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Old 21st February 2011, 17:31   #1
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First, my apologies for long post. I tried to cut short a lot.

I have previously owned Fiat Palio 1.2 ELX and then Hyundai Getz 1.3. I sold my Getz last April. My search for a new car began on 03-Jan-11. I made up my mind that it should be a Diesel Hatch. Why Diesel? Being a frequent highway traveller, Petrol doesn't seem to be apt for me. Why Hatch? There is no room for parking a sedan (except for Dzire) at my home .

I came down with the following priorities for my new car.
- Has to be Diesel Hatch.
- Should have both ABS and Airbags.
- Good Ride and Handling.
- And ofcourse, good mileage.

Based on the above priorities, I shortlisted i20 CRDi Asta, Grande Punto 90HP, Polo 1.2 TDI Highline, Figo 1.4 TDCI Titanium. I opted out of Fabia, Indica Vista, Swift and also Ritz. Somehow, these cars didn't impress me (completely my personal opinion). Don't know why.

04-Jan-2011
My first visit to a showroom was for i20. I walked into Express Hyundai located on the OMR. I was immediately attended and a sales guy was with me within minutes. He started explaining me about the features available in the car though I am not much interested to hear on that (enough has been read in T-BHP). I asked for the pricing. The i20 CRDI Asta costs Rs.8.10 L OTR in Chennai. I checked for any discounts being offered. But, no discounts for i20. I was told that they can deliver the 2011 model car by the first week of February. 8.1 L appeared to be expensive for me. I asked for a Test Drive and I was told that test drive vehicle is not available at that time and he would arrange for the same at my doorstep. I walked away from the showroom that day.
I was not prepared to spend above 8 Lakhs and almost decided to remove i20 from my list.

05-Jan-2011
I started the next round by visiting Concorde Motors in Chennai. There was huge difference in ambience, cleanliness and professionalism when compared to my previous dealership visit. Hyundai is way way ahead. It was so crowded at Concorde and I was anyway attended by a Sales person without much delay. I immediately asked for the pricing for GP 90HP. It was 7.83 L for the 2011 model and discount offered are Free Extended Warrenty (Rs. 5000), Free RSA and corporate discount of Rs. 9000. It will be around 7.69 L after the discounts. I asked for the test drive. It was arranged immediately and the test drive vehicle was not clean at all. The ODO showed around 2K. I felt like the car accelarated well and didn't feel the Turbo lag (I may not be familiar with this. I have never driven a diesel before). Enough has been said about the ride quality of Punto. Still, it needs a mention here. The ride was simply superb. It handled the patholes very well.
I was completely satisfied with this vehicle but what worried me is the declining sales number of Fiat and also the OTR price of 7.69 L. I asked them to give free insurance and after a lot of talk they agreed to discount 50% in the insurance. Now, the OTR comes down to Rs. 7.6 L. My mind told me to be practical and opt for cheaper/VFM hatches. Still undecided.

07-Jan-2011
My next stop was at MPL Ford, Taramani. It was a small showroom but neatly maintained. They were extremely helpful and a sales executive was with me within minutes I entered there. Unfortunately, test vehicle was not available there but they promised me to bring the vehicle to my home the same day itself. Got the pricing of 6.37 L OTR for Titanium. There was another Top-end version with this dealer, Titanium option pack. In this version they will provide 4 alloys, front fog lamps and Vinyl Seat covers. This costs Rs. 23k above the Titanium. I didn't like one component in the quotation, the insurance. It was quoted at Rs. 20,000. I asked him whether I can go for my own insurance instead of the one provided by them. They agreed. And, they offered a discount of Rs. 5000 (extended warrenty) and a corporate discount of Rs. 3500. Everything looked attractive to me. But, I felt like the vehicle is too small from outside. Decided to wait for the test drive.
As promised, the test drive vehicle was brought to my home that day. I felt the engine noise to be very audible inside the cabin. But, it was really a fun to drive vehicle. Though it looked very small from outside, it got a very decent space inside. I told them that I will make a decision in couple of days. But, I almost made my mind to go with it.

09-Jan-2011
I wanted to check out the Polo before I make my decision. I along with my friend (owns a Figo) went to the VW showroom in T.Nagar. They were really professional and the guy who attended us was good and has good knowledge about the vehicle he is selling. Polo TDI highline is Rs. 8.1 L and has a waiting period of 3 months. I smiled and soon we walked away even without a TD.

10,11 - Jan - 2011
Thought Process.

12-Jan-2011
Booked Figo 1.4 Titanium with clubpack. Yes. I booked the vehicle and started the loan process with SBI.

19-Jan-2011
This is the day where all my decisions turned around. I got a call from Fiat directly and they offered for a test drive. Got to know that my friend (he owns a Punto) in Hyderabad has referred my name. Fiat told me that they will send the TD vehicle to my home itself. They connected me with TAFE Reach, Pallikaranai which is the nearest Tata-Fiat dealer from my home.
Evening, I got call from MPL Ford and I was told that SBI has declined my loan application. I was shocked. The reason - I have too many commitments (I only have a Home Loan). I asked them to keep everything on hold before I decide on the next step.

20-Jan-2011
Got a call from TAFE Reach and they offered me a TD of Punto. They asked me whether I am looking for 2011 or 2010 model. I told them that I was only looking at 2011. Again, no discounts for 2011 model vehicle. I was told that they can give me good discounts on the 2010 vehicles and they have only 2 Punto 90 HP's with them. Exotica Red and Fox Trot Azure. Suddenly, some thought process went on in my mind. Definitely, I am going to stick with the car for the next 5-7 years. Why do I need to bother much about the year (if good discount is offered)? Went to their showroom in Pallikaranai, the very next day. The following are the discounts offered on a 2010 vehicle.
Free Insurance + Corporate discount of Rs. 9000 + Extended Warranty Rs. 5000 + Free 50 month RSA + Cash Discount of Rs. 10,000
After the discounts, the OTR of Punto 90 HP is Rs. 7.43 L. I quickly told them that I would book the vehicle immediately if offered for Rs. 7.3 L. After a series of negotiations, they priced at Rs. 7,31,500 for the Exotica Red Punto 90 HP. The deal looked attractive and booked the vehicle right away (Still, I regret my decision of buying car from TAFE Reach. I had very bad delivery experience with them. I will post more on this in the dealership thread). I gave a cheque for Rs. 20k as a booking amount. For finance, I decided to go with SBT with whom I got the finance for my previous car. SBT processed my loan application in 2 days flat. Got the cheque from the bank on the 3rd day. I wanted to do a PDI before the vehicle is registered. The sales executive at TAFE Reach, Pallikaranai told me that they will inform me when they bring the vehicle to their showroom in Mount Road branch (They don't allow customers to visit their Yards) and I need to inspect the vehicle there. And also, I have to take the delivery in Mount Road branch and not at the place where I booked my car. Reason - They don't have facility for the delivery process (Yes, its true. Actually, this showroom doesn't even look like car dealership at all).

31-Jan-2011
PDI. I went to TAFE Reach, Mount Road showroom. And, the car was parked in the showroom itself for display. I inspected the vehicle according to T-BHP checklist. The top rubber bleeding in the car was out of its place. Another Executive who is in-charge promised that he will fix it before delivery (Well, he didn't keep his promise). Vehicle fixed for registration on 03-Feb and delivery will be on 05-Feb-2011.

05-Feb-2011
It was a big day for me. I actually did not have proper sleep earlier night dreaming about the Car. Me and my friend reached TAFE Reach, Mount Road at around 11 AM. Bad experiences starts again after reaching there. The executive in-charge for me was off that day and the actual sales executive who took my booking sits at Pallikaranai. Now, no body will handle the delivery for me. It will just happen at the delivery bay. Well, the rubber bleeding issue was not fixed at all. All documents were not ready to hand it over to me. They started doing these things after we reached there. And, the insurance certificate had my home address printed wrongly and it was written that the vehicle is hypothicated to State bank of india (Let us leave here now. I will post a detailed review about the dealer in the dealership thread).

They gave a demo on the features available in the car. The ODO showed a total of 109 and I saw a letter 'H' before the mileage figure. When asked about it, the guy who gave the demo told that it will disappear after 200 kms in the ODO. They have provision to reset the mileage in the ODO till 200. After that, they can't. I wasn't aware of this (may be only me?). I don't know how many of the T-BHP members know this. After the demo, Customery pooja was done by them and the key was handed over to me. Finally, I going to drive my tank for the first time. I slowly came out of the delivery bay and hit the road.

We headed straight to Balaji Agencies (3M dealer). I decided on CR70 for the windshield and CS20 for the windows and rear. The total quote was Rs. 10,000 and they offered a discount of 10% knowing that I am a Team BHP member. Meantime ordered for the Seat Covers (Autoform) and floor mat at Motomall. It was planned to be done at my doorstep. Here, I was billed Rs. 10,000 (7k for seat cover and 3k for mat).

I think its enough of buying experience. My initial driving report will follow. I drove the vehicle to my native town, the very next week after delivery.

- To be continued...

Some Photos taken during PDI.
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic1.jpg
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic2.jpg
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic3.jpg

Vehicle ready for delivery.
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic4.jpg

During religious formalities.
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic5.jpg

During Seat cover installation.
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic6.jpg
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic7.jpg
My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP-pic8.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 23rd February 2011 at 11:16. Reason: Adding your pictures to the opening post itself
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Old 21st February 2011, 18:24   #2
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Congrats rameshnanda. The Punto is a gorgeous car, certainly one of the best lookers on Indian roads today and it's a pity we don't see more of them.

Am not surprised at your TAFE experience. Doesn't TAFE stand for Tractors and Farm Equipment? TAFE Access was the dealer that gave Skoda service a bad rap in Bangalore IIRC.

Anyway, doesn't matter- you do know you can get the car serviced at any Fiat dealer right? Anyway Fiats have a 15,000 km service window I think so you shouldn't have to worry too much. All the best with your new baby and do post more reports and pics!
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Old 21st February 2011, 18:30   #3
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Note from Team BHP Support: Congratulations on the car! Please note that Team-BHP does not permit booking / buying experience threads in the Test-Drives section anymore. For the benefit of members & guests alike, it is now imperative to include a complete report on the car (the driving experience / comfort / features, what you like, what you don't like etc.). To know more about this rule, and for review guidelines, please view this announcement.

Please note we do not allow posting in instalments, please prepare the ownership report and post it in one go.

Your thread is temporarily closed. Please report this post once you are ready to update with a complete driving & ownership report; that's when it shall be re-opened. Thanks for your support.

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st February 2011 at 18:32.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 17:16   #4
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

The ODO in my Car is showing 1800 Kms while I write this Initial ownership report. About half of this was done on the highway during the trip to my native town.

As I have mentioned earlier I have never driven a Diesel before. And, I am not an expert to comment about engine and its performance at this time. Still, I can provide my feedback about the car. When I drove the car for the first time, I felt that the punch was missing in my car unlike the one we did the test drive at Concorde motors. The test drive vehicle did accelerate well and I did not feel any lack of power. I felt that my vehicle is very different. I hope things will improve as I clock more miles and the engine opens up as mentioned by other Punto owners in the forum.

The first 2 gears were very boring and things improve once I switch to the third gear. I understood and felt the Turbo lag after driving the car for couple of days after delivery. As pointed out by others there is definitely a lack of outright performance. But, there is a drastic improvement once we go past 1700-1800 RPM. One good aspect I noticed is that I am not shifting gears frequently in the city traffic. This should be because of the linear delivery of power. I couldn't compare 90 HP version to that of 76 HP. I have not driven 76 HP version recently and I just test drove only the 90 HP.

A brief highway report
I drove to my native town (Salem) from Chennai, a week after taking the delivery. I decided to take the route, Chennai-Krishnagiri-Salem. The total distance was around 375 Kms. And I was able to reach Salem in 5 hours with 2 brief stops. I maintained the speed at 80-100 KMPH. Occasionally I reached 3000 RPM level and kept at 2500 constantly. Through out my journey to Salem, I was able to spot only one Punto (a KA registered 90 HP version) on the highway. The return journey took me 5.5 hrs due to heavy traffic from Sriperumbuthur. On the whole, I can say that it was a breeze to drive this machine on the highway.

Fuel Efficiency
I didn't record for the efficiency seperately for city and highway. I will do it in coming days. With about 70% highway and 30% city I got about 17.5 KMPL with 100% (Temperature was set at 22'C).

Things I like about the Car
- Looks. Ever since I bought the car, I feel like my car has a road presence always. When I brought the car to my home after the delivery, the very next day, I was congratulated by some of my neighbours and they admired its looks.
- Highway Performance. Its just amazing even without revving beyond 3000 RPM. This vehicle is definitely a Highway cruiser.
- Ride and handling. Its known fact. Still I have to mention it. It handles bad roads effortlessly.
- Braking.
- Auto A/c. I am just enjoying the Automatic climate control in the Car.
- Steering.
- Blue&Me. I am new to this and just enjoying this feature.
- Other things - Electric ORVMs, Light provided in the Boot.

Things which I don't like
- Cramped footwell. There was actually no room for dead pedal at all. It was just fixed too close to the clutch and I feel difficult to switch between the dead pedal and the clutch. My previous car Getz was far better in this aspect.
- Thick A-Pillars. It definitely limits the visibility on the curvy roads. There is a curvy stretch before I reach my home and I am finding it difficult evertime I pass through this stretch.
- Ergonomics. I couldn't find a comfortable seating position immediately. It took me almost a week to find a comfortable seating. Initially I got pain on my upper right side shoulder.
- Ground Clearance. My car already got hit quite a few times on bad patches/Speed breakers. I didn't have much issues with Getz. In my four year ownership, I hardly had issues.
- Music System. How I can miss this? The one which is given in the car is just a crap . I had a Alpine music system with JBL components in my Getz. The one which is given in Punto, I don't even feel like using it.

Some comparison between my current car and my previous car Getz
- Gear shifting was much more smoother in Getz. I am not saying its bad in Punto.
- I enjoyed more space in Getz. Punto has less space compared to Getz.
- Getz will struggle in highways beyond 120 KMPH. But, this car has just stunned me. The car was willing to move faster and faster.

Problems faced so far
- I hear some sort of 'creech' noise from the front left door. This needs to be fixed.
- The steering wobbles after 90 KMPH but its reduced at 120 KMPH. I guess there may be a balancing issue.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have done sun films and the seat covers for my Car. The next in line is upgradation of ICE. I am completely not satisfied with the quality of the Audio in Punto.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 17:45   #5
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

@rameshnanda: Heartiest congratulations !

Punto is a darling of a vehicle, be it ride quality and handling, be it looks and design.

Unfortunately, most of us have faced pathetic dealers when shopping for Fiat cars. God knows when this will change.

Where are the pictures dude? How can you write a report without pictures?

Do post some high resolution pics of the Italian babe.

Wishing many many happy miles with this beauty.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 17:48   #6
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Congratulations ! Good to see more Fiat ownership threads on tbhp. Even I have booked a Punto and the dealership experience hasnt been the best (as compared to say a Hyundai) but the car is definitely worth it.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 18:38   #7
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Quote:
Originally Posted by rameshnanda View Post
- The steering wobbles after 90 KMPH but its reduced at 120 KMPH. I guess there may be a balancing issue.

99.99% of the time the wobble that goes away at higher speeds is because anyone of the front tires is out of round. Some times even the rear tires can cause wobble too. This is camouflaged by the tire wallas and company fellows by adding weights in strategic locations. First check if its out of round and only if its not then add weights. If its out of round then ask for a new tire and nothing else. Your suspension assembly will thank you for it. Harmonics spell the death knell for springs and especially dampers.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 20:10   #8
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Hey congratulations
Wishing you unlimited happy and safe miles with the power hatch. Pictures please...Its the BEST looking hatch IMO, and not posting her pics, is a crime really...
eagerly waiting.

Cheers.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 22:46   #9
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Congrats rameshnanda. The Punto is a gorgeous car, certainly one of the best lookers on Indian roads today and it's a pity we don't see more of them.

Am not surprised at your TAFE experience. Doesn't TAFE stand for Tractors and Farm Equipment? TAFE Access was the dealer that gave Skoda service a bad rap in Bangalore IIRC.

Anyway, doesn't matter- you do know you can get the car serviced at any Fiat dealer right? Anyway Fiats have a 15,000 km service window I think so you shouldn't have to worry too much. All the best with your new baby and do post more reports and pics!
Thanks noopster. Yes, its Tractors and Farm Equipment.
Yeh. I need to get advice from Fiat owners in Chennai on the service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay_satpute View Post
@rameshnanda: Heartiest congratulations !

Punto is a darling of a vehicle, be it ride quality and handling, be it looks and design.

Unfortunately, most of us have faced pathetic dealers when shopping for Fiat cars. God knows when this will change.

Where are the pictures dude? How can you write a report without pictures?

Do post some high resolution pics of the Italian babe.

Wishing many many happy miles with this beauty.
Thanks Ajay. Pictures are on its way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
Congratulations ! Good to see more Fiat ownership threads on tbhp. Even I have booked a Punto and the dealership experience hasnt been the best (as compared to say a Hyundai) but the car is definitely worth it.
Thank you Neil. True. My buying experience with Getz was great and was handled professionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpullockaran View Post
99.99% of the time the wobble that goes away at higher speeds is because anyone of the front tires is out of round. Some times even the rear tires can cause wobble too. This is camouflaged by the tire wallas and company fellows by adding weights in strategic locations. First check if its out of round and only if its not then add weights. If its out of round then ask for a new tire and nothing else. Your suspension assembly will thank you for it. Harmonics spell the death knell for springs and especially dampers.
This is worrying me. Anyway, I will have this checked sometime this week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
Hey congratulations
Wishing you unlimited happy and safe miles with the power hatch. Pictures please...Its the BEST looking hatch IMO, and not posting her pics, is a crime really...
eagerly waiting.

Cheers.
Thank you Reinhard.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 10:38   #10
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Congrats Ramesh. The red 90hp Punto look gorgeous.
Please post more pictures, as its a visual treat to look at the gorgeous Punto from any angle.

Happy motoring and drive safe.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 10:51   #11
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Thats indeed a handsome red number
Congratulations Ramesh!!
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Old 23rd February 2011, 11:04   #12
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Congratulations Ramesh.

Please do post some internal pics, especially with the new seat covers. Punto 90 HP is a fabulous choice.

I also liked your narration for the selection process. Looking forward to your updates on ICE upgradation on your beauty.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 12:05   #13
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Congrats Ramesh on the Most powerful hatch in its category (read as per FM ads).

Enjoy many more happy miles with the Punto.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 13:10   #14
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Many Congratulations Ramesh,

welcome to the GP brotherhood. The negatives you have observed on the car till now will magically disappear soon. The car opens up after about 3000 km. The fun in punto actually begins after 70 kmph, all the way till 140ish..i'am sure that 90 HP machine will easily make it till 170 odd.

Make a note of all the rattles or misfits that you observe, so that you can get these rectified during I service.

Always wear seat belt and drive safe.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 13:24   #15
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Default Re: My own T90, the Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP

Congrats Ramesh!!

wow! that is one detailed and lengty buying and initial ownership review! enjoyed every bith of reading it!

hopefully the small niggles will resolve in the first service. The ground clearence issue is a concern. is a solution to resolve it!?
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