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Old 27th November 2009, 18:21   #1
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Default A honest post about buying my first Car A GP 1.4 E+.

(Disclaimer: The views and statements that I have made in the below post are solely mine. And there has been no such intentions to portray any particular car manufacturer or car owners in any bad way. This is just my personal buying experience that I am posting here.)

Here goes my story, I have never owned a car in India but I have driven cars for 3 years living in the US when I was posted at the Motor City Detroit for work. There I had a great chance to explore all makes as I was driving rental cars. And had a chance to visit NAIAS 2006 & 2007 there. So when I got back to India, with my fair knowledge of cars I started exploring and did some casual research. But the Indian car market was way different and cars here were different.

Almost after an year of coming back and going back to old days of my Bajaj Caliber rides I thought that I needed a car badly. But which car? Due to uncertainty of work related travel and recession blues, initially thought about going for a second hand car. Another reason being with so many dents and scratches on Indian cars thought a second hand car won’t hurt that much in everyday driving. So Obvious choices were to have a peek at Advantage, True Value, First Choice and other dealers.
Two months was just thinking which one to settle for but was not finding a decent one in the used car market, was considering either used Getz or swift or Uva or i10.

Used Cars?

Swifts - 3 year old swifts cost almost 3.8 to 4.25 L. And they rattle like hell. And True value dealers rip you apart with their pricings.

UVA - Great spacious car but too difficult to get hold of a decent one in the used car market.

i10 - Only Era and Dlite were easily available in the used car market. And 1.2 kappa versions resale is no where very less than the new ones on road.

Getz - Great looking car but dropped the idea when Hyundai said its going to be phased out. Didn’t want to buy a second hand Getz and later run for parts, spares etc.

Now even after 2 months of deliberation was not deciding anything. And since budget was not a constraint, I was getting sort of tempted to go for a new one instead. Then it struck me, A first hand is easier to resell, at least there will be a buyer but to sell as a third hand its going to get tough later. My main worry was due to work related travel If I have to sell didn't want to loose a lot on resale value if I opt for a new car. But who knows about future no one can predict. So I dropped the idea of a second hand car. And even my family had me convinced that a first car should always be new. so now began my search for a new car.

Sedan or Hatchback?

A sedan is a great option, but looking at city driving in Bangalore traffic and cost factor I decided to settle for a hatchback. And a Sedan sure is a big car feeling that we Indians in particular are fond off. A boot in the sedan is useful but rarely it will ever be filled to the full and any hatchback with a decent boot can at least get the job done. But still sedan is a sedan any day.

Diesel or Petrol?
With my kind of running which would be less than 1000km a month was considering only petrol as an option.

Now which Hatchback?

i10 A/T - Great for city driving, liked the automatic since that was the first TD I did. I have driven only automatics in US so found it very comfortable on Bangalore roads. But bumpy ride quality, Pricing and very low FE reported made me drop it from list. Was also considering i10 M/T - Sportz was 4.95L OTR and Asta 5.63L. If I pick sportz its without safety features and Asta with safety features, but both seemed expensive for the money. Eventually I felt paying so much but still its a small car nowhere near a midsize sedan comfort, at least seating wise. Its more like a more comfortable Santro after all, if we go by the dimensions.

Swift- Swift is out of question, as I was aware how badly they rattle when I checked the 2/3 year old True value cars. And further with the long waiting time and old design didn't consider it. Of course look wise it’s not that great either a sure copy of the Mini Cooper but a tad fatter.

Ritz- Frankly I am no automobile engineer, but I think I could have designed the rear much better. My humble suggestion to Maruti, Launch Ritz Dezire with a boot and kill the Ritz hatchback and knock of Swift dezire and keep the Swift hatchback. You know what I mean. No offence to anyone here but I don’t know why people seem to consider Swift or Ritz as a premium hatchback, when in fact they are just yet another hatchback from MUL.

Jazz- Waited eagerly for its launch, wow what a car, so much space within 4 meters of length. Amazingly spacious for sure. But Look at the Price, it makes more sense to go for ANHC instead of the JAZZ. Was totally disappointed with the pricing.

i20- A lovely car for sure, nice interiors and spacious. Interiors are nice not great thou. Found the gear knob coming off when some kid just delicately unscrewed it on a displayed vehicle. Liked the steering metallic inserts in the Asta version. Good color interiors. Same steering as on i10 was kind of disappointing for a premium hatch. Have driven Hyundai Sonata in the US same light steering feel on both i10 & i20 here as well. But felt i20 to be underpowered, With a full AC and 4 to 5 adults the car just begs for more power. 1.4 A/T at 8.67L was beyond budget, no point when you are spending so much for a automatic hatchback its just better to go for ANHC A/T. Hyundai is doing injustice selling 1.2 Kappa in an i20, they should sell a bigger hatch with 1.4 and provide in M/T. Power to weight ratio is very important in any car.

Punto- I never knew that such a car was due to be launched, I was eagerly waiting June 7th launch of jazz just to know how much they price it. But after the disappointment came to know about Punto launch on 17th June. Saw it first when a demo car came by to my office, I saw it and immediately thought about Maserati. WOW ! a nice looking car for
sure. Did TD of both petrol and diesel, It has amazing ride quality, handling, great steering wheel (had seen similar ones on a Pontiac grand prix’s), not so great interiors thou. Infact what I felt was on the top end emotion pack, all buttons on A/c, music system, dash board, steering wheel etc seemed adequately fine in quality. But biggest let down were inside door handles, seat height adjuster, fuel lever, boot lever, rear parcel tray, dash board plastics, door plastic quality. Fiat could have done much better in this department, after all how much would that add to the overall cost.


So main contenders were i20 and Punto, both Petrol versions. Now coming to trim levels. Having driven cars in US where airbags are like ORVMS on all vehicles (read standard), I was sure that safety features should be a priority. ABS & Airbags are surely life saving in an unforeseen event. Again going by the Price diff of around 1 to 1.2 L between Asta - Magna or a Punto Dynamic - Emotion pack, Safety was not coming at a very big cost when someone is putting in 6 to 7L in a car. And who knows after few years all new cars in India may have airbags/ABS as standard.

For a while was in two minds if to go for Punto MJD due to the fact that the diff is just 60k over 1.4 unlike hyundai where its a whopping 1.6L. But due to my low running sticked to petrol and while doing TD in MJD I felt the NVH levels were a bit high. Ofcourse NVH can be compromised for mileage. But again many friends convinced that petrol car maintenance will be lesser than diesel car and eventually they even out on Total cost of ownership, unless you are driving it like a taxi.

So I made up my mind and booked the Punto Emotion pack during October Diwali offer where some 20k discounts were offered. Thou i20 was in the consideration, I felt i20 was underpowered, but when they said 6-8 weeks waiting time, thou I told them I have the full payment ready. I had to incline towards Punto. But FIAT A.S.S has been a worry. With a few sob stories and Fiat bashing going around was not sure if I made the right decision. But I guess only time will tell. I liked the RSA initiative from them, that’s a positive step in the right direction. Of course when they start having their own or dedicated Service centers more spread across the country then it will be more comforting.

So finally I choose Emotion pack because it had airbags, alloy wheels, seat belt pretensioners over the emotion. Was not a big fan of Blue and me thou. Anyway the decision was made and booking was made. Now the wait started. I wanted the Blue color as I love blue, and they didn't have it in stock. Thou I only checked with Concorde. Fiat sales person told me that 3 to 4 weeks it will take. But they will try to get it before that. And I will get that offer of free insurance and extended warranty. But in between prices went up, don’t know why Fiat did that during year end. But still the discount offer was available. I was ready for a different colored car, but thought would wait out for the Blue color to arrive. And now with the new price in effect I would have to pay around
10K more, As I was always ready with my payment and only waited for a color, I would have opted for a different color and invoiced in the old price, so I negotiated with them and they agreed to reduce it by 3K, as that sales person didn't inform me about the price hike. I didn't get any corporate discount as my company was not listed, Then I thought Anyway no point breaking the deal now after coming this far. Anyhow still have got discounts in Insurance and Extended warranty so made the final full payment, so OTR was 6.56L. and got it delivered after a week’s time after registration. Also did a PDI using the PDI checklist (thanks to TBHP for such a nice checklist). Delivery was super smooth, sales executive was very friendly and nice. Explained everything in detail, no hiccups there. Took some pics did a basic pooja and got it. Below are a few pics. While coming to home after delivery crossed a white Punto near Jaksandara and there was an acknowledge from him and it felt nice. Real TBHP/Punto spirit.

So far have driven around 100 km in Bangalore traffic, FE is around 9.3 km/l to 9.8 km/l. Automatic AC is great, music player is decent if not great, I am new to M/T and I keep revving a bit more and am slowly getting used to the long clutch. Punto 1.4 Owners can give me some tips how well to drive it. I would like to thank all fellow BHPians who have helped me with my queries. Is FE less in my vehicle or is it somehing to do with my driving style, will it improve slowly. I would like some Bangalore Punto 1.4 owners to share their findings.

Note: Mods feel free to merge the post to any particular thread or leave it as an independent thread.
Thanks
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Last edited by bblost : 27th November 2009 at 21:23. Reason: There is a restriction of 2 smileys per post. Please refer to the forums rules. Thanks
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Old 27th November 2009, 18:28   #2
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Congratulations and best wishes, samson02. I also bought my Fiat Linea from Concorde Motors, Dairy Circle, Bangalore.
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Old 27th November 2009, 18:31   #3
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Congrats on the car! Do post some interior pics too
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Old 27th November 2009, 18:37   #4
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Congratulations! The car is looking good . FE is not less since your car is still new. Once you cross a few kms the FE will improve. You will also get used to the car and that helps a lot .
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Old 27th November 2009, 18:40   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Congratulations and best wishes, samson02. I also bought my Fiat Linea from Concorde Motors, Dairy Circle, Bangalore.
Thanks Ravi !
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Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post
Congrats on the car! Do post some interior pics too
Thanks McLaren! I will post more pics soon, have to take interior pics in the sunlight sometime.
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Old 27th November 2009, 20:04   #6
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Congrats , nice color ! Even I had puchased my Punto from Concorde.
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Old 27th November 2009, 20:41   #7
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Congrats sam. This is the second blue Punto on tbhp, if i am not wrong. Happy and safe motoring.
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Old 27th November 2009, 20:48   #8
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Congrats on the new car. Keep an eye on the RPM while shifting gears. I think shifting around 1.8K-2.0K to start with should help to get a feel of the car. Once M/T driving is adjusted, you will enjoy the driving the beauty
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Old 27th November 2009, 21:31   #9
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Congrats samson - this blue suits the punto well!

I was in a similar dilemma as you after returning from US (After driving only A/T cars in US , tried my hand at uncle's Wagon R and dad's underivable M800 - found M/T too hot to handle in Kolkata traffic), and settled for a i10 Asta A/T. With around 50 km of daily driving, I am getting 11.5 (lots of traffic) to 13.5 (whizzing around) kmpl. So FE horror tales which you have heard is probably not the full story.

Enjoy your new drive - you planning on some upgrades (tire/alloy/accessories)?
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Old 27th November 2009, 21:42   #10
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Congratulations Sam on your new acquisition..Welcome to the Grande Punto Club :-) I wish you a Happy and Safe motoring.

Driver Her Safe. :-)
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Old 28th November 2009, 08:40   #11
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Congrats!! sam good and honest writeup.. and welcome to Punters club. Truely this is a marvelous piece of engineering and design.

+1 to your point of view to get a Ritz Dezire and get rid of the Swift Dezire.
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Old 28th November 2009, 10:19   #12
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Congrats Sam, great choice of car & color!
Electric Blue is my favourite color on G Punto!

Enjoy the Bold Italian drive!
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Old 28th November 2009, 10:31   #13
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congrats on your new ride. Fiat A.S.S. and el cheapo plastics are the only problem areas in an otherwise great package. drive safe and enjoy !
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Old 29th November 2009, 00:30   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarsPG View Post
Congratulations! The car is looking good . FE is not less since your car is still new. Once you cross a few kms the FE will improve. You will also get used to the car and that helps a lot .
Thanks CarsPG ! I hope it increases, I did see it touch 12.9 kmpl late in the night yesterday thou.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
Congrats , nice color ! Even I had puchased my Punto from Concorde.
Thanks sdp1975!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NutsNBolts View Post
Congrats sam. This is the second blue Punto on tbhp, if i am not wrong. Happy and safe motoring.
Thanks NutsNBolts! I am not sure thou, I think I have seen one more blue punto earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravikn View Post
Congrats on the new car. Keep an eye on the RPM while shifting gears. I think shifting around 1.8K-2.0K to start with should help to get a feel of the car. Once M/T driving is adjusted, you will enjoy the driving the beauty
Thanks Ravi, I did try your idea of RPM, and guess what the FE improved to 12.9 kmpl

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
Congrats samson - this blue suits the punto well!

I was in a similar dilemma as you after returning from US (After driving only A/T cars in US , tried my hand at uncle's Wagon R and dad's underivable M800 - found M/T too hot to handle in Kolkata traffic), and settled for a i10 Asta A/T. With around 50 km of daily driving, I am getting 11.5 (lots of traffic) to 13.5 (whizzing around) kmpl. So FE horror tales which you have heard is probably not the full story.

Enjoy your new drive - you planning on some upgrades (tire/alloy/accessories)?
Thanks A/T is indeed so much relaxing, but what made me decide for M/T was I may never be comfortable with an M/T again if I dont opt for one now. So took it up as a challenge. Ofcourse if Fiat had a A/T Punto, would have booked it with my eyes closed. Just sun films on my mind now, but only after I get comfortable driving. I am a cautious driver in the night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klub Class View Post
Congratulations Sam on your new acquisition..Welcome to the Grande Punto Club :-) I wish you a Happy and Safe motoring.

Driver Her Safe. :-)
Thanks klub class! Yes I will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arishi1 View Post
Congrats!! sam good and honest writeup.. and welcome to Punters club. Truely this is a marvelous piece of engineering and design.

+1 to your point of view to get a Ritz Dezire and get rid of the Swift Dezire.
Thanks arishi1! Yes everytime I get in to it, it feels great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by finneyp View Post
Congrats Sam, great choice of car & color!
Electric Blue is my favourite color on G Punto!

Enjoy the Bold Italian drive!
Thanks finneyp! Blue is a great color on a punto, but I dont see many thou. Nevertheless I like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by longhorn View Post
congrats on your new ride. Fiat A.S.S. and el cheapo plastics are the only problem areas in an otherwise great package. drive safe and enjoy !
Thanks longhorn! Well ! both of the above is in the hands of Fiat, atleast in our case A.S.S is more important we can't do much now about plastics anyway.
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Old 29th November 2009, 00:56   #15
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Congrats Samson, IMO silver grill looks best on your blue Punto than any other colour. I have made up my mind to go in for Punto 1.4 somewhere in Feb-March 2010 so I will definitely look forward to this thread.

Enjoy the lady in blue.
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