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|9th March 2010, 10:25||#1|
My Italian Stallion - FIAT Grande Punto MJD (Exotica Red). Photo shoot on pg 9.
THE THOUGHT PROCESS
September 2009 – Our 2002 model M800 stalled in middle of the road. After towing it to the nearest garage, I found out that the car was running without the engine oil and was told that engine overhaul was required. In the last service, I did not accompany the driver (who left the job 2 months ago). Seems like he skimped on the oil change to make some extra money for himself. M800 was due for an upgrade anyway; we sold the car in the current condition for 85k (Got a great deal, if you ask me!).
October 2009 – Decided that we needed a small car. My dad is limited to a wheelchair, and the main requirement was that the car we buy should accommodate a wheelchair in boot and priced around 4L. Here are the few choices and reasons for rejections.
The first car we looked at was i20 petrol. It is a great car. Everything in the car is class leading. Features, cabin space, boot, appearance. The only thing that I didn’t like was the engine on offer. Anyways, that was not a deal breaker, since the car would be a chauffeur driven to be used by parents.
January 2010 - Punto was always on back of my mind. Had TDed it at the time of launch. It’s the best looking hatch. Flowing lines and Italian mesmerizing looks. It was a dream hatch for me. I drive a DZire VDi (40,000 kms old). I asked my parents if they would want to use the DZire, they were OK with it. So, it was decided, I would buy Punto MJD for myself and give DZire to my parents.
With a budget of 5L, and requirement for diesel, Punto Active MJD @ 5.04L was the only option.
Color was already decided, it had to be Exotica Red. It’s the closest to Ferrari red. Punto Looks awesome in that color.
24th January 2010 – Went to Joshi Autozone to inquire about the availability. The salesman was very rude. He was much more interested in selling me Indica Vista. Did not offer me any test drive (although, I didn’t want one). I told him to check the availability of red or blue color. He stated his personal dislikes for both the colors (comparing RED with tamatar and BLUE with a dustbin lying around), and insisted on silver or white, which were readily available. When I insisted on Exotica Red, he said that they would need 50k advance (against 10k for other colors), which would not refundable with a signed bond that color change is not allowed and car would take 1.5 – 2 months to arrive. That was it for me, I left the dealership.
25th January 2010 – Visited HIND Motors, Mohali. The salesman (Mr. Negi) there was very courteous. The showroom had good ambiance and offered me a better deal than Joshi. They asked for a 10K advance and promised a delivery time of between 15-20 days. Although, they also told me that the color change would not be allowed. I was OK with that. Had a good experience overall. I decided to book the car there. Told them I would come back on 27th with the booking amount.
27th January 2010 – Reached HIND Motors @ 11AM. Paid them 10k advance and got the other booking formalities completed. They offered me Finance from SBoP. I already knew someone from HDFC who would help me with the loan; I told them that I would get it done myself.
Next day, I called up that guy from HDFC and asked for the formalities, he gave me the list of documents required for the approval of loan. After 2 days, I gave him all that he has asked for and he told me that approval should not take more than 3-4 days. 5 days later, the loan is approved. All this time, this guy from HDFC was thinking that I am buying the car from JOSHI Autozone. I told him that I have booked the car at HIND Motors. He said that their company had a few problems with HIND in the last few dealings and they don’t deal with them anymore. I told him I cannot cancel the booking with HIND. He said there is no way out.
3rd February 2010 – I called up Mr. Negi and told him about the situation. He told me that he would get my case approved from SBoP on fast track. I had a little hope though, Nationalized banks are known for taking their sweet own time. I went ahead anyway, since they had the most competitive rate of interest.
8% for 1st year and 10% and 2nd and 3rd year. Processing fees was Rs. 1000. It was better than what HDFC have offered.
12th February 2010 – Got a call from HIND that my car has arrived. Reached the showroom within an hour with PDI list. A friend of mine (Sharat) dropped me at the showroom. Punto was looking smashing in red color. There were numerous Indicas / Safaris / Puntos / Lineas in their rooftop stockyard, my red Punto really really stood out. ODO read 5kms. The car was in typical stockyard condition. I spent 20 minutes checking the car, everything seemed perfect. I paid them rest of the money, excluding the loan amount.
I then inquired about my loan status. Mr. Negi told me that the loan was approved, and the draft would be ready by tomorrow. I told him that I would take delivery on Monday (15th Feb), Saturday being not considered a good/auspicious day to buy metal/iron.
13th February 2010 – Visited SBoP with my wife(Loan/Car was in her name) to complete the formalities for the loan. She signed the loan agreement and gave them 12 cheques. They told us to come back on Monday to collect the draft for the loan amount.
Dropped my wife at home and went to HIND motors. Asked them if they had the fog lamps available, and luckily they had one set in stock. Got them fitted (took nearly 2 hours).
15th February 2010 – I reached SBoP at 10 AM. They told me that the draft would take time and asked me to come back at 12PM. I went back at 1 PM and finally got the draft at 1:45.
After collecting the draft, went back home to have lunch drop the car. Cab dropped me at HIND Motors at around 3 PM.
Paper work was completed in around 1.5 hours. I took the delivery of the car at around 5 PM. Told the guys at dealership to remove the ribbon and not to put coconut in the car. They were a bit shocked. They were like “Nayee gaadi hai sir, thodee der toh laga lo”. I do not like ribbons, and Pink ribbon was not going well the red car anyway. I gifted Salesman (Negi) a nice steel bodied parker pen and moved out of the showroom.
Overall, I had a good experience with the dealership. I would recommend them.
I have always found the ride back home in the new car the scariest. All cars/bikes/rickshaws/cyclists seems to be heading your way. Picked up wifey from her office on my way back and headed home.
On my way back I was at a signal and started to move when it was my turn. There was a lot of traffic ahead of me. By the time I was in the middle of intersection the signal turned yellow. I had to cross and unluckily I was the last car to cross (There were 2-3 cars behind me, but they overtook from right/left). I was stopped by policemen. I did argue a lot. I told them that when I crossed, the signal still had 5 seconds left. But they did not listen, and issued a challan anyway. Not a good start, anyhow:
This is the deal I have got:
Ex. Showroom Price: Rs. 5,04,896
Insurance + Extended Warranty + Road side assistance Package: + Rs. 6000
Corporate Discount: - Rs. 9000 (Wife works in HSBC Bank)
Freebies: Mud Flaps + Footmats + Teflon Coating (3M)
Total On-Road Cost (Excluding road tax) – Rs. 5,01,896
Road Tax – Rs. 7000 (approx. – Car is yet to be registered)
Total – Rs. 5,08,896 (approx.)
Went for the customary Pooja next day at Mata Mansa Devi Temple.
I drive a DZire VDi, Verna CRDi, Scorpio mHawk and Innova. I will be comparing the driving experience to Swift DZire VDi as they share the same heart and are in the same price bracket.
The initial pickup is not as good as swift. It seems slow as compared to swift, there is no doubt!! But once you have crossed 2000 RPM, things start to improve. Loads of torque in mid range. Car feels planted on high speeds (upwards of 120). NVH levels are better. No vibrations. Turbo lag is bit less than Swift’s (feels less atleast). Car pulls a little better than Swift below 2000 RPM in higher gears.
After the turbo kicks in, it’s almost similar to swift. Car seems eager to move forward. Gear shift is precise, although I feel swift is better in this department.
Handling is a lot better. Suspension is much better than Swift. There seems to be less body roll. Car seems very stable on high speeds and a lot more planted, inspires confidence. Although, I am still in run-in period, I have taken it to 120 kmph a couple of times. Punto seems better for driving fast on turning roads and jumping into tight corners and inspires confidence.
Ride quality is far ahead than its competition. Punto behaves a lot better on bad roads than Swift. I have same section tires on swift. Punto’s suspension seems to be build to take on 195/60-R15. Same sized tires on swift gives harsh ride when compared.
Braking is better than swift (Both cars I have are non-ABS).
Turning radius is more than Swift. Clutch seems a little longer on Punto (You have to press deeper than Swift).
Trip Computer is nice; shows distance to empty, current consumption, overall consumption, average speed, total time for which car is driven in a tank etc. Although, I wish there were 2 trips available. I think Emotion variant has 2 trips.
I knew how the car was to drive, before buying, so there are no complaints. I have planned to install Petes, so things should improve.
Build quality is top-notch. This car will have a lot less rattles than swift.
The car has been driven for 956 kms so far. Got a FE of 17.1 on the first tank, according to the car’s trip computer, 100% city driving without a/c.
Interiors: Rear leg room is better, boot is larger and seats are more comfy in Punto. Footwell is a bit cramped when compared to Swift. Interiors overall seems better (Plastic quality and overall appearance/design) than Swift. Twin glove box and a few chubby holes give a lot of space to throw your stuff around. Plastic quality, although is acceptable but attracts a lot of dust due to the pattern. Steering wheel is awesome to hold, provides good grip and is very responsive. Its much better than electric ones specially on high speeds.
Dials are nice, is there any way I can fit the dials of Emotion variant? Or maybe just the chrome ring circling the dials?
The knobs provided to adjust the ORVMs are of pretty bad quality, they don't seem like built to last. Quality of rubber, the positioning, the design and adjustment angels it provides are all bad.
FIAT should have left the wiper controls at the normal position instead of reversing it. I keep switching between cars and its really tough getting used to.
Had a few niggles with the car:
The glove box lock was a little loose. Going over a bump would automatically open the glove box (lower one). The boot could not be opened from inside sometimes, the latch used to open the boot became non-responsive at times.
Went over to the dealership, the boot opening lever was fixed in 5 mins. There was something loose that connected lever with the boot lock. The glove box lock was also fixed within a couple of mins. The mechanic asked me to try the glovebox lock. I found it a bit tight to open. He told me to try harder, and I did. The lever came in my hand. It was broken. Luckily, they had one in stock and replaced it within 15 mins with no charges form my end.
I have got the ORVMs, front grills and fog lamp enclosure painted from outside. I also planned on painting the door handles body colored. Now, opening the handles is a pretty tedious job. The mechanic spent good 20-25 mins on one handle and it was still not dismantled. He told me that this is the first time he is working on Punto. I told him to put things the way they were and I will get them painted from the dealership. He did put it back, but now the car would not lock from outside with a key. Luckily it was the passenger side door.
After a couple of days I took the car to the dealership and told them that there was something wrong with the lock. They looked at it and told me that a spring in the lock was faulty and the whole assembly would be replaced and it would be done under warranty. They did not have one in stock. I was told to come back in a week or 10 days as it will come from Pune. Still have to get it fixed somewhere next week.
On my visit to the dealership, I have got the mudflaps removed. They were little too big for my taste. I will look out for some small ones, which are functional but at the same time do not cover the entire tyre. Anyone using any other mudflaps? Mudflaps I had seemed original, “For use in Punto” was written on it.
After the Pooja, headed straight to tyre shop.
Changed the Tyres:
I had already purchased a set of brand new Punto OE alloys @ Rs. 9000. I was confused about which tyre to go for. Size was decided (195/60R15). I have Yokohama A-Drive on DZire (same size). They are good tires. But, this time I wanted to try something different.
The tires in consideration were Yokohama V550 (db Series), Yokohama A-Drive, Pirelli (Forgot the model), Michelin Primacy LC and Continental CPC2.
In the confusion, called a TBHP member Abhishek. He was close by and soon arrived with another TBHP member Shresht. They both swore by CPC2. Michelin was out of contention cause of the price. Did not like the pattern on Pirelli. I was not interested in getting another Yokohama (already have a C-Drive on Innova, GEOLANDAR on Scorpio and A-Drive on DZire).
I was inclining more towards CPC2, Abhishek PMed a tyre guru from TBHP (Nikhil) and he confirmed that Continental ContiPremiumContact2 was a better tyre than Yoko V550 or A- Drive. He said CPC2 was almost comparable to mighty Michelin.
The manufacturing date on the tyre was bit old, but I was getting warranty from the date of purchase (5 years). Again confirmed with Nikhil, he said most of the Conti tyres have old manufacturing dates. I went to another tyre shop, just to check. The CPC2 there also had date of manufacturing in close range to one I have already seen. To convince me even more, the owner of the shop (Bansal Tyre Zone) got on phone with Continental’s RM and asked me to talk to him. He told me that this is the latest date you will find in any shop and you will get 5 year warranty from the date of purchase and even gave his personal contact number, just in case there is any problem.
Got Continental ContiPremiumContact2 (CPC2) 195/60-R15 fitted on the OE Punto Rims that I already had with me. Got it at a price of Rs. 4100 per tyre. Free alignment and balancing was done at the shop.The stock tyres were evaluated at Rs. 1700 per tyre and RIMS (Without wheelcaps) @ Rs. 800.
The CPC2 seems a lot better than A-Drives. Less noise and better grip.
These are some of the mods I have done to make my FIAT Grande Punto MJD (Active)
It can pair upto 5 phones. Can sync address book. There is no extra MIC required; it’s built in the HU. You can also increase the mic gain. You can dial a phone number from the HU remote control unit as well.
MODS Planned for Future:
Last edited by SumitBahl : 9th March 2010 at 10:33.
|9th March 2010, 11:09||#4|
I am satisfied with the performance of CPC2's so far. They are definitely better than A-Drives in terms of road noise and comfort.
Grip levels also seem better, although I have not tested their full potential yet. (Still in run-in period)
|9th March 2010, 11:30||#6|
|9th March 2010, 11:51||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2008
Thanked: 376 Times
Thanks for such a detailed post. The pictures are nice and the car looks smashing.
Wishing you many miles of happiness.
|9th March 2010, 11:52||#11|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 9 Times
congrats on the wonderful buy. great choice of color.
did they charge u 9000 per alloy wheel or for all 4 ???
|9th March 2010, 12:28||#15|
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 115 Times
Congrats for the Punto. It looks grogeous in red. The OE alloys make it look even better. 9k for 4 alloys is a great deal.
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