We all have seen that no car owner is as loyal as a Fiat car owner. In fact, their love for Fiat is so much that often we call them biased towards the Italian company. So to understand as to why Fiat car owners are so madly in love with their machines, we took the Punto Evo for a long spin with the sole aim of understanding what is so special in this car. We got a few answers, here are ten.
1) It looks nothing like anything else on the road – There are cars and then there is Fiat, there is no denying the fact that Fiat knows more than a thing or two about design. The old Punto was stunning, the new one is even more so. Thus everywhere we went, people turned around to see our gleaming yellow coloured car. You can easily make out a Fiat in a crowd of cars because both the Punto and Linea have a striking visual identity.
2) Build quality – You must have heard many people say that Fiat cars have a tank like build quality, we quite disagree with them because the Punto Evo feels like a tank itself, not just tank like. You shut the doors which close with a massive thud and you can sense the thick metal used in the body which isolates most of the external noises. The stalks are meaty and the steering is one masterpiece with those beautiful contours.
3) Attention to detail – This is where Fiat scores quite well, there are small things which really put a smile on your face, like the delayed swipe of the front wiper, automatic engagement of rear wiper when you go into reverse (when the front wipers are on), automatic headlight turn off when you remove the key from the ignition, speed sensing audio volume, multi-information display tells you exactly which door is open, etc.
4) Character – Fiat cars have a definite character, it somehow tingles your emotional senses which most cars fail to do. The engine might have a lot of turbolag but that pronounces the mid-range punch and although a diesel, the Multijet engine is tuned to sound sporty. There is no lack of performance as long as you work the gears and keep the motor on the boil.
5) Stability and grip – Fiat makes heavy cars and it doesn’t compromise on safety for mileage. Thus the Punto comes with wide 195 mm tyres which offer tremendous grip. With heavy rain on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, the Punto simply did not budge one bit at high speeds, it remains supremely poised and the grip levels are nothing short of astonishing. In fact the Punto was so planted at high speeds that we can confidently say that even luxury cars from Germany aren’t as sure-footed.
6) Ride quality – Even on lower profile rubber, the Punto Sport glides over the worst of roads without getting affected one bit. The ride quality is by far the best in the segment and it’s so good that very few cars can match the Punto’s absorbent ride quality below Rs. 20 lakhs.
7) Braking – The Punto has very good tyres and the brakes are well calibrated too, even on heavy braking the ABS doesn’t kick-in too early, being a testimony to the good stopping power on tap.
8) Safety – The Punto feels robust, it’s heavy and it induces that feeling of safety, inspiring confidence to drive harder. The Punto was the first hatchback (of the ones sold in India) to have received a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2005.
9) Steering feel – Fiat uses a hydraulic steering on the Punto, which does sap power and economy but the feel and feedback it gives is truly splendid. The steering is well weighed at all times. Although on the heavier side at low speeds, it communicates thoroughly well.
10) Fun to drive – With good handling and brakes, stupendous ride quality and grip, the Punto is a fun to drive car. The engine has a good punch in the mid-range and sounds good too. It’s not the fastest car in the segment but it’s quite fun to drive.
So there we have it, most of the characteristics we mentioned above are exclusive to the Punto Evo in the segment. Majority of hatchback owners drive their cars and almost all Punto owners take to the wheel and every time they do, they relish in the fun to drive nature and the emotional connect with the vehicle. Sure the Punto has its flaws like a humongous turning radius, average gearbox, poorly selected gear ratios, lack of outright performance, etc. but these things look less of a concern once you experience the car as a whole. The problem of course lies in the fact that very few people drive a Fiat but comment on it even before taking the wheel. One needs to drive a Fiat to really experience what it’s all about.