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Old 5th July 2010, 09:29   #1
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Default My Italian bombshell Formosa-FIAT Grande Punto 1.3 MJD E-Pack finally enters my life!

First, the history. I had just completed my MBA and joined an IT company as a consultant. My daily commute to office was a round trip of 50 km from my home in Pune. I had my bike (Honda Unicorn), but it wasn't a good idea to use it on a regular basis, especially when most of my commute involved the Pune bypass highway. Travelling by bus no longer appealed to me, however. Hence purchasing a car was a must. A monthly running of around 2000 km meant that a diesel would make better sense.

I visited the auto fair in Pune in May 2010 where I got the details about various cars like the Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz, Maruti Ritz/Swift, Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat/U-VA/Aveo. Surprisingly Fiat and VW didn't participate. Never mind, T-bhp gave me all the initial details that I needed to know.

Now, I set down the parameters which were required by me in my car.
  • Safety - Since my daily commute involved the highway and I would also be visiting Bombay every alternate weekend, safety was a prime factor and hence, ABS with EBD and at least dual airbags was a must.
  • Comfort - Long drives meant that the driver's seat has to be comfortable. Since I would be driving alone most of the time, back seat needed to be reasonably comfortable, but some compromise on that count was ok.
  • Engine - Now, I am a driving enthusiast. Ever since I knew what a car was, I wanted to get behind the wheel. Dad made me wait until my 18th birthday for that! Anyway, that meant that my car's engine needed to be responsive, not in a racetrack way, but in a daily running kind of way.
  • Handling - Once again, the highway usage meant that I needed a car that was comfortable munching miles on our roads without breaking into a sweat.
  • Looks - Though not a primary factor, I certainly needed my car to be good-looking. There wasn't any point in buying a car that I didn't want to look at!
  • Other Features - Since I would be spending a big amount on what would be my first car, I wanted bang for my buck and hence, any creature comforts were welcome.
I checked my finances and decided that I would go in for a hatchback with a budget of 7L. I wanted to keep the car for 4-5 years. With this in mind, I shortlisted the following cars.
  • Ford Figo - It seemed to tick all the right boxes except for looks. I felt that this car would begin to look old in the next 2-3 years. Also, the Ford dealers didn't seem interested in any one particular customer as they were getting a lot of customers for this car. No freebies either and a quoted waiting period of 2 months for the diesel meant that I ruled out this one even before a TD.
  • Hyundai i20 - I hated the looks of this car right from the beginning. During my TD of the 1.2 petrol (the CRDi wasn't available for TD that day), the car seemed to bounce around too much. No way this car is going to be stable on the highway, I said to myself. The interiors, however, were very very good. Not enough to win me over, though.
  • Chevrolet Beat - Pashankar Auto had organised a Beat/Spark camp in my office complex itself, so I went ahead and TD'd the Beat. I must admit I was pretty impressed. Engine refinement was good and the car had good pep. But, it didn't give me a big hatch feel and plus, there wasn't a diesel option available.
  • Maruti Swift/Ritz - Dad has a Swift Lxi which he bought in 2008. Having driven that quite frequently, I knew that the Swift was an excellent handler. The 1.3 L Esteem engine was sadly not available anymore. The DDiS was very very impressive and the power burst I got during the TD at around 2.5 K rpm was exhilarating. The only thing holding me back was the fact that I didn't want to have a fleet of Swifts! One look at the Ritz meant that I didn't even want to get close to this car, let alone drive it!
  • VW Polo - Das Auto. Perfect tagline for this German workhorse. What a car! Excellent handling, smooth gearbox, good audio system, very good back seat comfort. The diesel at 7.5L plus (on-road Bombay) was out of my budget and the petrol never inspired me. Even if the diesel had been in my budget, a 3 pot motor, albeit veru good, wasn't very inviting.
  • Fiat Grande Punto - What a sexy car! The Italians sure know a thing or two about style! I was always curious about this car even when I wasn't shopping and now, I just HAD to have a TD. Eventually, I ended up TD'ing the 1.3 MJD no less than 3 times with 3 different dealers in Bombay and Pune! And boy, can this baby handle! Very very communicative and responsive steering and class leading poise on the road at high speeds. Bumps that looked huge in my Dad's Swift now seemed to be minor imperfections that this beauty simply dismissed imperiously like a diva may brush off a pesky admirer whilst buffing her nails! And those gorgeous alloys! Space for the driver was great and the back seat wasn't too bad either! I was totally sold! My head was saying the Polo, but my heart said the Punto! I finally went with my heart and booked an Exotica Red 1.3 MJD Emotion Pack on the 19th of June, 2010.

Last edited by Mpower : 8th July 2010 at 18:12. Reason: removing erotic content
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Old 5th July 2010, 09:44   #2
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Congrats on the Italian babe. No Punto review is complete without pics - and loads of em!
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Old 5th July 2010, 09:48   #3
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On 19th June, 2010, I went to Concorde Motors, Prabhadevi to book the car. Although the SP (Mr. Sunil Kale) I had spoken to on phone wasn't present, his supervisor (Mr. Ganesh Ghodke) attended to me and gave my a TD of the 1.3 MJD. Then, we went about the booking formalities in a very smooth manner. The dealership had a tie up with SBI. The dealership finance executive (Mr. Jamil Khan) thoroughly explained the procedure to me and till the end, executed the entire loan application, verification, approval and disbursement process very very efficiently. Full marks here. Mr. Ghodke tried to sell me a Euro III car that was lying in his stockyard saying that it was ready to sell and offered me a cash discount of 15K. When I refused, he upped the discount to 35K!!! I told him clearly that I was looking for a Euro IV spec car - no point in buying an old one when the new one is available! The final deal was ekked out with the insurance, extended warranty and Fiat Roadside Assist being given free as a part of Fiat's promotional offer. Other freebies included floor mats, mud flaps and reverse parking sensor (4 eyes). Delivery was promised within 2 weeks.

After quite a bit of following up with Mr. Kale, the delivery date was set as 3rd July, 2010. Too bad it couldn't be 1st July, as that would been a great birthday gift for myself then!

So on 3rd, I went to the showroom with my parents. Mr. Kale explained the documents and the warranty to me. Since on that day, Bombay received very heavy rainfall, the car was readied for delivery in the basement. Thankfully, they hadn't put any ribbons on the car, just a garland. The service executive then explained all the features of the car to me and my Dad. Once that was done, I took out my friend's camera (my camera's battery was dead) and started clicking. Sadly, the light in the basement was so poor that the pics haven't come out too well. I will put them up as soon as I get them from my friend. Then, my Mum did pooja for the car and Mr. Kale handed over a box of chocolates and a 5 litre diesel coupon as a gift. Finally, we were off!
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Old 5th July 2010, 09:57   #4
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Congrats on the beauty, you have to justify by showing us the beauty of this car by pics, happy milles & safe driving ahead!
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Old 5th July 2010, 10:03   #5
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It's been just 2 days so far and the car hasn't failed to impress me. First and second gears are noticeably slow but that was entirely expected. Third gear is the best and the car pulls cleanly once it is slotted in. Just yesterday, I did the Bombay-Pune run and all imperfections on the road were simply gobbled up without a second thought. Undulations on the road that I had to stop for in Dad's Swift were not even noticed! Even the larger Taveras and Innovas had to slow down! I made sure to keep the car under 3K rpm. It just about touched 120 kmph then.
The features of the car are also addictive. Blue and Me just makes me want to call more and more people just to experience the excellent clarity! The speed sensitive intermittent wipers are a nice touch. Even the fuel efficiency is very encouraging. Yesterday, on the Bombay-Pune run, I got a FE of 14.5 kmpl after encountering traffic in Bombay and in the ghat. Today, I got 18 kmpl on the run from home (Kothrud) to office (Hinjewadi). Will be going to Bombay again today evening to get accessories like sunfilm and better headlights fitted tomorrow. Will update on that later.

@ quadmaniac & crn12: As mentioned earlier, as soon as I get the pics from my friend, I will put them up. Apologies for the delay.

Last edited by sumobom4 : 5th July 2010 at 10:04. Reason: Including crn12 in the reply
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Old 5th July 2010, 10:26   #6
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Congrats Bro and welcome to the FIAT family. Whenever you get the pics, upload it.
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Old 5th July 2010, 10:44   #7
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Congrats on your car, and belated birthday wishes.

Waiting for the pics. What was the final otr price after discounts ?
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Old 5th July 2010, 10:52   #8
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Congrats and welcome to the club .
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Old 5th July 2010, 11:30   #9
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@ All: Thanks for the wishes, guys! Pics should be up in a couple of days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
Congrats on your car, and belated birthday wishes.

Waiting for the pics. What was the final otr price after discounts ?
Thanks for the birthday wishes, sdp1975. Final OTR price post discounts was 7,09,263. I was originally supposed to pay a downpayment of 97K odd post corporate discount, but when I went to the dealership to pay, they asked me to give them 93,263. I certainly wasn't complaining!
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Old 5th July 2010, 12:39   #10
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Congrats ... the same car with corporate offer and exchange bonus costed me 7.44 lks :( in Bangalore. My car was delivered on 19th June. As I'm busy with work yet to start an ownership thread.
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Old 5th July 2010, 13:15   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-X5 View Post
Congrats ... the same car with corporate offer and exchange bonus costed me 7.44 lks :( in Bangalore. My car was delivered on 19th June. As I'm busy with work yet to start an ownership thread.
Being in Bangalore has its advantages.
Congrats to the owner. Welcome to the club.
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Old 5th July 2010, 13:18   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-X5 View Post
Congrats ... the same car with corporate offer and exchange bonus costed me 7.44 lks :( in Bangalore. My car was delivered on 19th June. As I'm busy with work yet to start an ownership thread.
It seems taxation is at a very high level in Bangalore. A few of my friends posted there were also complaining.
Why don't these stupid political parties protest this rather than call useless bandhs and then proudly declare them as successes?
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Old 5th July 2010, 13:24   #13
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Congrats on the car, post some pics
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Old 5th July 2010, 20:34   #14
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Congrats sumobom. Liked your short listing process. A good choice. Drive safe!
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Old 6th July 2010, 00:56   #15
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Congatulations, you bought the perfect car for your requirements. It's better than the Polo on highways and is better value for money too.

Wait for the car to run in, things just get better with the drivetrain. It becomes smoother, quieter as well as more fuel efficient. In fact, the slight lag you feel in the first two gears, also feels better once the engine is run-in.
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