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Old 10th September 2015, 04:07   #1
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Default Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

This is probably the first time I am attempting to write up something this long, please forgive me for the looong post, and half hearted pics.

Prelude:

Flash Back - I was more of a biker than a cager, What bike I rode mattered more than what car I drove.
Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-cbr.jpg

2014, I got married, which kind of put an end to most of my biking life. Also, post marriage my lovely Sword Silver CBR250R was gathering dust in my garage. So finally decided to sell it off.

The Etios became my primary Drive along with my Wife's Yamaha Ray Z.


Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-imag0275.jpg

Having spent many trouble free years and about 40000 odd kms with a Petrol Liva V, I realized the need for a better car to fill the void that my bike left. People discriminate the Etios twins a lot, they are actually quite underrated. The cars have solid mechanical, its interiors are functional and well put together, bullet proof reliability, excellent ergonomics. Add to that, the ugly lil hatch has excellent road manners and handles pretty well with almost nil body roll, breeze to drive in city.

Obviously, There are few minor negatives, steering lacks character at highway speeds, engine gets loud and buzzy post 120kmph, Styling is bland, center console which is actually practical, but is a visual turn off. no MID, no fancy features like in Hyundai. No Aftermarket upgrades.Sound insulation ? whats that ? Toyota no cares for no insulation Petrol engine lacked Low End torque, but my single most serious complaints were, the car is tinny! It feels like you are sitting in a car made of recycled paper, it feels so light! And absolutely zilch aspirational value, I still look back while I walk away after I park, but I have never walked away fully satisfied. Made up my mind to upgrade, and this time heart over mind, no compromise, I will buy the car I like.

And its shopping time!

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-imag0545.jpg

Cars Considered:

1. Swift ZXI - was the top contender, Zippy, mod friendly simple to maintain and a MASS is always a stone throw away. But the rear space was nil if the driver seat was pushed all the way back. and the boot was a joke. The build again was flimsy and rattles were the norm as with most MSIL cars.

2. Elite i20 Asta - Lovved the car, every bit of it is premium. The 1.2L unit unlike what the review says is not sluggish, its perfectly drive-able and butter smooth. Well, you cant drag race with it, and we aren't gonna do that either. Steering was more or less like the Liva, typical light EPS.

3. Jazz V - Acres of space, the car is 10mm shorter than the Punto, I cant imagine how Honda managed to package so Much of space into it. Very Practical, bit too pricey & doesn't feel as premium as the i20. Honda sales never bothered to follow up.

4. Ecosport 1.5D - close to 12L for a pimped up hatch is way too much, another lac and I can get home a much more accomplished & rugged Safari or Scorpio.

5. Safari/Scorpio - this was our first choice before we set out looking for hatches. Unfortunately, my parking space is a tight fit even for a big hatch. And dont wanna buy a new car and park it on the street.

6. Ertiga - Extreme practicality, flimsiest of the lot. I leaned lightly on the hatch door of the test car, and it caved in!

7. Zest / Bolt - Both are excellent cars, the Zest XT Diesel Auto is excellent VFM, was high on our list. If only Tata sales was a lil more responsive! Multiple inquiries, Zero response! Could have overlooked that, but I have lived with Indicas before, wanted some ego boosting options hence dropped Tata.

8. Many used cars - including Fluidic Vernas, Elantras, Cruze, etc etc.

Finally,

9. Punto - Fiats have been at the back of my mind since the Palio days, always wanted to buy a good GTX, or at least a 1.6 Sport. fished around, found a ravaged GTX, did not want to touch it. Later found a 1.6 Stile in better condition but the owner was hiding obvious accidents and he was running 3 different profile tires in his car! That explains the level of maintenance. Dropped Palio plans and randomly called up Fiat Caffe. First thing, the person tells me are the discounts. On road prices felt real good for a top end Diesel hatch. Problem : Wifey wasn't really liking the pics of the EVO. Plus a lot of negativity propagated by Swift owning relatives. I request for a test drive, car comes home, when seen in flesh she likes the car, turns around, changes opinion and now she wants the EVO, in fact its she who made me finalize on the EVO. So, it was decided 27th of July, we went ahead and booked the Exotica Red Evo Emotion 1.3 MJD


Test Drive : Shifting from the LIVA, the ergonomics dint fall into place for me, but there was more power on tap. The thuds from the door and the heavy build was a great leap ahead of the Liva. And interiors though not top notch like the i20, still was miles ahead of the Liva. Wife drove it around, she is new to driving and dint stall the car. That went on good.

Sales/Showroom Experience:

Our Sales rep from KHT was really helpful and co-operative. He had good levels of technical know-how about the cars and the auto industry in general. He arranged for multiple test drives and facilitated the finance process as well. On the 3rd of August I got a call from him that the car was already in their stockyard and I could have a PDI done the same day. Fast forward, we reach the stockyard, the car is right there in the front row, covered in dust and dirt. Was a bit skeptical at first, the ODO showed H 10, so this was fresh. After extensive walk around inspections found a 2 mm scratch on the door. It was deep and the metal was visible, and the cladding under the hood had a small rat bite. Was about to reject the car, but he assured he will fix it with a clause that I can still reject it if dissatisfied. They swapped the doors and replaced the cladding.and after a wash and polish boy it was gleaming. Actually, thats how the car should have been presented for the PDI. Anyways, we finalized the car and payed the Margin money and mobilized the bank to disburse the loan. Car was to be delivered in 2 days, after the accessories are installed. I opted for the spoilers and door sill plates. I was getting the body cover, mats and molded mud flaps free.

Accessories -

Spoiler - 4.5K + 2K(painting)
Door Sill - 850
Body Cover - Free (FCA OEM)
Mats - Free (Cheapest quality ever, need to fling them out soon)
Mudflaps - Free (FCA OEM)

Pricing -

On Road - 8,98,664

Total discount - 77000

Final ORP - 8,21,664

And this is what I got for spending those 8 big ones:

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-imag0519.jpg


First impressions:

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-imag0553.jpg

Looks : Am not even gonna try to write anything, we all know its drool worthy.

Delivery (Rain Plays spoilsport)

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-imag0533.jpg


Engine : Yea, the gear ratios are a lil skewed, could have been better, I find myself trying hard to find the right gears in the city traffic. But on open roads the 3rd and the 4th gear really help catch up. The Thrust after 2000 RPM is enjoyable. As you near 3000RPM the engine gets noisy and a bit harsh, not sure if its because its too new. I feel the car is at its best at 110kmph, beyond which it gets slightly noisy.

Noise Insulation : pretty good, cuts out most of external traffic noise, which good but you need to watch out for vehicles close to you, they cant be heard mostly.

Audio : Ok for a stock unit, I am not an audiophile, as long as the music is clear and distortion free I am good. That said, it play HQ audio files really well and its quite loud too, I have never increased the volume over 5 Units

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-001.jpg

Ergonomics & storage : ok, major issues here. No storage space at all!!! not for your bottles, nor your phone, or wallet, even snacks! Coming from a car that had 5 bottle holders space for storing at least four 5in mobiles and a glove box that's big as an attic, cooled as well, this is disappointing. Fiat, for many buyers this alone could be a deal breaker! Its not like there isn't space, they could have easily scooped out the front door pockets to accommodate 1L bottles. Unforgivable Fiat! unforgivable. Rear seat space is OK-OK, better than Swift, no where close to i20 or Liva, Not even comparing Jazz here.

The steering sticks out a bit more than it should, its a minor thing though. The foot-well is another area of despair, and I'm 6.3 and have 10.5 size shoes, few times I slammed the dead pedal instead of the clutch, was scary. this could be an issue when wearing wide shoes. I am getting used to this now, also the brake pedal is placed a tad high, strain on the ankle in city traffic.

There has been a lot of debate on the placement of the stalks in forums, personally I find this placement odd, and not suited for RHS driving. I find myself fumbling while you need to downshift and flash at the same time, happens often, also when you take a turn, you mostly have to downshift, operating the blinkers at such situations needs some planning!

No Storage :

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-002.jpg

Drivability : the torque makes sure that bumper to bumper traffic is dispatched with just the clutch, which is pleasantly light to use. Not so with the steering, at crawling speeds the steering needs to be.. well... steered hard. But as speed increases the pleasure of using it increases proportionally. Though I haven't been able to really push the car over 90kmph yet, I have a 700 km round trip coming up, hoping for a sizzling drive.


Highway manners: took it for a short trip to Narasapura CCD, since it was during the night, didn’t really push it much. Was doing about 90kmph, boy oh boy, the heavy and planted body, well weighted springs, and the hydraulic steering is a combo for ecstasy.

Interiors : Looks nice and plush, not very upmarket but doesn't look cheap from any angle. Some hard bits on the door look ugly. the door of the storage in the center console has a mind of its own, opens when it feels like. The switch gear is solid and good much better than the pathetic ones on the Swift, though I felt the Liva had softer and precise feel to it.

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-003.jpg


ACC control switches could have been better, they look like some factory instrumentation. Steering wheel is nice to hold, the steering buttons are a bit hard to press, but that makes sure you don't hit them accidentally like in Zest/Swift, but the ones in the i20, i feel are the best, you can operate them without even looking at them. Seats are good and provide good lateral support, average under-thigh support, good range of movement for the front seats.

Seating Position : I find the seating positions quite odd. [Update: After spending around 2500 kms, I find it spot on!]

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-004.jpg

You really need to work with the steering/seat height and travel to get a proper spot. This might partially be due to the fact I am 6.3, I have this problem in most of the other cars too.But finding the sweet spot seems more difficult in the Fiat.

Love the ambient lighting

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-005.jpg

Cheap and ill fitting Sun Visors!

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-006.jpg


Spring loaded grab handles are nice, could have made the retraction a bit retarded

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-007.jpg

Found this part a bit shakey

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-008.jpg


Not the greatest of rearward visibility, OVRMS have a big blind spot as well. Its good to buy those small convex corner mirrors.

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-009.jpg

Economy : City : 13-14kmpl with a/c Highway : 18.8kmpl with 80% a/c at 90-100kmph speeds (@47Rs/L of Diesel these are great numbers)

After a highway stint (moderate traffic & 100% A/C)

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-010.jpg

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-011.jpg

Issues :

1. The boot door takes a lot of effort to close, also there is something loose inside it, every time I open the boot door, some small item rolls inside it. Need to Check

2. The spoiler was not painted properly, there is a small rough surface in the edge, FASS has assured to re paint it during service.

3. The Front right window makes a click noise while rolling down. Needs checking.

4. The front windows roll down about 99% there is about 2 MM of glass I can see protruding, need to verify if this is normal.

5. couple of times the reverse gear engaged with a loud 'thud' donno if its normal.

6. while engaging the clutch in 1st gear, at times there is a tiny metallic click noise

7. The center storage console doesn't open most of the times.


-ves : (Already most are listed above, but to summarize)

1. No Storage
2. Rear seat leg room
3. Poor Stock headlight bulbs
4. 1-2nd gearing
5. Small quality misses
6. For a heavy car, the 90HP should have been the default engine.
7. Beige is gonna get dirty (no where as bad as the beige king Ertiga)
8. Broken Center Console

Dings:

1. No matter how careful and paranoid I was, I couldn't avoid the first dent. A, broken branch was on the road and a truck went over it sending out a small wooden missile. It hit the drivers door, huge noise, but dent itself was small about 1mm wide and 0.5in long. No paint loss, its at the bottom of the door so not visible unless I point it out. Sad, but well it had to happen.

Care Care Products :

What I bought:

Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD-012.jpg

1. Meguiars Ultimate Pre Polish
2. Meguiars Tech Wax 2.0
3. Meguiars Tire Polish
4. ArmorAll Polishing cloth
5. ArmorAll Washing microfiber sponge

Things I already had:

1. Formula 1 Carnuba Wax
2. Formula 1 Wash & Wax shampoo
3. tons of microfiber cloth

First impressions, Meguiars polish feels over hyped and terribly over priced. But I will put up a proper review in a while after observing its effect and durability. I havn't got an opportunity to click pics after the polish, it has been raining almost every day since I bought the car!

Current ODO Reading :

720kms

Last Economy # : 14.9kmpl (Mostly in Bengaluru Peak traffic and 100% A/C)

If you have reached till here, I really appreciate your patience & thanks a ton for spending few minutes of your life reading this silly attempt of compiling a review! My respect for those who pen down official reviews has just doubled!

Signing off!

Last edited by Rehaan : 10th September 2015 at 17:16. Reason: Made some headings bold :)
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Old 10th September 2015, 09:19   #2
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Default re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Congos for the Fiat and the thunderbird (in advance). The national Engine will not let you down as the KMs build up. I have not seen the red colour much but must say looks awesome.
Wishing you a safe and happy mile munching.
PS-I think it's time to update the signature.
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Old 10th September 2015, 10:04   #3
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Congrats on getting the red hot punto evo home. It just looks brilliant in red with those lovely alloys.

The engine will ease up and the refinement will improve once you cross the 10k kms mark.
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Old 10th September 2015, 10:54   #4
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Quote:
Originally Posted by anand.shankar View Post

Finally,

Punto

Pricing -

On Road - 8,98,664

Total discount - 77000

Final ORP - 8,21,664

And this is what I got for spending those 8 big ones:
Congrats anand.shankar on your latest acquisition and she looks fab

One of my flat mate owns the Etios Liva and I can completely relate to the flimsy build of the car from your post. It really feels just as much (if not more) pathetic as the good old Maruti Omni.
Coming to Punto however, those doors actually feel more solid/heavy than the ones on my Polo.

Considering the fact that Liva was a lighter car and hence felt better on performance front compared to Punto EVO (75HP), any particular reason you did not consider the 90HP version?
I am quite sure that there must be just as much (if not more) discounts on this one too. This would have been a perfect upgrade since you like hitting the highways quite often I suppose?

In any case, Wish you a happy motoring and many mile crunching

Last edited by Vik0728 : 10th September 2015 at 10:55.
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Old 10th September 2015, 10:56   #5
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Congrats on the red Italian Anand!

It does look striking in that shade.
Regarding the windows rolling down, I shall be able to let you know in the evening. I think they go down all the way, but I shall recheck once and let you know.
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Old 10th September 2015, 11:49   #6
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Smile Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Heartiest congratulations on getting home the most stylish hatch. The colour looks rocking on it. I hope you must have already removed the ribbons, they tend to shed colours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by anand.shankar View Post
Seating Position : I find the seating positions quite odd.
You really need to work with the steering/seat height and travel to get a proper spot.But finding the sweet spot seems more difficult in the Fiat.
The driver seating is the most awkward I found amongst other hatches I drove. Every time I have to adjust the height, it keeps slipping. Have shown it to Fiat and they have shrugged from the issue.

Quote:
Not the greatest of rearward visibility, OVRMS have a big blind spot as well. Its good to buy those small convex corner mirrors.
I feel the OVRM's are quite fit for purpose, the only blind spot is in the front due to the A pillar and many a times I have to be extra careful while taking sharp turns.

Quote:
The center storage console doesn't open most of the times.
Quote:
-ves :
8. Broken Center Console
Aren't the above two related? Was the console broken during PDI, was it brought to the dealer's notice?

Happy mile crunching and drive safely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Divya Sharan View Post
Regarding the windows rolling down, I shall be able to let you know in the evening. I think they go down all the way, but I shall recheck once and let you know.
The rear windows do not roll down completely in either the Grande Punto or Puto Evo.
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Old 10th September 2015, 20:31   #7
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Congrats anand.shankar on your latest acquisition and she looks fab

One of my flat mate owns the Etios Liva and I can completely relate to the flimsy build of the car from your post. It really feels just as much (if not more) pathetic as the good old Maruti Omni.
Coming to Punto however, those doors actually feel more solid/heavy than the ones on my Polo.

Considering the fact that Liva was a lighter car and hence felt better on performance front compared to Punto EVO (75HP), any particular reason you did not consider the 90HP version?
I am quite sure that there must be just as much (if not more) discounts on this one too. This would have been a perfect upgrade since you like hitting the highways quite often I suppose?

In any case, Wish you a happy motoring and many mile crunching
Agree!

90HP :( Might sound dumb, but not sure why I did not push for the 90HP myself! I started with the 7L budget hence this itself was a bit over the limit. And, the 90HP had lesser discounts, looking back it was a stupid decision to save 50-60K over a long term investment!



Quote:
Originally Posted by rakesh_r View Post
Congos for the Fiat and the thunderbird (in advance). The national Engine will not let you down as the KMs build up. I have not seen the red colour much but must say looks awesome.
Wishing you a safe and happy mile munching.
PS-I think it's time to update the signature.
Signature, yes


Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Heartiest congratulations on getting home the most stylish hatch. The colour looks rocking on it. I hope you must have already removed the ribbons, they tend to shed colours.
Thank You !

Yup, pulled them out the very first day. But since it was raining, they did leave a mark which was later buffed away with 3M polish.

Quote:

The driver seating is the most awkward I found amongst other hatches I drove. Every time I have to adjust the height, it keeps slipping. Have shown it to Fiat and they have shrugged from the issue.
I somehow managed to find a spot which suits me well, and gives clear with ahead and the instrument cluster. I dont let anyone change the height, I turn into an monster if someone touches that lever!

Quote:

Aren't the above two related? Was the console broken during PDI, was it brought to the dealer's notice?

Happy mile crunching and drive safely.
It was a lil sticky during PDI, the SA said it will loosen up with use, else he will replace it. Guess its time to ask for a replacement.

Quote:

The rear windows do not roll down completely in either the Grande Punto or Puto Evo.
I was referring to the front glass, they do roll down all the way. But I can see about 2-3 mm of glass still visible between the rubber beading. It might be normal, need to check with another Punto. My Liva glass disappears into the door.

Last edited by Eddy : 10th September 2015 at 21:39. Reason: extra smiley
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Old 10th September 2015, 21:20   #8
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Congrats!
Welcome to the Fiat 76 club.

Personally, I found the 76 less laggy than the 90.

Not sure if they still have that software lock which limits the engine performance until 5000kms. Krishna/Karthik/Hemanth can confirm that.

Run it for 10-15k kms and plug in a tuning box. Trust me, runs pretty well, and the one I had was pretty decent. Never smoked at all.

Another noteworthy thing:
Bangy is really dusty and the air filter is a dust magnet. Try cleaning it every 2/2.5k kms, or whenever you notice the car smoking a bit.

Happy driving!

Cheers
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Old 10th September 2015, 23:31   #9
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Quote:
Originally Posted by aqualeo2040 View Post
Congrats!
Welcome to the Fiat 76 club.

Personally, I found the 76 less laggy than the 90.

Not sure if they still have that software lock which limits the engine performance until 5000kms. Krishna/Karthik/Hemanth can confirm that.

Run it for 10-15k kms and plug in a tuning box. Trust me, runs pretty well, and the one I had was pretty decent. Never smoked at all.

Another noteworthy thing:
Bangy is really dusty and the air filter is a dust magnet. Try cleaning it every 2/2.5k kms, or whenever you notice the car smoking a bit.

Happy driving!

Cheers
Software Lock! ? Ok, I have no clue of that. If any one has info on the same, please let me know.

How about the remaps, of late I see many people running Wolf or Code 6 remaps, I am not very familiar with the options. How would you rate a remap vs a Piggy back tuning box ?

Yup I will keep an eye on the Air Filter, Unlike my previous cars, the a/f box needs tools to open, which I am not liking
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Old 11th September 2015, 00:10   #10
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Congrats on your Punto Evo and she looks beautiful in this flashy red shade. You have really highlighted the pros of this car such as solid build, lovely ride and handling, vfm price and am really tempted to exchange our 2009 petrol Linea for a red diesel Punto Evo. Your cars looks very beautiful, have no qualms with seating position but wish Fiat improves the shift quality of this gearbox.

Seeing the slurry of crash tests and indian cars failing in them, would love to see a indian made Punto being put through the test, this thing is built like a vault and it shows when you cruise down an expressway at 110-120.
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Old 11th September 2015, 02:34   #11
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Quote:
Originally Posted by anand.shankar View Post
Software Lock! ?
Easiest way to find out, cross 5000kms and notice the difference.
Alternatively, some of the other GP owners can tell you.
How did I find out? Drove from Bangy to Sirsi via NH6. The car felt stressed hitting high speed on the way, but after crossing 5000kms in the trip, the car didn't struggle to the mark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anand.shankar View Post
How about the remaps, of late I see many people running Wolf or Code 6 remaps, I am not very familiar with the options. How would you rate a remap vs a Piggy back tuning box ?
The age old discussion. There are a few links around here as well. For me, the choice was purely financial. The tuning box came for 95 from UK (approx 7k INR in 2010) and a decent remap costs min 20k INR. It is after all a puny 1.3l 76hp engine with a FGT with limited tolerances.
I did hate the gearbox ratios initially and then I went up for a drive up the hills and stopped complaining, learning to live with it. Never had one dull moment across the 40k kms that we shared.

Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2015 at 19:30. Reason: Strictly no mention of illegally high speeds on Team-BHP please
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Old 11th September 2015, 04:02   #12
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Awesome choice.

I sold my Polo Petrol (1 year = 33K kms). Was looking at used cars and now decided on the Punto Evo 75HP. Reason for not going for 90HP is that the turbo lag. Read about it and drove both. I feel 75HP is a better option. Will be booking the car this month or next.

Can someone share some light on the piggyback ECUs? What is the power change etc?
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Old 11th September 2015, 06:30   #13
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If you intend to keep the car for over 5 years. Just follow the service schedule provided by Fiat. Stay away from remaps or piggy back boxes. Folks will argue that it may not affect the reliability, but keeping it stock is the safest way out there.

Stop thinking about these till 15k kms at the least and concentrate on getting to 15k kms quicker
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Old 11th September 2015, 09:27   #14
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Congratulations on your acquisition! Crisp write-up there.
Happy Motoring!
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Old 11th September 2015, 10:58   #15
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Default Re: Diesel Weasel - My Fiat Punto Evo 1.3L MJD

Quote:
Originally Posted by anand.shankar View Post
I was referring to the front glass, they do roll down all the way. But I can see about 2-3 mm of glass still visible between the rubber beading. It might be normal, need to check with another Punto. My Liva glass disappears into the door.
I checked the same for myself today. Yes, the window rolls down completely but the rear glass portion stays in the rubber beading. Exactly as you mentioned. So that should be normal.
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