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Old 20th July 2009, 20:11   #1
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Default The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS

Take most people, they are crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, they are always talking about have how many kilo meters they get to a litre, and if they get a brand new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that is even newer. I do not even like old cars.... I'd rather have a horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.

But this comparison is not about horses. Its about horsepower which will be harnessed by an average Indian car buyer.
About torque.
About fuel efficiency.
About resale value.
About space, comfort and safety.
About ownership experience and running and maintenance costs.

This in depth comparision aims to provide answers to all questions that premium diesel hatch buyers are asking for and what better opportunity to take a thorough torture test drives and then compare them with and one another and come up with a winner which does most of the things rightly and very few things wrong.

Parameters:
  • Restricted to Euro 4 diesel hatches only
  • all launched this year
  • since these are classified as lifestyle premium hatches which are expensive and sell in pretty few numbers as compared to swift and indica, price was considered as a secondary factor (ritz diesel sells about 30% of units of its total sales mix).
  • the criteria was to have an optimum blend of style, safety, comfort, after sales service,resale value, features, space, stability at high speeds, maximum driveability keeping our Indian roads in mind and most importantly, the overall "feel" of the car.
Now, this is it.
No pulled punches.
No more mercy.
One test. One winner.
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Old 20th July 2009, 20:39   #2
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Maruti Suzuki Ritz:

List price (ex-showroom Delhi)


LDi: 4,65,000
VDi: 4,99,000
VDi ABS: 5,17,000

What works:
  • proven and most fuel efficient DDiS engine
  • practical tall boy design
  • practical interiors
  • high seating position
  • decent pricing
  • comfortable front seats
  • good performance and torquey flexible engine
  • decent ride and handling for a tall boy
  • After sales service network
What needs work:
  • horrendous rear end design
  • short on equipment, no airbags offered even as an option
  • tiny boot space
  • uncomfortable and flat rear seats
  • narrow tyres limits stability
  • cramped rear seat
  • body does not feel solid and is prone to rattles
Fiat Grande Punto

List price (ex-showroom Delhi)


Active: 4,85,567
Dynamic: 5,16,574
Emotion: 5,56,579
Emotion Pack: 6,11,590

What works:
  • head turning italian looks
  • best build quality
  • competitive pricing
  • 15,000 km service interval and low cost of spares
  • rock solid body and chassis tough enough to withstand abuse
  • wide wheels and tyres in top models aid high speed stability
  • competitively priced as compared to I 20
  • best in class front seats and sporty driving position
  • decent rear seat comfort
  • big boot
  • plethora of features on emotion pack and superb safety standards with a 5-star euro NCAP rating
What needs work:
  • low rent interior plastics with poorly designed storage spaces
  • interior parts falling off
  • awful turning radius
  • uninspiring performance and top end, especially on highway
  • engine lacks refinement and is underpowered
  • questionable after sales service
  • cramped rear seat
  • crap stereo
  • lacks the overall bit of extra feel provided by I20.
Hyundai I 20 1.4 CRDi

List price (ex-showroom delhi)

magna ABS:6,19,000
Asta ABS: 6,83,431
Asta (o): 7,20,430

What works:
  • new generation chassis design feels nimble for city and easy to drive.
  • punchy and efficient CRDi engine
  • improved turbo response as compared to ritz and punto
  • refined and silent diesel
  • equipment and attention to detail on asta
  • safety kit on offer on ASTA (o)
  • standard ABS and rear discs on all models
  • 5-star NCAP rating
  • best fit and finish
  • best in class interior and boot space
  • service backup of hyundai
What needs work:
  • expensive for a hyundai
  • questionable high speed stability
  • artificial steering feel of MDPS
  • 14" tyres are low on grip as compared to punto's 15 inchers
  • expected high maintenance cost

Last edited by Technocrat : 21st July 2009 at 15:04. Reason: formatting :)
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Old 20th July 2009, 20:45   #3
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Conditions for testing:
  • dry weather
  • dealer provided demo cars
  • demo cars as expected were dirty though mechanically perfect
  • driving over rough roads, twists, high speeds, acceleration and braking tests, stability tests.
Parameters:
  • exterior design
  • chassis engineering
  • interior design
  • interior quality
  • interior practicality
  • space and comfort
  • front seat legroom
  • rear seat legroom
  • boot space
  • engine and performance
  • driver appeal
  • ride and handling
  • buying and owning
  • final verdict
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Old 20th July 2009, 21:31   #4
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Exterior Design:

Fiat Punto: 9/10
Hyundai I 20: 8 /10
Maruti Ritz: 6 /10

The Punto, of course is an award winning design by Italdesign-Guigiaro as praised highly worldwide and why not?
From its stunning front end with Maserati-esque nose to the sensational side stance on those chunky 15 inch alloys to the clean rear end design, its an avant-garde timeless design that turns heads, complimented by the stunning range of colours offered on it.
Clearly, Italians believe in simplicity without too many contours and it works from all angles. The design also aids a low Cd, for better aerodynamics which aids in stability.

The I 20 is also not far behind. Designed in Hyundai's design studios in Russelshim, Germany, it is a safe, conservative design appealing for European tastes and one of the better Hyundai designs with restrained contours and an amazing front end inspired by the Merc SLK.
The sides are a bit dull and will pass of as any other European supermini, save for that big character line which gives it a bit of presence. On the rear, its the same story with the chunky rear bumper lending some stylistic touch and the big "H" logo acting as a boot opener.

That brings us to the Ritz. It looks chunky from the front 3 quarter and the front end with the Audi-like grill and I20-like headlights give it some character and for the car of is size and dimensions, it does have a certain road presence aided by the slanting rear glass.
However, things go haywire at the rear end and clearly looks as if it was being hit by a sledgehammer and smashed its back. very tragic. The design lacks the cohesiveness of either the I 20 or the Punto and clearly looks as if it was designed in a hurry, the rest of the body not gelling well with the rear end.

Build Quality:

Fiat Punto: 9.5 /10
Hyundai I 20: 9 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7.5 /10

The Ritz is one of the better built Marutis, even better than the swift and SX4 and the body feels rattle free, at least on the demo car. However, expect squeaks and rattles to creep up as the cars clock more kilometers.

Hyundai's I 20 is built in India for the world, especially for markets in Europe, where build and finish are of prime importance and the new generation design means that build and finish are on par with the world's best and the body, as with most new generation Hyundais, will have that built to last feel and has the ability to withstand the abuse our roads throw it into, but....

......it still is no match for the segment benchmark-the Punto. As with all fiats, the body is heavy and solid and makes the Ritz look like tin can in comparision. The way the doors shut-in 3 stages, gives you a feeling of sturdiness and security. In fact, the chassis on which it is based is overengineered to withstand the abuse of European countries as well as 3rd world countries, where also the Punto is sold. More on that later.

When it comes to attention to detail, it is clearly the I 20 which wins with small touches like a cooled glovebox, power retractable mirrors, better fit and finish of the interior plastics and other gadgets, followed by the Punto and then the Ritz.
Attached Thumbnails
The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00627.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00632.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00622.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00624.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00625.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00638.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00637.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00640.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00636.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00635.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00653.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00652.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00651.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00650.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00649.jpg  

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Old 20th July 2009, 21:50   #5
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Chassis Engineering:

Fiat Punto: 9 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8.5 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7 /10

The I 20 is an entirely new design by the code PB which debuted in fall 2008 at the Paris motor show, and is designed primarily for European markets in mind which means a rigid and stiff chassis aided to improve dynamics with Mc Pherson Strut Gas shock absorber suspension in front and Couple Torsion Beam Axle with Gas shock absorbers at the rear for a smooth ride, helped by telescopic dual effect shockers. However, the steering used is electric (MDPS-Motor Driven Power Steering), a disadvantage as far as the dynamics are concerned as it lacks the feel of the hydraulic unit.

The Fiat Grande Punto is again designed with a new chassis that dates back to fall 2005 under the codename project 199 and is based on SCCS (Small Common Components and Systems) platform shared with Opel, an advantage as far as dynamics are concerned.
The key to its superior handling is the use of independent Mcpherson struts, Helical springs, Double Acting Telescopic Dampers With Stabilizer Bar in front and Torsion beam, Helical Springs And Double Acting Telescopic Dampers And Stabilizer Bar at the rear aimed to improve stability at high speeds with a hydraulic steering.

The Ritz (Suzuki Splash) is also based on the modern swift platform (co-engineered with Opel engineers for Opel Agila) and was introduced in 2008 as a practical alternative to the swift. It uses a smaller wheelbase version of the swift platform with convectional Mcphersion strut coil spring at the front and torsion beam with coil spring at the rear, more biased towards urban running and easy drive nature as compared to I 20 and Punto.
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Old 20th July 2009, 22:59   #6
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Interior Design:

Fiat Punto: 9 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8.5 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7 /10

Clearly, stylistically the punto wins again as the dashboard really wraps around the driver for that "cockpit like effect" at night aided by the black and silver dashboard and integrated audio with HVAC controls.
Amazing Dials and amazing steering wheel design are another stylistic touches.
The Doorpad design also matches the contours of the dashboard with the "tilt and slant" look, very exciting, very italian and the contours of the seats are again almost perfect. The "P" logo looks superb on the front seats.

The I 20 does not do badly as far as design goes, but it lacks any flair of the punto, especially the old school vertical AC vents. However, the audio controls are intuitive and toggle type-very easy to operate. The beige and brown colour scheme of the interior looks good but not to everyone's taste. The glovebox is deep and the HVAC controls are superb and easy to use. The seat design is flat and lacks any contours for the under thig support, same goes for the rear seat. The door pads again are like vernas, flat and square but of high quality.

The ritz also has got a bit of character with the dashboard design looking like a mix of the CR-V (waterfall type central console) and I 10 (gearshift knob), but in VDI it looks pretty dull due to abscence of any essential equipment. However, the white speedometer dial mimics that of the mini and the pop-up tachometer looks cool, but is almost difficult to read, same goes for digital fuel gauge, too small. The front seats are superbly designed with sporty counters however,the rear seats are pretty flat same goes for the doorpads, good but dull design.

Interior Quality:

Fiat Punto: 6 /10
Hyundai I 20: 9 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7 /10

The punto is clearly outclassed as far as interior quality of plasrics are concerned.
Should I say, even the Ritz has pretty better plastics as compared to the Punto. The punto has pretty big panel gaps on the steering column, seat console flimsy enough to break apart, broken rear parcel tray lock.
However, the major concern is the lack of precision of interiors being screwed up together. In the demo car barely clocked 575 kms, the screw fastner of the passenger seat fell off mysteriously and that part of the plastic also cracked (shown in the pic). Some plastics are hardwearing no doubt, but these small niggles are simply intolerable in a car costing as much as 6,11,000 in Delhi.

Maruti has made giant strides in improving the interior quality in the ritz and it shows. The fit and finish is miles ahead of swift and SX4 and the quality has improved by leaps and bounds, especially that of the 2-tone grey and black dashboard and the chunky gear knob. For a car costing 4,99,000, what more could you want?

Now, the most expensive car-The I 20. Yes, it costs more, but it also gives you more bang for your buck. Except for the colour scheme, the interior quality is superb and even some plastics are hardwearing and durable, especially the seat fabric and the upper dashboard panel, which are superbly finished as well as the gear knob, very grippy even though it feels a bit shiny. Nowhere you get a feeling of cheapness that is present in the punto.

Interior practicality:


Fiat Grande Punto: 7 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8 /10
Maruti Ritz: 6 /10

Again, the I 20 has lots of cupholders, which are deep, deep sized glovebox and twin seat back pockets with added flexibility of 60:40 split seat. The magazine holders are again decent and the parcel tray feels solid.

The punto, too is decent, but is compromised by the size of the storage bins which are too thin and shallow, even for the cupholders. In the lower end versions, the passenger airbag is replaced by an additional glovebox which does add a bit of practicality, but only just.

The Ritz is nowhere in the league. No cupholders, only small storage DIN slot for CDs and a seat under tray are provided. Whats shocking is the absence of parcel tray, not provided in any of the diesel models. The door pockets are OK, better than the punto but not in the same league as that of the I20.

Space and comfort:

Fiat Punto: 7.5 /10
Hyundai I20: 9 /10
Maruti Ritz: 5 /10

The I20 comes as the most spacious and comfortable car with very comfortable front seats providing decent under thigh support and wide enough for all human frames. It is always easy to find an ideal driving position due to tilt/ telescopic steering and seat height adjustment.
The rear seat is again superbly comfortable, if a bit low,and sitting 3 abreast is not much of a problem. However, the squabs are a bit flat and can get tiring at long distances.

The Punto has the best front seats in this trio, superbly contoured, with a sporty driving position and decent lumber support. Coupled with a tilt steering (no telescopic) it is again to find a decent driving positon, but the footwell is a bit cramped and the bottom part of the dashboard fouls with the knee. The front seats have long travel, so again, it suits all human frames.
Its not the same story at the back. To increase the boot space, the rear seat space is compromised a bit with shortage of legroom and width as compared to I 20. When the front seats are pulled forward, only then it is easy to find a comfy seating position. But, the seat is very comfortable for 2 people, with the occasional 3rd passenger a bit of tight fit.

The Ritz has pretty decent overall space for a car of its size and the front seats are very comfortable and coupled with high seating position, makes it for a nice elevated driving position. However in VDI there is no steering tilt/ rake adjust provided nor the driver's seat adjusts for height, a disadvantage for vertically challenged drivers.
The rear seats are flat and pretty unsupportive, though decently comfy for only 2 people. Any 3rd person, look elsewhere.

Front seat legroom:

Fiat Punto: 8 /10
Hyundai I 20: 9 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7.5 /10

As per seating posture and position and space, the I 20 wins this contest followed closely by Punto and Ritz, superbly spacious for is size.

Rear Seat Legroom:

Hyundai I 20: 9 /10
Fiat Punto: 7 /10
Maruti Ritz: 5 /10

With parameters regarding seats pulled forward and back and overall seating comfort, the I 20 is the most spacious of the trio with the punto being cramped for its size.
The ritz-its small footprint makes it pretty cramped and claustrophobic at the rear.

Boot Space:

Hyundai I 20: 9 /10
Fiat Punto: 8 /10
Maruti Ritz: 5 /10

I 20 has the most spacious and decently designed boot at 300 litres, coupled with low loading area makes loading and unloading easy.
The punto has a 280-litre boot, pretty big but space wasted by intrusion by suspension towers and also, coupled by high loading sill, it makes loading a pretty tough job.
The Ritz only has a 232-litre boot, small, not helped by the smashed up rear end design.
All 3 cars offer the option of 60:40 split rear seat for additional flexibility.
Attached Thumbnails
The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00630.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00629.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00631.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00628.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00641.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00645.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00644.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00643.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00642.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00661.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00656.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00654.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00655.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00662.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00660.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00659.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00657.jpg  

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Old 20th July 2009, 23:24   #7
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Engine and performance: (Ritz engine pic courtesy GTO)

Fiat Punto: 5.5 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8.5 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7.5 /10

2 of the 3 cars are powered by an updated Euro 4 tuned version of the 1248 cc multijet engine, producing 75ps@4000 rpm and 190 Nm torque@2000 rpm in the ritz DDiS, and 76ps@4000 rpm and 197 Nm Torque@1750 rpm in the grande punto MJD.

While they may sound similar on paper, on the road they are different as chalk is to cheese. Remember that power to weight ratio plays a key role in performance and its the ritz (1110 kg) which has an advantage over the Punto (1190 kg).
Moreover, Maruti has tuned the turbocharger (FGT) for mid and top range and Fiat more for drivability at low rpm than at top end.
In the drag race, the ritz comprehensively beats the punto by a 3-second gap from 0-100, part of light weight and tall 3rd gear playing a role here.
In bumper to bumper town, however the punto is more responsive due to additional torque and turbo lag is pretty less compared to Maruti, the flexibility of the engine showing in the 3rd gear where it pulls up cleanly between 20-80 kmph, without the need to downshift. Turbo lag is noticeable in the ritz below 2000 rpm and after that, the engine wakes up and distributes all its torque evenly upto its redline.
However, for a car this heavy, the punto cries for more power. Its best to keep the engine at low-to mid rpm range for decent performance and no point revving it till redline as it simply labours towards it, whereas the ritz flies comfortably.
Now, coming to another Hyundai missile-the i 20 Crdi which has 1396 cc of powerhouse putting 90ps@4000 rpm and brutal torque of 224Nm@1750-2750 rpm with a VGT.
Coupled with the car's weight of 1140 KG (source-Hyundai i20 international site) it is a brilliant performer.
Hyundai have worked hard with VM motori of Italy (the CRDi engine's designers) to reduce the turbo lag and it shows. Compared to Verna, the lag is very less and it feels only till 1000 rpm. Shift into 2nd, go over 1800 rpm and all hell breaks loose as you feel the G-forces while speeding on this machine. Though no road rocket like the Getz, this engine has a wide power band and can keep up at 30 kmph even with the 5th gear engaged without any jerks, a secret of its lightweight all alloy construction and flat torque curve.
0-100 is dispached in a quoted 12.2 seconds (Punto-17.6, Ritz-14.23) and thats what makes this car effortless to pilot, especially on highway.
Attached Thumbnails
The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00634.jpg  

The Definitive comparision: Punto 1.3 MJD VS I 20 1.4 CRDi VS Ritz 1.3 DDiS-dsc00646.jpg  

Attached Images
 
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Old 20th July 2009, 23:35   #8
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Gearbox:

Fiat Punto: 7 /10
Maruti Ritz: 8 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8 /10

The I 20 has an improved sleek gearbox with close ratios for lower gears and high ratios for 4th and 5th gear, to improve performance. Shift action is smooth but not quite in the league of the Jazz or the fabia, moreover the reverse gear feels awkward to operate due to its forward shift mechanism.
Like the swift, the ritz has a nice short throw and sporty gearbox with better shift times as compared to swift, without any baulks.
The punto's gearbox, though pretty slick, is not in the same league of the I 20 or the ritz, with 4th and 5th ratios a bit hesitant to operate. Moreover the clutch travel is a bit long in the Punto as compared to The Ritz and I 20, which have short and light clutches.

Driver appeal:

Hyundai I20: 8.5 /10
Fiat Punto: 8 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7 /10

Considering the factors like dashboard design, interior ergonomics, quality and ease of use of controls, its a close call between the I 20 and Punto, with the punto loosing out a bit due to cramped pedals.
The Ritz, for its size, is again superb but would have been better if steering adjust/ seat height adjustment could be provided for vertically challenged drivers.
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Old 21st July 2009, 00:13   #9
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Ride Quality:

Fiat Punto: 9.5 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8 /10
Maruti Ritz: 6 /10

No contest here. The Punto wins here comfortably. Fiats expertise in building great chassis designs shows and the punto simply glides over the roughest of patches, over most ridges and you feel so confident that you can drive this car like a mini SUV, despite the 60 profile tyres. The more speeds build up, the more the ride improves and thats saying something. The suspension works superbly even at low speeds over large craters and the stabiliser bar on front and rear keeps the car planted on the road. The suspension is neither too soft nor too hard and works perfectly.

TheI 20 is one of the better riding Hyundais and again the suspension works superbly at low to medium speeds. At high speeds, the ride improves but again it is vulnerable to huge potholes (where the punto feels unfazed), with a thud sound coming from the rear.
The front does bob mildly under less than perfect surfaces but again, the ride is decent and improves with speeds.
Hyundai has tuned the rear suspension more softer to improve passenger comfort while taking care of the nose heaviness for the front suspension.

The ritz is a result of the countless hours that Maruti's engineers have put up and it shows as a result of superb low speed ride for a car of its size. However, as speeds build up, the lightweight chassis shows its flaws. The car gets tossed around and you feel every pothole-right from the smallest to the biggest in varying states of banged sounds from the suspension, especially from the rear. The front suspension is actually better of due to the additional weight of the diesel engine but again, compared to I 20 nd Punto, it does fall short, even though the ride is overall actually better than that of the swift and yes, the getz.

Handling:

Fiat Punto: 9 /10
Maruti Ritz: 7 /10
Hyundai I20: 6.5 /10

Surprised that ritz handles better than the bigger I 20?
Yes, its true but the only limiting factor are the weedy 165/80 R 14 tyres. The swift chassis is still one of the sportiest around and the Ritz is a pretty chuckable hatch for a car of this dimensions. Though no swift, still it has a predictable and beneign handling and the new EPS unit feels a lot better caliberated on the recent Marutis, precise and accurate. Upsize the tyres, and the car handles brilliantly, making it a few of the rare breed of tall boys that are actually fun to drive.

The I 20 has a typical hyundai chassis, neutral and docile handling. Even though the car has wider 185 /60 R 14 tyres, the suspension is tuned more for ride comfort rather than spirited driving and the spting and damper rates are on the softer side as compared to ritz and punto.The big drawback is the MDPS (motor driven power steering) which lacks feel at high speeds and feels dull to drive. At low speeds, it works perfectly and is more on the lighter side.

The champ-again- is the Fiat Punto. Accurate, precise steering and perfect ratios for variable speeds makes this car fun to drive at any type of winding road or highways. It responds to any command that you throw on it and also it gives you a feeling that the chassis is communicating with the driver rather than behaving on its own.
A bit heavy on the low speeds and long turning radius are its main drawbacks.

Braking (with ABS standard on test cars)

Fiat Punto: 7.5 /10
Hyundai I 20: 9 /10
maruti Ritz: 8 /10

As expected, the I 20 performed the best in the braking tests and showed no signs of fade, part owed to its rear ventilated disc brakes, standard on all diesel models. the pedal feel is precise and accurate, no complaints here.

The ritz for its size performed superbly, with the ABS system cutting a bit early for safety purposes, though the pedal feels a bit over servoed.

The Punto, again has good brakes, but typical of many Fiat cars, the pedal feel is artificial and spongy and the main concern is brake pads are prone to fade on the test car.Otherwise, for daily use, its pretty OK.

High Speed Stability:


Fiat Punto: 9.5 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8 /10
maruti Ritz: 6.5 /10

The Punto's kerb weight and Euro designed chassis again has a distinct advantage as concerned with the high speed stability on the highways, speeds at which it is planted to the road (150+) and keeps its composure you wouldn't dare to do in any Jap/ Korean car.
The Ritz, due to its tall boy design and un-aerodynamic shape is susceptible to crosswinds and coupled with narrow tyres, is not so stable as compared to I 20, leave alone the punto.It feels planted till 120-130, but above that, it starts to wobble.
Hyundai has worked wonders on the Euro-tuned I 20 chassis and again, the car is superbly stable at high speeds, only marred by steering that feels a bit disconnected with the chassis and it can't be driven with the same degree of confidence as compared to that of the Grande Punto.
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Old 21st July 2009, 00:19   #10
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Fuel efficiency (ARAI):

maruti Ritz:9.5 /10
Hyundai I20: 9 /10
Fiat Punto: 8.5 /10

Diesel cars are increasingly preferred by us due to the superior mileage it provides on the highways and all 3 cars do a great job of stretching a litre of the sticky fuel, the Ritz not surprisingly being the most fuel efficient due to light weight and an efficient MJD Engine, followed very closely by the I 20 due to its new generation lightweight all alloy design and an efficient EGR system. The punto rounded off, but again, by only just.
The fuel consumption depends upon your driving style and the figures will, of course differ in varying conditions.

Figures (by ARAI)

Maruti Ritz: 21.1 kmpl
Hyundai i20: 20.1 kmpl
Fiat Punto: 19.2 kmpl
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Old 21st July 2009, 00:29   #11
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Buying and owning:

Maruti Ritz: 9 /10
Hyundai I 20: 8 /10
Fiat Punto: 6 /10

Maruti means automatically buying peace of mind. With the widest service network and readily available parts at cheap rates, maintaining one is again, not a pain and most of the dealers make a commendable effort to make customers satisfied.

Hyundai again provides good after sales service with its 3rd largest network of dealers and service centers and almost all service centers are stocked with parts. However, since the engine is imported and the car itself costs high, be prepared for a bit of high maintenance bills of I 20 Crdi.

The tata-Fiat network is still working hard to make its customers satisfied but the problem is the dealer attitude in general and the service network of Fiat-based tata dealers-very less as compared to maruti and hyundai.
recently Fiat has tried to make its latest cars-linea and punto-easy to maintain on your pocket by providing the largest service intervals (15,000 km) and competitively priced parts but the perception of the brand per se is still not different as it used to be some time ago and as far as this factor goes, Fiat still has some climbing to do.
Moreover, there lies a concern of quality control and heavy localization has actually taken a toll on the quality of its parts. HOPE IT GETS RECTIFIED SOON.
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Old 21st July 2009, 00:57   #12
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The final verdict:

Maruti Ritz is a car that you really cannot go wrong with at the first place. Decent size, a competant engine with potent performance and the best mileage, good ride and handling and the peace of mind that comes with the Maruti badge means that suddenly this car makes a whole lot of sense.
Yes, it does make, but only for those who are on a tight budget and want a car for in-town usage that is easy to drive and frugal.
In that case, the ritz wins hands down. But factors like rear seat space and comfort, boot space, stability and features are what it brings it to 3rd place.
It feels outclassed by the Punto and the I 20 at most areas which matter to diesel car buyers. Still, as a small urban runabout, look no further than the ritz,.

Now comes a close call between the I 20 and Punto. The punto has an edge in style, ride and handling, build, equipment and high speed stability and the I 20 in safety features, fit and finish, the overall feel, refined, punchy and frugal engine, and interior space and comfort.
Moreover, owning an I 20 will give the Indian car buyer a better peace of mind than the punto and will also fetch better resale value years down the line.
Now, is the I 20 really worth the extra 1,50,000-2,00,000 over the asking price of the punto? Yes, and No.
Yes, because it actually gives you an impression of being getting more than what you have paid for with better engine, gearbox, warrenty, space and comfort and the overall feel of the car thats simply not there in the punto.
No, cause the car will be a bit heavy on maintenance bills as compared to the punto.

Butttttttttt, at an asking price of 6,11,000 for E-pack punto MJD, it is Rs. 7,000 cheaper tha the base I 20 magna model and comes with additional
features like Airbags, alloys, auto AC, blue and me with steering controls, USB port, 15 inch wheels, 15,000 km service interval etc, making it an enticing buy.

Tallying all the parameters, even though the punto has uninspiring engines, they are more than adequate for our average Indian driving conditions. It may not have the best of plastics, but we can easily live with it as long as it does not fail and fall, thats the only drawback of an otherwise brilliant package.
Believe me, if we are responsible drivers, you don't need to spend extra on the I 20 with 6 airbags and sunroof, all of which form no importance to us.

The Punto wins this closely fought battle of the premium diesel hatches.
Now its upto fiat to make improvements on the interior quality, have strict quality control, get its act together and sell it well.

1st: Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 MJD Emotion pack (9 /10)

Great looks, ride and handling with a solid build let down by mediocre engine, poor interior quality and questionable after sales service. But Look at the price and the overall value it offers and all is forgiven.

2nd: Hyundai I20 1.4 Crdi Asta (8.5 /10)


A close second. Grace, pace and space-you want it, you got it. Best fit and finish and engine performance and refinement with decent after sales service. But is grossly overpriced.

3rd: Maruti Ritz VDi ABS (7 /10)


Great package for those on a tight budget, best for peace of mind factor, mileage conscious and city dwellers who drive too much daily. Great ride and handling too. But weedy tyres, highway stability, poor equipment levels and most importantly, poor space and comfort at the rear with tiny boot limits its appeal.


(Disclaimer: this comparison is done keeping in mind the typical Indian car buyer's perception-conservatism rather than from an enthusiasts perspective.
Individual perceptions may vary. Be sure to judge your requirements and take a thorough test drives of any car that you intend to purchase because different people have different requirements.)
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Old 21st July 2009, 01:08   #13
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brilliantly put up sid! like u say other than the price , the i20 is really good car.
btw include the waiting list problem too. i heard there is a waiting list of 20 days for petrol i 20 and that its more than double that for the diesel.!(the main reason i choose the punto)
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Old 21st July 2009, 01:11   #14
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When you add up all the individual ratings, I 20 beats punto. The final score is i20-161, punto-150.5 and Ritz-131. I know this does not include cost.
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Old 21st July 2009, 01:20   #15
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Good comparison, but I think few points & rating are debatable. Moreover, i20 CRDi Asta (without O) should be compared with GP MJD E+ - Asta-O is really different league with sunroof, 6 airbags and all that. GP MJD E+ and Asta are indeed close competitors and in that case price difference OTR in Pune is 90,000. If only I20 CRDI Asta was priced within 30,000 to 40,000 above GP E+, it would have been excellent price. I still feel if Maruti introduces Swift ZDI below GP E+ price, it would sell better.

Ritz really is no competition. It may actually score negative marks in looks department. Vista could have been included instead. What Car has this comparison between 4 cars sharing the same engine, and they think Vista is the winner.

In this comparison, keeping price aside i20 seems to be the winner to me. GP interior fit & finish is really very cheap. The cost cutting has hurt badly here. If only GP had VGT and better plastics, I was ready to pay 1L more for that car. As it is i20 and Jazz are asking price close to 8L without a reason. :(
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