Car tested: Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP
Price OTR Mumbai: 7,81,438/-
The Fiat Grande Punto has been on the scene for more than a year now. Most have loved the car for its classic looks and design and the Punto has shown exceptional skills in the ride and handling department. Yet something has been amiss from an enthusiasts viewpoint, an extra punch, a tad bit more power which would make a good car almost perfect. Well, our wishes have not fallen on deaf ears and Fiat has responded by giving us the all new Grande Punto 90 HP. The Grande Punto has been targeted at a large audience with the 1.2 petrol, 1.4 petrol and the 1.3 Multijet 75 bhp models already on sale and the new 90 Hp model is brought out to please the enthusiasts. We have already reviewed the Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 Multijet hence we wont go into the basic details.
Exteriors – The Grande Punto is undoubtedly the best looking hatch in the segment. The 90 Hp model can be differentiated from the regular model by the presence of sleek chrome door handles and a 90 HP tag on the lower right corner of the boot. Everything else remains the same. This model is available only in the top of the line Emotion and Emotion Pack variants. The 90 Hp model, which was showcased at the 2010 Auto Expo had body graphics and was known as the Punto Sport at that time and we were expecting the very same version to be launched but body graphics are not to everyone’s taste and Fiat has struck a balance between being subtle and outright sporty.
Interiors – On the inside, the Punto 90 HP has exclusive red stitching on the seats, funky but maybe not be to everyone’s liking. Another thing which was obviously noticeable was the improved overall plastic quality and lack of panel gaps we have seen in the earlier versions. Branded as a premium hatch, the Punto’s plastic quality was not the best and inconsistent panel gaps were not doing the Punto any favours, this has been drastically improved now. However still a few panel gaps are evident especially near the steering column.
Ride, Handling & Built Quality – The Punto is still the boss when its comes to ride and handling. Smooth ride over potholes and sharp handling are some of its attributes. Plastic quality has improved too and the Punto can rough it up on all types of roads without even the slightest squeak. Doors shut with a thud and the metal used is a thicker gauge than the one seen on the Maruti’s. As compared to the regular Punto, the 90 Hp model is better damped with lesser NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) levels. The Punto feels extremely stable at high speeds and one is confident in pushing it to the limit and it delivers.
Performance – The Grande Punto 90 Hp is effectively the same car with the same engine but this time the 1.3 Multijet churns out 93 bhp of power as compared to the 75 bhp in the regular models. How? The recipe is simple. The regular (old Punto 75 bhp) uses a fixed geometry turbocharger while the Punto’s elder sibling, the Linea, uses a variable geometry turbo(VGT). Put a VGT on a car which is lighter and it will deliver more due to a more ideal power to weight ratio and the Punto 90 Hp is born. The ECU has been tweaked to derive the best out of this engine.
Crank the engine, first gear and we are away. Shift to second and one does feel a tad bit of difference in this new powerful car. The turbo lag lasts till about 2200 RPM and then its game on. There is a marked difference in this new evolved Punto, the car is peppier and fun to drive. Floor the pedal to the metal and the adrenaline rush gets better with the increasing revs of the tachometer. Drive in the higher revs and you know whats you have been missing on the regular Punto. The car accelerates better and is a wee bit quieter than the regular model. Overtaking on the highway is a piece of cake. On the other hand while driving in neck to neck city traffic, the 90 HP Punto does not feel much different than the regular model and that is mainly owing to the turbolag. Overall a VGT increases the all around driveability of the car, more so at the higher end, thus making the Punto a perfect highway hatch and its does not fare badly in the city either.
Conclusion – Fiat has made the Punto complete by giving it the extra power it deserved and overall the Punto has become a more refined and more fun to drive car. Besides the power, improved plastics and NVH levels just goes on to show that Fiat is working really hard to give the Indian consumer the very best. If anything goes away from the 90 HP Punto is probably the pricing which is inching a bit towards the higher side for most but with Fiat’s small car coming in 2012, premium pricing for the Punto was inevitable.
- Ride quality
- Stunning looks
- Better driveability
- Better Plastics
- Even less NVH
- 2 Years unlimited mileage warranty
- Still a few panel gaps visible
- Price hike
Fiat Grande Punto Specifications
- Engine: 1248cc, 16V, Multijet, DOHC
- Power: 93PS @ 4000rpm
- Torque: 209Nm @ 2000rpm
- Transmission: 5 speed manual
- Top Speed: 170 kmph
- 0-100kmph: 15.9 seconds
- Fuel Consumption: 14-15 kmpl (City), 18-19 kmpl (highway)
- Fuel Type: Diesel
- Suspension: Independent Wheels Suspension with Mcpherson Struts, Helical Springs, Double Acting Telescopic Dampers with Stabilizer bar (Front), Torsion Beam, Helical Springs and Double Acting Telescopic dampers and Stabilizer bar (Rear)
- Tires: 195/60/15 Tubeless Radials
- Brakes: 257mm Ventilated Disc (Front), 203mm Drums ( Rear), ABS, EBD
Fiat Grande Punto Dimensions
- Overall length x width x height: 3987mm X 1687mm X 1495mm
- Wheelbase: 2,510mm
- Front/Rear Track: 1471/1467 mm
- Ground clearance: 171mm (Diesel)
- Boot Volume: 260 liters, 1030 liters (with rear seats folded)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
- Kerb Weight: 1144kgs