Fiat Punto Evo Long Term Report
The Fiat Punto Evo is by far the most attractive car in its segment, just look at it!

Fiat Punto Evo Long Term Review

Car Tested: Fiat Punto Evo 90 HP Sport
Kms Done: 2643 kms
Test Started at: 6685 kms
Test Concluded at: 9328 kms
Mileage: 14.73 km/l, 16.58 km/l (best), 12.20 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 179.43 litres
Fuel Cost: Rs. 10,048/-
Rs. per km: Rs. 3.80/-

The Punto Evo is still the most striking hatchback in India, it’s a tank with a soul

Everyone loves to feel special, in fact attention is one of our primary needs whether it’s in the form of love from our family or care of our friends. But why am I talking about all this in a Fiat Punto Evo article? Because this car does make one feel special. Many of my friends who had little idea about the Fiat Punto started to become believers of the Italian brand but they were quick to admit that they never ever have seen a Punto Evo on Indian roads yet. Every time they would see one, they would tell me. The conversation would go like this “hey, guess what, I saw a red Punto Evo at Bandra”, and my response was “yeah, it was me”. What I am trying to say here is, the Punto Evo is an extremely rare car which is both shocking and disheartening.

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The beauty shines through everything, this red Fiat is a sizzling Italian

Why shocking and disheartening, because of all the hatchbacks I have driven (even five times expensive German ones), nothing gives the feel of driving a Fiat Punto. Forget the driving part, we Indians are also very “looks” conscious and nothing looks like a Punto Evo, arriving in this car any where is such a style statement. With the Punto Evo now returned back to Fiat, I see myself immediately spotting the car or the Avventura (although rare due to the limited numbers on the road) and fixing my eyes on them, those amazing LED tail lights and the Italian design can brighten up the day. In fact, recently I saw a red Avventura (similar colour as our long termer) and boy it made me go weak in the knees. Fiat deserves 11 on 10 for the design of the Punto which simply fails to age inspite of it now hitting 10 years.

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All black interiors justify the sporty theme but ergonomic flaws bothersome

Built like a tank, the Punto Evo makes you feel safe

Open the heavy door (a workout of sorts for those who are far from the gym usually) and get inside, the closing of the door does make you feel something substantial has closed, the Punto Evo giving you the tank like feel with its solid build quality. The all black interior look sporty and although a bit dated now, still look very appealing to me. The lack of basic features do make life difficult for those are used to other modern cars, like the lack of audio streaming is a pain in the backside of sorts which should have been addressed with the Evo. Ergonomic issues continue to be troublesome but you do tend to get used to it, only being reminded of the anomaly when you drive another car whose steering isn’t mounted close to your chest.

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Some quality issues are prevalent, fit-finish could have been better

Where things go a bit wrong is the quality or the inconsistency of it. Some parts aren’t bolted on strongly and although there weren’t any rattles from our test car (thank God for that otherwise it would have broken my heart), the USB/AUX switch would almost always come out when I tried to plug off my charger. This is just a small thing but Fiat should make sure such issues don’t occur because they spoil the experience of what is otherwise a fantastically put together car in all other areas. The seats are nice and supportive, there is decent rear seat room too and the boot is reasonably accommodating, so yes, the Punto Evo is quite practical a car for a hatchback buyer, it has more space than the top-selling Maruti Swift and even better build than the much raved Volkswagen Polo.

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City performance is a bit lacking as there is a load of lag in the low-end

Mid-range performance is very pleasing, low-end not so much with all that lag

Our tester was the top of the line, Punto Evo Sport with the 1.3-litre Fiat MultiJet motor belting out 90 horses and 209 Nm of torque. Now for any other car, this diesel mill would make it fly, case in point being the Hyundai Elite i20 and Volkswagen Polo which have similar power output while the Maruti Swift uses the same engine but has lower tune, all three cars are much faster and offer better drivability too. Thus in the city, the Punto Evo isn’t the easiest of cars to drive with the massive turbo lag and the rubbery shifts from the gearbox. Making matters a bit tiring is the heavy steering and the large A-pillars.

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On the highway, the Punto shines with its strong mid-range and sweet sounding motor

However, all that lag does become fruitful because what it gives the diesel-powered Punto Evo is a strong mid-range, there is the silence before the storm because when the turbo kicks in all its glory at 2000 RPM, there is a small kick in the pants feel and the progress in the mid-range is rapid. The best part about this diesel mill is the top-end, while it doesn’t take you anywhere, the motor does sound sweet near its 5000 RPM redline and the sound from the powerplant is something only Fiat has managed to tune so well. But keep at the redline and mileage numbers tumble all the way to 12 km/l, the Punto Evo being a heavy car is far from being among the frugal crowd in this segment.

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Super duper handling makes the Fiat Punto Evo an amazing car to drive

No hatchback can match the sheer ride, handling, braking and stability balance of the Punto Evo

We all know the Fiat Punto is an old car, there was a mid-life facelift which came in global markets in 2009, about the same time we got the Grande Punto in India which was actually launched in 2005. We got the Punto Evo last year so in essence, this car is underpinned by a 10-year old plus platform. In this span of time, many cars in this segment have changed two generations and yet none are able to match the Punto in terms of driving dynamics. Not only is the Punto the benchmark in the segment when it comes to braking, stability and grip, it also has the best ride and handling balance. Then there is the grip offered by those big 16-inch tyres and not to forget this Fiat is the cheapest car in India to use a hydraulic steering which is absolutely feel-some. Driving the Punto Evo at anytime would instantly paste a huge smile on the face, it’s so engaging and fun with the kind of feel that has been long forgotten by car makers in the interest of making driving easier and the vehicle more efficient.

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An open road and this Italian hatchback equals to pure fun for the driver

Fiat Punto Evo Cost Of Service

Fiat Punto Evo Service Costs

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Which car looks more attractive to you? The Benz or the Punto?

The Fiat Punto Evo simply deserves to sell in more numbers and the ignorance of this fab hatch by buyers in India is quite ridiculous. Sure it’s not the most frugal car or the lightest to drive in the city but in a country where many of us have started to show worry about safety, the Punto is one of the few cars which is made like a tank and got an Euro NCAP 5-star rating in 2005, a time when most Indians didn’t even know what NCAP meant. Usually when one opts for a enthusiast choice, they end up missing on the practicality point of view but there is no such case with the Punto Evo. This Fiat, in spite of being fab to drive, is also safe, comfortable and easily the most attractive car in its class. The upcoming Abarth version should get this Italian beast the credit it very much deserves.

We got strongly attached to our long term Punto Evo and weren’t ready to let go of it, after all, it’s just not another car, it’s an emotional connection. But with Fiat all set to launch the Punto Abarth with a fire-breathing 143 BHP petrol engine, we have already started investing in oil tanks for out next Fiat long termer.

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Those LED tail lights in the night look amazing, the design has stood the test of time

What’s Cool

* Mid-range punch and top-end engine sound
* Driving dynamics, there is feel and feedback in everything
* Tank like build, one feels secure in a Fiat
* Comfortable seats and excellent ride quality

What’s Not So Cool

* Lacks low-end city performance
* Weight bogs down performance and mileage
* Some equipment missing

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Our tracking car at times, the Punto Evo’s solid ride keeps the camera stable

Testers’ Note:

“There are two types of people, those who like driving and those who don’t and whichever category you are in, if you drive a Fiat, you are sure to like it. Thus, when anyone from the team would come, they would pluck for the Punto’s keys and what difficulty it was to live without this car for those two days when someone else was driving it. The Punto Evo besides being a fantastic car also bonds with you emotionally that after some time, you start looking over its shortcomings too.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“I really feel that the Punto Evo is one comprehensive facelift. You just have to love how this car looks, fresh and attractive, especially in this scarlet red guise. The ride quality is exceptional but the equipment levels could have been better. There are some quality niggles too in the cabin. Otherwise, the Punto is known for great driving dynamics. If Fiat can spruce up their service network and market the produce well, we can surely see more of these Italian beauties on the road.” – Javeid Khan, Deputy Editor, MotorBeam.
“While the Fiat Punto might not be a practical hatch, it’s a car that tugs your heartstrings every time you get behind the wheel. It has a solid and commanding high speed stability unlike any other hatch available in India. I liked the way it makes you feel connected to the road around the twisties and at the same time offers flat ride quality. What goes against it are the ergonomics, laggy diesel mill and increased ride height that spoils the handling to a certain extent. Wait! How can I not talk about the styling? It’s pure eye candy, the unique Italian design makes it an entry level poster car that never shows its age.” – Aariz Rizvi, Assistant Editor, MotorBeam.
“The Punto Evo is a great looker and appeals a lot to youngsters like me. The engine is very reliable and also quite fuel efficient. The turbo kick that it gives in second gear is something to look forward to and is quite addictive. But the Punto also lacks in a lot of places. The ergonomics are all messed up and the fit and finish of various components is just not up to the mark. Fiat’s poor marketing and lack of visibility just helps in worsening matters.” – Parth Gohil, Road Tester, MotorBeam.
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Will we miss the Punto Evo? Yes but the Abarth Punto is now awaited!

Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta

Further Reading

Fiat Punto Evo Long Term Review – Initial Report
Fiat Punto Evo Review
Fiat Punto Evo vs Volkswagen Polo vs Maruti Swift
Fiat Punto Evo vs Hyundai Elite i20 vs Volkswagen Polo vs Maruti Swift