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Old 25th October 2015, 10:20   #1
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Default Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Punto Abarth 2015

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  • A strong turbo charged motor under the hood
  • All round disc brakes with top-notch braking ability
  • Lowered Ground Clearance
  • Stiff suspension setup without too much impact on the ride quality
  • Handling improved further with the lower stance and rear stabilizer bar
  • Still a looker with all the red stickers on the car
  • Gorgeous Scorpion Claw alloys
  • A sub 10 Lakh rupee sticker price
  • ICE update - Bluetooth Streaming now available
  • Solid Build quality

  • Rubbery Shifts, though improves over extended usage. A slick shifting box would have enhanced the pleasure of driving.
  • Finding the ergonomically optimum seating position is still a challenge at the first instance.
  • Misses out on the Gizmos like auto folding mirrors, reverse camera, auto headlamps and wipers which the market loves
  • Apollo tyres give up much before the mechanical grip gives up around a corner. An upgrade to better rubber is necessity.
  • Little or no sporty exhaust note

PS: Thanks to Fiat and Aadya motors for providing the vehicle and co-ordinating for the review.
PPS Thanks to Crazy Driver accompanying me for the review.
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Old 25th October 2015, 10:33   #2
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Default re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Punto Abarth has been launched with a sticker price of Rs. 9.95 Lakhs exshowroom - Delhi and will be available in Pearl White and Black initially. The Matt grey is expected to be introduced in Q1 next year.

Avventura powered by Abarth too carries a sticker price of Rs. 9.95 Lakhs exshowrrom - Delhi

Technical Specifications

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PS: Kerb weight for the Punto Abarth has not been mentioned in the brochure.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 27th October 2015 at 10:17. Reason: typo corrected
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Old 25th October 2015, 10:45   #3
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Default How different is it compared to the regular Evo


Fiat has made a few changes to the Punto Abarth to differentiate it from the regular Punto Evo. The Abarth logos replace the Fiat logos on this one and get the red themed stickers on the car.

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The chrome surrounds around the fog lamps (both front and rear) are now wrapped in red, which to me gives it garish feel.

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The red stripes start from the bonnet, which has been carried over to the roof with a big scorpion decal and end at the spoiler.

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The scorpion claw alloys look brilliant on the car and skirting on the sides enhances the looks even further. Notice the discs at rear

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Notice the bigger intercooler

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Like the exteriors, the interior too gets a few changes like the upholstery change with red and yellow stitching, a different speedometer to differentiate it from the Evo. The all black theme from the 90 HP version is carried forward which goes along with the sporty nature of the car.

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The speedo console is different to the Evo and has the lettering in yellow and red. The redline starts from 5500 rpm and the ABARTH lettering is now prominently put right above the MID.

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The driver seat felt a little harder and provided slightly better support as compared to the regular Evo, which is welcome but still lacks the under thigh support. The fabric design has a nice feel to it, but will surely be a dust magnet. The ergonomics are not perfect and it does take time to getting used to, the short test drives certainly does not help in finding one either.

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Abarth Door Sills as standard

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Interior though has come a long way forward in terms of the feel, fit and finish, there are still a few rough bits like the lower part of the dashboard which feels roughly put together. However, these are not a deal breakers keeping in mind the performance that is on offer.
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Old 25th October 2015, 10:50   #4
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Default re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Heart of the Matter

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Fiat always had a very strong motor in the 1.4 turbocharged unit which appears in various tunes in the various markets ranging from 113 PS all the way to 180 PS version. The Abarth tunes the higher-powered versions, which is exactly what Fiat has done in India too. 1.4 Tjet has been heavily worked upon by having a revised intake, exhaust, bigger turbo, bigger intercooler, injectors and of course a revised ECU map to provide the 145 PS @5500 rpm and the torque at 212 NM at 2000 – 4000 rpm. The C510 gearbox being the limitation, the torque numbers has gone up only 5 nm from the regular Tjet. The motor has gone upscale with a beefed up internals, which would help further modifications to increase the power. The specifications look very good on paper, but how is it to drive?

The Drive

Turn the key on and the engine settles to a nice idle, that is when you would be surprised to find that the exhaust note is muted. Rev it, the Engine gives a nice throaty note, but the exhaust remains muted which is quite disappointing. Slot it into the first and the release the clutch which is familiar. There is a hint of turbo lag until the 1800 rpm and post which it boost increases to provide the brisk acceleration. It is quite easy to spin the wheels on the first gear. If you bury the accelerator pedal, you will experience the torque steer coupled with the furious wheels spins. A quick shift to the 2nd gear gives a hint of wheel spin and it accelerates hard and the acceleration remains strong in the 3rd and the 4th gear too. The motor is quite versatile coupled the ratios ensures that you get strong acceleration all the way up to 6000 rpm and then tapers off before hitting the rev limiter at 6500 rpm. Though there is strong acceleration from around 2000 rpm to 6000 rpm, there is hint of a flat spot around the 3500 rpm. The Punto Abarth does 50 kmph in 1st gear, 90 kmph in 2nd gear and close 140 kmph in 3rd gear before hitting the rev limiter (Note speeds are speedo indicated here). However, shifting at around 5000 rpm puts you in the meaty power band and it ensure strong acceleration even in the 5th gear.

Though the 0-100 kmph is mostly insignificant in day to day driving, we did try to see how close the numbers can be to the claimed 8.8 secs. While Crazy_Driver managed 9.9 secs to the ton mark (2nd gear launch), I was able to manage 9.38 secs later after dropping the tyre pressure to 30 PSI from the 42 PSI which the car had. With minimal tyre spins, the 8.8 secs seems very much achievable. Though this number is not ground breaking, it is good enough considering how heavy the Punto Evo weighs (with the Tjet, the weight of the Punto Abarth ought to have gone up by a few Kilograms from 1198 Kgs)

PS: The 0-100 runs were done based on the GPS.

Fiat has carried forward the C510 gearbox to keep the costs low which still remains a drawback, but it would not have done them any harm in providing a slick short shifting gearbox. Maybe they can do this if they launch an SS version with 180 PS and a six speeder with a higher sticker price.

Ride and Handling

Handling has further been enhanced by lowering the ground clearance by 30 mm and the stiffer suspension set up ensure the ride is flat and is confidence inspiring. Be it lane changes or taking a corner aggressively the car does not feel unsettled. However, the tyres start to squeal and begs for mercy. Upgrading to a sticky rubber will enhance the excellent handling even further. Even with the stiff suspension set up, the ride is quite flat and not too harsh. At low speeds the ride feels a little stiffer, but this is a compromise to have the ride brilliant at higher speeds. People familiar with the Expressway (if one can call it that way) to Bangalore International Airport, there are a couple of places with nasty undulation which can unsettle the ride. Punto Abarth handled this comfortably and stayed predictable. Even with the lower ground clearance, the stiff suspension ensured the underbelly did not scrape anywhere. The steering feedback from the hydraulic unit is precise, sharp, keeps you connected to the road by providing ample feedback and the steering feels nice to use.

The brakes were always a strong point of the Punto Evo, but the all wheel discs on the Punto Abarth (285mm front and 252 mm rear) takes it to a higher level. The strong brakes provides sufficient bite and slows the car down rapidly from speeds over 150 kmph.

FE on the Abarth will be considered by a few people; thanks to our market’s obsession on mileage in general. With an ARAI certified Mileage of 16.3 kmpl, the real life mileage in city like Bangalore should hover around 9-10 kmpl and around 15 kmpl on the highway when driven normally. The aggressive mode will get these numbers down but in return makes you grin ear to ear.

Small video for the Engine Note

Note: This run was done after multiple checks and ensuring it is safe to do the runs. Kindly avoid unwarranted comments on this please.

Avventura powered by Abarth Initial Impressions.

The Avventura finally gets the Tjet under the hood, which it ought to have it right at the time of the launch. Better late than never. The Tjet is tuned slightly differently and the power is at 140 BHP and torque at 210 nm. Though the numbers are very close to the Punto Abarth, the tuning is different. The low-end torque is slightly better and the top end is not strong as the Punto Abarth. The suspension is not changed or tuned to handle the bump in power, which is disappointing especially after you drive the Punto Abarth first and then Avventura. However, in isolation, the Avventura is quite fast with the 140 BHP motor. One interesting thing is that the exhaust note is more prominent in the Avventura than the Punto Abarth. Overall looking at it isolation, it is still a good proposition, but bring the Punto Abarth in with its retuned suspension, the Punto Abarth is leagues ahead of the Avventura for all obvious reasons.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 27th October 2015 at 10:16. Reason: line edited
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Old 25th October 2015, 10:54   #5
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Default re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Overall Impression

The Punto Abarth has many things going for it, right from the strong motor under the hood, brilliant ride and handling, very strong brakes, the looks going for it. But it certainly is not without its share of negatives such as the iffy bits on the fit and finish, rubbery shifts (though improves with usage) and the driving position which is not easy to find at the first instant. But at a sticker price of 9.95 lakhs and the performance on offer, the Punto Abarth makes a compelling case for itself.

Other Points

Blue Tooth Streaming now available, which is a welcome move. USB slot and the Aux port different from the regular Evo though placed at the same location

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Abarth Pedals are not standard, but available as an option. It should have been part of the standard

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Exhaust pipe sticking out sorely

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Apollo tyres which comes as stock is good at catching attention of people around with the wheel spins. Grip on offer is nothing to write home about with a powerful motor under the hood

PS: KHT and Aadya will sell Punto Abarth for Karnataka. Not all dealers get to sell the Punto Abarth. Look out for the dealers who sell the Punto Abarth when you want to get one home.
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Old 25th October 2015, 10:59   #6
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Default re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

A few parting shots

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Old 25th October 2015, 11:01   #7
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Default re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Primary Competition


  • European build quality
  • TSI engine with the DSG auto box makes it good fast daily hatchback
  • Neutral handling with more emphasis on the comfort
  • Premium Brand image
  • Numerous options for modifications for both features and performance

  • Inconsistent service quality
  • Relatively higher service bills
  • Reliability issues with the 7 speed DSG
  • Delivery issues of Polo recently

Last edited by GTO : 25th October 2015 at 14:20. Reason: Updating image :)
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Old 25th October 2015, 14:27   #8
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Test-Drives Section. Thanks for sharing! Phenomenal review, thanks guys! Rating it a full 5 stars.

For all of its sales woes in India, you got to credit Fiat with one thing - giving us driver's cars. Fiat gave us:

- India's first 100 BHP hatchback (Palio 1.6)
- The first turbo-petrol C-segment sedan (Linea T-Jet)
- And now, a 143 BHP hatchback!

The only problem with the original Linea was its range of under-powered engines. Fiat solved that with the 1.4L T-Jet. We've been craving for a Punto T-Jet since the Linea T-Jet's launch. Fiat comes up with something more! A couple of basic mods and you're easily looking at 150 BHP on the Abarth Punto.

Leave aside the steering & superb high speed behaviour, I'd pick the Abarth Punto over the Polo GT TSI for the MT alone. Manual is manual. Even if the gearbox isn't slick-shifting, it's better than an AT for me. Plus, I refuse to believe that VW magically solved the DSG's long-term reliability by changing the oil. Let the 2014-15 DSGs cover 75,000 - 100,000 kms without issue. Then we'll talk.

Performance cars in the 10 - 20 lakh window aren't launched everyday in India. I'm glad that some manufacturers think differently . This year has been good - first the S-Cross with that explosive 1.6L diesel, and now this turbo-petrol hatchback. Let the fun times begin .

Last edited by GTO : 25th October 2015 at 14:40.
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Old 25th October 2015, 14:28   #9
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Big thanks to nkrishnap for taking me along for this review test drive. I'm a Punto 90hp user since 3 1/2 years and have covered almost 1.1L kms on the vehicle, and some of my observations may not reflect yours since I'm very much accustomed to the vehicle over this long stint with it. However, I’ll give an honest effort to approach it from a neutral POV.

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What you'll like –
  • 145hp hatchback!
  • All wheel disc brakes. Excellent braking capabilities.
  • Excellent ride and handling, with ride still being well damped.
  • Hydraulic steering, FIAT build quality, the solid feel and looks – the European package compliments the car perfectly.
  • Price of 9.95L pan India. A hot hatch for less than C-segment sedan money.

What you'll not -
  • Would have appreciated a higher level of safety – 6 airbags, ESP, Cruise Control etc.
  • The Abarth theme might be too loud for many. Personally, I hate the red fog lamp bezels.
  • The driving position takes some getting used to. Seating H point is set low, rendering less under thigh support and a raised knee. I love the brilliant lower back support though.
  • Gear box is improved over the Evo, but still feels rubbery.
  • 195 section 16 inch Apollo tyres beg for an immediate upgrade.

We (Again thanks to nkrishnap) had already reviewed the 2014 Punto Evo ( and hence the below note misses out on some obvious points which are the same as the Evo.

It is a well known fact that FIAT has been struggling with its range of products in India. Both the Punto and the Linea fell victim to a majority of concerns surrounding the Italian manufacturer in India and hasn't recovered since. The biggest concern was regarding the differentiation of products with other manufactuers where the company just didn't have enough reasons to provide to a potential buyer why a product from their stable made a whole lot more sense compared to the other mainstream manufacturers. Those who still went ahead and purchased FIAT cars where enthusiasts who appreciated the products for what it is, and even then they had to fight a battle between the head and the heart before going ahead. My own ownership report of my Punto 90hp was titled - 'A thin line between genius and insanity'. Well, the case is going to change now.

FIAT India has finally realised its customer base, and went all out to win their hearts. From a range of products trying to be mass market "me too", FIAT has gone ahead and launched a new segment in India - one that has been sought after for long - a performance hatchback. The FIAT Abarth Punto is born.

This is incidentally the second product from the Abarth stable in India. Abarth had launched the 595 Competizione with a price tag of Rs 29.85L earlier this year, and you might have missed that news. It is quite a hardcore machine with no compromises made compared to the international counterparts, however the price tag is a little too steep considering the Indian purchasing power parity. Afterall, Abarth brand stands for "performance for all". In comes the FIAT Abarth Punto at Rs 9.95L. Abarth specialises in taking ordinary FIAT cars and turning them into comic book superheroes and the Indian Abarth Punto is no less - producing previously unheard of figures of 145bhp and 212Nm torque from a 1.4L turbocharged petrol engine. Abarth is not just about powerful engines though, it is about defiance in Italian design and setting up a machine to extract the very best out of it. In comes upgraded braking capabilities in the form of all wheel disc brakes, upgraded handling capabilities thanks to a lowered suspension setup, firmer suspension, front and rear anti-roll bars etc. And thanks to the heavy localisation of the Punto Evo, they have priced it well under the range of the next segment - a performance hatchback for C segment money. So, not an international Abarth product like the 595 Competizione, but a proper Abarth in spirit then.

Incase the Abarth Punto is not your cup of tea, FIAT is also going to power their existing lineup with higher performance engines. FIAT Avventura was the first to be "Powered By Abarth" and there are rumours that the Linea might get this treatment as well. But that topic is for a future date, for let us concentrate on the FIAT Abarth Punto here. However, these 'powered by Abarth' versions will be more about the engine rather than changes to the overall package as in the case of the Evo.

Thanks to BHP'ian PatchyBoy, we know the following are the mechanical details in the conversion from the Punto Evo to the Abarth - 1. Turbo Charger 2. Exhaust Manifold 3. Intake Camshaft 4. Exhaust Camshaft 5. Intake Air Fuel Module 6. Pressure Sensor After the Intercooler 7. Boost Pressure and Temperature Sensor on Intake Manifold 8. Fuel Rail 9. Spark Plugs 10. Injectors 11. Battery 12. Blue & Me control unit removed. Replaced with Uconnect 13. Obviously different maps 14. Front brakes - Ventilated Disc 284 mm x 22 mm. Single Piston caliper - Bosch ZOH 54 mm piston 15. Rear brakes - Solid Disc 251 mm x 10 mm. Single Piston caliper. 16. Struts - Cofap 17. Springs - Same as the Linea T-Jet

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You may love it, or hate it – but you just can’t miss it. Punto Abarth is quite loud for a hatchback in the Indian scene, and FIAT is second only to Maruti here in providing a generous dose of stickerwork on their cars. Thankfully, unlike the Swift Glory, Windsong editions etc – it is not a case of all show and no go. Still, the stickerwork might be too loud for many people. I would probably leave the stickerwork on the car and get the fog lamp bezels covered in black.

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The alloys wheels are absolute drool material! Agreed that the one showcased at the BIC was much better, but this still is one of the best designs provided by an OEM in India ever! Punto has always been a good looking car and the charm is carried forward to the Abarth as well.

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But as I mentioned above – there are few things to hate about the exterior design. The fog lamp bezels are too loud and doesn’t feel good in quality. Not that I’m a fan of chrome, but the ones of the Evo felt excellent quality in comparison. The sticker quality of the Abarth is again not the best I’ve seen! Karthik’s modified Punto 90hp has better quality stickers IMO. This one might not last the distance, but fortunately – that also means that it won’t be a pain to remove for those who wish so!

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It’s the same old Punto Evo in here, save for some minute differences. The Abarth branding is an obvious change, bringing along with it some red and yellow stitching – but what you would probably not notice is the material used for the seat which offers superb grip and prevents any sort of sliding around upon hard braking. I’ve always liked the full black theme (Including the roof liner!) of the 90 hp Evo – so no major complaints here.

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The quality of materials used is not the best, especially on the lower part of the dashboard and the doors. The quality of leather used on the steering wheel seems to have deteriorated over the years . My good old 90hp still feels better than the brand new leather on the new Abarth. That said – the car is still build like a FIAT should be and parts feel properly screwed together.

Coming to the ergonomics perspective – it’s the same old hit or miss. Personally – I feel its only a matter of time to get used to it! The H point on the seat is set low, causing a raised knee position with no under thigh support. Adding the long travel clutch into the picture – this is awkward for someone checking the car at the showroom. However, over time you get to really appreciate the firm seats with the brilliant lower back support that keeps you comfortable over long journeys. FIAT had a scope of improvement there, probably could have imported a new gearbox as well - and that would have made it perfect. But then - its probably too much an investment and would only push up the prices way north considering the small numbers they manage to sell. But that said – I perfectly understand if the seating position is not your cup of tea, or coffee!

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No comments on the interior package and the boot since they are the same as the Evo. However, a note on the features list - I would have personally liked Cruise control to be a part of the package - along with may be a higher variant with more safety features on offer. One major grouse I had with the Punto earlier was its music system, which seems to have improved now and bluetooth music streaming finally makes its appearance in the Evo. Bye bye cables!


If you have survived reading till this point, here comes the good stuff!

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Ok, let me just burst the bubble – a novice driver like me was able to extract a 9.9 second (GPS) run to the ton starting off in second gear! And it’s the first time ever that I tried a hard launch. I could barely manage to control the launch in first gear with the wheels spinning away to glory (my inexperience shining through! And the fact that the test car was riding 42 PSI as we realised later) – but the car is fast and how! Try a hard launch in the initial gears – and the steering is actually for holding on. They weren’t kidding about the torque steer!

FIAT claims a figure of 8.8 seconds to the ton, which gives the car good bragging rights at the local club against that GT TSI owner – but frankly - the story lies elsewhere.

The unsung hero here is the torque. At 212Nm, it is good enough to rival a diesel engine. The car pulls neatly from low rpms and speeds are achieved effortlessly. There is a hint of turbo lag but the torque masks it quite well. Over the long term – you’ll definitely appreciate the effortless way in which the Abarth picks up speed. Triple digit speeds are achieved without breaking a sweat and overtaking other cars just requires a gentle tap on the accelerator! You can be a calm and sedate driver, but still maintain blazing high speeds in the car. “VTec kicked in yo” jokes associated with high performance small engines are a thing of the past!

And speaking of overtaking – the Punto Abarth seems extremely keen to hit the redline. The disappointments? Engine note is nice, but exhaust note is nilch. I mean zip, nada, zilch – a bit of a disappointment there! Overall, the car feels a lot more refined than the Linea TJet IMO. The gearshifts however are still rubbery and hence it is quite a good thing that you have all the power and torque in the world to reduce those shifts to a minimum. Though - if you ask me, I'd say the gearshifts are not as bad as it is often made out to be - and the shifts are smooth for regular usage. Its either me getting used to the car or the gearbox improving over usage, but i defenilty enjoy the gearshifts in my car over regular usage. It is only when once is trying to shift hard that the weaknesses of this box become evident. And quite evident at that! FIAT could probably have imported a new gearbox for this car, but it would not have made any financial sense considering the low numbers on offer.

Fuel Efficiency:

Blasphemy, you’d say. But I felt I should still report it.

The worst we saw was 10.1 kmpl on the MID after few hard runs trying to beat the acceleration time set by each other. And this went up to 11.5 kmpl within another 15 kms of driving around for the photoshoot location. FIAT claims an ARAI figure of 16.3 kmpl. I feel these figures are very good for the kind of performance on offer! Possibly the abundance of torque helping matters here!

Ride, handling and braking:

Let me start with the braking department since it impressed me the most over a regular Punto 90hp. On the village highway running through the outskirts of Bangalore – I had to brake hard to avoid a huge pothole on an otherwise good road, and the car shed speeds much faster than I expected – even compared to the decent braking skills of the Evo. FIAT has added rear disc brakes to the package and it has obviously helped matters here. Good job FIAT!

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The ride height has been lowered and stands at 155mm, but thankfully its good enough to clear the Bangalore speed breakers. Mind you – we were only two people in the car. I am still apprehensive if this car will pass the Bangalore speed breaker test with a full load of passengers and luggage. Anyways, with many people crying out loud for a lowered stance – 155mm seems like the perfect compromise. Moreover, it has helped in the handling department.

Firm suspension, lowered ride height and the addition of front and rear anti-roll bars ensure that the car has very less body roll compared to the Punto which was considered extremely good for its segment. Many reports suggested that the ride quality is firm, but I couldn’t find a major difference compared to my Punto (even with the test car running 42 PSI)– though nkrisnap insisted it feels firm compared to his Linea. Overall, this package beats the competition by miles in my opinion.

Overall Impressions:

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It isn’t a perfect car, or a luxury car or a Maruti / Hyundai/ VW car though. At 9.95L – if you are expecting premium interiors, the luxury of an automatic transmission, sunroof, or even the comfort of having an OEM touch screen HU with navigation and parking assist – look elsewhere. You are looking at the wrong product. If you are already tired of maintaining an old Premier Padmini or an old Palio, or even if you are tired without even owning a FIAT product and was expecting FIAT to turn into Maruti Suzuki overnight – look elsewhere. FIAT service still remains a hit or a miss, depending on which city you are in. I can totally relate to all these situations since my dad (with his aching knee) wanting an automatic transmission, mom wanting a sedan with good service support, and wife wanting premium interiors and features for the price. Probably an Audi logo too, but that’s just her!

But, as a happy owner of a Punto 90hp which has aged gracefully till date – I’m super excited with this product. The car is a perfect driver’s package unlike any India has seen so far in the small car space IMHO. More power than ever before in an Indian hatchback, an excellent hydraulic steering that is easily the segment best, effortless braking guaranteed by the all wheel disc brakes, excellent ride and handling capabilities and the solid build – makes this one of the most enjoyable cars you could buy right now. Yes, FIAT could have improved it further by providing a new gearbox, but probably that is too much to ask from a small volume manufacturer.

That said, I dont expect it to set the sales charts on fire like all the other FIAT products on offer, but then - looking at the current mess FIAT is in, they would gladly take whatever sales it can gather. Yes, FIAT could have improved it further by providing a new gearbox, but probably that is too much to ask from a small volume manufacturer.

Some of you might be questioning the sanity of spending 10L ex-showroom on a FIAT hatchback, but the way I see it – this is the best deal FIAT or any other manufacturer has ever offered on a performance product in India so far, and makes way more sense than my own purchase of a Punto 90hp three years ago. To qoute a relevant post from Team-BHP's GTO here (Please note, this was from a discussion on the S-Cross 1.6 and not on the Punto Abarth. The qoute does not show his endorsement of the Punto Abarth)- "I'd rather have the best-in-class engine than 3 lakhs in the bank. The heart keeps me happier than a heavier wallet would. End of the day, some things are more important than calculations & cost / benefit analysis. Didn't we spend 1 lakh more for a Vtec engine (1st-gen Honda City) which gave only 6 horsepower more? Haven't we spent 2 - 3 lakhs on rebuilding junk Jeeps? 1 - 2 lakhs on ICE systems? 2 lakhs on after-market turbo installs? "

FIAT has dared to go way beyond what any manufacturer with a better hold of the market could! For the sake of the market and us enthusiasts – I hope it succeeds and forces other manufacturers to follow suit as well. To draw an analogy with the Indian two wheeler industry - I feel this is the R15 moment where a struggling Yamaha with its rich heritage tried to move away from its mass market 'me too' range. What happened next was history and the industry stands transformed now - with many international players fighting for their share of the performance motorbike segment. Absolute sales aren't what mattered, but it was the change in the way those machines were looked at, and the resulting competition from other major players. I hope the car industry doesn't miss this bus, like it did earlier when FIAT launched the Palio 1.6 GTX.


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The below points are my personal opinion.

1. FIAT Avventura Powered by Abarth.

What you'll like:

• Good looking! Tail-mounted spare, 16 inch Scorpion alloys, plastic claddings & roof rails distinguish Avventura from the regular Punto. However, its not as loud as the Abarth.
• Good Performance. 140bhp. 9.9 secs to 100. Also a better efficiency figure of 17.1 kmpl.
• Superb suspension. Mature ride & dynamics package. Massive 205 mm of ground clearance! Broken roads pose no problem at all
• Perfectly calibrated power steering is a joy to use.
• Price differential is less as compared to the regular Avventura, and is priced on par with the Abarth.

What you won't:

• Tail-mounted spare wheel is impractical. Opening the hatch is a cumbersome affair
• Kerb weight sees a 65 kilo increment with the Avventura treatment. A heavy car becomes heavier.
• Slower performance compared to the Abarth Punto. Still is a sub-10 sec car though.
• Poor rearward visibility. Parking sensors are sorely missed
• The all black interior treatment of the Abarth compared to brown interiors of the Avventura.

2. VW Polo GT TSi.

Agreed its not a direct competition with the Abarth in terms of performance, but it is the best compromise between performance and the comfort of an automatic transmission and was the warm hatch standard thus far. Hence including it here -

What you'll like:

• 1.2L TSI engine with 105ps.
• 7-speed DSG gearbox is easily the best in class in terms of transmission performance.
• Clean styling is not loud as the Punto Abarth. Priced significantly cheaper than Abarth too.
• Interiors are of excellent quality and feels well built.
• Excellent safety kit that includes ESC, hill-hold, dual airbags, ABS, cruise control etc.

What you won't:

• 105ps TSI engine is a good performer though falls way short of the Abarth with 147ps.
• DQ200 DSG transmission has been reported to have had major issues across the globe.
• Concerns over VW's future after the devastating Diesel Gate scandal.
• VW service is significantly more expensive compared to the FIAT.
• Looks mostly the same as a regular Polo, except for the GT badges.

Last edited by Technocrat : 28th October 2015 at 20:41.
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Old 25th October 2015, 14:54   #10
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thanks a lot for a great review and superb pics guys! This is pushing me to the showroom for a TD.

I prefer a safe, well built car to a car loaded with gizmos any day! Its nice to have a car with folding mirrors et all, but I rather have a car that does not fold up on impact

I hope this car brings the numbers for Fiat, they have great cars and hope they can market them better.
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Old 25th October 2015, 15:15   #11
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

@nkrishnap & CrAzY dRiVeR

Thank you guys for such an awesome and honest review . Reading the other Abarth thread was such a turn off as there was very little talk about the car yet so many meaningless posts which were pro or anti Abarth (which honestly I didn't bother to read). You guys have put forth all the minute changes, with great amount of detail, just like how we like it here on Team-BHP. A huge thumbs up for that.

The Abarth Punto is not a car that I need as my Grand i10 is performing its routine rather well. 90% of the days I am happy with the parking sensors, auto folding mirrors, its slick shifting gearbox etc. However, those 10% of the times when I take it on the highway, I sooooo wish I had bought a better handling car. Call me completely crazy, but I'm seriously considering trading in my <1 year old car for the Abarth Punto . As of now, I'm only waiting to test drive it before I completely convince myself about this insane / impractical step.
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Old 25th October 2015, 15:45   #12
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

A short drive review:


"Shut up and take my money!"(Except that i dont have the money)

Me and suhaas307 rocked up at Fiat Caffe at Domlur to take a testdrive of the Punto Abarth, and although we had informed them on Saturday itself, there was a long line of people who had come up to take a TD!

I'll keep it short and simple.

First the complaints:

1. Is the gearbox rubbery?

Honestly, i felt the gearbox was par for the course. I really can live with it. It did feel a bit notchy if you are really hammering it with on/off throttle inputs and if you are still not used to the clutch. It has really nice short throws and it feels smooth. My only complaint is, the slots were not well defined and while downshifting i slotted into 4th and not 2nd and you have to pay attention to your gearchanges.

And i hear a lot of gear crunching and the khhatt,khaat of bad shifts and slotting by others who were taking TDs.

Not a deal breaker for me, at all. Considering its a brand new TD car.

2. Is the clutch pedal too long?

Yes it is. Very long travel, but this is something i personally felt is very exaggerated as a complaint. My mindset is always towards adjusting to a cars mechanicals instead of trying to nitpick about it. The clutch pedal travel was long but it was a precise and well judged bite point which you can get used to in minutes. During the TD i tried a bit of slow bumper to bumper traffic and the clutch was not an issue at all.

That being said, again, everyone else who came for a TD today stalled the car atleast once while taking off, or getting it up showroom incline.

Not a deal breaker.

3. Did i find a nice seating position?

suhaas tested the car before handing it over to me and since he is a bit tall he lowered the seats at its lowest position which i used. I found it pretty nice, visibility is great, your arms and legs dont bend too much, and the clutch travel didnt interfere with my driving position. Lovely steering with great grips for your thumbs.

Not an issue really but this was too small a duration to judge.

What i loved:

1. Looks much better in flesh. Personally not fond of graphics but this one was done just right. Hated the chromed door handles though. And the red around the front fogs could have been done away with it. But it really has a nice stance, and doesnt have a whiff of a ricer.

2. I have no clue about the equipment levels and i really coudnt care if this thing came with a touchscreen or not. The only thing we and suhaas were talking about before and after the TD was all about the engine and how it drove! This is a car for enthusiasts nuts like us.

3. It handles beautifully. To me more than the power, it was the handling that floored me. The TD route was on the inner ring road in Bangalore and if anyone is familiar with it, it has a couple of long sweepers with not so great road surface, a bit bumpy.

I was in 3rd and in turned in and the car so beautifully tracked the line keeping absolutely constant distance between the car and the median. No hint of understeer, no jumping around on the rather bumpy surface, the steering was precise( a bit light though), there was feedback from the front wheels and minimal body roll. This was in high double digit speeds.

In the next sweeper i did the same, but this time an autowala suddenly came on the middle lane. I was able to lightly brake adjust the line and keep accelerating through the long sweeper. Even on those Apollos, i could feel this car had much more to given before the tyres start squealing.

Very very impressed.

3. Great damping. Just right, not too stiff, not too soft. suhaas went over a bump rather fast and we experienced the full travel of the shocks, but it landed confidently without bottoming out.

4. I felt the steering didnt quite have the heft during higher speed lane changes and turns, but its very precise. The assist from the steering was pretty much constant from parking speeds to 120-130. But way better than anything that i have recently driven, including the Figo Aspire. Lots of correct feedback too.

5.Noise. Now, when you stand outside the car at idle, it has a weird low bass boomy sound about it. It doesnt get strained at higher rpms though and makes a nice noise as you go up the rev range. Slap on some aftermarket stuff and it should be perfect.

6. Turbo Lag What i did was i shifted to 4th at around 40 and pinned the throttle.

At around 2,000rpm the turbos wake up. 2,500 you can feel the progress.
By 3,000 it comes on at full boost and starts pulling hard. By 3,500 the back the car in front of is suddenly much much nearer than you had anticipated.

Seriously, the only problem with this car as a daily driver is that it will make a hoonigan out of you. Its so eagerly to start getting going and make snap lane changes that if you are not too careful, you will suddenly find yourself treating every car in front of you as a moving chicane and weave through traffic. We saw some very unmentionable speeds through (light) sunday traffic.

7. Fabulous brakes. Very confidence inspiring and great modulation. Modern brakes are so over assisted that this was a breath of fresh air. I am not saying it wasnt assisted but you can modulate the braking so well through the pedal instead of an on/off type of setup in other cars. suhaas braked from some decent speeds hard and it just slowed down with no fuss, chirping or rear shimmying about.

8. 17 cars booked from the Fiat Caffe showroom in Bangalore already!

9. Quite a few Punto75,90,Evo owners came for the TD and they were all around very impressed. One Punto75 fellow was wondering how much will they offer him if he puts his for an exchange. His remarks about gearbox was that it was much better than his car.


What else can i say, the adrenaline and the severe want that i have for this car has yet to wear off. The complaints are nothing more than niggles, not deal breakers.

Just buy a sensible,fuel efficient,diesel,reliable family car as the second car and get this as your Fun-to-drive car. There will be a grin plastered on your face on those empty sunday roads or a winding ghat road.

While suhaas(who owns a VW GT TSi) was driving(and talking non-stop) i could hear his murmurings.

"God, i miss a manual, i need a manual"
" I think i made a mistake buying the GT"
" How in the world am i supposed to buy this one now"
" I need to work harder"

Offcourse that was in the heat of the moment, but says it all eh?
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Last edited by avishar : 25th October 2015 at 15:50.
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Old 25th October 2015, 16:35   #13
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Some more pics. She wears iher Abarth badge proudly.
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Old 25th October 2015, 16:42   #14
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thank you for this in depth and balanced review and kudos to Fiat for being brave in their current situation and coming up with a product that is for a niche segment.

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Old 25th October 2015, 16:50   #15
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Awesome machine for someone in the market for a hot hatch. Alas, there aren't many. You might see some really good deals year end or in six months time and I was someone looking to buy one, I would wait.
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