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Old 13th November 2012, 16:13   #1
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Default The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather

"You nutcase!"
"Are you serious?"
"LOL.. waste of money"
"You idiot, you made the same mistake twice"
"What?? Again?? Why??"
"you cancelled the Swift and .... bought... THIS??"
"Nice car, congrats"
"Stupidity.. why did you buy a Fiat again?"

I smiled as I read the unread messages in my sms inbox and slid the phone back into my pocket. It was 5AM and I was subconsciously gazing at the messages which arrived on the previous midnight. The crime that prompted these hate messages : I had messaged a bunch of my friends and cousins the previous night, informing them that I bought the Fiat Grande Punto Sport.


From the tone of their replies, what my friends / relatives thought I had bought was this :
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-premier_padmini.jpg


What I thought I had bought :
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-ferrari458italia.jpg


What I had actually bought in reality :
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-untitled.jpg


The hate messages didn't stop there, and kept pouring in during that week and the following week - at office, at the gym, with cousins and friends and pretty much anyone else I met with the car. While it didn't bother me much, here are some of the noteworthy comments that I remember :

Friend and Hyundai lover : "Dude, you should have the bought the i20 asta. It has auto-folding, electro-chromic mirrors with automatic rain-sensing wipers, storm-water detection and automatic brightness adjust with <add more imaginary gizmo jargon here> blah.. blah... It even tells you when you should shift gears, what you should do, how you should sit, etc"

Gym friend and Skoda lover : "Punto is good, looks awesome, but Fabia is the best. Just look at the Fabia's cabin!"

Conservative Colleague : "You should have bought Tata Nano instead for city usage. These Fiat guys used to make Premier Padminis right? At a 9L price tag I wouldn't trust them"

Inquisitive colleague : "I have read on team-bhp that this car is the best driver's hatchback. I have my eyes on this car ever since reading cRaZyDrIvEr's thread. I might buy it some day"

Friend and Fiat lover : "This is an enthusiast's dream hatchback, happy mile-clocking!"

Elderly conservative Relative : "You bought another car? Why? You're still young. You could have bought a 2BHK apartment instead na"

Friend and recent Punto 75HP (emotion) buyer : <on the defensive to justify his decision> "You bought the Sport??!! It costs 70k more than mine? For extra 18bhp, aluminium pedals and stickers? I don't think it was worth the extra amount dude"

Conservative elderly neighbour : "8.8L on road for a small car?!! What is so special about it? Will an Alto 800 not have done the job?"

School kid passing by : "Uncle, this car looks superb! what car is it?" *Grrr... what uncle!*

Colleague at office : "You paid 9L for a Fiat?? You could have got the DZire ZDi, right? It is a bigger car and has a boot"

Security guard at office : "Bahut acchi gaadi diktha hai sir. Colour bhi bahut acchi hai. Kitna ka hai yeh gaadi?"

Grandmother at home : "Good that you bought a Fiat. Fiats are always good. When your grandfather and I were younger, Fiats and Ambassadors were the only cars popular. They are very spacious and comfortable also... <went on>" (thankfully she didn't see the rear bench space in the Punto) :P

Cousin after taking test drive : "Looks amazing and drives very well, but are you sure this thing has power steering? It is so hard man! My Swift's steering is better"


Anyway, regardless of what category you belong to, I am going to bore you with my comprehensive review of India's most powerful diesel hatchback - the Fiat Grande Punto Sport. The official review team hasn't yet done a review of the Sport version or the 90HP version of the Punto, so I will make this ownership review as complete as possible with pictures of the nitty-gritties. I'm neither blessed with good writing skills nor am I blessed with good reviewing skills, so you better get ready to fall asleep if you plan to read beyond this point as the review progresses.


The Background of this purchase :

Basically, during the beginning of this year, I came to the conclusion that I needed a diesel hatch for 3 reasons -

1. I used to commute to and from office by bike all these days. The commute was 60km per day and my backbone and neck were undergoing premature wear and tear with the maddening traffic and road quality. I finally decided that I would shift to taking my car instead of the bike. My petrol sedan, the T-Jet was a good option, but its running costs weren't so good. When I sat and worked out the math, I found that I would be spending around 13-14k per month on petrol costs. If I bought a diesel car, the EMI + diesel costs would still be cheaper per month, and after 4-5 years I would make an asset, while with petrol car usage, the fuel is just burnt. I ignore maintenance costs in this equation.

2. Even if the above math and logic was flawed, I still wanted a diesel hatch to commute within the city, and could use the services of a rough-and-tough hatchback which was cheap to run, maintain and had a small enough turning radius to chuck into traffic gaps and cramped parking lots.

3. Both of the above reasons were just excuses to satisfy my actual desire of owning a peppy, second car. Initially I just wanted a diesel hatch (anything). Over time, in one corner of my mind a voice kept getting louder and louder - "You only live once! Save up, wait and get the most fun-to-drive diesel hatch while you are at it". Sooner than later, I fell prey to this voice and its dubious ways of convincing me. Math and Logic be damned. Turning radius and convenience be damned. What actually ensued was a quest for the most fun-to-drive diesel hatch.

In March, I had booked for a Swift ZDi without test driving anything else. Why? Because it was a balance between the enthusiast world and practicality, or so I thought. Then the inevitable happened. The Manesar lockout fiasco. My waiting period skyrocketed, my temper skyrocketed and patience nosedived. I decided to move on to greener pastures and decided to use an open mind to make a proper decision for my requirements.

After test driving all diesel hatchbacks available in the country, I finally gave into temptation and forgot all about the budget cap. Finally, an involving, punchy drive with decent power and good design to boot was what I was looking for. My entire purchase decision was documented in this thread starting from this post. A few of you might have followed the progress on this thread

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/hatchb...ml#post2859152 (Upgrading from Swift. Which Hatch?)


Who were the contenders? - all the diesel hatches in the country, EXCEPT

- Tata Indica Vista : yes, I have a grudge against this brand.
- Renault Pulse (whose Japanese clone I had test driven and rejected)
- Chevrolet Sail : very dull and boring. Not meant for my age group or my requirements. So boring, that I wasn't even tempted to take a test drive.

I did attempt a scorecard-based shootout among all the diesel hatches based on 15 of my main requirements. Here is the link to that shootout:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/hatchb...ml#post2897392 (Upgrading from Swift. Which Hatch?)

My requirements which I benchmarked each car against, were as follows (no particular order) :

- Fun to drive and Peppiness quotient (low-end and mid-range grunt) in the city
- Highway tackling capabilities from an engine's perspective (High end grunt, ease of overtaking, sudden deceleration and acceleration abilities, etc)
- Engine Refinement
- Handling
- Ride Quality
- Braking
- Steering feedback
- Ergonomics
- Exterior looks
- Interiors
- Build quality
- Ease of servicing
- Features (gizmos, all the bells and whistles)
- Safety features
- Value for money

The following aspects are ignored because I either don't need them, or else I don't care about them :

Bootspace - primarily a solo-used city car, so the boot will be opened only if there is a tyre puncture, if ever.
Turning radius - My home-office commute is along a ring-road, with almost no turns. Turning radius may not make a big difference on weekdays, and all hatches today are almost equally spec'ed in this department.
Back seat space - it will hardly be used, maximum possible usage is to dump my office laptop bag.
Brand image- I don't care what others think of my car. I am only bothered about how much fun/comfort I am having with it.
Resale value - this car won't be sold for the next 8-10 years. Maybe more. Not a concern
Fuel efficiency - most diesel hatches today return between 14-18 kmpl with A/C. I hardly believe in cringing for 1-2 kmpl difference in FE figures between the models, so it is not a deal breaker anyway.


A summary of the competitors and how they fared on MY scorecard is listed below.

Toyota Etios Liva G.D SP


What I liked :
- quite peppy in the city, light weight body makes it a lot more chuckable.
- interior space is miles ahead of the competition.
- Toyota brand name, and peace of mind with the servicing
- neutral ride and handling. Comfortable in the city

What I didn't like :
- terribly overpriced, considering the fully loaded Figo Titanium retails at around the same OTR price.
- horrible plastic quality, interiors from the stone-ages, central dashboard layout with weighing scale gauges.
- Dissatisfied with the build quality and thin sheet metal. Weighs just 800kg? wow!
- no features/goodies on the specs. I'd have preferred a V.D in the line-up.
- styling not to my taste. Looks like a 1970s car, especially the front.

Verdict : Rejected due to lack of features, bad interiors, inflated price tag and lack of sportiness for me.


Hyundai i20 CRDi Asta

What I liked :
- Extremely well kitted. Has all kinds of features under the sun. Even C segment sedans don't have many of the i20's features.
- Safety features are a segment first. 6 airbags and all disc brakes in a hatch! (to mention a few)
- Ultra-light steering easy for city traffic.
- Spacious cabin and good boot space
- 6th gear boosts fuel efficiency on highways.
- Decent ride quality at low speeds. All bumps and potholes are absorbed in the city without much noises.
- Ultra-refined Peppy 1.4L motor feels more like a petrol engine than a diesel

What I didn't like :
- DEAD steering. Absolutely D-E-A-D. Steering feels like it is not part of the car. (sorry to confuse readers about the advantage of this in my 'liked' section)
- Bouncy boat-ride starts after you gain speed.
- Handling is nervous and twitchy. Lack of steering feedback compounds the lack-of-confidence. Throwing it around ghat sections will lead to premature hypertension.
- Lack of good under-thigh support for the rear seats. They are very narrow and bench-like.
- Inadequate lumbar support and under-thigh support for the driver seat and front passenger seat.
- extremely long throw of gear shifts. Shifting from 1st to second makes the stick travel from Kashmir to Kanyakumari!

Verdict : I prefer driving characteristics more than the flashy gizmos. I wouldn't call this car overpriced. For 9.2L, you are getting amazing features and an incredible safety kit too, with the practicality of a refined hatch. It is a nice VFM car which offers a big car package in a hatch, but just doesn't suit my driving preferences. It was eliminated for the same reason that the fluidic Verna lost out to the T-Jet+ last year. The Team-BHP official review rated this car very highly, and I have to agree with the mods that it is the best PRACTICAL diesel hatchback in the country. However, it is NOT the best DRIVER's hatchback! It is far from that. If you value driving characteristics more than auto-folding mirrors, reverse cameras or gear shift indicators, you will agree with my decision.


Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI Elegance


What I liked :
- best quality of interiors among all hatches. Period.
- Neutral ride, good interior space.
- Nice turning radius
- Solid build quality
- Quite chuckable in the city for a 1.2L 3-pot mill. I expected it to be sluggish

What I didn't like :
- that annoying clatter of the 3-pot. It is LOUD, with a capital L. No amount of NVH deadening helps this. It sounds like a refined tractor at best.
- Ergonomics are satisfactory for tall drivers, but I found it rather cramped in leg space.
- I would have liked a little more steering feedback
- heavily overpriced at 9.2L. It is at least a lac more than the Swift, which ironically offers more equipment than the Fabia. The pricing is arrogant to say the least.
- styling is a little too feminine for my liking

Verdict : If only they had a more refined, more-powerful 4-cylinder engine at a lower price, I could have thought about it. Rather than this 3-pot Fabia, I can as well buy a tractor and go to office with the same noise level. At least I get some more respect on the road (other vehicles giving me way). With this noisy 3-pot, I will develop migraine headaches due to the extreme noise.


Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI Highline

What I liked :
- Brilliant ergonomics
- Cabin feels upmarket and rich.
- Rock solid German build quality
- Looks the best among all the hatches available today.
- Fantastic handling and ride quality combo
- Same engine as the Fabia TDI, feels quite peppy

What I didn't like :
Same as Fabia 1.2 TDI, but I actually liked the ergonomics, ride quality and flawless looks of the Polo more than the Fabia.

Verdict : If only this car came with a 4 cylinder mill, or with the Vento's 1.6 TDI rocket engine, I would have booked this car without batting an eyelid! It (polo with 1.6TDI) would have been my choice from day 1, if I were to ignore the servicing and VFM factors. Sadly, I will give this 1.2TDI option up now due to 1. Inflated price tag 2. Sparse feature list and 3. Tractor-like underpowered engine


Nissan Micra XV Premium Diesel

What I liked :
- extremely peppy engine makes the drive effortless
- quite good amount of gizmos on the inside with the start/stop button et. al.
- Comfortable ride over bad roads.

What I didn't like :
- extremely feminine styling, inside and out. My friend commented that it looks like a Chinese imitation product of a VW Beetle (no offense meant)
- non-existent dealership network
- Only driver airbags provided. Nissan strongly encourages owners practicing re-marriage after accidents
- overpriced.

Verdict : Outright rejected due to a lack of safety features, thin service network and last but not the least, extremely Girly looks and feminine styling on the inside too. I wouldn't want to be caught driving one of these.


Chevrolet Beat TCDi LT(O)

What I liked :
- Tiny compact body, Nimble footed, extremely small turning radius make it a delight to penetrate through heavy traffic
- Decently kitted for the price tag. Kit even matches some of the bigger diesel hatches
- Cheap price tag of 7.2L. Cheapest of diesel hatches in the country.
- Fuel efficiency claims of 24 kmpl in the city, with A/C. Irrespective of whether that's true or not, its safe to assume its the most fuel efficient diesel hatch

What I didn't like :
- You guessed it right. Extremely underpowered at 56bhp. Forget all highways and long drives. Ghat sections are a distant dream.
- DEAD steering. The EPS unit feels totally disconnected
- Skinny tyre sizes require you to keep cash for a tyre upgrade after purchase
- Interiors' quality (both upholstery and plastic) feels tacky
- claustrophobic cabin with tiny, high-set windows

Verdict : Too underpowered to be an enthusiast hatch. I cannot take this out on the highway even if there is a sudden need to. Steering feedback is NIL, overtaking is a pain, and is impossible without downshifts. It is a brilliant car to be used in high density traffic, but it is by no means an all-rounder. I respect its abilities in the city, but I will forego this option since its abilities are restricted.


Maruti Swift ZDi

What I liked :
- Decently kitted with features
- Ergonomics are spot on for me, more so because we already had a Swift until recently.
- Peppiest diesel motor among all the options with the best tuned gearbox. Effortless driving in the city and on the highway alike
- Fantastic handling and chuckability.

What I didn't like :
- FGT turbo takes forever to spool up (2k rpm) and till then, you are in the lag zone
- Bootspace is extremely small.
- Ride quality was bone-jarring in the previous gen Swift, now it is reduced to 'Muscle jarring', but the harshness is still present.
- Thin sheet metal and unsatisfactory build quality.
- Highly overpriced at 8.4L
- The interiors are not to my taste. The all-black cabin makes you suffocate in the dungeon-like ambience. Quite frankly, I would like to debate (not here) on why some people and reviewers think Swift's interiors are 'good'. The fabric seats are some cheap and shiny black fabric which looks like it was rubbed with cherry blossom shoe polish, the dashboard pull-out bottle holders are tacky, switches/buttons are flimsy and the overall plastic quality is nowhere close to what most of the competition offers. Let me be fair and say it is one of the worst in terms of plastic quality. I could have lived with it had I bought it, but that doesn't change the basic fact.
- The interiors start rattling and falling apart after a few years (it happened in my previous gen Swift) and I don't see any reason why the newer generation Swift is any better in going the distance.


Verdict : It ticked most of the boxes for me, so it was booked in March this year. Then it was cancelled in September, owing to dealer arrogance and apathy, repeated strikes and lock-outs at Maruti, unknown delivery timelines, and last but not the least, better cars being launched after the booking.


Ford Figo Titanium TDCi

What I liked :
- Extremely fun to drive in the city. Perhaps the best in-city driveability among all hatches
- Superb air-conditioning in the cabin. It cooled the cabin in minutes, on a hot and sunny day!
- practical car which is an all-rounder, shines in all aspects
- very nice steering feedback, and fantastic handling.

What I didn't like :
- Old-school, boxy design is unappealing and downright ugly! Red dashboard is very gaudy!
- Ergonomics were not to my liking, sadly. I could never find a good position and kept squirming around through the test drive. The low seating compounds the problem
- No outright rocket-like performance on the highways.
- Doesn't offer anything more than my current Swift ZXi. Not an upgrade in the true sense. In fact I lose the rear power windows that I had in a 2006 hatchback!

Verdict : There really couldn't be another car at this price segment, which suited all my requirements perfectly. But I had a bunch of problems with the Figo due to which I rejected it :
1. It was not punchy higher up in the gears and at highway speeds.
2. Features-wise and segment-wise, it wasn't an upgrade from my Swift ZXi. In fact, the 6 year old Swift ZXi can still put this Figo to shame in the feature list, despite being a generation younger (remember 'em rear un-powered windows)
3. The undigestable looks! Why couldn't they make it a little more desirable?! It is an ugly duckling from all angles, and I would dare say an Ambassador looks much better.
4. I was NOT looking at this price segment to begin with, but was in fact targeting the 8-9L space (for an upgrade), so settling for a segment downgrade was not among the options.



Fiat Grande Punto Emotion 75HP

What I liked :
- Stunning looks and build quality. Typically Italian
- Flawless handling and zero body roll. Excellently balanced with a nice ride quality too!
- Involving drive experience with excellent steering feedback
- Perhaps the best highway car (along with its elder sibling) among all the options seen till now
- Massive 185mm ground clearance


What I didn't like :
- interior fit and finish is tacky. Fire the engineers who assembled the Punto 75's interiors plastics, I say! Also, the handles and levers are covered with some silver colored paint which had started peeling away on the 10k km old test drive car.
- Same turbo lag problem as the Swift
- rubbery gearshift feel is perhaps the main sore point in the drive
- not a very peppy car to drive. Swift's case is an example of how a well tuned gearbox can really utilize this same MultiJet engine's specs
- not as appealing when its more desirable elder sibling (Punto Sport) is parked next to it, costs 60k more and comes with a whole load of extras in addition to being 18PS more powerful
- The Punto 75HP doesn't have a very spotless record when it comes to being niggle-free. With the T-Jet's internals and parts being imported from Italy, I have hardly faced any issues at all! I wonder how the niggles can be with the Punto 75HP.

Verdict : This is a brilliant car and in the city, it should not differ too much from its costlier sibling in terms of low speed behaviour. Where this tends to lose the battle is in the mind of the enthusiast. The enthusiast customer will obviously be partial to its better powered sibling which comes with better interior quality, goodies on the inside and outside, and is a better high speed car priced at 50-60k more. The Punto 75HP Emotion lost out on the verdict due to its own (Sport) sibling backstabbing it. Rejected.


Fiat Grande Punto Sport (90HP)

What I liked :
- Stunning, jaw-dropping looks and build quality. Timeless Italian design
- Flawless handling and zero body roll. Excellently balanced with a nice ride quality too!
- Involving drive experience with excellent steering feedback
- The best highway car among all the options. Period.
- The turbo surge is better controlled by the VGT and acceleration is more linear and suited to city driving than the sudden rushed feeling of the FGT turbo diesel cars.
- Rocket-like performance beyond 2nd gear. A tuning box can turn this into a ~120bhp monster hatch
- Interior quality is better than the Punto 75HP.
- Whole lot of goodies in the sport like the 18bhp of extra power, Abarth racing pedals, chrome exhaust, red-stitching on the seats, sporty seats, etc.
- Massive 185mm ground clearance


What I didn't like :
- You guessed it right. The infamous gear ratio problem in the 90HP. When you want to blast forward and upshift from 1st gear to 2nd, there is an annoying lag since 2nd gear is quite tall and 1st is quite short. The first gear is quite good for start-stops in bumper-to-bumper traffic though.
- Gearshift quality is rubbery, notchy and unprecise. At times, you have to 'search' for the gear. This rubbery feeling gets somewhat solved as the car opens up post 5k km (from what I have observed in the T-Jet).
- It will definitely not be a Maruti Swift when it comes to servicing it.
- owners need to be mentally prepared for niggles if any. The Punto doesn't have a very spotless record when it comes to niggles being faced by owners. The T-Jet had a supreme level of parts quality, and I have never faced any issues nor have I read about any issues in that car.
- after sales service is impeccable and perfect in Bangalore with Prerana motors, but when viewed from a country-wide perspective, a lot of negative comments do exist especially from the north and west Indian regions.


Verdict : Compared to the older Swift ZXi hatchback we had, the Punto Sport :
- sips lesser fuel than the Swift, and is cheaper to fill up the tank
- the tech specs and equipment specs are amazingly good for a hatchback
- looks like a million bucks, and provides superior build quality too compared to the tinny Swift.
- offers more features, goodies and gizmos on the inside
- is a better handler, and in spite of that it offers a better ride quality balance
- is an upgrade over the Swift in terms of power and torque as well


As the shootout scorecard came out, the winner was the Grande Punto Sport, taking into consideration all my requirements. By no means am I a Fiat fanboy, and I don't intend to be biased towards any one brand. The Grande Punto sport won the battle fairly on the parameters that I was looking for. I understand that different people have different yardsticks, so let us not debate about the other contender cars and on the way I rated their prowess in specific traits. It is seriously off-topic on this thread, and the purchase decision is already made anyway.

What would have tilted the scales : A Polo Highline with the Vento's 1.6 TDI engine would have made my decision very tough. I might have gone Teutonic if that option was available. Ironically, I saw the Polo GTD scoop thread here on team-bhp 10 days after I took delivery of the Punto Sport.


Pre-Delivery inspection(s), and then the booking:

After the decision to buy the Punto Sport was made, my obvious choice of dealer was Prerana motors. I have had exceptional service from both the sales and servicing divisions of this dealer with my T-Jet, and the staff are extremely cooperative and friendly. I was told that there were 3 red Punto Sports in their stockyard and I could choose any one of them after doing my PDI. You can track my complete PDI stories here
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/hatchb...ml#post2904792 (Upgrading from Swift. Which Hatch?)

and here
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/hatchb...ml#post2933395 (Upgrading from Swift. Which Hatch?)

After picking my car and paying the token advance, I waited for more than a month due to delays of my own, waiting to arrange for more vitamin M, and a last minute pavement alteration job outside my house to accommodate parking space for the new car. While these things were being done, I applied for the car loan at SBI and finished up with the finance part earlier last month. Special thanks to nkrishnap for putting me on to the helpful manager at SBI, Jayanagar branch. With all issues solved, the car was finally registered on October 26th. Since there were a string of holidays till the 30th, I ended up getting my registration number only on 30th. I had earlier decided not to hurriedly take delivery and drive around town with the "REGISTERED" printouts pasted shabbily on the car, so I decided to wait it out until I had the registration numbers inscribed on IND (dummy HSRP) number plates. The D-day finally turned out to be October 31st.

After a tiring half-day at office, I had to rush for my Punto's delivery at around 5 pm. It was a rainy evening on D-day. My parents and I took a cab to the showroom, approximately 7 km from home. After finishing the paperwork and doing a repeat session of July 1, 2011 (T-Jet purchase date), we finally took the delivery by around 6 pm. This time around, the sales executive didn't have to teach me the controls, since the Punto's controls are a subset of the T-Jet's controls. Rather, I could teach them a tip or two, thanks to team-bhp's "did you know?" series of threads. The next half hour saw them presenting us with chocolates, handing over the owner's manual, service manual, warranty documents, and a zillion invoices and receipts. At roughly 6pm, they gave us the keys during their small presentation ceremony in the delivery bay. We then headed homewards after a customary pooja at a temple en route.


D-day at Prerana motors
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-delivery1.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-delivery2.jpg

I have to thank the entire staff at Prerana motors for cooperating with me throughout the purchase process: the multiple test drives of the Punto 75HP and the Sport 90HP, multiple PDIs, putting up with my requests for resolving invisible glitches and the multiple occasions I have wasted their time asking stupid queries and being fussy. Thanks to Karthik SP, Suhas, Sanmathi, Mansoor and whoever else I missed out mentioning at Prerana motors, Lalbagh road.

This past weekend, I spent an entire Sunday at 3M Car care with the Punto Sport, getting it detailed with a Paint sealant application, followed by a paint protection film treatment for the ORVMs (for 2-wheeler handle bar scratches in traffic). Here are some pictures of the treatment at 3M car care, HSR layout :


BHPian and owner Sidhu at 3M takes a test drive of the hot hatch and wants to know what's under the hood
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0181.jpg


The red hatchback awaits its turn for the 3M paint sealant treatment
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0183.jpg


Entering the basement for a 3M foam wash
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0184.jpg


Blast the visible dirt first
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0188.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0189.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0193.jpg


Then apply the 3M foam all over the car and make it look like it just came out of a snow storm
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0203.jpg

Have another person scrub the stubborn dirt away
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0207.jpg


Then wash the foam shampoo away
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0211.jpg


What you are then left with is this. Allow it to dry up.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0215.jpg


Then bring it to the detailing workshop and start the machine polish
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0219.jpg

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0220.jpg


And then do the paint sealant application
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0222.jpg


While at it, simultaneously get a paint protection film to keep the mirrors scratch-free from bike handle nudges in traffic.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0226.jpg

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0228.jpg

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0229.jpg


This is how the finished product looks
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0236.jpg

and oh wait! We need a Team-BHP sticker to go on this car. When in doubt, get it pasted by the experts at 3M. Since this is a hot hatch, what goes on it is the "got bhp?" and the tiny URL stickers
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0238.jpg


When we're finally done with everything, this is what it looks like
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0243.jpg


If you prefer a front view, here it is
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0245.jpg


A closer look at the bonnet to check out the reflections (although it doesn't look any different from the previous picture)
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0249.jpg


A pair of hot hatches with a generation gap (my friend's Palio 1.6 sport with my Punto 1.3 Sport)
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0263.jpg


And you thought that was the end of my ownership review, eh? Bad luck! Just like your average Saas Bahu soap which wastes the first 5 minutes bringing viewers back up to speed, what you were reading till now was just the 'RECAP' section building up for the actual ownership review.

Now that we're done with the personal/emotional part and sharing the joy of buying a new car, let me get down to the no-nonsense part of the ownership review. I believe I have regained my wits after the initial purchase hullabaloo got over and can now comfortably pass comments on the Punto Sport. Kindly pardon me if at some instances, I make references and comparisons to the T-Jet+. The comparison is inevitable, both being part of the same garage and same stable. From what I observe, the T-Jet+ is a much better built product in all aspects overall, but I would reserve my specific bashing comments for a later stage in the review whenever required. To compare the T-Jet v/s Multijet rockets head to head, perhaps I will create another comparo thread later on.

That said, its time to buckle up, because I'll now take you through a long, virtual journey to explore everything about the Fiat Grande Punto Sport, inside out, from my perspective. We'll go through all these aspects stage by stage :

- exteriors
- interiors
- utilities, storage spaces and ergonomics
- features and gizmos
- driving characteristics and everything concerned with driving this car
- ownership aspects - the paperwork, warranty, service frequency, etc.
- modifications done/planned by me

Disclaimer : I am in no way responsible if your browser crashes due to the large number of pictures in this thread. Scroll ahead at your own risk.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 24th November 2012 at 19:03.
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Old 14th November 2012, 00:03   #2
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Exteriors :

Since all readers would have definitely seen a Punto on the road, I know I don't add much value with this exteriors' section, but I will still cover this part for completeness of my review. Save for the decals and mirrors, the Punto Sport doesn't look radically different from its lesser-powered, more-common sibling (the 75HP Emotion).


Here's a Punto Emotion (75 HP). Picture was taken from another website, so they own this picture.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-punto75.jpg


And here's the Punto Sport (90HP). Not much of a difference save for the decals, chrome door handles and mirror color.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-untitled.jpg


Coming to the external design, this car is drop dead gorgeous. I don't know how to explain this. It is not jazzy. It is not funky. It is not laid-back/boring and it doesn't look feminine (fortunately), but there is something captivating about this simple shape. The minute you lay your eyes on this masterpiece, its hard to look in any other direction for a few seconds. The exterior design is mesmerizing to say the least. The purists would say we should never judge a book by its cover, but in the automobile world it is the external appearance of the car that leaves a lasting impression, in my opinion.


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0267.jpg



The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0264.jpg



The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0272.jpg


Crafted by the designer of the century, Giorgetto Giugiaro, the low-slung mini-Maserati front with the tear-drop shaped headlamps, the beefy wheel arches, the muscular lines along the sides, the coupe-like roof and the perfectly complimenting sporty rear have an overall jaw-dropping visual appeal unmatched by any other hatches in the country. This design, by the way, is around 6 years old in the international scene as we speak. Like many people mention, this is a timeless design which, coupled with the range of colors on offer, will easily stand the test of ageing. The mini-Maserati stance will cloud the analytical abilities of buyers, and I was no different.

Now, to be quite honest, I have never seen an ugly Fiat in India so far. The Palio was amazingly good-looking back in those days, but the Punto and Linea have just taken design perfection to another level altogether. The deadly design is so damn seductive, I'm not surprised if many people still buy this car merely for its looks. It is sporty, elegant, eye-catchy, subtly futuristic and screams Italian from all angles alike.

Here is an interesting read, originally part of an interview of Giorgetto Giugiaro, for those interested about the design philosophy of the Grande Punto and why it is shaped the way it is :

"Safety is an essential factor of the car as object and the new regulations in force today tell us what we need to do during development of a design. The public is not aware of these standards but they dictate certain decisions about the exterior look. The principles of the 'pedestrian impact' regulations that require a certain distance to be maintained between the lighting and the angle of incidence dictated the front lines of the Grande Punto, particularly those of the elongated lights, which are ultimately highly distinctive and led someone to describe the 'face' of the Grande Punto as that of a 'Maserati in miniature'. A solution that therefore arose out of knowledge and observation of these regulations and obviously also out of experience" - Giorgetto Giugiaro

Now that I've harped enough about the exterior design of the Punto, let the pictures do the rest of the talking.


The side profile is sporty and visually captivating. The beefy wheel arches add to the macho-ness quotient
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0266.jpg


The front profile with the mini-maserati stance
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0268.jpg


The rear has a high-lifted stance with the tail lamp cluster unconventionally high compared to most other hatchbacks. Fiat has equipped the Sport with butch-looking 195/60R15 thick rubber as OEM, which enhances the sporty rear profile even further.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0270.jpg


A few other angles. Note the muscular lines and coupe-like sloping roofline along the sides
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0271.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0273.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0274.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0277.jpg


A closer look at the rear profile
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0279.jpg


For those of you who prefer videos to still images, here's a silent walkaround video of the Punto Sport's exteriors




Now that we're done with a brief walkaround, lets get down to the nitty-gritties of the exterior details :


These tear-drop shaped headlamps are partly responsible for giving the Punto the mini-Maserati look
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0276.jpg


The tail lamp cluster features the brake lights, tail lamps and turn indicators. The reversing lamps and rear fog lamp are located elsewhere (next few pictures)
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0278.jpg


The Punto gets only a single reverse light. The reverse light is on the left corner of the bumper. At nights, this can easily be mistaken for a broken tail lamp.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0280.jpg


On the mirror reflection side of the reverse light, the rear fog lamp is located on the right corner of the rear bumper
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0282.jpg


This is how the rear looks with both of them illuminated. Not a pretty sight, eh? Unsymmetric! The other 2 adjacent red lights are.. well, not lights, just reflectors.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0283.jpg


This is the front with headlamps and fog lamps switched on. On a different note, the Punto looks so darn similar to a Linea from this angle. While it is known that the Linea is built on the Punto's platform but is a separately designed car (unlike the boot paste job in the Vento / DZire / Manza), the genetic design connection between the siblings is unmistakeable in this particular angle.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0284.jpg


This is how similar they look. Here's a picture of my Linea T-Jet+ taken from the same angle.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0068.jpg


No skimping on tyre width unlike most fuel-efficiency-crazed hatchbacks, the Punto Sport gets 195/60R15 rubber (Apollo Accelere) as OEM with decent looking 15" alloy wheels. The design of these alloys though, could have been better looking.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0285.jpg


While Fiat has increased the ground clearance to a crossover's standards (185mm), it comes at a price. Note the ugly gap between the tyre and the wheel arch, noticeably ugly at the rear.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0287.jpg


The Punto Sport gets a chrome exhaust as OEM. This part is also available as a Fiat genuine accessory for other Puntos.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0291.jpg


The chrome exhaust looks like a hideous aftermarket job and ruins the rear profile to an extent. Not only does it hang too low and pose a GC problem, it also sticks out like a sore thumb.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0293.jpg


In bumper to bumper traffic, the first nudge on your rear bumper will be with this chrome exhaust. Keep replacement money ready.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0294.jpg


The Punto Sport gets chrome door handles on all doors. I don't understand how chrome handles make a car "sporty". They make it look more refined and sedan-like. It does not go well with a supposed to be "sporty" hot hatch.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0296.jpg


While the driver's side gets a keyhole option...
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0297.jpg


Unfortunately, the passenger side front door does not get it!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0295.jpg


The side decals feature a thin stripe chequered towards the end. A red Sport comes with black decals and mirror, while white and black colors get red decals and mirror. For other Punto owners, this decal set is available as a Fiat genuine accessory.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0298.jpg


While I am no fan of decals, I particularly like this part of it.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0299.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 20th November 2012 at 00:03.
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Exteriors (continued...) :

The "Sport" decals at the back are perhaps the best looking ones in the set
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0302.jpg


This part used to feature 2 chrome decals proclaiming 'Emotion 90HP' which somehow never sounded good. That 'Emotion' badging has now been done away with, and changed to 'Sport'
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0303.jpg



The attention to detail is superb: Even the 'P' in the Punto decal is shaped like a person in driving position, perhaps to highlight the driver-oriented stance of this car
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0535.jpg



The mirrors are superbly crafted in shape and go well with the overall design of the car. Note the differently colored mirrors on the Sport version. They are electrically controlled, but they are not auto-folding mirrors.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0304.jpg


While you knew that mirrors can be folded inwards as in any other car on earth...
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0307.jpg


These mirrors on the Punto can be folded outwards in the other direction too! Now when bikers hit your mirrors in traffic, all you need to do is pull them back towards you. No more replacement bills for ORVMs breaking
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0305.jpg


The side turn indicators are understated and go well with the overall design of the car
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0332.jpg


I would have preferred if they had somehow included the side indicators on the ORVMs
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0333.jpg


No bee-sting aerial on the Punto. The antenna is located at the front. It is a thin aerial which might break if manhandled. Watch out when covering the car. Unlike the Linea's OEM car cover, fortunately the Punto's OEM cover comes with a pocket for this antenna. Thank heavens for that!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0308.jpg


Front view of the antenna
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0310.jpg


The front wipers are quite sufficient and provide a good sweep to aid visibility even during heavy rains. Note the twin washer jets included in the black panel. The black plastic on this might get faded soon and I will need to get a can of dashboard polish ready to keep this plastic fade at bay. These washer jets are quite powerful. Don't venture towards using them in traffic (they spray a lot of water around), or else your adjacent road users will give you a punch in your face!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0311.jpg


The driver side of the wiper is noticeably bigger than the passenger side wiper.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0312.jpg


The rear wiper dead position is to the left. Not that it matters.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0314.jpg


A closer look at the rear wiper
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0313.jpg


I'll need to keep lifting it every time it accumulates windshield dust on the blades
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0315.jpg


The rear washer, as expected, is integrated into the high mounted stop lamp. Although this tiny thing is almost invisible, it is incredibly effective.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0320.jpg


Thick metal all over the body ensures that satisfying "thud" sound every time you shut the doors. They are noticeably heavy, but not as heavy as the Linea's doors which are still heavier!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0318.jpg


Front doors open in typical Fiat-ish 3-stage fashion. Here is position 1/3
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0321.jpg

Position 2/3
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0322.jpg

And position 3/3. At this position, the door is almost at right angles with the car body.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0323.jpg


A picture with all the doors open to the maximum extent. While front doors open in 3 stages, rear doors have a 2-stage opening.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0324.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0325.jpg


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0326.jpg


Getting under the hood of this hot hatch
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0329.jpg


Uncluttered engine bay of the Multijet VGT Punto
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0328.jpg


This is where the windshield washer jets are powered. Notice how the washer pipes are quite taut. A common complaint is that these tight pipes get unfastened over time (as the rubber wears out) and the parts fixing them with the plastic division joints need replacement
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0330.jpg


The underside of the bonnet gets this heat insulation material as standard
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0334.jpg


OEM Exide batteries power this car, like most other Fiats. The blue color is due to 3M anti-corrosion treatment on the terminals
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0335.jpg


Like most other European cars, the fuel filler cap is located on the driver's side of the car
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0337.jpg


A view of the fuel filler cap opened up. 'Diesel' stickers are OEM and will help in avoiding bunk staff from accidentally filling petrol.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0336.jpg


That just about completes the external parts of the Punto Sport. We'll go over the interiors in the next section.

Last edited by KarthikK : 20th November 2012 at 00:08.
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Old 14th November 2012, 10:34   #4
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Interiors :

The interiors of the Punto are what most people grumble about, in forums and in showrooms alike. In my opinion the Punto's interior plastics are not superb like the i20, but neither are they overly tacky like the Etios Liva.When I talk about interiors, I believe there are 3 parts to it (regardless of how uninformed I might sound here, I don't care).

- One is the upholstery - the seats, door trims, roof trims, etc.
- Second part is the bits and pieces of the whole interiors like the door handles, AC vents, equipment buttons and controls which you may come in contact with, display gauges, storage spaces, etc.
- The third part is the dashboard plastic and the overall fit and finish of the panels/plastics.

Disagree with me if you like, but the Punto Sport has among the best looking upholstery and seats. They are quite sporty, tasteful and aesthetically done up. In some sections, they have overdone the sporty theme, but it is largely acceptable. We will see pictures of these shortly. For tacky seats, kindly visit the nearest Toyota / Maruti showrooms and compare the seats of Liva (not the facelifted one) / Swift.

The second part is the differentiating factor between the 75HP Emotion and the 90HP Sport version of the Punto. While the Punto Sport gets chrome handles, chrome accented interiors, leather wrapped gear lever and steering wheel, the 75HP Emotion gets some kind of bluish grey plastic paint on levers which can get chipped off on the way back from the showroom. They look that tacky. The Punto Sport thankfully borrows the better quality of the bits and pieces from its elder sibling (Linea). The switches, knobs and steering feel very good to use. The dashboard instrument cluster looks aesthetically very pleasing. In fact, I liked the Punto's sporty instrument cluster more than my Linea's instrument cluster.

The third part is where Fiat deserves to be bashed left, right and centre. The black with grey plastic combination looks drab and the grey color makes it look like some bathroom tiles. The panel gaps are glaringly obvious in some areas and there are some rough, unfinished edges on some plastic panels, which I find unacceptable for a car of this price segment. In terms of fit and finish and dashboard plastic quality, my Linea T-Jet+ is a world apart! Ironically, until around 2 months ago, the discounted T-Jet+ (remaining stocks) was available at a price cheaper than the Punto Sport!

Now, if we were to view the interiors package in totality, the Punto Sport scores well on the first 2 parameters but loses out only in the plastic quality front. While it is correct to give criticism where it is due, it is also necessary to give credit where it is due. The next time people mindlessly bash Fiats for bad interiors without even having a look at it, please note it is the third category which they are continuously bad at, but the upholstery and equipment quality are quite upmarket and in some cases, ahead of most of the competition.

Let us have a pictorial glance of the interiors, with my 2 cents :

As soon as you get ready to sink into the Punto Sport's seats, this is what you see. The seats are fabric and are black with red stitching to give it a sporty touch. The grey strip in the centre looks good with the 'P' symbol in red embroidery
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0340.jpg


Another look at the Sport seats from the passenger side
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0344.jpg


Attention to detail : even the headrests get the red sport stitching treatment. Observe in the background: even the rear seats get the red sport stitching and the black/grey dual tone theme.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0341.jpg


The seats get bolsters for added support and ergonomics during cornering. The 'P' symbol is embroidered stitching again.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0342.jpg


Over to the tacky side of things now. The cheap 'bathroom' grey plastic makes one feel this car deserves better plastics for the price tag it commands. Needless to say, it is this grey plastic and the way it is fitted that gives this car the 'cheap plastics' tag. I would have preferred if they had just extended the same black plastic (at the top of the dashboard) downwards and given it an all-black theme. That would have looked and felt a lot more premium.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0345.jpg


The black and grey theme extends all the way into the centre panel and down until the handbrake lever
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0347.jpg


The Punto Sport gets 'Punto' badged door sils as OEM. Other Punto owners can get this fitted as a Fiat genuine accessory set.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0352.jpg


One of the many droolworthy aspects of this car - the Sport version gets Abarth racing pedals as OEM. This is the exact same set of pedals on the UK spec Abarth Punto! Again, this is available as a Fiat accessory for 11k bucks a set. Ironically, even the T-Jet+ which was projected as the best enthusiast car in their (Fiat's) stable, didn't come with these pedals when I bought it last year
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0353.jpg


The switches feel good to use and look premium. Although Fiat claims these are soft touch plastics, the truth is they are not!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0359.jpg


The instrument cluster is quite sporty and elegant. I like this simple black design more than the Linea's retro instrument dials.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0479.jpg


The Sport borrows the chrome accented interiors and door handles from its elder sibling. These are definitely better than the tacky grey plastic handles of the 75HP Punto.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0350.jpg


Chrome accents on the AC vent controls and dashboard panel look and feel upmarket, again much better than the bathroom grey plastic accents on the 75HP variant. For best association with the 'Sport' theme, these dashboard chrome accents should have been red colored too!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0465.jpg



The centre console can be termed old-world-ish by some, but to me it looks quite elegant, simple and uncluttered. The retro AC vents could have looked better though.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0356.jpg


The steering wheel is beefy, superb to use and looks good too. It gets contours to rest your thumbs too. I'll talk about the steering ergonomics and steering controls a bit later.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0363.jpg


A glaring example of tacky fit and finish on the dashboard panels. Please fire the technician who approves QC checks on these things. Do they even have a QC check in place for such visible blunders?
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0357.jpg



The plastic dashboard panel tackiness continues. And after 4 years, they still cannot fit that key assembly right, can they? By the way, the key slot faces the driver instead of the conventional side facing keyhole in other cars.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0358.jpg



The steering wheel gets leather wrap as OEM. The quality is good and it looks like it will last the distance
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0369.jpg



The gear lever feels good to hold and use, but the shift quality is rubbery and un-precise. I'll come to that later.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0370.jpg



Even the gear knob gets the red 'sport' stitching. I'm not too sure if I like it, and this is one of the areas where they have overdone the red theme.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0371.jpg



Similar to the Linea, the gear lever gets a leather wrap and sits in a chrome plated slot.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0372.jpg



Fabric upholstery continues on the door trims on all 4 doors
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0374.jpg



Roof trim gets a decent looking off-white fabric. Looks and feels good unlike the bathroom-quality grey plastics on the dash.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0375.jpg



Factory-fitted tinted glasses come as OEM with 70% minimum visibility. The next time a cop stops you to check for sunfilms, show him this print with the minimum transparency mentioned.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0384.jpg



Owing to the curved nature of the doors, this is how much the rear windows will go down
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0385.jpg


Comparison with the front windows and rear windows fully down. Notice the curvature of the rear door bottom portion? This is the reason why the rear windows don't go down fully.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0387.jpg


A cockpit view in summary of the interiors. I wish I had a fisheye lens to do more justice to this cockpit view picture.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0379.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 20th November 2012 at 07:58.
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Old 15th November 2012, 07:53   #5
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Utilities, Storage spaces and Ergonomics :

The Punto isn't blessed with too many storage spaces, and the space utilization is quite mediocre, in fact below average for a car with these large outer dimensions. If you're a prospective buyer thinking that the Punto is a long car with a massive cabin inside, you'll be disappointed. Tall passengers aren't very welcome at the rear, and rear headroom is at a serious premium for tall rear seat passengers. The cockpit, however, is massive and the driver/front passenger should have no problems whatsoever in any space department. It is the rear space which is not well managed in the Punto. For best overall interior space (especially rear) and utilization, please look at the Indica Vista or Etios Liva.

Let us go over the storage areas and ergonomic aspects of the Punto Sport with a few pictures :


The dashboard compartment / Glovebox has a big lid, but open it and you find it is ridiculously small. Only Fiat can deceive the customer with a big outer cabin and small space inside. Stuff your owner's manual, car's documents and your sunglasses case in here, and your glovebox is fully occupied! Any other luggage? Find some place else.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0389.jpg



Like in the Linea, the USB port is conveniently hidden away inside the dashboard compartment, away from the prying eyes of potential thieves. The problem I find with this (from my Linea ownership experience) is the accessibility at night, or when a friend sits in your car and wants to plug in his device. It is so hidden away that he or you will keep fiddling around trying to push the usb stick inside the slot.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0394.jpg



Cup holders at the front are good for a can of diet coke or red bull, nothing wider. No, not even a 500ml water bottle can fit into these.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0395.jpg



Where my Linea has an armrest for the front seats, the Punto has a bottle holder behind the handbrake lever. Again, a narrow slot but this one can take a 500ml bottle now.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0396.jpg



The front seat back pockets are decently sized and can be used to put away the newspaper or magazines you were reading. They are a bit on the shallow side though
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0408.jpg



Ribbed storage area below the handbrake is supposedly for your mobile phone, but it is not easily accessible when you are on the move. This makes this 'utility' purely cosmetic. Power socket is standard on the Dynamic, Emotion and Sport variants.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0397.jpg



All doors get these side pockets in the door panels. You can stuff 500ml bottles here. They are not very spacious, but sufficient to serve the purpose.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0399.jpg



All passenger doors get these miniscule, ribbed storage spaces next to the power window switch. I'm not sure about what was the intention behind providing these things. Apart from using them as miniature dustbins to dump chewing gum wrappers, I can't think of any other purpose.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0400.jpg



Just above the cup holders is a handy ticket holder where you can put away toll tickets or parking lot tickets. Surprisingly, this area is omitted in the Linea and the Punto gets it!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0499.jpg


On the driver side, right below the MyCar2 and fog lamp controls, there is an open storage area, and this is again largely useless and more cosmetic. Tickets fall out, and coins jump out on bad roads.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0500.jpg


Pop the hatch door, and this is what you see. Close to 300 litres of boot space is decent for a hatchback, and for more luggage, you have the option of folding the 60:40 split seats to make more room.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0405.jpg


The rear parcel tray can be fastened to go up with the hatch door like this
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0402.jpg


Or, if you have luggage on the parcel tray and don't want it to move with the hatch door, unfasten it from the hatch door slots to look like this
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0403.jpg


The rear parcel tray is wide and good enough to store your regular car tissue box or any such lightweight stuff that the passengers might use. Take care not to overload this shelf with too many things, because it will further deteriorate the (already bad) rear visibility due to the high stance.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0404.jpg



The Punto comes with the best looking rear, but it comes at a price. The loading bay is very high, so you'll have weight lifting exercises every time you want to load a heavy suitcase or kitbag into this place.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0406.jpg



Before you ask, yes, the boot area comes with a lamp to aid luggage retrieval/loading at nights.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0419.jpg


A closer look at the boot. Note how the beefy wheel arches now work against the boot space by hogging space on the sides of the boot.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0416.jpg

Here is the OEM tool kit which came in the car. They have thoughtfully put velcro tape strips on the case, which means it is firmly fastened to the bootmat and/or the walls of the boot. This prevents it from rolling around in an empty boot.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0421.jpg


The reflector triangle, first aid kit and a spare set of headlamps also came as OEM in the boot (expected anyway but just mentioning it)
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0423.jpg



The spare tyre in the boot. Now it is time for some bashing, my favourite area at that. Who the heck thought of providing 165/80R14 tyres as spare for a car which has 4 other 195/60R15 tyres and is supposedly a 'Sport' version? Worse still, an Emotion 75HP Punto which costs 60k lesser than my car comes with spare 195/60R15 tyres (steel wheels though), while I get skinny, garbage quality JK Tornados for being a 'premium' customer paying close to 9L of hard earned money. If you cannot provide me a spare alloy, that is fine. At least provide me the same size in a steel rim (like the Emotion). If you still cannot, please don't insult the 'Sport' customer by offering it to the 'Emotion' customers.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0425.jpg



Interior dual roof lamps come with superb auto-dimming theatrics every time you unlock/lock or open/close the doors. They can also be adjusted to switch on either lamp independently. The left side switch is for the usual setting - permanently off / switch on with door opening / permanently on. There are no rear roof lamps in the Punto, unlike the Linea.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0412.jpg


Driver side sun visor does not get vanity mirrors. Apart from the heavy steering, ladies now have another reason not to be in the driver's seat of a Punto
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0413.jpg


Passenger side sun visor comes with a vanity mirror. Unlike the T-Jet, there is neither a cover flap nor illumination on these mirrors.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0415.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 20th November 2012 at 00:19.
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Old 15th November 2012, 14:03   #6
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Utilities, Storage spaces and Ergonomics (continued...) :

Moving over to the Ergonomics section, I'll concentrate on the driver ergonomics, how reachable the basic levers and controls are, and the rear passenger ergonomics.


The front cabin is large and airy and the doors open fully allowing easy access. Ingress/Egress is extremely easy for even bulky personalities and overly tall people.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0338.jpg



This lever controls the steering tilt level. The Punto does not come with telescopic steering adjust. It just has steering tilt.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0364.jpg



The steering column doesn't move much. The steering is at the highest position setting in this picture.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0365.jpg



And it is at the lowest position in this picture. I doubt you can notice any significant steering height difference from these 2 pictures.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0366.jpg



The driver and front passenger get adjustable head restraints with a good amount of vertical travel. Easily fits anyone and everyone's head.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0410.jpg



Driver gets a height adjustable seat, adjustable via this lever. The lever feels flimsy and ought to be of better quality.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0434.jpg



The height adjustment control is on the right. The other control is for the backrest position
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0435.jpg



At the most forward position of the front seat, the cockpit gets a bit too cramped. The subject in this case is 6'1".
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0427.jpg



However, pull the seat backwards and the Punto Sport can accomodate the 6'1" driver comfortably, and still has space left. This is easily the most spacious cockpit among all hatchbacks, especially for taller enthusiasts. The lumbar support and under-thigh support are best in class from what I have seen. The steering wheel feels superb to hold and use, plus it also has contours to rest your thumbs during long drives. The leather wrap helps you grip the wheel firmly during cornering.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0428.jpg



The Abarth racing pedals are a delight to use. Not to mention, everyone who looks at the pedals will ask you where you got them from! On the ergonomics bit, the footwell is a tad bit cramped with the pedals spaced too closely to one another. Notice how the subject's foot movement on/off the dead pedal can interfere with the clutch pedal.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0429.jpg



Even the clutch and brake pedals are quite close to each other. This is manageable though, so I will let it pass without any negative comments. The main accessibility problem is with the clutch pedal and dead pedal. I have to add here that the dead pedal is supremely comfortable on highways and is ergonomically superb in inclination angle. I did a 500km drive and was satisfied with the comfort this broad dead pedal offered my feet.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0430.jpg



Even the seat belt height is adjustable via these buttons. All you need to do is hold them down, adjust and release at the desired height.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0437.jpg



The handbrake lever is located well and feels good to use. It doesn't get any leather wrapping as OEM though.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0451.jpg



Cheap plastic fuel release lever and boot lever are located at the driver's foot level, but located well out of the driver's feet movement area, so they don't interfere with your movements at any point in time. Note that this boot release lever is the only way to open the hatch/boot door without the key. Neither does the remote key come with a boot release button, nor does the boot have an electromagnetic opener button like the Swift. The only other way to open the boot lid is to unlock it manually with the key.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0455.jpg



Bonnet release lever is also well located, right under the MyCar2 and fog lamp buttons, and integrated into the black plastic panel. It is unobtrusive, looks okay and doesn't feel flimsy to use either.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0514.jpg



Over to the rear bench now, the rear seats get adjustable head restraints too, but the passenger in the centre is given stepmotherly treatment. This, coupled with the transmission hump makes the Punto Sport more of a 4-seater than a 5-seater.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0411.jpg



Here is a shot of the rear legspace with the front seat in the normal position. The legspace doesn't look too bad in this picture, considering the passenger is 6'1".
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0431.jpg



However, push the front seat back (say, when the driver is tall), and the equation changes completely. The tall rear seat passenger is now crushed into nowhere. This is what I was referring to when I spoke about the rear legspace in the Punto.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0432.jpg



The coupe-like roof slopes towards the back of the car, and this hampers rear headspace. The 6'1" passenger's head is almost touching the roof in this picture. If you go on a sudden speedbreaker, what can happen is anyone's guess
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0433.jpg

In a nutshell, I am extremely satisfied with the Punto's ergonomics, especially for the driver. If I were to describe the driver ergonomics subjectively (for myself), I would ignore the cramped footwell and say it is best in class in anything else you can think of.

Last edited by KarthikK : 19th November 2012 at 14:45.
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Old 15th November 2012, 18:27   #7
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Features, Gizmos and controls :

The Punto sport is not the segment best when it comes to interior gizmos (i20 rules in this department), but it is sufficiently equipped, at least better equipped than its Japanese, German and Czech competition which offer far lesser features and are overpriced. At least until recently they were. There's nothing that one can find lacking in the Punto and complain about. All the basic and advanced equipment you need are present.

Here's a sequence of pictures about the features in Punto Sport, in no particular order :


The central instrument console features a MID along with the usual dials and indicator lamps. The MID detects and flashes messages when something malfunctions, even something as trivial as a headlamp bulb or boot lamp.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0479.jpg



The orange-lit instrument cluster at night.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0575.jpg



Central locking on the driver's side is controlled by pushing in the door handle, as shown in this picture. Pulling it outward unlocks all doors. There is no separate switch for central locking. Quite thoughtful.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0361.jpg



In typical European fashion, the wiper stalk and headlamp stalk are reversed. This is the wiper stalk on the right side.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0443.jpg



And this is the headlamp stalk on the left side
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0442.jpg



The usual features on the headlamp stalk
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0444.jpg


And the unusual feature on the headlamp stalk : Follow-me-home headlamps. When you get out of the car, just pull the headlamp stalk backwards (as in a pass signal) and follow-me-home feature gets activated. The headlight remains switched on for 30, 60, 90 or 120 seconds (you can choose how long) after you get out of the car.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0454.jpg



The controls for the headlamp leveller, and controls for the front and rear fog lamps on the driver side of the dash
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0453.jpg


The MID tells you exactly which door is open
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0448.jpg

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0449.jpg



The wiper stalks feature the usual set of controls. The central ring controls the rear wiper. Rear washer is activated by pushing the stalk away from the driver.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0445.jpg


Power window controls on the driver side are nice to use and the switches feel premium. Window lock switch is handy if there are mischievous children in the car. All power window switches (even on passenger doors) get Auto-down feature with delay. Driver window gets Auto-up as well (no anti-pinch protection).
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0458.jpg



ORVM adjustment controls are simple and easy to use.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0506.jpg


Automatic climate control system is conveniently located at the bottom of the central console. The controls are simple and even a kindergarten kid can operate the simple layout.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0459.jpg


The ACC is quite a chiller and does the job decently, although it can't hold a candle to the T-Jet's industrial freezer-grade A/C . The rear defogger also is quite effective.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0463.jpg


The A/C vents are adequately large and provide a good air blast. The radius of the cold air spread is also decent
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0464.jpg


OEM Blaupunkt audio system with below-average speakers. The head unit is equipped with CD player, USB connectivity and comes with a FM / AM radio. Sadly, there is no Aux slot.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0466.jpg


OEM cheap quality speakers and tweeters are integrated into all 4 doors
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0570.jpg


Here's a video of a song on radio, showing how tacky the OEM speakers sound. Notice how the sound quality starts to show jarring at slightly higher volume.



Speed sensitive volume: When you rev the engine, the volume of the audio increases to try and counter the rise in revving noise.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0472.jpg


The radio can be configured to play even when the ignition is switched off, say when you're at a traffic signal. Sadly this feature is not present for USB music (I don't know why they make half-hearted features like these)
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0475.jpg



The steering wheel features a set of controls for Blue&Me and the audio system.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0521.jpg


On the right side are the next track / previous track, source buttons and the 'Main' button is used for full audio menu access. This button is also used to receive or make calls when the phone is paired with Blue & Me.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0476.jpg


On the left side are the volume controls and microphone mute button. The windows symbol activates the Blue & Me voice command system, which can be used to make calls, read out messages, operate the audio system, etc. Some other member had posted a demo video of Blue & Me, so I will not bother doing it again.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0477.jpg


MyCar (basic) features some information about the range, fuel efficiency, average speed and travel time for the tripmeter distance. There are 2 trips by the way, A and B.

Access to MyCar (basic) information is via this 'TRIP' button on the wiper stalk.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0440.jpg

That allows you to cycle through these items :

Range with the current fuel
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0481.jpg

Tripmeter distance. To reset the specific tripmeter, hold the TRIP button for 2 seconds.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0482.jpg

The 'Kitna Deti Hai?' section
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0483.jpg

The instantaneous fuel consumption values. It is blank in this picture since the car was stationary.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0484.jpg

Average Speed of this tripmeter distance
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0485.jpg

Total travel time for this tripmeter distance
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0486.jpg

Similar set of items exist for tripmeter B, which I have omitted.

Last edited by KarthikK : 20th November 2012 at 00:25.
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Old 15th November 2012, 20:31   #8
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Features and controls (continued...)

MyCar (advanced) features some more options, some of which can be customized by the user.

MyCar (advanced) can be accessed via the menu key on the driver side of the dash.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0441.jpg

Some of the options in MyCar :

You can set the speed limit buzzer to alert you when you exceed the set speed
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0487.jpg

Passenger airbag can be deactivated if you're driving solo
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0488.jpg

Service reminder to show you in how many kms the next service is due
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0489.jpg

Automatic locking of doors can be activated / deactivated. The auto-locking happens once you exceed 20 kmph.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0494.jpg

There are tons of other customization options such as units, buzzer volume, display brightness, etc, which I won't post pictures of. I hope I have covered most of the features in the car. That concludes this features' section.

We'll move over to the Driving characteristics and my 2 cents :

Here's a look at the technical specifications of the Punto Sport:
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-specs.jpg


Engine characteristics:

The Punto Sport has always been a nice, torquey hatch since the Emotion 90HP days. Nothing has been changed on the power front, and the 18PS of additional power it puts up compared to the regular Punto, does aid driveability subtly. Note that this same Multijet engine with a VGT puts up 93PS as compared to the 75PS of the FGT variant Multijet engine which does duty in most other hatches in the country (Swift, Ritz, Punto, Sail to name a few). The VGT-equipped engine powers bigger cars like the SX4, Linea, Manza and the Ertiga. The Punto Sport is the only hatchback to get this VGT version of Multijet, and Fiat proudly proclaims that this is the most powerful diesel hatchback in the country. On paper, this is true, but in a straightline the i20 with a marginally lesser power output, actually turns out to be faster.


Acceleration :

The Punto Sport is not the quickest hatch off the block (the i20 wins that battle) in a straightline, but once you're in the turbo zone the power delivery is linear and nice. It is almost 2 seconds faster than the 75 HP Punto to the 100 mark.

The only fly in the ointment in a sudden acceleration scenario is the first gear - second gear problem. First gear is a bit short and second is tall. When you want to blast off from standstill, you will encounter a slight lag when you accelerate hard and upshift from 1st to 2nd. After you enter 2nd gear and accelerate from then on, it becomes a rocket and there is no catching the Punto Sport. In my ownership experience, this 1st gear - 2nd gear lag issue is largely exaggerated by these magazine journalists and reviewers. Not everyone buys their cars for drag racing, and the lag is not at all perceptible in relaxed day-to-day usage. It doesn't bother me much, and it shouldn't bother any other prospective buyer either, unless you're the kind who blasts off revving hard every time like a maniac. Then again, if you would like to do that, you would be better off picking a petrol car than a diesel. I rate the acceleration as 8 out of 10 for a diesel hatchback. If you are in the right gear, and know how to stay in the turbo zone at the right time, even hard acceleration is a piece of cake.

Improvement areas : They need to work on the gear ratios for 1st and 2nd gears to eliminate the lag during hard acceleration.


In-city driveability and low-end grunt :

The low end torque is superb, and you can potter around in the city all day long, in 2nd or 3rd gear and not experience any difficulty or sluggishness anywhere. The turbo spools up by around 1500rpm and upwards. Contrasting this to the 75HP Punto which gets activated like a switch turned on post 1800-1900 rpm, the Sport feels more linear in acceleration and encounters lesser turbo lag. I like the VGT feel more than the rushed feeling of the FGT variant of this Multijet engine. The initial torque is quite massive and more than sufficient in the city. Bumper to bumper traffic is handled with ease. The clutch is also super light and doesn't make your left foot strained. It is so light that you will end up slipping it too soon and stalling the car during the initial days (looking very noobish). In fact, my T-Jet (being a petrol) has a heavier clutch than the Multijet Punto's clutch!

Improvement areas : The clutch pedal has a long travel, which might make your left foot painful during your first few days of using this car. As you get used to this, the pain disappears. You can take my word for it, because I took some time getting used to this in my Linea T-Jet, and the long pedal travel doesn't bother me any more. It is definitely an improvement area though, for Fiat to work on.


Turbo Lag, how much it affects day-to-day driving, and Turbo Surge :

Like I mentioned before, if you are pottering around in the city or in traffic, the power delivery is quite good and you won't find the turbo lag affecting you. The overall low end torque is good, which is anyway expected, considering it is a diesel. You can drive around with a full load and with A/C at full blast and still not feel the car getting bogged down. Inclines, heavy loads and darting are all easy tasks for the Punto Sport.

The Turbo lag zone is below 1500-1600 rpm. You will find the throttle response a bit slow if you are on this side of 1600 rpm in a higher gear. The turbo lag at lower rpms is more pronounced than what you may find in some of the lag-less competition. You will encounter this annoying problem only when you make inspired dashes into and out of traffic gaps. However, once the VGT turbo spools up, you will find the acceleration decent and linear in the 1600-2500rpm range (this range is also better than the 75HP Punto). As long as you are in the turbo zone, you are good to go. If you are still interested in torturing a diesel engine by revving it higher, push down on the throttle some more. Post 2500rpm, there is a rocket-like surge in acceleration and you will actually get pushed back in your seat as the rev meter climbs up to around 3800-4000 rpm and starts to run out of breath there. This last rpm zone has some extreme turbo surge around the 3000 rpm mark. Don't give your car keys to newbies if you feel they might rev the car high. Chances are they may not be able to handle the post-2500rpm surge in the city. It is almost like the surge I get in my T-Jet, just a more subtle and unrefined version which gets stagnated quicker than in the T-Jet.

The Ford Figo and the Nissan Micra are 2 diesel hatches which I found to be almost lag-free. While the Punto suffers from this lag in the lower rev range, neither of the lag-free hatches have a good top end in my drive experience, and barring the i20, the Punto Sport will bash and butcher the rest of the competition at the higher end of the turbo range. This makes it very pleasurable on highways and ghat sections

What I didn't like : The turbo lag is slightly annoying if you want to make sudden dashes in the city, between traffic gaps. Hopefully a tuning box should dispatch this problem out of the Sport.


Highway driveability and high-end grunt :

Out on the highway, this car pulls effortlessly. Overtaking fellow road users is a piece of cake, and it effortlessly gobbles miles. Sudden deceleration and acceleration is dispatched with ease, such as in the case of sudden obstacles crossing the road, etc. Another worthy aspect mentioning here is the Punto's ability to mask speed. You have to actually look at the speedometer to check what speed you are doing. From inside the cabin, even highway speeds are masked brilliantly to appear like you are just cruising effortlessly. At around 100 kmph, the engine rpm hovers around the 2.4k rpm mark and cruising at higher speeds is also effortless. I don't do higher speeds than that figure because of the inherent unpredictable nature of our country's roads, but there are fellow owners who claim to have taken this car to 180 kmph and not felt the engine straining too much to get there. To truly appreciate the abilities of this engine (coupled with the chassis), take the car to the nearest ghat section and drive it there once. I frequent ghat sections during my weekend drives, and even if I benchmark the Punto sport against its flawless elder sister, the T-Jet, the Punto can actually pack a punch in highway and ghat section driveability. In a nutshell, it is the best diesel hatchback you can buy for highway usage.


Engine Refinement :

The Multijet engine is superb as far as refinement is concerned. Neither do you have any engine noise filtering into the cabin, nor are there perceptible vibration levels like the other 3-cylinder engines in the hatchback market. The sound damping also has a big role to play in controlling the noise levels of this diesel engine, and at idle you can hardly hear the clatter inside the cabin. Check out this video to see how quiet it is on the inside, and you can actually tell it is a diesel engine only when you pop the hood and go close to it.


With revving, this is how the engine sounds on the outside. This video was not required anyway, but shot it just for timepass


While the refinement levels are nowhere close to an i20, the Multijet engine is still quite refined for a diesel mill. At lower revs, you can hardly hear the engine clattering away inside the cockpit. Doing rounds in the city, you will hardly have an issue with engine refinement. At higher rpms, the engine note does tend to become a little coarse and sounds strained, but it is not alarmingly coarse.


Gearbox and gearshift quality :

The gearbox and its usage are nothing to write home about. I had already mentioned about the infamous gear ratios' problem when I spoke about the acceleration, so that's not what I'm talking about. I refer to the gearbox feel. Shifting gears gives you a very rubbery feeling. The shift quality is un-precise and there are instances where you have to 'search' for a gear to slot it in. At some instances, the gear lever is stubborn and refuses to slot into the gear, requiring a firm push. This rubbery feeling does get better over time from what I have observed in my T-Jet experience. The fact remains, that it is nowhere as precise as a Polo's gearbox or Swift's fantastic short-throw gearbox.


NVH levels and damping :

Sound damping is excellent in the Punto. You can hardly hear the engine inside the cabin unless you rev it really hard. All your average and above-average potholes, bad roads and the like will just produce a faint gurgling sound in the cabin and the car is so darn tank-like that it won't even move, so vibrations are non-existent too. External noises are also superbly controlled and hardly audible even if you shut off the audio system. The window thickness is also quite thick, and once you wind up the windows the outside traffic noise is effectively shut out. The only irritant is the wind noise which accompanies the mirrors. It produces a whistling noise at slightly higher speeds, but again this is inaudible if you already have music running in the background. I have done close to 1000 kms now and have yet to experience any rattles. I will keep the thread updated about whatever new rattles I observe over the course of ownership.


The 'Kitna Deti Hai' section, Fuel Efficiency :

The obvious question most people want to know in a 'Sport' variant is how much more the Sport version sips compared to the non-sport version. Rest assured, both of them report similar fuel efficiency figures. In fact, the Variable Geometry Turbo in the Punto Sport is supposed to boost fuel efficiency more than the regular 75HP Punto. The ARAI tests rate the fuel efficiency of the Punto Sport at 20.5 kmpl and the regular Punto at 20.3 kmpl.

I have not done an out-and-out fuel efficiency marathon to test how much the Punto Sport is capable of returning, but here is a brief idea of how much one can expect (all figures taken from MID readings) in different scenarios :

In city, with bumper-to-bumper traffic, 100% A/C usage : 11-12 kmpl.
In city, with bumper-to-bumper traffic, no A/C usage : ~13 kmpl

In city, with moderate, smooth flowing traffic, 100% A/C usage : ~15 kmpl
In city, with moderate, smooth flowing traffic, no A/C usage : ~16 kmpl

On the highway, free flowing expressways, constant cruising speeds and 100% A/C usage : 19-20 kmpl
On the highway, free flowing expressways, constant cruising speeds and no A/C usage : 20-21 kmpl

On the highway, free flowing expressways, moderate to heavy ripping and 100% A/C usage : ~14-15 kmpl
On the highway, free flowing expressways, moderate to heavy ripping and no A/C usage : ~15 kmpl

On the highway, ghat sections with hairpins and curves, 100% A/C usage : ~15 kmpl
On the highway, ghat sections with hairpins and curves, no A/C usage : 16-17 kmpl


Handling :

Handling has always been a strong area in Fiats, and the Punto doesn't fail in keeping up the family tradition. The handling of the Punto is more sedan-like than hatchback-like. Need I say more? The Figo comes a close second, but the Punto is simply flawless, and is the best handler among all the hatchbacks available in the country today. The car is very, very sure-footed and handles like it was on rails. It refuses to be unsettled even in the worst of curves, corners at the speed you want it to, without grumbling. In fact it urges you as a driver to test your limits during cornering. Throw it around corners like a go-kart and watch a wide smile appear on your face. Take it on a ghat section, start taking the curves and hairpins, rediscover childhood and rediscover what driving pleasure really means. It cannot get better than this. I rest my case.


Steering Feedback :


This is another area where Punto trumps the competition. The hydraulic power steering on the Punto is perfectly calibrated and weighted. It is the best steering wheel to use among all the hatches, purely for the communicative nature of the steering, and the amount of feedback it gives to the driver about the road surface below the car. This is one of the aspects of the Punto which makes the drive so involving and enjoyable for the driver. That's on the driver's perspective. On the flip side, Ladies or people with weak hands might find the hydraulic power steering a tad bit hard to turn at parking speeds, since the HPS unit is not as light as the EPS steering units on other hatches. From an enthusiast's perspective, it is inch perfect and best in class.


Braking :

Although the Punto sport does not get disc brakes on all 4 wheels, braking quality is more than adequate. I am satisfied with the current level of bite. For the decent brakes coupled with ABS, the Punto Sport is definitely a peace-of-mind ensuring car on the highways.


Ride Quality :

With the stiff suspension setup, one would tend to believe the ride quality is very harsh in the Punto. Not true. The Punto absorbs all bumps and potholes with the same ease that it handles around tight corners. The balance between handling and ride quality is once again best in class. With a solo driver in the car at low speeds on bad roads, one can feel that the car is a bit stubborn and stiff on bad roads, but this evens out as you gain speed. Having driven both the siblings, I somehow feel the Punto Sport has a slightly softer suspension setup compared to the Linea T-Jet+. At highway speeds, the Punto's ride quality is very plush and comfortable, and there is not an element of bounciness anywhere. The balance between handling and ride quality needs to be experienced rather than explained here.


Build Quality :

This car comes with perhaps the thickest metal build in the sub-10L segment. The car feels tank-like and inside the cabin you get a very secure feeling due to the heavy shell surrounding you. The doors feel very heavy and big-car-like, and you get that satisfying 'Thud' every time you shut the door. Needless to say, the sturdy build is one of the main safety aspects that will protect the occupants in the event of a collision.


Visibility and Blind spots :

The overall visibility is quite good and largely sedan-like. The cabin is large and airy, the front windshield has a large surface area and you are ensured a good view of the road in front of you. The dashboard is a tad bit wide too, and if you ever polish this black dashboard plastic, the reflection of the dash on the windshield hampers visibility to an extent. I strongly recommend wearing polarized sunglasses to cut out these reflections and glare, or else just instruct the servicing staff not to polish the dashboard plastic.


Driver's view of the front
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0380.jpg


The A-pillar is not too wide and doesn't provide much room for blind spots
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0509.jpg


The Outside rear view mirrors provide good rear visibility, but I would have preferred them to provide some more view of the sides. This doesn't bother me much though, since I am already used to the same shape and size of mirrors on my T-Jet.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0501.jpg


These large, airy windows more than make up for what the ORVMs fail to catch on your sides. Blind spots are minimal and overall visibility is superb
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0513.jpg


It is the same story with the passenger side rear view mirror, and I am quite used to these mirrors now. They provide sufficient visibility of annoying traffic trying to overtake you on your left!
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0502.jpg


The Inside rear view mirror is decent and provides a good view, but it is not the mirror which is the problem. The rear windshield itself has a high lifted stance, which gives you a very minimalistic view of what's behind your car! Without the aid of reverse parking sensors, the driver can very well miss spotting a parked bike or low car behind the Punto. Due to this bad rear visibility, I highly recommend fitting reverse parking sensors or better still, a reverse camera, whichever is affordable.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0512.jpg


The night time visibility is decent with the stock headlights, but I feel that a headlamp upgrade is necessary if one were to consider taking the car out on highways. The fog lamps have a good throw, but I haven't had many opportunities to test it extensively.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0572.jpg


Safety :

The Punto Sport comes with host of safety features to protect the occupants from a host of risks.

- Dual stage SRS airbags on the Punto Sport
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0521.jpg

Passenger side airbag is set into a separate compartment, so in the event that it opens, there will be no dashboard replacement bills. Passenger airbag can be deactivated via MyCar menu in case the car is being used solo.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0520.jpg


The other safety features on this car include :

- Fire Prevention System : cuts out fuel supply in the event of a major collision. Don't ask me what's the definition of "major" in this context

- Engine Immobilizer with rolling code : prevents car thieves from breaking in and driving your car away with fake keys

- Underbody protection plate is provided as OEM. If the massive 185mm ground clearance still doesn't help you, this thing takes the hits on bad roads, nasty potholes and steep speed-breakers.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0584.jpg

-3 point ELR Seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters : self explanatory

- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)

- Tank-like metal build quality : I count this also as an important safety feature


A brief comparison with its elder sibling and garage-mate, the Linea T-Jet+ :

It is always a tempting thought to compare something which is significantly lesser in capability and say the bigger one is better. I wouldn't ideally have indulged in this unfair comparo, except for the fact that the discounted (remaining stocks of) Linea T-Jet+ was being sold at almost similar or even lesser prices than the Punto Sport until recently. For someone who wanted an out-and-out enthusiast car, was torn choosing between these 2 cars, bought the Punto Sport / Emotion 90HP merely for fuel consumption costs and thought it was the right decision, I'm sorry to say you were wrong! The T-Jet+ is a better enthusiast car inside, outside, in the heart and in the blood.

The elder sibling and garage-mate : Linea T-Jet+
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_024993.jpg

The Punto Sport is a fantastic enthusiast car, and the best driver's diesel hatchback in the country. Period. Bring in the elder sibling Linea T-Jet+ into the picture and compare car to car. The equation changes completely. The T-Jet+, take my word here, butchers the Punto Sport and decimates it in every aspect a driver can think of.

- Rocket-like acceleration. Power delivery is massive and mind-blowing in the T-Jet+, starting from 1500rpm and going all the way until 5500rpm. The Punto although itself powerful, is no match.
- The refinement is superb (being a petrol)
- Exceptional braking v/s excellent braking (T-Jet has all 4 discs)
- outright power (120PS v/s 93PS)
- handling (both are superb but the Linea is more agile and razor sharp)
- body roll (minimal in the Punto v/s zero in the Linea)
- ride quality (Linea feels more plush)
- interiors (full leather upholstery + superior fit and finish in the Linea)
- headlights (Linea's are way better)
- A/C effectiveness (T-Jet has a freezer-grade ACC and the Punto's ACC is a fridge).
Many more aspects I can continue the bashing in, but I'll stop here.

Ignoring fuel costs, the ONLY place, i repeat, the ONLY trait where the Punto betters the Linea is in the turning radius (5m of Punto v/s 5.4m of Linea). I'll do a proper comparo when I can spare some time for that, but if you are an enthusiast (willing to compromise on fuel costs) still faced with this question - "old stock of T-Jet+ or brand new Punto?", close your eyes and go for the T-Jet+! You won't regret it. Ever.

I believe I have covered most aspects of the car and the driving characteristics. I will conclude this section here. If there is anything about the Punto Sport you specifically want to know, do PM me or post about it and I shall provide more information with photos or videos wherever you deem necessary.


Ownership Aspects : Price, Warranty, Paper work, Service Frequency, et. al


The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0555.jpg


How much did I pay for the Punto Sport finally?

Here's a breakup of the price, though I believe it might have changed now. If you're not living in Bangalore, the prices won't be relevant for you anyway.

Ex-Showroom price : 7,50,310 /-
Life-time road tax : 1,16,598 /-
Absolute edition pack opted for : NO
Insurance : free (as part of last month's discount deals for Fiat cars)
Extended warranty and RSA : 5,093 /-
Misc : 4,750 /-
Grand total (on road price) : 8,76,751 /-

The insurance premium was free for the first year, and the policy which they gave me was a comprehensive policy from Future Generali.


The main key and the spare key :

Similar to most other manufacturers, the Punto's main key comes with a remote, while the spare key doesn't. Also note, the remote does not contain a boot release button. If you don't want to open the driver's door for this sake, the boot has to be opened from outside manually, by using the key (like I mentioned earlier). The remote and the buttons seem to be of good quality, and I believe it will last the distance.

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0556.jpg


The spare key does not come with a remote. If you want another remote key, you need to request Fiat for it by paying a hefty sum of 9,000 bucks for them to manufacture one for your vehicle's code and send it from Italy.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0569.jpg


Prior to delivery, I used to get a stupid doubt about how I would differentiate between the Linea's and Punto's keys, and whether there was a chance of mixing up keys at times. I don't have to think of that problem any more, since the T-Jet's key comes with a boot release button while the Punto's doesn't.

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0559.jpg


Warranty periods and Servicing :

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0566.jpg

Fiat has perhaps the highest warranty periods on offer. I doubt any other manufacturer offers such a high warranty period, either by age or mileage. Lets hope I don't ever get to use it *lol*.

OEM warranty period : 24 months or 80,000 km, whichever is earlier.

Extended warranty period : 26 months beyond the OEM warranty period or 1,50,000 km total mileage

Total warranty period : 50 months or 1,50,000 km mileage.

Battery warranty : OEM battery is provided by Exide, and it carries a 1 year warranty.

There is no running-in period mentioned anywhere in the owner's manual, which leads me to believe that these engines are already run-in before they are fitted into the cars on the assembly line. I will still take the safer route and take it easy for the first couple of thousand kilometres.

Coming to the servicing frequency and schedule, it is a bit different from other manufacturers who typically have a first service scheduled within a month from the delivery date. With Fiat, the first service is late at around 6 months or 5000 km, and there are 3 free services after which you have to pay for labour.

First service : 5,000 km or 6 months from delivery date, whichever is earlier. This is more of an inspection service with non-technical stuff like wheel alignment, tyre rotation, topping up the fluids, etc.

Second service : 15,000 km or 1 year from delivery date, whichever is earlier. This is the first 'actual' service.

Third service : 30,000 km or 2 years from delivery date, whichever is earlier.

From then on, the services are paid and the frequency is once a year or 15,000 km from the previous service. Fiat's service coupon booklet optimistically has coupons printed until the 1,80,000 km mark.


I'm approaching the end of my ownership review, and this next section will be the last part about the car. I concentrate on what accessories I added during delivery time, what I intend to add in the near future and things I would like to add within a year of ownership.


Accessories, modifications and enhancements :

What I got during delivery time :

Foot mats and mud flaps : I didn't pay for them, so didn't bother much about these. The foot mats are fabric ones, and they will be replaced by 3M mats whenever vitamin M permits. I know the mud flaps look ugly, but I do not like to splash muck into the faces of following bikers or cars in the traffic behind me during rains. I used to ride the bike to office myself all these days, and I know what it feels like to be splashed by a slush spray from cars without mud flaps. I will keep them on, in the interest of other road users.

Reverse parking sensors : They are a boon especially since the high windshield doesn't provide good rear visibility. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so a reverse sensor was fitted to prevent accidental goof-ups. This one is integrated into a large clip-on rear view mirror.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0527.jpg

It comes with a distance display which activates when you engage reverse, and there are voice alerts to warn you about how close you are to the obstacle
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0526.jpg


Rear spoiler to enhance the 'Sport' looks. It is an OEM genuine accessory from Fiat, and it doesn't require any hole drilling or alterations. It directly bolts on to the top part of the hatch door sides.
The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0524.jpg

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0525.jpg


What I plan to get in the next couple of months :

- Tyre upgrade from OEM Apollo Accelere 195/60R15 to Michelin Primacy LC 195/60R15 for added ride comfort and reduced tyre noise. I may also choose Yokohama AVS DB 550 of the same size, depending on my mood in the tyre shop.

- Philips DRL4 Daytime running lamps. I am not a fan of cheap chinese products which might need wire splicing and result in fuse burnouts some time later. Better to pay for quality products or else, wait it out until I can afford the best quality ones.

- Black Abarth decals for the sides to replace and get rid of the OEM side stripes. There's a vendor on EBay UK for this.

- Black gloss (not matt) vinyl film for the roof, to give it the look of a panorama sunroof.

- OEM speaker upgrade to better ones which don't crackle, rattle and squeal

- 3M nomad foot mats to absorb the dirt, slush, mud, liquids and any other gross thing you can think of.


What I plan to do over the course of the next one year of ownership:

- RaceDynamics tuning box to bump up power and make it a ~120bhp monster hatchback.

- Upgrade air filter to match the RD box's increased fuelling / power output.

- Upgrade stock headlamp bulbs to more powerful and useful ones

- Upgrade stock horn to a better one.

- Try to get interior neons to give it a sportier look on the inside. Exterior neons are illegal by the way, so I mean ONLY interior neons/lighting for the leg space or something similar

- Upgrade to Stanley full leather upholstery, whilst retaining the red and black sport theme.

- Try to get the Linea's (Fiat genuine, not third party) front arm rest retro-fitted in the Punto.


Acknowledgements :

No ownership review thread is complete without acknowledging the ones responsible for it, directly or indirectly.

- Special thanks to BHPian nkrishnap, for a lot of help throughout the purchase process, including putting me on to the right people at Prerana motors, introducing me to the SBI bank manager for the car loan (he had taken his car loan at the same branch), accompanying me for the PDI, and clarifying a zillion of my technical, non-technical and finance doubts on google talk, sometimes at unearthly hours. A huge shoutout to him for all the help!

- Thanks to my cousin and newbie BHPian (nitin) for accompanying me to the photoshoot location and helping out with the review pictures. He rode all the way for 60km on his CBR250R to help me there on a blisteringly hot afternoon. Here's a picture of my Punto with the CBR taken that day

The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. *UPDATE* Interiors now in Karlsson Leather-dsc_0532.jpg

Thanks also to :

- sandeepmohan, bluu and reignofchaos for their many inputs. We work out of the same tech park and meet for lunch regularly. If they see this thread and find out I have taken delivery of the car, I'm sure the next lunch will be billed on me *lol*.

- shashank.nk, vb-san, Sheel, High_octane and many more BHPians that helped me take this purchase decision on the 'what car?' thread. I may have left out many names here. I don't have a very good memory, but if you ever helped in my decision thread, thanks a lot!

- All the Punto 90HP owners for your useful inputs, informative posts and ownership review threads, especially cRaZyDrIvEr (er.. did I get the case alternating pattern right?), parimal_g, Scofield, nimish anthony, driving nomad and raj_5004.

If you're still awake after this ownership review, thanks for reading! I'll keep the thread updated with anything and everything about my Punto worth sharing here. If there's anything else you'd like to know more about, or want details or pictures of something, do ask and I'll be glad to oblige. So long then.

Cheers.

Turbo Diesel for weekdays, Turbo Petrol for weekends. Life couldn't get better than this for me.

Last edited by KarthikK : 20th November 2012 at 11:26.
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Old 20th November 2012, 13:07   #9
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Note From Team-BHP Support: Thread moved from Assembly line to Initial Ownership Reviews section.

Karthik,

I'm truly at a loss for words. What an incredibly compiled review. Easily among the top 5 Team-BHP Ownership-Reviews of all time. What this now needs is regular updates in the form of feedback and pictures. Sensational stuff!
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Old 20th November 2012, 14:26   #10
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Voila the "Jet's" younger Sibling is finally here. Congrats on this Bro and I have not clue what words to put in here man. Honestly, IMO mods can probably put this thread up in "2012 Punto Sport Offical Car review" or something. Mind boggling Photos and Information here Karthik. Hell, there are so many photos here that they are not even loading on my office network!!!!! LOL
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Old 20th November 2012, 14:41   #11
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Congratulations on the hot hatch.

I had recommended a punto 90bhp version to my cousin over an i20 just because of
- Handling
- Massive 185mm GC.
- Easy city driving as its not too wide as i20.

Now i know why you have called bangy people for a quick meet, to treat us right?
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Old 20th November 2012, 14:57   #12
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Somehow missed your thread until today. Congrats . The car looks absolutely fantastic. No doubt if I'm in the market for a diesel hatch, this would be my easy pick.
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Old 20th November 2012, 15:27   #13
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Dear KarthikK,
An absolutely brilliant review!! I'm speechless for your detailed covering of topics. Buying a Fiat, is very rare & you've got two. Damn the people!! It's you who's driving the car :-)

I too have a Punto 90 HP & I'm enjoying the experience to the fullest. Happy mile-munching!

P.S: The color looks smoking HOT :-)
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Old 20th November 2012, 15:35   #14
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Wonderful review Karthikk! I was compiling the review of my Punto but you have saved me from it. I don't think there is anything more that can be added to your review.

Since we own the same combination (T-jet + Punto), I would like to confirm some of my observations with you before taking it to TASS for check-up. After a long drive on both (back to back) I noticed:
  • Clutch is lighter on Punto
  • Ride is a bit bouncy at high speeds (only in relative terms to T-jet)
  • I used to think that ergonomics in terms of seat and pedal position will be same in both the cars however, after a long drive on Punto my right leg started aching. It has never happened with T-jet.
  • AC on Punto seems weak compared to T-jet.
Wish you many happy miles on both the cars!
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Old 20th November 2012, 15:35   #15
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Default re: The Red Rocket - Fiat Grande Punto Sport. EDIT: Abarth vinyls & black roof added

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
I had messaged a bunch of my friends and cousins the previous night, informing them that I bought the Fiat Grande Punto Sport.
Congrats Karthikk, i wish you ride lakhs of miles in it without any hassle. I remember you told me that you are going to remove the decals once you take delivery.
I personally loved those sport decals and it is something catchy compared to the normal multijet.
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