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Old 17th August 2014, 12:01   #1
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Default 2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review

Punto Evo - 2014

2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-img_5517.jpg

For
  • The facelift infuses new lease of life to the aging Punto
  • High quality chrome on the exterior
  • The interiors have been revamped and induced an airy feeling in the cabin. Ambient lighting is a segment first
  • All the positives of the earlier Punto are very much present in the facelift. Excellent build quality, the ride quality and handling, steering feedback, superb braking ability to name a few.
  • The black and beige combo in the lower variants a welcome addition.
  • The hatchback too finally gets 3 bottle holders one in each front door pads and one along with the rear AC vents
  • The 75 HP and 90 HP variants gets different interiors as well as alloys as differentiating factor. All black theme for the 90 HP extends to the roof lining as well, and the cabin feels different to other variants
  • The Automatic Climate control is good. The AC vents have directional as well flow control now and the knee level AC is now included in the Emotion variant.
  • Placement of the Aux and USB port, it's no longer a trouble to use
  • Punto facelift now gets rear AC Vents.
  • 7 colors to choose, however a couple of additional colors should have been exclusive to the 90 HP variant.
  • 90hp variant rides on Apollo Alanac 4G 16’ tyres. These tyres have received good international reviews. Compared to the earlier choice of Apollo Acceleres / Goodyear GT3s, most owners will find no reason to upgrade.
  • Better under-thigh support for the rear seat, which has a longer base now compared to the earlier version.
Against
  • The Punto facelift deserved to have the 1.4 Tjet/ 1.6 MJD under the hood for the enthusiasts.
  • Missed opportunity to work on the gear ratios, specially the initial two gears which has been the Achilles heel for the car when it comes to 0-100 timings. Gear ratios have seen only a light change, which is rather insignificant.
  • The automatic headlamps and Rain sensing wipers should have carried forward from the Linea to add more to the equipment list. DRLs would have been a welcome addition in the looks department. Reverse sensors should have been standard. Competition (specially Hyundai) offers a lot more kit as a differentiating factor.
  • The interior space packaging not as great the Japanese / Korean counterparts.
  • The low speed ride is a little stiff, but isn't alarming.
  • The rear wiper and defogger is no longer available in the mid variant. A glaring omission from the mid variant.
  • Increased weight on the facelift across variants
  • Front seats have increased travel, and this will really cut down on the rear legroom if the front passengers decide to play spoil-sport.
Thanks to KarthikK and CrAzY dRiVeR for accompanying me for this review.

We would like to thank Vecto Motors and KHT Motors for providing us the opportunity to review the Punto facelift.

Last edited by nkrishnap : 18th August 2014 at 14:48.
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Old 17th August 2014, 12:10   #2
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Default Prologue

Prologue

Fiat India announced going solo and its future road map in December 2012. The year 2013 was all about expanding the dealerships, strengthening the service set up and stable supply of parts. Fiat India has managed to open 116 dealerships, launched the Linea Classic in Sept 2013 and the Linea Facelift launch in March 2014. The Grande Punto is on sale in India from 2009 and has seen a few of changes during this period like higher ground clearance, improved AC, lighter grey interior fabric. The variants line up was rationalized from four to three. Unlike Linea Facelift, the Punto facelift was not showcased during the Auto Expo 2014.

Specifications

2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-specifications.jpg

A glance at the Old Punto Vs New Punto price-list


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Competition Price Check

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Last edited by nkrishnap : 18th August 2014 at 14:48.
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Old 17th August 2014, 13:00   #3
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Default Exteriors

Punto has always been a good looking hatch, nicely proportioned with beautiful curves at the right places. Fiat would have had to think really hard to facelift the already gorgeous looking car, specially for the Indian market. The front gets the most drastic change majorly driven the Avventura concept. The front grill, bumper, bonnet fog lamps are new. The side profiles carries forward the same clean door and windows from the preface lift Punto. Like the Linea facelift, there is heavy dosage of chrome on the Punto facelift too both at the front and the back. The Punto now has seven colors to choose from the Glitterati Gold, Magnesio Grey, Pearl White, Exotica Red, Hip Hop Black, Minimal Grey and Tuscan Wine

Front

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The car now gets the new grill and a bumper design. There are a few changes to the bumper to include the chrome accents and the new grill with FIAT logo at the front now sits higher and is not placed on the grill. The chrome additions (a tad more than what it should have been) is a welcome move as the market loves chrome. The quality of the chrome strips, surrounds, and the paint quality is top notch unlike the Japanese counter parts.

New Bumper with chrome strip for the grill and the fog lamp console. Notice the lines running in the middle of the bonnet and the windshield spay housed on the bonnet

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HeadLamp upclose

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90 HP gets all black treatment

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Fog Lamp up-close. Please note the quality of chrome used.

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The 90 HP in the new Glitterati Gold avatar

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Dual horns standard on the car - Quite loud for an OEM

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Side Profile

The side profile of the car has remained untouched and now the the turn signal indicators are now housed in the ORVMs instead of the fender and the fender does not get the engine variant logo like the Linea. The facelift gets two new alloy wheel designs for the 75 HP and the 90 HP. The 75 HP gets the 15 inch diamond cut alloys shod with 195/60 R15 Goodyear Duraplus tyres which looks fabulous and the 90 HP gets the 16 inchers shod with 195/55 R16 Apollo Alanac 4G tyres which look bland compared to the 15 inch alloys. Alanac 4g range, developed recently by Apollo are a not cheap tyres in any sense of the word and have been acclaimed for their performance internationally (http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Article...-Tyre-Test.htm). Kudos to FIAT for providing better rubber on at least the sport variants.

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The stance if lowered a bit would look close to perfect more so from the rear, but the 185 mm ground clearance was incorporated for practicality reason and to match our infrastructure.

A little closer

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Alloys on the 75 HP.

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Alloys on the 90 HP

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Indicators on the ORVMs

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Rear

The rear gets a few changes which has a new bumper design and those fabulous tail lamps. A chrome strip runs across the bumper and continues to surround the reverse light and the rear fog lamps consoles. The rear now loses the variant logos except for the 90 HP with a 90 HP stuck on the rear hatch. The 90 HP gets a factory fit spoiler which looks quite nice for the Punto.

The rear - Notice the variant logo missing from the rear and the only logo present is the Punto Evo 75HP variants.

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The 90 HP gets the 90 HP badge in addition to the Punto Evo badge

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90 HP badge up close

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The rear bumper a little closer - Notice the placement of the reflectors in the bumper. The middle portion of the bumper is not as strong as the out going version and a mere tap on the old punto and the new ones makes it quite evident

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Rear fog and Reverse light gets chrome accents. Thankfully, the reverse lamps now come in a light shade of red and doesn’t break the symmetry. Earlier version had white reverse lamps on one side and red fog lamps on the other, and it is common for non-enthusiast to point out that one side lamp is broken.

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The tail lamps during day

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The tail lamps during night

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The stance if lowered a bit would look close to perfect more so from the rear, but the 185 mm ground clearance was incorporated for practicality reason and to match our infrastructure. (Should come earlier with the exterior shots).

Changes in the engine bay

Bonnet stay rod location is changed due to the swooping headlamps and the bonnet stay rod feels a bit flimsy compared to the out going model. But the clips has the built to last feel to it.

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The bonnet gets two sets of dampers one on the bonnet and one on the frame. The older one had one set on the frame.

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Last edited by nkrishnap : 18th August 2014 at 14:47.
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Old 17th August 2014, 13:26   #4
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Default Interiors

The facelift has brought about a host of changes which has freshened up the interiors a lot. The interiors now follows the Linea facelift theme and the black and beige combo which now introduced. However, the 90 HP gets an all black interior. Both these combinations feel better compared to the black and grey interiors of the earlier version. The interiors are now well put together and does feel premium. However, all is not well, when it come to the fit and finish. The keyhole console continues to be plagued with inconsistent finish. Saw three cars and all of them had different finish. However, the overall fit and finish has improved from the previous version and should no longer be a deal breaker. One major turn-off expressed by potential customers in the earlier version was the gap left between the dashboard and the glove-box and this has been rectified in the new design.

The dashboard is all-new along with the speedometer console carried forward from the Linea Facelift and the center console. The dashboard gets soft touch plastic and the texture is quite good. Like the Linea, the center console gets a storage box above the AC vents, which is quite well built, it needs a firm push to lock it and also has dampening material inside to keep away the unwanted rattles when coins are placed in it. There is a single cup holder in front of the gear lever and the other cup holder location now houses the Aux and the USB port. The glove box is damped and get a light too which turns on when the glove box is opened. The AC vents now have the direction as well as the flow control and feels nicely built and should last the distance. The steering still has only height adjust and the reach adjustment has not made it into the facelift.

75 HP Version.

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90HP Version. Please note the red ambient light in the dashboard which goes well with the all black interiors.

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Lack of sun glass holder

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The illuminated glove box

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12V power source. (The cap comes with much better material and finish. Should last the distance)

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Steering wheel

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The soft touch dashboard a closer look

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The AC vents with flow and direction control

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The storage slot above the center AC vents

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The instrument console is new and has black background with orange light font and looks quite premium when lit up during night. Like the Linea, now the Punto gets a cool looking ambiance light above the passenger airbag area above and it turns on when the parking lights or the head lights are on. The center console too has black back ground and is orange backlit like the Linea. However with the black and orange theme going for the tell tale lights,

The new Speedo console.

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View of center console at night

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The key hole now finally sports a better finsih

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The stalks on the steering wheel

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The front doors get bottle holders; however note we found the 1 litre Kinley water bottle did not snug fit the bottle holder. However, the half litre Tupperware bottle did fit in ok. The other bottle holder is located behind the driver armrest above the rear knee level AC vents. This has come with the sacrifice of the center console space. The rear doors do not get any bottle holders.

Door pads with the bottle holder

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The bottle holder for rear passengers

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The seats as such are quite comfortable but they feel a little soft compared to the outgoing version and the sport variant should have got leather seats again to differentiate against the 75 HP and the competition. The rear seats get 2 adjustable head rests and the seats still retain the 60:40 split like the out going model , and can be folded away completely to make space for luggage. It also has the metal back for the seats for safety. The rear seat legroom is a little tight and more so as the rear seat is at least 1 inch longer than the outgoing model and to reconfirm we did measure the seat length with the old Punto. The transmission tunnel is not too high to be intrusive but the fifth passenger will be a tight fit if they are well built or if the bottle is placed in the bottle holder. At best, the Punto Evo is a comfortable for four people and the fifth passenger will surely be unwelcome for longer journeys.

Leg room

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Rear AC Vents

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Seat Texture

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Head rest in beige can get dirty quite soon

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90 HP

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OBD Port

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Storage under the Fog lamp and my car switch console

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Seat Belt height adjuster

2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-dsc_0602.jpg

Last edited by nkrishnap : 18th August 2014 at 14:51.
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Old 17th August 2014, 13:34   #5
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Default The Drive

The engine line remains the same as the outgoing Punto. The Punto facelift has the 4 engine options to choose from 1.2 and 1.4 Litre Petrol Engines and 1.3 Litre Multijet in 75HP and 90 HP. The 1.2 FIRE is available in the Active and Dynamic variants where as the 1.4 FIRE is available on the Emotion only. The 75 HP version is available in active, dynamic and Emotion variants whereas the 90 HP is available on Emotion variant with an all black interiors. None of these engines exploit the full potential of this brilliant chassis. The 1.4 Tjet / 1.6 MJD options were eagerly awaited, but given a miss.

1.4 FIRE

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Power to weight ratio

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The 1.4-liter is rated at 90 PS at 6,000 rpm and 115 NM at 4,500 rpm. The acceleration is linear but slow. However, once the engine is kept on the boil beyond 3500 rpm, the car makes decent progress but nothing dramatic. The engine puts out a throaty note as the revs climb. For once, the noise produced by the engine is a plus point than a sore point. The gearbox is rubbery with long shifts, though the gear slot without much fuss. The increased weight on the facelift makes the slower car a little more slower. The highway relaxed cruising is its core area, but brisk overtakes needs a downshift or two. One plus point of this engine is, the knocking is almost nonexistent even one is trying hard to lug the engine. The NVH is quite decent, however as the speeds rise, the engine note along with the road noise enters the cabin but not a deal breaker. Point to note is that the TSI beats all the car in the segment with power to weight as well as the torque to weight ratio

1.3 Mulitjet - 75 HP

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Power to weight ratio

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The 1.3-Mulitjet comes in two states of tune. The 75 HP is the 3 variants (Active, Dynamic and Emotion) while the 90 HP version is available only in the sports version. The 75 HP version is rated at 76 PS at 4,000 rpm and 197 NM of torque peaking at 1,750 rpm. There has been minor change to the final drive ratio on the 75 HP version which makes a little better in the bumper to bumper traffic as the first gear can easily hold up the 5 - 8 kmph speeds. The acceleration is linear and the turbo starts spooling around 1800 rpm and the drivability is quite good on the 75 HP with lesser lag. Keeping the 75 HP engine above 2000 rpm should one see it make good progress. However, the engine once revved beyond 3500 rpm, the engine feels strained and not much is on offer. The 75HP now does 100 kmph at 2300 odd rpm on the speedo. However, the Torque app proved it otherwise, the true speed of 100 kmph comes close to 2490 rpm. The speedo has considerable error in terms of speed. The 75 HP managed a decent but not a quick 0-100 dash of 16.24 secs. The competitors outshine it in the 0-100 dash, but the in gear acceleration is quite strong and the drivability is better as the roll on acceleration is quite strong in the 3rd and 4th gears. In the speed range of 80, for overtaking no downshift is required, just tap the accelerator a bit more and the car builds up speed up to 140 kmph, beyond which the progress is slow. The top speed was not tested but should be in the range of 160-170 kmph.

The gearbox is rubbery with long shifts but slots without much fuss. The increased weight on the facelift is not very evident on the facelift in terms of the drive on the diesel. The highway relaxed cruising in the speeds between 80-120 kmph is its core area. Like any other diesel engine, the 75 HP too does not need accelerator inputs in the bumper to bumper speeds. The 75 HP engine also puts out a nice note but as the revs climb the higher rpms can sound a bit coarse. The noise insulation is decent and feels intrusive when revved hard beyond 3500 rpm. Point to note is that the TDI in 105 bhp tune beats all the car in the segment with power to weight as well as the torque to weight ratio

Ride and Handling

The existing positive traits of ride, handling and steering feedback is carried forward in the facelift too. The perfectly calibrated hydraulic steering keeps you connected to the road at all speeds and the steering is nice to hold as well. The ride is a little stiff at lower speeds due to the stiffer suspension to counter the increase in ground clearance. As the speeds increase, the suspension dismisses the uneven road surfaces like nobody's business. There is increase in the body roll compared to the pre-2012 suspension set up. Even with the increased body roll, the Punto still is a benchmark for the ride + handling + steering dynamics.(PS: The new refreshed Polo comes arguably close in the ride and handling, but the steering feedback is not comparable). in the segment even with the 185 mm ground clearance. The Punto does not lose composure when pushed hard in the corners even with the stock Goodyear tyres. One will have to push really hard to make the car lose its mechanical grip and make the tyres squeal. The stock Goodyear tyres too adds to the stiffness of the ride. Even an economy comfort tyre should do a lot more in improving the ride as well reducing the tyre noise. With better tyres, it will be literally impossible to make the car lose composure around the corners. The Punto masks the speeds cleverly even with speeds above 100 kmph and feels planted all along. The cross winds has no significant impact on the composure of the car. The brakes are a strong point of the Punto, it does not lose its composure even under hard braking. Its a real pity that there are no more powerful engines on offer to exploit the capabilities of the chassis and the car.

Last edited by nkrishnap : 18th August 2014 at 14:51.
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Old 17th August 2014, 13:46   #6
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Default Old Vs New - Pictures

Exteriors

Front

2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-img_5564.jpg

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Side profile

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Rear

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Alloys

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Tail Lights

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Interiors

Old Punto

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New Punto - 75 HP

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New Punto - 90 HP

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Cup Holders

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Speedo

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Door Pads

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Windshield Wash spray

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Old 17th August 2014, 13:49   #7
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Default Overall Impression

The Punto facelift infuses a fresh lease of life in to the Punto which was in the market 5 years with minimal or no changes. The facelift retains all the existing positives, improves on the interiors and also the engine line up. The solid build quality, good ride and handling, excellent steering feedback, very good braking ability and the features list makes it quite a contender in the premium hatch back segment. The 1.2 and 1.4 FIRE engines are not great performers nor fuel efficient as the competition. The 1.3 MJD (75 HP and 90 HP) forms the diesel line up with adequate performance. A better gearbox along with well chosen ratios could have made this adequate performer and strong performer. The segment has moved on to the 1.4/1.5 litre diesel engines and Fiat should follow the same while upping the displacement and power, but retaining the tax benefit. Plonking the 1.4 Tjet into the Punto should have a petrol variant in sports avatar. With all said and done, its now on Fiat to price the hatchback well, give a significant marketing push. How far this will be successful compared to the competition only time will tell.

A few parting shots

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Old 17th August 2014, 13:55   #8
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Default Competition Check

Maruti Suzuki Swift

2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-new-swift.jpg

Positives
  • Maruti Suzuki service network
  • Block buster seller with tonnes of Swifts on road giving confidence to the prospective customer
  • Nice K Series petrol engine
  • The 75 HP version of Mulitjet with sporty tune
  • Neutral Handling
  • Perceived cheaper maintenance and TCO
Negatives
  • Not so great build quality
  • Skinny tyres on lower and mid variants
  • Interiors prone to rattling due to lower build quality
  • Slightly overpriced compared to what is on offer and the competition. The facelift is due and it will push the prices a little further with the introduction of the facelift

Hyundai Elite i20


2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-elite-i20.jpg

Positives
  • The Elite i20 is a new generation and not a mere facelift
  • A good 1.4 litre CRDi engine under the Hood
  • Service network and perceived better quality service
  • List equipment quite long and high
  • Decent build quality
  • Good quality interiors with tight fit and finish
  • Good low speed ride quality
Negatives
  • High speed handling and steering feedback nothing to write about
  • The petrol lack luster compared to the diesel
  • Suspension thuds enter the cabin due to its softer sprung nature
  • Higher list price
  • Automatic version and the 6 airbag version no longer available

Volkswagen Polo


2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review-vw-polo.jpg

Positives
  • European build quality
  • Superb TSI engine with the DSG auto box
  • The downsized 1.5 litre engine, higher state of tune for the GT Variant
  • Neutral handling
  • Premium Brand image
  • Numerous options for modifications for both features and performance
Negatives
  • Inconsistent service quality
  • Relatively higher service bills
  • Long waiting period for the GT Versions (Both Petrol and Diesel)
Image source: Respective company websites and the photo credit to the respective manufacturer.

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Old 19th August 2014, 15:35   #9
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Default Punto Evo - 2014 - Test Drive and Review

The review was done in line with the official launch of the new Punto Evo. But due to unavoidable personal issues, it had to be postponed till now. Apologies for that, and thanks to nkrishnap for seeing it through! Hope the review is of help even though it is a bit delayed now.

Thanks to Krishna for taking me along for the review. And thankfully, my humble old 90hp doesn't look that old in front of the newer version. Infact, I prefer the old looks from several angles. As rightfully noted- the package would have been segment best had they introduced the more powerful 1.4 TJet and 1.6 MJD engine options but that was not meant to be. However, it still remains a very competitive all round package- specially in cities like Bangalore where service is not a concern.

PS- Please ignore the dirty looks of my old 90hp. Two weeks of non stop rains and my busy schedule had taken it's toll on the car!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 19th August 2014 at 15:40.
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Old 19th August 2014, 15:56   #10
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Smile re: 2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review

Krishna,

As usual a great and detailed review of the Punto, many thanks for the same. For starters I would like to borrow a few enhancement fom the new Punto for my 75Hp punto i.e OVRM with blinkers, rear tail lamp etc. The rear fog lamp/reverse lamp cluster has been pampered with too much chrome, it puts off the otherwise good looking car. Amongst the recent launches, Punto is priced lower than the rest and this should be one of the pullers to the showroom.

Is there any change to the turning radius of the Evo? Hows the plastic quality inside, a refinement over the existing one?
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Old 19th August 2014, 16:03   #11
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Default re: 2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Krishna,

As usual a great and detailed review of the Punto, many thanks for the same. For starters I would like to borrow a few enhancement fom the new Punto for my 75Hp punto i.e OVRM with blinkers, rear tail lamp etc. The rear fog lamp/reverse lamp cluster has been pampered with too much chrome, it puts off the otherwise good looking car. Amongst the recent launches, Punto is priced lower than the rest and this should be one of the pullers to the showroom.

Is there any change to the turning radius of the Evo? Hows the plastic quality inside, a refinement over the existing one?
You can get the OVRMs with the blinkers and the tail lamps, however do not the couplers are not the same and it needs some amount of changes to have these installed. You will get the error on the MID. You will need a canbus error cancellor circuit (if I can call that) to get rid of the error on the MID

The turning radius is same as the outgoing Punto which is at 5m. The plastic quality and the fit and finish has improved over the outgoing version. However do note, the older model, had decent quality plastics, but the problem was what the finish and the rough edges than the quality itself.
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Old 19th August 2014, 16:04   #12
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Default re: 2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review

Nice review.

The 90 HP version was not driven, is it?
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Old 19th August 2014, 16:04   #13
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Default re: 2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post

Old Punto

New Punto - 75 HP

New Punto - 90 HP
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post

PS- Please ignore the dirty looks of my old 90hp. Two weeks of non stop rains and my busy schedule had taken it's toll on the car!
Amazing effort and Lovely write up on the Comparison nkrishnap !!

I might get 'Shot at' for saying this, but I personally still stand by this:

Old Punto Looks much better than Punto Evo.

Honestly, CrAzY dRiVeR your Punto still looks sexy even today and more so beside the Punto Evo, under the same shade.

I think Fiat could have probably:

- Retained the old shape and probably could have adopted the new Headlight & Tail light designs.

- I did not like the new design of the Fog lamp, reverse lamp assembly. The old one looked classy.

- Incorporated the New interiors along with the addition of Tilt & Telescopic steering column.
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Old 19th August 2014, 16:11   #14
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Default re: 2014 Fiat Punto Evo - Test Drive & Review

Thanks for the detailed and nice review .

I guess its time to get those door pads changed atleast, if not anything else. Other than this, there is not much to miss from the new Punto Evo !
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Old 19th August 2014, 16:16   #15
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Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Amazing effort and Lovely write up on the Comparison nkrishnap !!

I might get 'Shot at' for saying this, but I personally still stand by this:

Old Punto Looks much better than Punto Evo.

Honestly, CrAzY dRiVeR your Punto still looks sexy even today and more so beside the Punto Evo, under the same shade.

I think Fiat could have probably:

- Retained the old shape and probably could have adopted the new Headlight & Tail light designs.

- I did not like the new design of the Fog lamp, reverse lamp assembly. The old one looked classy.

- Incorporated the New interiors along with the addition of Tilt & Telescopic steering column.

As an owner, I'm glad they changed the reverse lamp assembly. I have lost track of the number of times friends/ relatives have pointed out that one set of lamps are broken in my car-

Thanks to red fog lamps on one side and white reverse lamps on the other!


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