are likely to be there at each centre.

The service advisor asked the usual details – checked the free service coupon (yes free service even after 2 yrs / 30k kms – other manufacturers need to take a hint). Liked the fact that the correct kilometers and fuel were noted (Tata service centres add on a fuel kilometers to the actual odometer reading on pretext of test drive). No major complaints as such, but I wanted the following to be done in addition to regular service:

1) Get the broken reverse light replaced – they said will check, but as expected the part was not available at the authorized service centre and it is not an internal or hardly replaced part – lights, ORVMs, bumpers and wipers should be readily available atleast. Very bad FIAT!

2) Get the passenger side wiper changed – was done free of cost for some reason!

3) The front passenger seat squeaked sometimes over bad roads – they said it is done but needs to be checked over bad roads

4) Wanted to get the sump guard painted – but the SA said it is a thick metal sheet, no need to get painted. But what about the rust eh!? They as it is didn’t have any body shop, so the dissuasion.

5) Wanted the brakes to be cleaned, as I feel a slight shudder sometimes under hard braking – though ‘brake pads clean’ are indeed a mandate for this service.

Must mention that I asked them if someone could drop me to the nearest Metro station, and they had a driver available, who dropped me in my own car. They offer car pick-up and drop service also - but I don't like the idea of giving my pride and joy to someone else who might end up driving it recklessly.

Rest it was regular service. Scanned copy of the bill is mentioned below.
When I came to pick up my car it was all washed, vacummed and shined in time. But on seeing the bill I saw the A/C pollen filter mesh changed – I had to tell them that the Active variant didn’t cme with a pollen filter (I believe it is only in the Emotion which has Automatic Climate Control). No one was sure about it and it was not in the list of the jobs actually done as per their internal job card – so it was deleted from the bill.

But on checking the job card, the service advisor realized that even the coolant hadn’t been changed – not good FIAT! But they were able to trace the issue and this is commendable (for lack of a better word) as otherwise one wouldn’t actually know if all the oils are changed or not. It took another 15 minutes to get the coolant changed, asked the mechanic if he had tightened all the pipes/screws and he concurred. Anyways did my usual check to see if all the caps/lids were properly closed (a habit from Tata service centre when after one service the lid of the coolant bottle was left open and I saw it accidently when I opened the bonnet after getting the car back from the service centre).

Fairly happy with the overall service and the bill was also within expected limits – as I was expecting around Rs 8k. Though it is not clear from the bill, whether they have replaced all oils or just topped up some – on asking they said all were changed only – the ‘…. Top to dummy’ line is misleading in case of brake fluid.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-punto-30k24m-service.jpg

Am attaching a few photos also of the new centre. Nice to see a couple of classic/vintage FIATs at the showroom – the Topolino was especially interesting and unexpected. The centre was previously a Volvo showroom / service centre and lot of covered Volvos could be seen – most looked like XC60.

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-04052013906.jpg

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-04052013907.jpg

Last edited by jessie007 : 5th May 2013 at 17:41. Reason: P.S.
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Old 15th March 2014, 17:47   #40
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Incident Update (Jun’13)

It has been quite a long time since the incident but have been occupied with family and a job change. One fine morning after reaching office, I was about to park and hear a terrible grinding noise. Speed must be around 20 kmph. I get down and see that the small grill in the lower portion of the bumper has come off. Thought something must have entangled with it.

Later I realised, the real culprit was a jagged metal pipe, protruding vertically about 2-3 inches from the ground. It seems that there was some structure at the parking earlier which had been cut crudely and the grouted stumps of the steel pipes remained. This jagged pipe was nothing new to me, as I was parking in the same area for almost a year now. I was always careful, not to take my tyres over the pipe because of its jagged cut and resultant sharpish edges. That is why I parked with the pipe beneath the car between the tyres.

On closer inspection underneath the car I saw that the protection plate was badly mangled and there was some oil dripping slowly. Immediately I realised the gravity of the situation and started analysing whether the oil sump was damaged.

Coming to why this happened now and not earlier when I had parked hundreds of times, I only realised later. A few days earlier I had gone someplace and I hit a stump of a small tree while parking. That time the protection plate might have got slightly bent and thus become the lowest point on the car. It is this bent area that go hooked onto the steel pipe and tore the protection plate badly.

Anyhow I immediately took the car to the service station and then the saga began. Following is the timeline of the incident:

10 Jun – Monday
Incident at around 1330 hrs – damage and oil drip noticed
Car dropped at workshop at 1500 hrs with SA.

11 Jun - Tuesday
Car transferred from FIAT Kashyap to Hyundai Kashyap where the body shop is located. No inspection possible as all lifts/ramps occupied. Car left. I file for insurance claim as according to the service advisor the radiator and condenser will have to be changed

12 Jun - Wednesday
Bajaj Allianz surveyor visits around 10:30 a.m. He goes to body shop but unable to find papers. Returns at 1600 hrs to survey again. Wants estimate which Kashyap FIAT hasn’t given yet. I need to fill claim form and give copy of driving license.

13 Jun - Thursday
I visit Kashyap Hyundai take claim form and head to Kashyap FIAT and fill claim form and submit copy of driving license and another address proof.

14Jun - Friday
Insurance surveyor visits in the afternoon and collects documents. Says only cross member and protection plate needs to be changed with a maximum expense of around INR 3-4000, so I can decide whether to claim or not for such a small amount and loose on NCB.

15Jun - Saturday
Co-ordination issues – now body shop manager returns from holiday and speaks again to insurance person, who’ll now visit on Monday.

16Jun - Sunday

17Jun - Monday
I speak with body shop manager and check that there is minor damage to holding bracket of radiator and it doesn’t need to be replaced. The oil leakage was from a power steering pipe. I breathed a sigh of relief that the oil sump wasn’t damaged. I authorise to start work without claiming insurance.

18Jun - Tuesday
Car at Kashyap FIAT, but SA says to check with Kashyap Hyundai. Hyundai body shop manager says will straighten metal members when vehicle received from FIAT. Work progress not known.

After numerous follow up and a couple of more visits, the car is finally handed over to me at the workshop on 21 Jun’14 – a good 11 days after the incident. I was lucky that by chance my relative who had gone abroad had parked their old Santro at our house and I had it at my disposal for that period. But the mis-communication and delay in diagnosing damage and procuring parts is inexcusable on part of FIAT.

Net expenses for the incident related damage came to around Rs 7000 odd and I got two other things changed – the long flappy rubber mud guards (as a couple were damaged) with short plastic ones and a reverse light cluster that was damaged in 2013 December, but wasn’t in stock during last service. Scanned copy of invoice is given below. All in all an avoidable incident, if I had inspected the under-carriage when it had hot the tree stump earlier.

Thankfully there was no damage to the suspension and the car tracked straight. Overall I have thankful no major damage was done. After a few day I realize that some oil is slowly dropping underneath the park when parked from evening till morning. I checked and saw that the power steering oil was slightly less. This necessitated another trip to the workshop. The diagnosis was that the power steering pipe from the reservoir in the upper area of the engine bay was damaged. This was odd, since the damage was in the under-carriage.

On analysing it was found that during the repair, the jubilee clip on the pipe was tightened too much and that resulted in cutting the pipe. As expected that pipe was not in stock. The fluid reservoir was topped up, since the leakage was slow and I could drive the vehicle. It took about 2 weeks to procure the part and in the interim I had to make another visit to get the oil topped-up. I must say, parts procurement is very slow on part of the dealer and most irritating is that parts susceptible to damage (like the reverse light cluster) are also not in stock. This is totally not acceptable.

Thankfully after the power steering pipe was changed, the car has been running fine and almost 9 months have passed since the incident.
Attached Thumbnails
Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-undercarriagedamageinvoicepage001.jpg  

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-11062013913.jpg  

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-11062013916.jpg  

Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet  Active-11062013912.jpg  

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Old 19th March 2014, 11:39   #41
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Just wanted an opinion, as my insurance policy is due for renewal in May. The normal premium with an IDV of around 3.70 lakhs comes to approx. Rs. 7000. But wanted to opt for Bajaj Allianz's Drive Assurance (Zero Depreciation) policy which is for almost Rs 11,000. I wanted to take Drive Assurance because I had stalled my car in a flooded road once (was lucky as no damage was done, as I didn't start the car while submerged in water). Damage due to unintentional water inundation is covered under Drive Assurance. Plus one gets zero depreciation, if a claim is made (haven't made a claim so far). I believe there are a few other benefits like a free tow, etc. Please advise whether the extra Rs 4000 or so is worth it.
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Old 21st March 2014, 15:09   #42
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Default Re: Le Bleu is here! - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet Active

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessie007 View Post
Just wanted an opinion, as my insurance policy is due for renewal in May. The normal premium with an IDV of around 3.70 lakhs comes to approx. Rs. 7000. But wanted to opt for Bajaj Allianz's Drive Assurance (Zero Depreciation) policy which is for almost Rs 11,000.
I got my zero dep for Rs 12640 (IDV 5.10L) from Oriental Insurance.

You may want to check with them or ask for a better quote from Bajaj

And yes would recommend zero dep from complete peace of mind.
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