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Old 12th June 2011, 12:33   #1
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Thumbs up The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Part I : The background
Let me start this long post by saying, I’m normally very rational when it comes to purchasing anything. I always look for the practical aspect of a product more than the emotional appeal it may have. But all this changed, on that one day :

I should explain. It was about a year back that I decided I should have my own car, especially since my family sold off the old 2003 Indica we had before everyone moved abroad, leaving me "car less" in India. So I had started taking test drives since last year itself. However, there was always a voice in the corner of my head which was convinced I was going to go for the Swift VDI, eyes closed. Why ? I had driven that car (my fiancé’s) extensively across highways and for long periods of time and was simply in love with it. It always gave me the confidence to push, take corners hard, was real fun in the city too. I loved the way the turbo (with all its lag) kicked in a few seconds after you floored the accelerator(always to my co-drivers irritation), and it also had a superb seating position. Plus it had superb fuel efficiency with minimum niggles. Plus it was a Maruti. What else does a car buyer need ? This wasn’t going to be a hard decision. At all.

My requirements for a car were :
1) Had to be a diesel : Having used an Indica for years, I realized that its much more economical having a diesel, no matter what I read otherwise. Plus the pain of filling up lesser and lesser amount of petrol each time I entered the pump is too much for me. I'd rather pay the extra money for the diesel and get it out of the way ! I also realized a simple fact : Even if my usage at the moment may not justify buying a diesel, after buying a car I knew my usage would increase, so calculating for diesel vs Petrol didnt make sense to me.

2) Used for bumper to bumper traffic as well as frequent highway runs : I live and work in Pune, 'nuff said. I also do a lot of highway runs on weekends so usage was going to be high probably approx 1500 kms on a "lean month" and well, close to 2000-2500 km in other months.

3) It most probably had to be the 1.3 multijet : Having seen at close quarters how well the Swift runs even after 2 years, I thought this had to be the diesel heart I should also have.

4) Buying for the long term : I'm probably keeping the car for 3,5 or even 7 years, so in my decision resale wasnt going to play as big a part.

Circa May 2011. My typical attitude of procrastination meant I sat on my backside about this decision for the next 3 months. Suddenly I realize its going to start pouring again, and having experienced the last rains in Kochi (well its more like a tap opening up in the sky there in the monsoons) and getting wet almost every day, I thought I had to have a car for my daily commute to office(in peak traffic btw) and highway drives from Pune before the monsoons or atleast within one month of it. I also knew the new Swift launch was around the corner, or maybe its been hiding behind it for almost a year now !

Having already tested the i10, i20, Wagon R ABS, Polo, and having done tons of research on every car in the 4-6 lakh range (mostly courtesy Team BHP) I walked into the Maruti showroom and told the SA “I want to book a Swift VDI. With ABS” . Pat comes the reply “Sir, the Swift has a 6 month waiting period now.” “What about the new version ? Isnt that supposed to be launched a long time back ? “ SA : “Well we cant say for sure, sir, but if you do book now, you’ll probably get delivery of the new Swift, but it will take 5-6 months”

Heartbroken. 6 months for a car and with no clarity on which one I’d get ? I was expecting roughly 3 months, but this ? I thought the days of waiting for years in line for a car were behind us when Manmohan and Narshima Rao decided to end the license raj in 1991. Looks like I was wrong. There is no way I’m waiting for 6 months for a car, in 2011. No ‘kin way. Even if it may be the best in class car.

So its time to start all over again. I ask for a test drive of the Ritz, which I know is almost the same car with a few massive design differences. I never ever liked the “rearended Swift” looks of the Ritz, but was resigned to fate now. So I took the quote and test drive of the Ritz and walked out of the showroom (My Car, Pune), ready for that compromising decision. So what if you don’t like the rear ? It feels the same doesn’t it ? Plus its a Maruti. There was another option for me : The Indica Vista Quadrajet. I think its an extremely practical car, and with the price tag it for the top end being so attractive, for me it was almost a done deal if not for the Swift. But the fiancé never liked it – “its a taxi” . And my mother was always “Why do you want another Indica ?” After a while I gave up trying to explain that this is a different Indica (‘so what, its still named Indica so it MUST be the same’) and stopped considering it after all the facepalms I had to give myself trying to explain this car to others. Tata Motors, why, WHY couldn’t you atleast rename the car ?

Then just when I was ready to go back home, my fiancé suggested that we visit the Fiat showroom. I wasn’t at all convinced I was going for a Punto. I mean its a Fiat. Did you even read the stories of high maintenance and parts falling off of that car ? What about the after sales service , it will never be a match for Maruti. And the resale ? Baah, I’d have to sell that car for about Rs 50 considering all the problems I am going to face.
So I walk into Pandit, wholly unconvinced about why I’m there in the first place. Then I see her. Standing there in all its glory. A beautiful red Fiat Punto Emotion pack. Its taken me completely by surprise. The first words that I say are, “wow”. I sit inside the car and its a completely mind altering experience. I was used to the light doors, the cheap single tone dashboards, dull paint shades, small steering wheels, empty consoles, boring commuter designs of all the cars (with the exception of the Polo / i20) I’d driven or tested in the past year. But this was something else. It was love at first sight.

I ask for a test drive, and immediately notice that the car is sluggish (drove to the showroom in a Swift), the brakes are so sensitive that a touch would make everyone’s head jerk forward like it was a Nirvana concert. (Later I discovered my car behaved pretty normally under slow speed braking, and the TD vehicles brakes were perhaps too sensitive for my liking). And the music system, what can I say. I am a true audiophile and music for me is very important. My brother used up the whole boot space of the Indica(much to dad’s dismay) with a massive subwoofer and 4 way speakers + an amplifier + I don’t know what else, so I was used to a certain quality of sound aka mindblowing. Then I heard what sounded like my laptop with torn speakers inside the FIAT ! However the car went over rough patches really well, I had never been in a hatch that simply glided over potholes like this one. It also seemed planted to the ground and the steering feedback at higher speeds was simply the best I’d ever experienced in a small car, better than even the Swift. Impressed, I took the quote, negotiated about the discounts and it seemed like a very good deal to me inspite of all the issues.

Part II : Time for a decision
A week passed and through the week there was a massive war in my mind between the Ritz VDI ABS and the FIAT Punto Emotion 1.3. I was wholly preoccupied with this through my day, trolling on team bhp as much as I could looking through each owner’s review on the two cars. The two cars have completely different advantages, a mutually exclusive set IMO.
On the one hand there was :

Ritz VDI ABS: (+)“Its a swift with a different body”, (+)Good acceleration, (+)probably more drivable in the city, (+)better mileage, (+)Maruti A.S.S., (+)resale, (-)looks horrible (in my opinion), (-)slightly bumpy ride compared to the Punto

Then there was :

Punto Emotion/Dynamic: (+)Great styling, (+)sturdy build, (+)superb on bad roads and highways, (-)Fiat’s iffy A.S.S, (-)the really horrible music system in the Emotion, (-)20k difference in the dynamic and 60k on the Emotion.

On doing an analysis I realized that the Ritz had more positives than the Punto. The fact that there was no way to replace the music system on the Emotion made things simpler (plus the fact that the music system less Dynamic had no ABS). So, there I was completely ready to pay the booking for the Ritz on that fateful Saturday morning. Then, just as I was getting ready, I got a call from the FIAT SA, requesting me to come to the showroom once more (perhaps he knew instinctively that I loved the car). Immediately called up my brother and spoke to him for a long time about my dilemma. He was all for the Punto. After all, I really shouldn’t be considering resale at all if I plan to keep the car for 5-6 years (which I do). Also, if I am planning on putting a good set of rims on a car, it would definitely look better on a Punto than a Ritz. So, I finally settled for the Punto Dynamic : There wasn’t too much of a price difference, and I could atleast put my own choice of music system in the car. In a matter of half an hour, my decision had changed from a Ritz VDI ABS to a Fiat Punto Dynamic.

Part III : Show me the money !
I walk into the showroom, completely confident about my booking : Its going to be a Punto Dynamic in black, no questions asked. Then I see her again. The red Punto Emotion pack standing inside the showroom with all her pride. I’m drawn to it again (infact even after booking the car I kept going to that car to check it out, again and again). I sit inside and try the music system, just for the heck of it. ‘The sound is not really as bad as it was before !’. Hmm, it was pretty decent, I just realized that their TD vehicle’s audio was completely screwed up and it wasn’t half as bad on the production vehicle. Okay this is no audiophile’s dream but it does have “bearable” quality. I’m back in another soup. I definitely wanted the ABS, plus there were small things like the rear wiper and electric ORVMs which seemed like a good convenience to have. Decision changed again. Now its going to be the Fiat Punto Emotion in hip hop black ! Signed the cheque for the booking amount, checked out the red Fiat parked in the showroom once more, and left the showroom hoping I’d made the right decision.

A few days later, did the detailed PDI (took a big excel printout from Team bhp which shocked the guys at the stockyard ) found everything good and finished the payment formalities. Was expecting delivery on Sunday the 12th of June, and instead got it on Friday the 10th itself (good stuff from Pandit that: was a pleasant surprise for me to get the car earlier than expected)


My experience with Pandit Auto :
I would rate my buying experience with Pandit as 8/10. The SA was very professional and was patient in answering all the hundreds of queries I shot off to him. The only thing I did not like was the fact that the SA tried to insist, on the 31st of May to finish the payment formalities before I inspect the car (probably due to month end pressures). I was firm but polite that I would finish the entire payment the very next day after I did a PDI. Apart from this he was very professional, and always kept his word on every date and appointment that he promised me. A real refreshing experience. (My brother had a bad experience with Ujjwal Motors, Nasik when we got the Indica)

Enough of small talk. Now for some pictures. Gave the car a thorough wash on the second day after getting delivery (it became soiled on the first day due to the incessant rains in Pune) and took out some pics :

The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_2071.jpg
The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_207222.jpg
The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_2076.jpg
The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_2082.jpg
The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_2088.jpg
The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_2077.jpg
Plastic strip is not fitted well near the windshield. Also, its already starting to fade ! Help !
The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !-img_2078.jpg


A few notes :
-->The car really gobbles up bad roads. I drive a lot in the Wakad-Hinjewadi “excuse of a” road, and the difference in the way a Swift takes these potholes and the Punto is massive. The damping on the suspension is simply beautiful. There is a really rough patch of road just near my place : At 20 kmph inside the Swift, I am bouncing all over the place like a crazy ball. Inside the Punto, its a completely different story : Its very mature, and there is nearly no “bounce” inside the car at all at the same speed.

--> For those who have been used to driving cars like the Swift (like me) or other cars with low clutches, the high clutch position of the Fiat is a bit of a bother for the first couple of days. I see that sometimes my left foot is in the air trying not to engage the clutch which is discomforting. But on the flip side, the dead pedal (something I have never used) is a real convenience especially on empty stretches of road.

-->The acceleration in the first and second gear are very different to the Swift and Ritz. It feels really sluggish sometimes, and for me I get a bit confused between whether I should be in second or third in the Punto at low speeds. Will take some getting used to.

--> The highway manners of this baby are amazing, even when I compare directly with the superb Swift. It stays planted on the ground and there is a feeling of real safety inside the car. At high speeds you don’t feel a lack of confidence at all. And this is on my 2nd day driving the car.

-->The car is surprisingly refined at higher gears. Hardly any sound from the engine. However I haven’t gone past 85 kmph keeping the run-in period in mind.
-->The music system, well its a real pain in the backside. Who uses MP3 cds now days ? I tried searching for blank CDs in the market but to no avail. FIAT : If you are going to give your Rs 6 Lakh plus buyers a music system either a) Make it really good, installing some component speakers atleast b)Let the system be something that can be replaced by the audiophiles among us without too much of work or c) Dont give us a substandard product at all. This really gets my goat, them not leaving an option for the buyer ‘take it or leave it’.

-->Maybe its just me, but I think Maruti loses a lot of customers because of its waiting period for the Swift. Do you think everyone has the patience to wait for 6 months for a small car ? I hope these guys pull up their socks before the likes of Toyota or Volkswagen eat them up.

-->Plastic quality I can already see is not really top notch. The glove box sometimes requires a little bit extra effort to open up, and there is a slight misalignment in the right side plastic below the wiper already (probably a bad fitting job here).

--> Bad wheelcaps and 165s for stock tyres which are poor. There is more cabin noise than the TD car which was an Emotion pack with standard 195s.

This is all I can say from the first 3 days of owning the car : its done about 250 km now. Will update you guys with more later (or probably sooner).

Team BHP Rocks !

PS : The On Road price for the car after discounts was Rs 6,39,437. Got Mudflaps and Floor mats complimentary.
Next in line :Need to install some good seat covers + sunfilm

Last edited by GTO : 13th June 2011 at 13:20. Reason: Strictly no more than 2 smileys per post please
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Old 12th June 2011, 21:40   #2
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Note from Support: Thread moved from Assembly to Test drives and Ownership reviews section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 12th June 2011, 22:23   #3
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

let me be the first one to congratulate you. Of late I have been travelling in the back seat of punto and I myself amazed by the speed masking of the car as well as high speed composure, The car i am travelling now a days is 14k old and i fell that there is definitely lower NVH then the car I TDed when it was launched, Has fiat done something for NVH? I might plunge myself in the face lifted Punto rumored to be around
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Old 12th June 2011, 23:08   #4
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congratulations Puntomania for you Fiat Punto.

Nice detailed write up and loads of snaps, what else is required for a proper ownership report.

Please do share some interior pictures as well.

Wishing you several years of happy and safe driving.
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Old 12th June 2011, 23:17   #5
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

@Puntomania, congrats on the new purchase.

My colleague is currently going through the same purchase dilemna as you did. He chose the Ritz because the Swift had unreasonable waiting periods. And when he wanted ABS on the Ritz-VDi, the waiting periods were again in months. Finally he TDs the Punto and is closing in on the EmotionPack - a non-tbhpian, but he knows that ABS and airbags are crucial. He wanted my opinion and I asked him to go ahead - I think we need to promote other options if at all as an attempt to break the MSIL hegemony of months-long waiting lists. Just made it clear to him that service would be an issue - he can bear it till warranty and then maybe shift to IgniteGarage. And the low resale does not matter because he plans to keep the car for years. The tough part for him was convincing his wife's family who have been Maruti loyalists for years.
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Old 12th June 2011, 23:52   #6
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congrats on you sexy Punto ! Just curious, cant we change the OEM HU of Punto with something else? And how about speakers?

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring.
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Old 13th June 2011, 00:35   #7
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congratulations on the new car bro. Looks gorgeous in black, would love to see some more pictures of her.
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Old 13th June 2011, 02:17   #8
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

my hearty congratulations on your new purchase bro. the initial review is well written and the details are really well covered.

would love to see more pictures of your beloved beauty and would like to know if u are considering any after market modifications for the same.

i somehow hate to see a car stuck with its wheel caps on :P

regards
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Old 13th June 2011, 10:26   #9
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congrats on the Punto. Well done on a detailed documentation of the buying process.

Enjoy many more happy miles with the Punto MJD.
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Old 13th June 2011, 10:29   #10
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Hey Puntomania,

Congratulations on the Black Punto. The car looks awesome as ever.

Good to know that you did not face much difficulties in dealing with Pandit Auto. Those guys are not known to extend any customer service to write home about.

Would be keeping an eye on your thread as I too am about to get Punto-ed.
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Old 13th June 2011, 11:00   #11
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congrats on the Punto. Really enjoyed reading the story. Putno looks amazing in black.
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Old 13th June 2011, 11:56   #12
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Thank you all for the good wishes ! I'm sure they will help. I will post more pictures when I get something done on the car (planning on getting sunfilm + seat covers). The rains are making it a real pain to maintain the shine. Gets soiled every day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drsnt View Post
let me be the first one to congratulate you. Of late I have been travelling in the back seat of punto and I myself amazed by the speed masking of the car as well as high speed composure, The car i am travelling now a days is 14k old and i fell that there is definitely lower NVH then the car I TDed when it was launched, Has fiat done something for NVH? I might plunge myself in the face lifted Punto rumored to be around
Hi drsnt,
I havent asked the SA about NVH, but from personal experience I can say that the NVH levels especially in 3rd,4th and 5th gears are very good in comparison to other cars in this segment. The TD Punto I drove had done about 22k kilometers and it did seem to have a few rattles here and there, but not much. I'll specifically monitor the NVH and get back to you about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
@Puntomania, congrats on the new purchase.

My colleague is currently going through the same purchase dilemna as you did. He chose the Ritz because the Swift had unreasonable waiting periods. And when he wanted ABS on the Ritz-VDi, the waiting periods were again in months. Finally he TDs the Punto and is closing in on the EmotionPack - a non-tbhpian, but he knows that ABS and airbags are crucial. He wanted my opinion and I asked him to go ahead - I think we need to promote other options if at all as an attempt to break the MSIL hegemony of months-long waiting lists. Just made it clear to him that service would be an issue - he can bear it till warranty and then maybe shift to IgniteGarage. And the low resale does not matter because he plans to keep the car for years. The tough part for him was convincing his wife's family who have been Maruti loyalists for years.
I agree with this post completely. Its a real tough decision to choose another car if your mind is set to a Maruti. However, I feel things are definitely changing in the Indian car market : Cars are getting better in terms of quality, ownership costs of most manufacturers are going down, and companies like Fiat which have a bad rep are trying their best to mend their image atleast at the company level. Lets hope I'm right about this !

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Congrats on you sexy Punto ! Just curious, cant we change the OEM HU of Punto with something else? And how about speakers?

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring.
Well I did ask this to the SA (about whether I can change the factory fitted HU) he seemed to be very firm about it - We cant change it because its integrated into the dashboard panel - plus I think they've sealed off the Aux port as well . I'm guessing aftermarket additions can be done, but then I dont know how well a new HU will fit into the dash. If someone has done it, please please let me know !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinesh_Malhotra View Post
would love to see more pictures of your beloved beauty and would like to know if u are considering any after market modifications for the same.

i somehow hate to see a car stuck with its wheel caps on :P

regards
Hi Dinesh,
I too hate these wheelcaps, I'm looking to upgrade to alloys, but at the moment I am severly short of Vit M . I want to upgrade my tyres as well as rims together, so will probably wait a few months for this. Its going to be black rims for sure !

At the moment I need to fit a good sunfilm and get some seat covers, before anything else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SankalpDesai View Post
Good to know that you did not face much difficulties in dealing with Pandit Auto. Those guys are not known to extend any customer service to write home about.

Would be keeping an eye on your thread as I too am about to get Punto-ed.
Hi Sankalp,
As I said, the experience was very professional. I also took a first hand opinion of a Punto owner I know (actually he works in Tata motors) and he was pretty happy with his car and service. Service and spares shouldnt be as much an issue in Pune with the factory being located nearby.
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Old 13th June 2011, 12:28   #13
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congrats on your new Punto. Looks amazing in black. The Italian beauty does make you fall in love and only the truly adventurous will take the plunge. Be ready to spend some time with her (making your fiancee jealous). I am sure you will enjoy driving her around especially on the highway. What I have realized is that unfortunately Fiat has given the Italian beauties with a weaker heart which do not match her spirits. So better to drive in a relaxed manner to extract the best behaviour else you would be disappointed.

About the music system, I understand from posts that it's issue with the speakers and not HU (though for my untrained ears even the stock music system is fine). So if you change the speakers it would get more bearable.

Pandit is a decent dealer. Be sure to make friends with Ranjit Oak (GM service) and Rahul Jadhav (service advisor). Also get on to Team Fiat as it would get you in the Fiat owners community which is pretty strong in Pune and Mumbai

Ciao
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Old 13th June 2011, 13:22   #14
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Smile Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Hi Puntomania,

Congratulations on your black stallion. Punto looks simply droolicious in the black colour.

Good to know that the buy went off smoothly without any hiccups. Happy mile crunching and drive safely.

Please do post some pics of the interiors too. Any mods planned?
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Old 13th June 2011, 14:51   #15
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Default Re: The long story of my Hip Hop Black Grande Punto Emotion 1.3 MJD !

Congrats on the car. Not everyday do you find people walking out of a Maruti showroom and into a Fiat one. Its usually the other way around ! I'm sure you will enjoy the car.

About the music system part, go through
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sound-...-headunit.html and
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sound-...-ice-fied.html.
This should give you some direction on how to proceed.

Last edited by fiat_tarun : 13th June 2011 at 14:59.
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