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Old 18th March 2012, 22:57   #1
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Default My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

I was a satisfied owner of my 2005 Opel Corsa.
It’s been over 6 years & time for a change. Yes, (with my budget) it is a change, not an upgrade.

Selection Process & Decision

With the number of products to choose from, deciding on the best fit is becoming more & more difficult, especially for me where I wanted a buy in from my family (wife) who will be the second user apart from me.

I tried to simplify it for myself:
Budget was known.
Listed down the requirements.
Looked at the available options.
Shortlist most suitable fitting the bill.
And finally test drive to arrive at final choice.

Requirements
Mine – Safety kit (Airbags, ABS), ride quality, handling, looks & VFM.
Wife’s - Decent space, back seat comfort.
My 11 year old Son’s only requirement – It should have alloy wheels.

Petrol or diesel was not really the criteria with my usage just at breakeven point of around 1200-1300 Kms a month. Yes, I was quite impressed with smooth & happy revving MultiJet of my friend’s Swift VDI.

Options looked at
With my budget of 6 to 7 lacs, sedans were ruled out (as compromising on safety aspect was ruled out). Hence decided (hard one) to look at only B2 premium hatchbacks.
Initially shortlisted Jazz, Polo, Fabia, Punto, i20, Micra, Figo & Swift. Oh no!! There are eight options to choose from. This will be a complex affair & I thought test driving all these will itself be a project & will take at least 3-4 weeks. (I have only Sundays to spare).
So, thought not to test all these options. A 10-15 minutes test drive will not help, rather will confuse me further.

And here comes T-BHP to my rescue.
Thoroughly went through official & ownership reviews of all eight and finally shortlisted these two.

Honda Jazz. – This is a car which I like for its well thought out and clever design inside out & the quality assurance it comes with.

I particularly like:
  • Exterior design which may not be the most beautiful but is definitely the smartest & gives a premium feel.
  • Interior space & airy cabin.
  • Interior plastic quality and fit & finish.
  • And finally a HONDA at a reduced price.
The only downside I felt were comparatively higher running, maintenance cost & 5K kms service interval meaning more visit to A.S.S.

Grande Punto. – I always admired this beauty ever since it was launched in India & while going through the official reviews on T-BHP, I learnt it’s based on Corsa platform. This further strengthened by emotional bias towards Punto. More than me, my wife loves Corsa’s ride, especially the back seat comfort. (Reason of becoming a strong contender).
In addition to ticking all boxes (for my heart), other points I liked:
  • Never aging design (IMO & most will agree it is the most beautiful hatch around).
  • Refined & peppy multijet.
  • Solid built.
  • Excellent ride & handling.
  • VFM for the equipment levels it offers to its price vs competition.
  • Economy of diesel.
The downside here were below par service quality & potential niggling issues.

Why others were ruled out:
Polo: Not a VFM for its price.
Fabia: Not a VFM & inconsistent A.S.S. experience.
I20: Uncomfortable ride & dead steering.
Micra: Interior design not to my liking.
Figo: Exterior design too basic, does not give a premium feel.
Swift: Too many of them around & long/uncertain waiting period. I like old design over the new one, waterfall dashboard style of the new Swift is excellent though.

A brief test drive.

Visited Honda dealership twice but unfortunately test drive was not available on both occasions. SE didn’t call back nor did he turn up at residence with test car as promised.
Probably due to production constraints they were not very keen.

Experience at Honda showroom & relooking at my likings & requirements, Italian beauty was perfectly ticking all the boxes (except the below par service experience which was still showing some weight at the back of my mind).
I was running out of patience, told my wife, ‘forget about the service part, it will improve by the time, we are buying Ponto’. Her answer was in affirmative & we headed for the test drive on coming Sunday.

Experience was as perceived (after going through TBHP reviews), a beauty with solid built, super handling, excellent ride quality & comfortable seats.
Trusting fellow BHPean’s love towards this beauty (in spite of experiencing poor service & niggling issues in some cases), decided to go ahead with my heart & handed over the booking amount same day i.e. on 5th Feb’12.

Dealership experience.

Many varied experiences have been shared here. I would rate mine a good one, neither very impressive nor any thing to complain about.

One thing which impressed me most was fair dealing of the SE/dealer. All relevant information was shared upfront including the offer (without waiting for me to bargain).
SE shared the following upfront.
Car will be ordered only after booking amt is cleared in dealer’s bank.
Delivery time can vary from 2 to 4 weeks depending on production of specified variant & color.
VIN will be shared as soon as car is allotted in plant. VIN likely to be allotted will be ending with ALZ or BLZ. On probing, A, B, LZ were clearly explained.
PDI will be offered before proceeding for registration.

Other information SE shared
Fiat is not parting away from the distribution tie-up with Tata Motors. - (This is proved wrong now)
Tata-Fiat dealers will be coming up with Fiat exclusive 3S dealerships by end of 2012. - (This is correct to some extent)
Fiat’s next launch will be a small car based on Uno platform. - (This is yet to be confirmed, though news about FIAT’s small car plans are floating around)

SE referred me to Team-BHP for ownership feedback.

Delivery
Got a call from SE on 15th Feb that car has arrived & as promised emailed me the VIN no. It was BLZ, Feb’12 manufactured.
Went for the PDI on 16th Feb & found everything in order.
Asked my banker to issue Delivery Order & did RTGS for the balance amount. All this in one day. 17th the dealer started registration process. 18-19th being weekend, actual registration work started on 20th & delivery promised on 22nd Feb.
Delivery process was smooth. Everything was ready at promised time of delivery & just in an hour and a half I was heading to temple for Puja.

The Offer
Ex Showroom – 664737
Logistic – 3500
Extended Warranty - 5000
Value Pack (to avail Free Insurance & RSA) – 4000
Registration & service charges – 52532
Corp Disc – 7000
Dealer Disc – 5000
On road Navi Mumbai – 717769
Freebies – Foot mats & Mud flaps.


Ownership experience.

Looks
Punto undoubtedly is the most admiring car around & it still turns heads.
Though looks are subjective, but I haven’t come across any negative comments when it comes to its exterior design. I simply love its timeless design & think is loved by many non owners

Interiors, space & comfort
Dash design & low seating position feels sporty.
Dashboard feels solid & other plastic quality is above average. I agree here, plastic quality, fit & finish is not the best.
New light grey interior color scheme feel better than the earlier black & dark gray combination.

Front seats are spacious, cushioning is soft & comfortable, though under thigh support could have been better. Space at the back not lavish, is sufficient enough for us. We like the cozy feel it gives at the back. Back seat design & cushioning are excellent. 60:40 split & full flat folding is a boon. I have carried my son’s bicycle for the repairs/maintenance at those far from home specialized shops.

Build quality
Solid build has always been one of the qualities of European manufactures & I can vouch that Punto sits on top amongst all cars available in India in its segment. The doors need quite a power to operate (wife always complaints for the effort she need to put in, especially to open from inside while seated).
Once inside, it insulates you from all the noise outside & gives a safe & secure feeling at any kinds of speeds.

Driver ergonomics
Initially I was not able to get the right drive position (I am 5.6”). This caused some pain in my right arm as well. It took almost a couple of weeks to get the right position:
Seat adjusted to highest position, length to farthest position (from where I can comfortably depress the clutch) and steering to lowest position. Would have liked to keep the seat to a lower position as well but the steering adjustment has a limited range. For me the lowest position should have been the highest one.
Long travel clutch felt very odd initially but got used to it pretty fast & the fact it is very light, I have not felt any discomfort in city stop-go driving.

Gear shifts quality is fine for me except downshift from 5 to 4 which I feel is not self directed & needs special effort. This could be an issue with my car only. Not sure.

Engine
Bit harshness is felt on startup, but have not felt any shake-up on starting as reported by some, especially on VW 3 pots.
Once on the move & windows rolled up, it delivers a smooth & peppy feel. The noise is very much bearable. Doubts of diesel harshness I had are put to rest.

Drivability
City stop go drivability is nothing to write home about. In fact 1st & 2nd gear drivability is so pathetic & annoying even the auto walas tend to cut your lane on starting from traffic lights. It is real lethargic to start from zero. May be I have still to learn how to drive in city with those short gear.

On the highways, again I have two varied experiences.
On an open stretch like Mumbai-Pune expressway, it will let you test your limits. I was able to reach & stay at 140 km/h many times. This is when I actually realized what every Punto owner boasts about its ride, handling & high speed manners. Steering is precise & makes you feel confident; never feel any kind of nervousness in you or from any of the occupants.

Engine noise tends to become a bit harsh at around 2.8-3.K rpms.
Road noise is well contained except the wind noise which is very prominent at 80-90 km/h & above.
OVRM design is said to be the culprit here but I feel it’s something else as well. Drove with both OVRMs fully folded & the noise is still there, though slightly reduced.


The flip side, climbing ghats is not a pleasant experience at all, especially when you need to accelerate from low speed & rpm to overtake.
I was on Khandala ghats behind a truck, speed 12-15 km/h, 2nd gear, 1200-1300 rpm, truck gives way and Punto refuses to move on, zero throttle response. By the time I could down shift and gain acceleration there were a couple of cars behind me honking as if shouting “hey man, why are you not moving”
Again, I think I am still learning to keep it in the right rev bands in different conditions.


Ride Quality
Initially I used to inflate to 32psi as marked on the door & did not feel the ride to be same as experienced during test drive. In one of the threads here someone mentioned to keep pressure at 29psi unless driving with full load. The difference was noticeable. Ride quality improved remarkably.
Ride is superb on all kinds of roads. With raised GC, you drive worry free without bothering of road condition, fear of scratching on any kind of speed breakers, bumps, etc.
It handles all those potholes brilliantly and occupants are kept at ease.

Equipment
Equipment list is far better when compared to competition & price.
Auto down for all four windows & auto up from driver is a boon.
ACC works perfectly to give desired comfort at all kinds of conditions. Initial blower speed & noise is annoying though. ACC temperature can be adjusted up to 0.5 degrees.
Delayed power windows operation & power windows switches staying illuminated for some time after ignition is switched off is very useful.
High/low beam switching is a pull & click function - Feels sophisticated & the lever position stays at same distance from steering wheel which I find is useful.
Exact door open indication is helpful.
USB location inside the glove box I feel is neat. Some have found this place odd though.
Blue & Me is good to take calls only. Voice commands are tricky, especially to dial from phonebook. In all probability it will dial a wrong person. It won’t understand Indian names (in English accent). The solution I found is to speak out the number instead of name.
195/60R15 - No other hatch and not many sedans offers this as stock.
Spare wheel should have been an alloy as well. I guess some of the manufactures offer all 5 alloy wheels.


Niggling issues & first service experience

Fear I had initially comes true.
Door / glass started rattling within one month’s ownership. (ODO: 1300 kms). Rattles come from the door assembly when driven over rough roads.
Decided to live with it till first service.
At around 4400 kms, observed tak-tak noise from front suspension, again, when driven over slightest of rough road.
Immediately took the car to service center next morning. SE obliged by taking the car in without an appointment & suggested to do first service as well to which I promptly agreed.
We took the car for test drive. Tak-tak noise from suspension was immediately acknowledged but it took me another 10-12 minutes drive on various types of rough roads for him to acknowledge door rattling.

SE promised to personally look at both the issues and ensured are resolved completely.

Car was ready by 4:00 pm, an hour prior to promised delivery time.
At delivery took a test drive, door rattles & suspension noise seemed to have gone.
On enquiring the cause, suspension tak-tak was due to lose link-rod which was tightened.
But he did not had a proper answer to the door rattles issue.
They had done some oiling & greasing job around the doors and now after 1500 kms drive (odo: 5900) those rattles seems to be appearing again, though are very mild & can be heard only if driven over rough roads without music & AC. I fear thise will again increase with time.
Some members here have observed same door rattles on 2012 Puntos & would ask them if they have got some permanent fix.

I would rate my 1st service experience as good one.

Overall it’s been a nice drive & like others, the more I get to drive, the more I fall in love with it.

Thanks for reading.

Some Pictures
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by S.MJet : 4th July 2012 at 13:45. Reason: Ownership experience update
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Old 7th July 2012, 17:22   #2
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th August 2012, 21:17   #3
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Guys, bit disheartened not to see any comments from fellow BHPens.
Is it so badly written review or has just skipped every body’s attention. I am sure it’s the later one.

Any ways, a small update.

Front inner door lock lever came loose. In lock position it was ok but in normal position & specially when pulled to open the door, it went completely loose.
Lock spring holding the lever had come out of its position & required replacement. It was not in stock & after 2 weeks wait, SE called to inform the part has arrived, I was out of town & he offered to pick the car get it replaced.
I am surprised to see they have changed door fabric as well to a black one. Not sure why.

Now I have three doors in original grey fabric
My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review-punto-door-fab-o.jpg

And driver door with black fabric
My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review-punto-door-fab-n.jpg
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Old 19th August 2012, 21:31   #4
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Congrats on your Punto Sm jet,
Dont feel disheartened buddy, you have compiled a brilliant review with some good pics, it could be just that your review was pushed down the order.

You are allowed to bump it once after compiling, you could have done that.

Punto is a brilliant car, enjoy it.
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Old 19th August 2012, 21:49   #5
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by S.MJet View Post
Guys, bit disheartened not to see any comments from fellow BHPens.
Please don't be. Here's why it happened - You compiled the review in March (Starting date of the thread is in march), but it went public in july. But, if any BHP'ian queries for new topics in July- this thread would go very low down the order as it was started in March.

Thanks for a brilliant review. I'm a bit short of time now. Hence not giving a detailed reply. However - few quick points.

1. I haven't got a permanent solution for the left door rattle. Solved the right door rattle when damping for ICE was done.

2. Surprised they changed the fabric alone, for one door! I suspect the doorpad has been changed, for some reason. May be you should raise your voice to get the original fabric colour back.
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Old 19th August 2012, 21:50   #6
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Congrats for the Punto, man. It looks awesomely chic in grey.
Wishing you lots of happy miles with the car.
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Old 19th August 2012, 22:09   #7
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Hey, Congrats on the Punto. Brilliant car, this. Enjoy the ride.

BTW, they have replaced the entire door pad, and hence you have got the black fabric inserts, which are part of the pre 2012 models. Our Punto too needed a new LH front door-pad, Fiat shipped the wrong part (with the black fabric insert) and I am still waiting for the new part to arrive.

Get the new part ordered.
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Old 19th August 2012, 22:31   #8
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Nice and crisp review, S.Mjet. I too am a proud owner of a 2012 Grande Punto in Tuscan wine color. It is a wonderful car as accepted by almost everyone who has driven it, and now with Fiat India making very serious attempts to improve their service and sales network, I presume we would be happy owners all along the car's lifetime.
I am really surprised that you had not raised an objection immediately after you saw the changed door fabric color! Doesn't it look very odd aesthetically, having different colors on different door pads?
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Old 20th August 2012, 01:03   #9
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

S.mjet

Congratulations on your Punto. Wishing you and your family as many years of driving pleasure as you choose to keep it.

Very nice pictures and very nicely written.

You will need to get used to the short gearing, and change gears cleanly and fast.
You will get the hang of it.

Though dont beat it at very low speeds or in the first two gears.
It will really come into its own third gear onwards.

Have you been on any long drives yet? Do keep updating the log. Do share your and your wifes driving experience.
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Old 20th August 2012, 07:18   #10
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Congrats S M Jet for owning this Italian beauty !
Nicely written up ownership review.
Pics are just awesome especially the first picture;the picture of the fiat badge
Wishing you a happy and niggle free ownership throughout !
Drive Safe
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Old 20th August 2012, 09:09   #11
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Congratulations on your Punto.
In my opinion it's the best hatch you can buy here India, at the present. Great to drive, feature-packed, and full of style. We almost bought one two years back, but finally went for the Linea since my sister loved it.

I'm puzzled by the mismatched door pads too! Wonder why they changed it at all, in the first place.
Anyway, here's something you could consider: have leather upholstery and door pads installed in your Punto. We had our interiors done in leather by Stanley, and it does make the car a special place to be. Anyway, wishing you many happy miles with your Punto!
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Old 20th August 2012, 10:16   #12
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Congrats on your baby fiat. It was a well written review.
You have a great photographic sense too. Wishing you happy miles ahead.
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Old 20th August 2012, 11:03   #13
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolboy007 View Post
Congrats on your Punto Sm jet,
Dont feel disheartened buddy,
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Please don't be
Solved the right door rattle when damping for ICE was done.
Surprised they changed the fabric alone, for one door! I suspect the doorpad has been changed, for some reason. May be you should raise your voice to get the original fabric colour back.
Thanks CB007 & CD, Me mentioning ‘disheartened’ was on a lighter side. Pls don’t take it seriously.
I know BHPens are all great souls & are always available for any advise/help/views.

@ CD
Any idea which part was causing those rattles.

Well, actually black fabric is looking neat. Thinking of replacing the other three to black, if only the fabric can be changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Congrats for the Punto, man. It looks awesomely chic in grey.
Wishing you lots of happy miles with the car.
Thanks Utopian! Well, it looks 'chicier' in Red, but wife has a Red Spark & we couldn’t have had two reds in our garage (you know women!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Hey, Congrats on the Punto. Brilliant car, this. Enjoy the ride.
BTW, they have replaced the entire door pad, and hence you have got the black fabric inserts, which are part of the pre 2012 models. Our Punto too needed a new LH front door-pad, Fiat shipped the wrong part (with the black fabric insert) and I am still waiting for the new part to arrive.
Thanks DRIV3R. I’ll check black ones for the other three & if not possible will make them change it back to grey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsun7 View Post
Nice and crisp review, S.Mjet. I too am a proud owner of a 2012 Grande Punto in Tuscan wine color. It is a wonderful car as accepted by almost everyone who has driven it

I am really surprised that you had not raised an objection immediately after you saw the changed door fabric color! Doesn't it look very odd aesthetically, having different colors on different door pads?
Thanks sandsun7.
Yes its a wondeful car, especially on those open roads
Well I noticed it this weekend.
It was clearly told by technician only a spring holding the lever needs replacement. I can’t understand why they changed the whole door pad. Are these dealers taking Fiat India for a ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PM - B View Post
Congratulations on your Punto.
You will need to get used to the short gearing, and change gears cleanly and fast.
You will get the hang of it.

Have you been on any long drives yet?
Thanks PM-B
Yes I am now used to the short gearing. But still I would maintain, these are ultra short & sometimes leaves you in pathetic feeling.
Unfortunately only three Mum-Pune Expressway trips in five months.
High speed dynamics is where you love this beauty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VishnuNarayanan View Post
Congrats S M Jet for owning this Italian beauty !
Nicely written up ownership review.
Pics are just awesome especially the first picture;the picture of the fiat badge
Wishing you a happy and niggle free ownership throughout !
Drive Safe
Thanks Vishnu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by one-77 View Post
Congratulations on your Punto.
I'm puzzled by the mismatched door pads too! Wonder why they changed it at all, in the first place.
Anyway, here's something you could consider: have leather upholstery and door pads installed in your Punto. We had our interiors done in leather by Stanley, and it does make the car a special place to be. Anyway, wishing you many happy miles with your Punto!
Thanks One-77.
Had planned for Stanley’s on first anniversary. But I think I may prepone my upgrade now. Thanks for reminding me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by devil_klm View Post
Congrats on your baby fiat. It was a well written review.
You have a great photographic sense too. Wishing you happy miles ahead.
Thanks devil for your wishes.
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Old 20th August 2012, 11:16   #14
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

A brilliant choice S.Mjet !! Congratulations

The Grande Punto is a gem of a hatchback. Strong build and exceptionally brilliant ride quality are reasons enough to put your money on this hatchback. Sad that the Fiat A.S.S issues have restricted prospective buyers to own the Punto. But a great review of a great car. Wish you many happy miles with the Punto.
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Old 20th August 2012, 12:20   #15
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Default Re: My 2012 Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion - Ownership Review

Congrats on the Punto. It aptly fills your requirements. Enjoy many more happy miles with the Punto.

However, first ask the SA to change the door pads as in the 2012 version. It looks really odd to have the odd color door pad. The SA should really be a nut case to have done this at the first place.
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