Fiat Grande Punto Review
Price (on-road, Mumbai): Emotion 1.4 – Rs 7.51 lakhs; Emotion 1.3 – Rs. 7.71 lakhs
Fiat launched the Grande Punto in 2009, after the Linea in India. It was and still is regarded to be one of the best looking hatchbacks in the country with its classic Italian design. Fiat technology is currently driving India in the form of the 1.3 ltr Mulijet engine which powers almost the entire fleet of diesel driven hatches. The Punto set benchmarks in the ride and handling department and is still the favorite as an overall package. We had reviewed the Fiat Grande Punto when it was first launched in India. You can read the review here. This review will be only focusing on the 2012 model. The new 2012 model addresses certain issues in the old version, we take it for a spin and find out.
The exteriors as well as the mechanical are more or less the same. The new blue colour looks stunning, but a Punto is best viewed in red.
A rear spoiler is available at the dealer for Rs. 3900/-, plus painting charges.
Interior fit and finish is much better, the issue of irregular panel gaps seems to be sorted. Though in my opinion, there is still room for improvement as far as the plastics are concerned. The front doors get scuff plates which are backlit at night. The air conditioner has been beefed up to provide quick cooling and it certainly cools faster than the older Punto.
The seats get new fabric and the cushioning has been improved.
Ground clearance has been raised to 185 mm (1.4) and 195 mm (1.2) and this is welcome as the Punto’s underbelly stays clear off most of the humps. On the downside, the handling seems to compromised, with the center of gravity higher, it does not feel as good as the old model, mind you, its still the best in the segment and still fun to drive. Steering has been re calibrated and is light at low speeds making it easier for city sprinting however it weighs up nicely at high speeds with superb precision. Ride quality is unmatched, the Punto soaks up the bumps like a sponge soaks water. NVH levels are improved from the engine bay but i did notice tyre noise after 80 kmph.
Just to visualize how much taller the 2012 version is, i parked it alongside the last years model. We were driving the 1.4 Petrol, which has a ground clearance (GC) of 185 mm. The older models had a GC of 171mm & 173mm for the petrol and diesel models respectively.
There are only 3 variants available in the present Fiat Grande Punto range, the Emotion pack variant has been scrapped and the Emotion gets all the goodies now and enjoys the top spot. The Dynamic variant used to get manual ORVM’s and did not get rear split seats. Now, the Dynamic variant is reasonably loaded with audio system, fog lamps, electric ORVM’s, remote locking and rear split seats. Even the base Active variant now gets an audio system and central locking. The Punto 90 HP model remains as it was. As a result of the extra goodies, the prices are higher by almost 50 thousand across the range.
The Punto is a all round package and excels in almost all departments. Fiat already has state of the art technologies like the Multi air and the Multijet II engine options available in Europe and we hope it will bring these to India in the near future. With a product lineup as good as it is, for Fiat India its all about getting it to translate into sales.