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Old 25th October 2015, 19:51   #31
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by ortopilot View Post
Just a couple of quick question?

1) Is it a 5 Speed Gearbox or a 6 Speed?

2) Approximately what would be the cruising speed?
Its a 5 speed gearbox

You can cruise at anywhere between 90kmph to 130kmph

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
So when are you getting one home?
You'll be the first to know once i get the approval from my wife

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th October 2015 at 19:53.
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Old 25th October 2015, 20:07   #32
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thanks for the excellent report nkrishnap and CD. Same goes for all others who have put in their experiences. This is the first and currently the only review on the internet that speaks in detail about the power delivery pattern, gearing, handling, ride etc. I watched that driving video you posted on youtube yesterday. So I knew this review was coming soon.

I had been waiting for this car to launch ever since the news of Punto T-Jet (113 HP) came late last year. I pushed ahead any plans we had of buying a car. As soon as I got to know that it'd be an Abarth with higher power output, I was 95% sure that it would be out of my budget and that became true indeed. Even then, the prospective of higher power output in a Punto (a car that I always loved) kept me excited for the launch and the excitement has continued even after a week of launch and will continue for quite a long time. Hope Zoomcar brings this car to their fleet, LOL!

Reading all these experiences makes me want to go TD the car ASAP. Till now, I have avoided going anywhere near this car, let alone a TD mainly because I'm sure I'd drown myself in a big loan soon after the TD. Fortunately/unfortunately, I'm a motorcycle enthusiast too. Buying this car would mean I'd have to cancel any plans of buying a bike or drown myself in loans, buying both. Bikes to me bring much, much, much more smiles than a car and they would suit the lighter wallet of a person like me better as well. That and my recently strengthened plans of going for higher studies in the coming years means I'd have to cancel any ideas I had about getting this car home with a heavy heart. I seriously hope this car sells well (the initial booking figures are quite promising), so that the affordable performance market that hasn't existed in our country till now opens up and we get more such choices down the line when I'd be able to afford one.

Thanks and all the best FIAT and I wish a happy million 'grinning' km to all the prospective owners

PS I know this post adds zero value to the thread, but somehow wanted to transfer all that heaviness out of my heart


Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
You'll be the first to know once i get the approval from my wife
So the 16" scorpions on the 'factory' Abarth will be replaced with the 17" from the 'aftermarket' Abarth (sorry, I'm out of smileys)?

Last edited by theredliner : 25th October 2015 at 20:13.
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Old 25th October 2015, 20:20   #33
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

I will try to get my hands on one soon but the Abarth punto just looks a lot more of a gimmick than the real hot hatch in that useless sticker job. The abarth punto looks much better in the older generation car.
I would suggest Fiat India to do some changes such that it looks like a real hot hatch
-front and rear bumpers look useless with those red colour sticker jobs. I would prefer a newly designed bumper exclusively for the Abarth punto cars.
-rear bumper diffuser with proper exhaust placement
-matt black alloys with red colour calipers as option
-sporty seats with much more support
-After market exhaust which can be tuned manually.
-power upgrade options
-Electronic Stability program, traction control (switchable) and 6 airbags for added safety

I think so now it’s time that VW launches its much powerful polo GT car with a manual gearbox.

Last edited by technicalytuned : 25th October 2015 at 20:39. Reason: just an afterthought
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Old 25th October 2015, 20:53   #34
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Great review, nkrishnap, crazydriver! I have never been a hatchback addict but reading your review and the accompanying photos certainly brings on school days nostalgia - of furtive and surreptitious tearing-out of centre-spreads (yes, pure hooliganism I will admit) from yesteryears' Illustrated London News' motoring sections, while others kept a sharp lookout for the librarian!

One question which I felt I felt I could be forgiven for asking - does FIAT provide an oil-cooler for this pocket rocket? I remember reading a few years ago - when the FIAT/Ferrari umbrella had just acquired Maserati, to rescue it from oblivion - the article mentioning one of the Ferrari evaluators being shocked that the then current Maserati (I forget which model) was being offered without the mandatory oil-cooler on a high performance car. Subsequently, Ferrari (with its deep pockets) carried out a much-needed course correction which went a long way in resurrecting Maserati's reputation.

And coming to the Abarth twins, after your review it will be no surprise if FIAT suddenly find their order books taking on a healthy bulge!
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Old 25th October 2015, 21:04   #35
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by theredliner View Post
So the 16" scorpions on the 'factory' Abarth will be replaced with the 17" from the 'aftermarket' Abarth (sorry, I'm out of smileys)?
I hope/wish I can do it. I always wanted to change my car at 5 years or one lakh kms whichever comes later.
Now this car has made me to alter that to "whichever comes earlier". And 5 years are over

However my head is telling me to look at my finances more in detail and also this sentence below is putting me in 2 minds.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
The Matt grey is expected to be introduced in Q1 next year
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Old 25th October 2015, 21:27   #36
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Finally visited the Fiat Caffe at Domlur today along with Kedar who happens to drive a Wolfmoto remapped Linea Tjet.
The first thing that struck us was the engine note when idle.

When we started rolling it was very evident that Fiat is definitely not spilling all the beans regarding the tweaks/changes made to the internals.

The engine felt totally different from the way a normal remapped TJet behaves.

We can say this because we did back to back runs with the Abarth Punto and Kedar's Linea TJet.

I guess everyone has discussed most of the points, so i will focus my inputs more closely on how the Abarth setup fares against a remapped Tjet.

1. Low end drive ability is much better in the remapped TJet due to its higher torque figures. I actually stalled the Abarth a few times since i had the hang of Kedar's Linea which doesnt require the clutch to be slipped.

2. Once we hit the higher RPM ranges, the Abarth setup outshines the stock linea, one can feel that the car has been tweaked to handle serious speeds and acceleration.

3. On inquiring if the Linea will get the firmware update to enable bluetooth streaming the SA said that there were no updates as of now.

4. One thing which really made the boy racer, NFS freak in me very happy while i checked out all those videos about the Punto Abarth available internationally was the MID displaying the Turbo Boost.

When i read in the forums that they had put in a Boost sensor , i was expecting the data to be displayed on the MID, but alas i could not find it even after going through all the modes.

I checked the turbo and the car we drove was running a VL38, which according to my research is also used in the Abarth 500.
It seems the VL38 is more suited for smaller cars and the real big bad boys are better off with the VL36.

I am still trying to find out the specs of the Turbo which is shipped with the Linea Tjet in India.

I am scouting for a FTD Sedan and i had zeroed in on the Linea Tjet until the Abarth Punto made the situation complex.

What to do now? Wait for fiat to wake up and offer the Linea with an optional Abarth Performance package similar to the BMW M performance package?

Or buy the Linea TJet and settle in for a tad lesser than what it could have really been!

Btw something really funny happened on my way back home, as i started to roll in my Alto K10, the acceleration seemed so slow and the engine sounded so strained that my instincts started to tell me that may be the dashboard warning for the hand brake is not working and i actually checked if i had released the hand brake fully!

Last edited by adneo : 25th October 2015 at 21:31.
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Old 25th October 2015, 21:41   #37
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thanks CD & Krishna for a wonderful review
This surly is the R15 moment for indian car industry.

Along with this review, you should also share tips for existing owners how they should stick with their original long term (5-6 years) plans of keeping their underpowred puntos'/lineas'.
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Old 25th October 2015, 22:47   #38
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Hi Krishna and CD, awesome review. Covered all points thoroughly. This is a landmark car in Indian hatchback scene. Really hope it will encourage the big daddy of Indian car market, Maruti to launch the swift sport in India (the actual one not the sticker jobs).

Things can only get better for us as customers if this market for hot hatches matures.

A lot of guys have issues with the ergonomics, some even having painful knees after a 30 min drive. Personally I feel the car (Punto ie) grows on you. Infact this has been documented on my ownership thread of punto 75 hp too. While test driving I didnt find much issues with Punto MJD's ergonomics. However driving in traffic couple of weeks immediately after purchasing the car I did have issues. In two months I left on a drive to Bangalore from pune, my biggest drive at a stretch. That is when the superior comfort of Punto shown through and I realised this is perhaps among the best hatchbacks for comfortable highway cruising. The only proverbial fly in the ointment being the underpowered engine and to an extent the gear shift.

While the power issue has been taken care of, I did not expect any changes in the ergonomics since I believe that would reauire redesigning the seats and interior bits which I think Fiat would not be too keen on working for a car which is anyways going to sell only in low three digits. However I did expect them to work on the gear box.

Our Mod Suhaas has suggested short shifter and clutch mod to take care of the gear shift and the long clutch travel. While I have no idea about the clutch mod, I believe a short shifter might not solve the issue with punto assuming its the same case in abarth too.

Short shifters may reduce the throws, but will it eliminate the rubbery feeling? It does get notchy at times when you try to shift fast (again assuming normal Punto and Abartb have similar gear shifts). Will a short shifter take care of that? I doubt. Fiat should have reworked the gearbox for this car.

From the photographs I think white looks better than the black. But yes If I buy an abarth, the first thing to go will be the stickers. Absolutely distasteful in my opinion. Moreover, I am among the few who feel older design of Punto is better than the Evo except for the tail lights.

Will I buy one? No.
I intend to keep my 75hp for some more years. May be a remap and a suspension upgrade once warranty is over to keep the car interesting. Yes there will be a second car, in a year or two. It will either be a smaller hatch or a sedan/Compact SUV - crossover.

Would I have bought one if I was in the market?

Last year on a poll I had commented that if one has the money then, IMO Polo GT TSI is the hatchback to buy unless Fiat comes us with a Punto Tjet. They have done just that and gone a step further. So yes, if I had the money for a hatchback, it will be between GT Tsi and Abarth Punto. Going by the reviews, its Abarth all the way.

Now what I need to do is catch hold of a test drive and hope Fiat comes up with a 'powered by Abarth' Linea soon enough so that I can plan my upgrade.

Last edited by vibbs : 25th October 2015 at 22:50.
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Old 26th October 2015, 00:05   #39
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thats simple and crisp review with all the necessary details! Now,This has halted my decision to book the Aspire. Any idea what would be the top speed expected from this hot hatch?
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Old 26th October 2015, 01:54   #40
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thank you Krishna and CD for an excellent review. Deserves 5 Stars

I got a chance to drive Abarth Punto at Fiat Caffe in Bangalore and all my observation are based on comparison with my 2009 GP E+ 75 HP MJD. PS: I don't have any statistical data to prove some of my observation so please excuse me if you think otherwise.

Experience at the Dealership

The Sales Rep was very courteous and explained me all about Abarth Punto, he seems knowledgeable. Also, mentioned that Team-BHP members had come on Saturday to test drive Abarth.

The car was available for test drive in 10 minutes

Initial Observations

The car is a looker and I spent around 5 minutes and went around the car to get the feel of the car in person. The car looks much better in person and definitely means business and would like to say "I am not another sticker job so take me seriously".

Opened the door and suddenly felt that the doors are lighter than my GP, before I could say anything my wife echoed my thoughts and said "Iske darwaze hamari Punto se halke hai" Any one else felt this?

The most debatable point: seating position

I found the the most comfortable seating position in less than 1 minute. The trick is, you depress the clutch completely and adjust the seats, horizontally and then vertically till you find the comfortable position. Once that is done, you adjust the back rest as per your convenience. I apply this trick in all the cars and can find the most comfortable position in no time.
Also, as I grew up driving Premier Padmini and Amby, I don't crib much on driving position. Having said that, I just completed 750 KM trip in my GP over the weekend and never got tired and ever felt that the driving position was uncomfortable. In fact I got tired in driving some of the cars which people claim have good driving position.

I also felt that thigh support is much better in my GP than Abarth.

The Drive

Sat in the car and immediately found out that there is no space to keep the cell phone. in my GP I keep my cell phone under the HVAC, but here I couldn't find any place to keep the mobile. Found it weird.

Got accustomed to the car, adjusted the seats (observations mentioned above), turned on the ignition and the gasoline engine came to life with a little purr. Coming from diesel engine I had to really strain my ears to listen to the gasoline engine.

Revved the engine 3-4 times just to listen to the petrol heart and was happy to hear the motor emitting delicious note. One observation though: I found a little body shudder when the RPM was settling to idle from 6000 mark. Can't exactly tell, but this was observed at around 2800- 3500 RPM.

Slotted the car in reverse and brought her on the main road. Slotted her in first and slowly released the clutch and pressed the accelerator. Nothing Happened!!!

Then suddenly my foot became like lead and I depressed the accelerator and like an angry lady she rushed out screaming on the road. This was the defining moment, this car is fast and then I slotted her in second and boom the car was flying. I had to admit that I was little scared and had to control my emotions in the traffic. I was blown over and the wordings came to my mouth "Hasta La Vista Baby".

Word of caution: You have to be really careful in handling this car, as she can cause serious trouble if you are not careful.

Enough has been said on the handling, steering feed back, ride quality, braking, so I will not discuss more on these.

Just few words on ride quality, I feel that my GP filters the road adulterations much better than Abarth but it could be because of stiffer suspension set up.

The second most debatable point: The clutch travel

Honestly I didn't find any issue with it. It was like I am at home and was very comfortable with the driving position and clutch travel.

The third most debatable point: The Rubbery gear box

There is a saying "unless you have bad thing you don't know how the good things feel". For me this is an issue in my existing GP too but I tend to overlook it because of many other good things which Punto offers.

Definitely you cant do a spirited run in this car with the existing gear box because you will be searching for gear slots. The best gear box which I have driven till now is of OHC and Honda S2000 (will rate it at the Top).

Needed Mod

Good exhaust kit with civic type chrome exhaust tips
Good Tyres

Final Verdict

Will I buy this car. Ohh Yeah!!! But in Matte Grey! and after lot of convincing.

Family is interested in upgrading to Linea Tjet, they say that we already have a small car and we need to upgrade to bigger car.

So it is heart v/s mind. Until then I will enjoy my GP.

Last edited by pk_del : 26th October 2015 at 01:58.
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Old 26th October 2015, 07:37   #41
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

I think everyone has covered most of the points I had observed on my test drive.

- Poor seating position/ergonomics
- Poor plastic quality
- Extremely long clutch travel
- Very average music system
- Over done body graphics
- Poor rear seat leg room
- Average gearbox

+ Engine performance
+ Boot space
+ Excellent brakes
+ Excellent steering feedback
+ Excellent suspension setup/handling

Purely a drivers car. I know many complain about the rubbery gearshifts but I think that's not as bad. Fantastic move by Fiat but really needs a lot of improvement.
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Old 26th October 2015, 07:42   #42
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Boy ! I havent been this excited in a really long time. Great to see all the reviews here and all of us need to really thank FIAT for bringing this for us.

And those stickers have to go. Period !! I would really prefer the sticker job as an optional accessory. If I get a hot hatch like this, I would prefer it being a sleeper !

That being said, any idea how long the waiting period is ?
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Old 26th October 2015, 08:26   #43
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by adneo View Post
I checked the turbo and the car we drove was running a VL38, which according to my research is also used in the Abarth 500.
It seems the VL38 is more suited for smaller cars and the real big bad boys are better off with the VL36.

I am still trying to find out the specs of the Turbo which is shipped with the Linea Tjet in India.
The Linea T-Jet runs VL37. AFAIK, VL37<VL38<VL36. That said, the VL38 & VL37 have the same size housing but the VL36 is slightly bigger. So, swapping out the VL37 to a VL38 should be easy in the Linea T-Jet. Of course, it will also need swapping out the exhaust manifold and the wastegate actuator.
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Old 26th October 2015, 09:31   #44
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post

Here's a GT TSI owner's impressions on the Abarth Punto:

And if I'm completely honest, I feel I may have jumped the gun 6 months back when I bought the GT TSI. But it's a good thing. Had I waited, I would have spent several sleepless nights deciding between them.
Very comprehensive update suhaas307 and really appreciate you being honest.

In fact, I had enrolled myself for a TD of Abarth EVO long back and got a call last weekend to come down for the same anytime this week. As I was really keen on the EVO T-Jet while scouting around for a new car over a year back, I am a bit sceptical to go TD this beast.

I love the way GT TDi flies off but I may probably be blown away by this new Jet Powered Hatch.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post

Glad to be back on the forum after a long hiatus
Guess Who's Back, Back Again....... !!

So it took FIAT 145BHP and Team BHP some mouth watering first drives/reports to coax you back on the forum KarthikK ??

I have a feeling this is coming sooner than later, but a head-to-head comparison between your Jet & the new Scorpion must be interesting.


P.S- Please don't disappear until FIAT launch their 1.6 MJD in 2020.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post

With my car having completed 5years and 72k kms, this is temping me to change to it. Although I'm sold, the decision is pending approval from my better half!

Before going home, I clicked a photo of the fake and real Abarth Punto
Ah ha hemanth, finally I see some real interesting thoughts being expressed by you bro

I have a strong feeling that a 'Real Abarth EVO' ownership is just round the corner.

Oh and by the way, IMO your Stead looks more upmarket & probably a lot more sporty than the overtly vinyled/styled Abarth EVO.

I can only imagine the kind of styling you will come up with on this 'Road Rocket' when you get one for yourself.
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Old 26th October 2015, 09:37   #45
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Back to office after a long weekend. Yawning, I check my official mails, find nothing interesting and then as my daily ritual, come to TBhp and find this review. What a car and what a review ! Thanks a ton guys, you have brightened my Monday morning. Rated 5 Stars.

The car is a masterpiece. My close friend had bought a Punto 1.3 MJD [75hp] a few years ago (primarily on my suggestions), and since then, both of us have drooled over the Abarth. The chassis of the Punto always demanded more power and its handling can at times raise the hair at the back of your neck.

I would be going for a test drive of this car soon, though I am not in the market for a car, but it would be an experience which I cannot afford to miss.
And more than Fiat; I pray, hope and desire this car succeeds in India, because only then will people realize, what a performance hatch is, and what is the Abarth Legacy.
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