Cars Tested: Abarth Punto, Fiat Avventura powered by Abarth; Road Test No. 618
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 11,89,799/-
The Abarth magic makes the Punto & Avventura super fun behind the wheel and a lot more stylish
It’s time for the hardcore Fiat fans to rejoice as their dream has come true! The Italian carmaker has finally launched the Abarth powered crackers ahead of Diwali. The Abarth Punto and Avventura powered by Abarth are two hot hatches much awaited by the Indian car enthusiasts. Both the offerings are completely made in India at Fiat’s Ranjangaon facility. They come packed with some serious power under the hood making these Italians the fastest cars in their category. We take a short spin in both the Scorpion badged siblings to experience the sting.
Motor Quest: The international version of the Abarth Punto gets a more powerful 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine that produces 163 BHP. It does 0-100 km/hr sprint in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 213 km/hr.
Exteriors – First look at the Abarth Punto and you are already awestruck with the unique sporty decals and styling elements. The car comes with two colour options – black and white with striking red decals across the body to make it look special. The glossy red fog lamp housing, race strips and ORVMs immediately lift the character of the Punto. There is a big red scorpion decal on the roof as well, which is not visible easily to short people. The 16-inch Scorpion alloy wheels further boost the sporty quotient of this hot Italian hatch.
The Avventura on the other hand gets minimal changes and is actually not offered under the Abarth brand. The carmaker likes to call it ‘Fiat Avventura powered by Abarth’, which is also mentioned on the rear doors of the car. Hence the Avventura doesn’t get the Abarth specific body decals and detailing like the Punto. However there is one element that distinguishes it from the regular Avventura, which is the Scorpion alloy wheel design. The crossover styling continues to look quite appealing and unique on the Avventura.
Interiors – The Punto gets quite a few Abarth specific changes on the inside including Scorpion badged steering wheel and aluminium pedals along with a revised instrument cluster with yellow lining. The black netted upholstery in the Abarth Punto looks quite sporty which also gets the yellow stitching. Rest of the cabin remains unchanged and you get the same features as the regular Punto Evo. Like the exteriors of the Avventura powered by Abarth, the interiors too don’t get any changes. The leatherette upholstery is exactly the same and the soft touch dashboard too remains intact. There are no Abarth specific badgings either to differentiate the performance oriented Avventura from the regular version.
Performance – Now let’s come to the real thing, the 1.4-litre T-Jet turbocharged petrol engine. This motor produces 145 horses at 5500 RPM and 212 Nm of twisting force at 2000-4000 RPM on the Abarth Punto. There is a slight turbo lag under 2000 RPM but once the turbo spools up in all its glory, the motor pulls relentlessly. There is a sudden rush of power and torque that makes it gather speed quickly and the engine revs freely until the redline, which comes at 6500 RPM. There is so much power that you have to get used to the wheelspins every now and then.
There is a sudden boost of power that continues till the redline
The Avventura gets the lower tuned version that produces 140 BHP at 5500 RPM and 210 Nm torque at 2000-4000 RPM. Compared to the Abarth Punto, the Avventura feels a little slower because of the heavier weight and the lower tuned engine. However, the engine provides a similar thrust of torque and it accelerates strongly putting a wide grin on your face. We felt quite a lot of torque steer in the Avventura that was annoying and way too excessive. This was not the case with the Abarth Punto as there was almost no torque steer. The 5-speed manual gearbox still feels rubbery and not so reassuring.
Driving Dynamics – We drove the Avventura first so let’s talk about the baby crossover’s dynamics. Fiat hasn’t tweaked the suspension and the ride height, so it remains the same. Hence there is absolutely no difference in the ride quality and handling, which is a bit disappointing for the performance oriented machine. The steering feels dead at the centre and the torque steer further makes it a bit scary. There is some body roll while cornering hard but the ride quality is excellent as expected. It comes with all four discs but when you brake hard at high speeds, the car swerves a little. Our initial impressions with the Avventura powered by Abarth were not so exciting.
You feel extremely confident while pushing the limits of the hot Italian beast, the Fiat Abarth Punto
Now we took the wheel of the Abarth Punto, which felt stiffer at low speeds and this made us even more excited for hitting some corners. Clear stretch of road and we hit the throttle hard, no annoying torque steer and the hot hatch feels so planted after driving the Avventura. The hydraulic steering weighs up beautifully as you climb up the speedometer. It is way better than the Punto Evo as well, very precise! You just dig into the corners thanks to the stiffer setup and lower ground clearance. The mechanical changes really make the Abarth Punto feel tauter and super fun. The stopping power felt quite strong and the car comes to a halt without any drama.
Safety and After Sales Service – Both the cars are offered in a single variant that comes standard with ABS, EBD and dual front airbags. Fiat cars are known for their safe tank-like build quality and strong structure and same is the case with the Punto offerings. The Italian automaker now has a wide and growing network across India, offering 131 points of sales and 125 service outlets currently. The maintenance and spare parts cost isn’t expected to be too high since the Abarth Punto and Avventura are produced locally in the country.
Verdict – Finally we got what we wanted since a long time, adrenaline pumping Abarth machines at the affordable end of the market. While both the Punto brothers get the same 1.4-litre T-Jet engine, there is a lot of difference in their characters. The Avventura gets more power but isn’t a corner craving machine but at the same price you get the more desirable Abarth Punto which comes with mechanical and cosmetic changes. The Punto is more eager around the corners and is quite a lot of fun while pulling the Gs. We will soon test these cars more extensively to come up with a detailed review.
The Abarth Punto is the real stinger here since it has what it takes. Unique styling elements, reworked suspension and lower ride height justifies the 1.4-litre T-Jet engine under the hood. The Fiat Avventura powered by Abarth is more comfort oriented with a powerful engine.
* The Abarht Punto looks very sporty with the new details
* Power delivery from the T-Jet engine is mind numbing and very addictive
* Mechanical tweaks on the Punto make it more agile and fun
* Ride quality of the Avventura is comfortable in spite of being Abarthed
What’s Not So Cool
* The Avventura Abarth doesn’t get many cosmetic changes
* Excessive torque steer in the Avventura and steering feels numb in the centre
* No touch screen audio system on both the cars at this price point
Alternatives: Volkswagen Polo GT TSI