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Old 23rd June 2012, 19:10   #1
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Default Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

This my first thread in T-Bhp, since Nov 2009.

I will share my experience of a recent purchase, the Fiat Punto.

Requirements:
  • A diesel powered car this side of 10 lakhs
  • Considerable space
  • Should have all bells and whistles including ABS & Airbags
  • Brand value/Brand name no bar
  • Should be a Driver's car
  • Comfortable enough during long drives
Cars considered and Test driven:

New Maruti Suzuki Swift ZDi


Likes:
  • Engine
  • Gearbox
  • NVH
  • Interior Plastics
  • Dealership experience
  • MSIL tag
Dislikes:
  • Rear legroom
  • Boot space
  • Huge waiting period, within which MSIL would increase the price twice, over the already overpriced car
  • Brake issues
  • Too common

Volkswagen Polo TDi Highline


Likes:
  • Interior Plastics
  • Dealership experience, though a zillion questions were asked for just a TD, and we had no option of TD'ing the car to our content [They have a specified route which is hardly a KM]
  • Boot space
  • Looks
  • Build Quality
Dislikes:
  • Rear headroom
  • 3 pot gruffy engine
  • Rear legroom
  • Terribly over-priced (8.4L OTR)
  • Service costs [8k per service, no free services either]

Hyundai i20 CRDi Asta - 6 Speed


Likes:
  • Interior plastics
  • Engine
  • Gearbox
  • Feature list
  • Brakes (All round disc brakes)

Dislikes:
  • Dead steering
  • Dealership attitude
  • Poor AC
  • Niggling Steering issues
Maruti Suzuki SX4 ZDi

Likes:
  • Space
  • MSIL tag
Dislikes:
  • Outdated Interiors
  • Poor NVH
  • Dismal feature list
  • Poor driving experience when compared to the Swift
Chevrolet Optra Magnum LT TCDi

Likes:
  • Killer price tag
  • All Independent suspension - Plush ride
  • Space
  • Engine
  • Brakes
  • NVH
  • Leather seats
Dislikes:
  • Outdated interiors
  • Outdated features
  • Uninspiring Alloy wheels
Fiat Grande Punto 76 HP Emotion 2012

Likes:
  • Ride quality
  • Stability at triple digit speeds
  • Speed masking ability
  • Steering
  • Engine
  • Braking
  • Looks
  • Discounts
  • Build Quality
Dislikes:
  • El cheapo plastics by TATA
  • Poor dealership experience
  • Poor NVH post 3000 rpm

Ford Figo Titanium TDCi


Likes:
  • Almost Zero turbo lag
  • Steering
  • Gearbox
  • Space
  • VFM price
Dislikes:
  • No rear power windows
  • Low ground clearance
  • Outdated engine when compared to the competition (Barring the Micra/Pulse)

Last edited by DRIV3R : 24th June 2012 at 18:01.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 19:40   #2
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Why the FIAT?

Everyone around me thought I was nuts. Little do they know what this car is capable of. I was bombarded with questions relating to spare parts, service, reliability, etc.,

Let me tell you why I zeroed in on the Punto, in order of preference.
  • Solid build
  • Excellent ride
  • Superbly weighted steering with perfect feedback
  • Looks (Oh, isn't she gorgeous and sexy? I am old enough and mature, but I just cannot stop gazing at her or her pictures)
  • Feature list
  • Superb handling
  • VFM pricing when coupled with the discounts and freebies
  • Available off the shelf
Calculated risks:
  • A.S.S
  • Plastics (Interior and Exterior included)
  • Few niggling issues pertaining to the above two areas
So, once the decision was made, booked the car. Did you know that the car with me now is the third Punto booked from the second dealer? Well, that is material for another thread where TATA-FIAT sales can be bashed to death.


Cutting short, the final booking was with VST, Chennai.


OTR with Temp registration + Extended Warranty - 7,05,000 INR


Freebies:
  • 3M basic sun-film
  • Floor carpets
  • Mud flaps
  • Door Sill protection plates
  • OE Car cover
  • OE Art Leather seat covers (Not part of the Initial deal, more on that later)
  • 4000 INR for Insurance for a 12000 INR cover (8000 INR waived), Strange, as the SE said it is a 26000 INR cover

Last edited by DRIV3R : 23rd June 2012 at 23:03.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 22:11   #3
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Pre-booking checks:

Went to the yard, I was okay with any color since this was my third booking with a different dealer. There was only one color in stock, Minimal Grey. Preferred Bossa Nova White, but I was impatient to get the car delivered soon.

WARNING: Never get a Medium Grey Punto Emotion 2012 from VST. These thugs were painting the rear LH door when I visited the yard. Irony is, I was offered the same car as an option, before going to the yard, gave my car a thorough check after this for any patch work, found one on the rear bumper later

Checked the ODO, it was 7km with the 'H'. Checked for visible damages, could not make out much as the car was so bloody dirty. It was something like this. [Now some area of the front & rear windshield are clear, thanks to the moron who brought the car from the yard to the dealer]

Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-dirty1.jpg
Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-dirty2.jpg
Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-dirty3.jpg

My prime pre-requisite to the Sales executive, Shakthi was that the car should NOT be moved out of the yard without my knowledge, and that I should be present at the time this happens. I stressed this point again and also mentioned that only on that condition, I am making the booking. He obliged. But as most other sales morons, he brought the car without my knowledge to the dealer's place with a driver, before the specified date.

I was at the yard the same day the car was brought to the dealer (14th April,2012), but this moron SE told me the car cannot come today, gate pass is not ready,and that we will bring the car on D-Day morning ourselves and do the formalities.

I was bloody furious when I saw the car parked almost on the road over the weekend, more so, because the SE moron gave me the same reason [It is dangerous for the car to be parked in the open as there is no proper parking place] for not bringing the car to the dealer on Saturday itself, but in reality, this guy had done exactly the opposite.

I was ready to skin him alive as and when I saw him.

I also noticed a new scratch on the RH front fender, and the rear bumper was a bit mis-aligned.

Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-rh-fender-scratch.jpg

Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-rear-bumper-misaligned.jpg


This guy came and I was blasting him. He cut a sorry figure and was just standing along. I said I am not taking this car, go to hell. Get me another one, Good luck! He then started apologizing, and then I gave it a thought. Demanded a freebie from him for this goof-up. He immediately offered OE Art Leather seat covers. I said okay, whatever.

Meanwhile, while at the yard, I was almost in tears seeing how these idiots handle brand new cars.

They arrive in rally style to the PDI section, sudden braking, kicking up dust, engaging reverse gear while the car is still moving forward, and all that. I just could not stand all this.

After parking is done, they roll up the windows, turn on the AC and Stereo in full blast, they play around with the steering, lock to lock, all these I could stand but this one blew my top off! Full throttle, I mean, full throttle on a brand new car, that too a diesel. This treatment was given to all cars, viz., Nano, Indica, Indigo CS, Sumo, Safari, etc. Poor cars were crying for mercy in their hands.

I can rant whole day about TATA-FIAT dealerships like these, but lets move on.

So, on 16th of April, 2012, the paperwork was ready and I was waiting to go to the RTO to get the car temporarily registered.

Do you guys know how VST delivers clean cars to customers? The car in the dirty state is parked. Half a bucket of brown liquid, I suppose it is dirty water, and a rag in hand, they just wipe the car off. Then a layer of some el cheapo wax is applied all over including the windscreen and engine bay. God! I could not stand all this. They are used to delivering Indicabs this way it seems.

Anyway, the car is taken as is, as I refuse to budge away from the car, until I drive it away, as said earlier. We drive to the RTO and the agent was not happy with how clean the car was. He said that the Inspector might reject the car for today as it is so dirty and he asked the SE who was with me, 'Can't you guys even wash the car and bring to the RTO?'. Hurriedly, we get some water nearby and just wash the windscreen and lower the glasses and pushed our luck. Temp Registration is done and we drive out.

I lost all belief on VST morons, hence I myself took the car to a service centre, got the body washed for 200 bucks and came to the dealer.

Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-wash.jpg

We go for lunch and return and I was furious with the sight I was greeted. Some random guy is sitting in the car, with the LH front door open, while two wheelers are being squeezed through, and he is listening to the stereo in full blast.

I could see pucca un-professionalism everywhere. Car keys were thrown around and a few misses landed somewhere on my car. Chaos. I want to get out of this place ASAP.

Accessories are installed. I supervise everything. LH front door panel was fiddled with repeatedly while trying to put it back in place. BTW, they did not remove the whole door panel to install the films. The very next day, I complain of rattle from the same door. Door panel is opened, and I see a broken lock. Demand a new door panel to be installed at their cost. It is still not done, but is in progress.

Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update-before-puja.jpg

Finally, the puja is done and the car is ready to be driven off. I drive awayfor dinner.

Last edited by DRIV3R : 24th June 2012 at 11:21.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 22:56   #4
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Final Figures:

OTR + Temp registration - 7,05,000 INR

Life-time tax - 70,000 INR

Fancy Number charges - 15,000 INR

Mods/Accessories:

  • My Shaldan - Air Freshner
  • Roots Windtone - Horns
  • Mobil Delvac 1 - Engine Oil
Maintenance/Detailing kit:
  • Jopasu Duster
  • 3M Premium Wax
  • Collinite 845 Insulator wax
  • Meguiars NXT Car wash
  • Micro Fibre cloth
  • Scotch Brite sponge
Planned Accessories:
  • OEM Spoiler - Already ordered 3 weeks back, but its FIAT, and things go at snail's pace
  • 3M RE 50 - Going to get it installed in a way the cops are fooled, have already peeled off the existing 3M ones
  • 3D Carbon Fibre vinyls - Maybe for the ORVMs
  • Tyres - Michelin Energy XM1 Plus / Yokohama A/C Drives (Driving with stock tyres for now which is Good Year GT3)
  • Smoking the tail-lamps with NHT night shade or something
  • Painting those gorgeous alloys to Gun Metal grey (Gloss Finish)

Last edited by DRIV3R : 24th June 2012 at 18:46.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 23:28   #5
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Love it:

  • Ride + Handling + Steering + Braking package (Ride quality is as good as, if not better than few cars that cost three times more)
  • Drool looks and styling
  • Engine
  • Blue&Me
  • Solid Build (My mom tells that she feels like getting into a tank while shutting the door)
  • Mile munching ability
  • Speed masking ability (No one has guessed the speed of the car right till date)
  • Great Climate control Unit

Loathe it:

  • Turning radius (Atleast 25% of U-turns are 3 point turns)
  • Poor ergonomics (Long clutch play, Power window buttons placement [You'll end up lowering the rear window instead of the front in the initial days], Seat height adjustment is a joke), I still am to find a comfortable position for long drives
  • Poor quality plastics (Interior plastics are hard, Glovebox is misaligned, the plastic bit on the hood is giving a faded look from day one, Few plastic bits on the hatch door came off on the delivery day itself)
  • Thick A & C Pillars hamper visibility
  • Boomy engine over 3000 rpm
  • The OVRMs are a good design visually but not functionally, but hey some complain of wind noise in the Fortuner even
  • Gear ratios (1st and 2nd are terrible)

Last edited by DRIV3R : 23rd June 2012 at 23:49.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 23:37   #6
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Driving Experience:

The Punto is a highway car. You do not enjoy driving it in the city as much as in the highways. I have covered 4000 kms till date, with 50:50 split between highway and city roads.

Overall FE hovers around 17 kmpl, in peak B2B city traffic, it returns 14~16 kmpl, out on the highways, it delivers anywhere between 16~20 kmpl depending upon how heavy the right foot is.

As everyone say, the engine characteristics are changing as the kilometres are clocked.

Am planning to get the oil + oil filter changed before the first service.

The car feels as if on rails, rock steady even at triple digit speeds, quick lane changes can be done without any drama, and you would really love turning it around corners. I am waiting to hit a hill station just for this!

Brakes with ABS & EBD are awesome, they shed speed with a linear pace.

I enjoy the early morning/late night drives. Windows rolled down, stereo off, just to hear the sweet turbo whistle post 1700 rpm.

Steering mounted controls are a boon. While using a USB drive for songs, only the steering controls work for browsing through songs.

The voice controls have a mind of their own.

The MID is informative enough and the overall orange theme for the instrument cluster and music system is soothing at night.

The steering is adjustable only for height and not reach.

Driver side seat height adjustment is not really a seat height adjuster. You just either lift the back portion or vice versa. Useless feature.

Rear seats are 60:40 split and were useful while lugging airport baggage once. The rear seats, unlike most hatchbacks have a metal cladding to protect intrusion in case of impacts from the rear.

I am no audiophile, but going by the reviews, I was expecting worst quality of speakers. But, to be honest, I am perfectly ok with the stock speakers. Seems like FIAT improved the quality of the speakers for the 2012 models.

The underbody has never been scraped even once, such is the ground clearance.

Last edited by DRIV3R : 24th June 2012 at 00:05.
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Old 24th June 2012, 00:12   #7
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Niggles:

  • LH front door rattle [Loosely packed wires are my guess], most of the 2012 Puntos and Lineas face this
  • Tak-Tak noise from the RH front disc brake when the brakes are hot
  • Some random rattles when the car is empty [Like the seatbelt, rear seat, from near the cabin light, speedo console] Only a trained ear can really make these out
Part Replacements:
  • Front Windscreen - Thanks to a lorry in the front with no mud flaps, a flying stone hit the windscreen. The screen was fine until it saw the sun. After which it cracked. Got it replaced at Windshield Experts. OEM was AIS, Replacement was from Saint Gobain. Damages - 2.6K INR after insurance [Did you know? The Punto and Linea share the same windscreen]
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Old 24th June 2012, 00:49   #8
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

I am a fan of this car for whatever it does right and in style! Inspite of the niggles and the uninspiring A.S.S, this car brings out a wide grin whenever you take her out on a drive. FIAT was not bluffing when they said that this car has got heart! Seriously.

I would update this thread later on, with a GTO style 'Small yet significant bits' section. For now, posting few random pictures for your viewing pleasure. [I know what a pain it is to view a ownership thread without pictures]. The red Beat is BHPian Auto Freak's.


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Old 24th June 2012, 00:52   #9
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Final set of pics for now.

Thanks for reading this through. Awaiting your comments and queries.
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Attached Images
 

Last edited by DRIV3R : 24th June 2012 at 22:01.
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Old 25th June 2012, 16:13   #10
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th June 2012, 16:54   #11
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Congrats on the Punto. Silver looks elegant, but not seen too many of this color in Bangalore. The dealership guys can super professional or completely unprofessional. The variance is more with the TATA.

Nice photos by the way. Enjoy many more happy miles with the car.
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Old 25th June 2012, 17:04   #12
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

WOW! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your ownership thread, rated 5*. Fiat Punto is a true drivers car in the hatch segment. Its the Tata-Fiat JV which resulted in poor after sales & service but now that Fiat is opening its own Fiat Cafe Showroom, we can look forward to improved after sales.

Even I too went with the SA during the registration & drove the car myself from stockyard to workshop for PDI. The workshop people don't really care for the car and drive it like they own it themselves & mechanics are even worst at that part. Feel like bashing them for each & every mistake they make, but just cannot help it. You remain a mere spectator & try remaining mute and wish to get out of the place as quick as possible.

Have many more safe miles on your GP & drive safe.
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Old 25th June 2012, 17:07   #13
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Great looking car. Nice thread. But what a trauma for a consumer at the hands of these dealers!

Fiats are such gorgeous cars and with so much soul! They just don't seem able to get their act together properly in India.

Hope that this time around with their Fiat Caffe's etc, they will be able to.

Is your car with the upgraded ground clearance package? If so, what is the measurement in mm please?
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Old 25th June 2012, 17:47   #14
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Lightbulb re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

Congrats!! If there was one reason why I would buy a Punto, it has to be the looks. The car looks great inside out. Perfect shut lines, stance, door thuds; everything. The silver colour looks nice, though as you have said, white looks even better. I feel it goes even more well with a black coloured front grill (from the Active version). I haven't driven a diesel Punto. When I was out car hunting, I was looking at the petrol Active version, which I felt was underpowered.

The dealership experience in your case is the spoiler. I guess you can write a whole new thread on that experience. But don't let it spoil your ownership experience.

What you have noted however is not limited to Tata or Fiat dealership. It happens at almost all the dealerships. I say this because my office is on the first floor above the Planet Ford showroom. I can completely relate to your feelings; you should see how these morons drive brand new cars in/out of the parking. And they revv these new cars hard like there's no end. My car parked in the office parking was dashed into by a Figo/Fiesta driven madly by one of the drivers. But couldn't say anything because I wasn't there when it happened.
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Old 25th June 2012, 18:04   #15
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Default re: Italiano Bellezza - Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion. EDIT : 2nd Service update

What an awesome review. Thank you for sharing. Read thru it with great interest and the views are completely honest and straight.

And, Punto, is always gorgeous, in any color for that matter. Looks elegant in silver.

And as rightly stated, a beautiful car is being killed in the hands of these morons. Whenever I see a Punto or the awesome, Linea, I feel sad for them. They deserve much more.

Congratulations for the car and drive safe. And please post some interior pics too. Happy driving!
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