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Thread: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

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    Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    We followed the launch of the refreshed Fiat Punto EVO pretty extensively. From camouflaged test mules to pictures of the initial lot of production vehicles shipped to dealers before the official launch, we've seen it all on My Fiat World. The only thing remaining was to actually drive the new car and see if there were any noteworthy changes made in this regard, given that the new EVO gets the same engines carried over from the outgoing Punto.

    The long weekend gave a few of us MFWers a chance to sample the new EVO and we booked an appointment on Sunday, 17th August 2014 with Torrid Motors, Andheri (W), Mumbai. Robilinks, Hrushikesh and myself decided it was a day to test ride Mumbai's new pride and joy - the new Mumbai Metro rail service since the sales outlet is very close to the 'WEH' Station, the full form of WEH being the Western Express Highway. So while I hopped in from Versova, the starting point from one end of this East-West Corridor, Hrushikesh started from the other end - Ghatkopar. Robilinks stays in Andheri East and he had only a couple of stations to cover after boarding the train from Marol Naka station. Needless to say, it was a revelation!

    Our timing coincided with each other and the three of us landed at our destination by early evening.

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    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    A Walk Around Of The Exteriors


    As mentioned earlier, we have extensively covered the Punto EVO's design influences, the price list and variants on the day of launch as well a lot of exteriors pictures that were shared by members of the forum as well our Facebook group. Hrushikesh also shared the pdf document related to the on-road prices in Mumbai. All of that in this thread - http://myfiatworld.com/f26/scoop-201...-2-a-1412.html

    Here is a thread where pictures of the test mules were being discussed - http://myfiatworld.com/f26/2014-fiat...well-1362.html

    Since our perspective on the exterior design is already covered in the thread mentioned above, the intention of this thread is to give a pictorial comparison between the top spec petrol and diesel variants - the 1.4 FIRE Emotion and the 1.3 90 HP Sport respectively followed by short test drive reports of the two vehicles.


    - Our 'Pearl White' test vehicle was the Emotion variant with the 90 PS 1.4L FIRE petrol engine under the hood. This engine is only available in the top end Emotion variant while the lower end Active and Dynamic have to make to with the smaller 68 PS 1.2L FIRE unit. The Emotion petrol retails at INR 7.9 Lakhs (on-road Mumbai).

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    - The new 'Glitterati Gold' shade was adorned by the 90HP Sport variant which comes powered by 93 PS 1.3 VGT MJD. Again, this engine is exclusive to the top specced Sport variant of the Punto which retails at INR 8.52 Lakhs (on-road Mumbai). The Active, Dynamic and Emotion variants are powered by the 76 PS 1.3 FGT MJD. Also, this premium shade is not available in any other variant other than the Sport as per the dealer. Neither of us were impressed by the new exterior shade and thought the car would look the best in the new 'Magnesio Grey' or the 'Exotica Red' shades instead. Then again, this is always a matter of personal choice.

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    - The EVO's design takes a while to warm up to and in person, the car does look quite sporty upfront. Its may not be the classically Italian we loved but it is striking and turns heads. The two cars waiting to be test driven:

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    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    A Walk Around Of The Exteriors



    - That Jaguar F-Type inspired front grill is a major draw on this car. It looks sporty yet elegant at the same time. Good quality of chrome elements are used all around the car. The other strong design element of the frontal design is the 'power bulge' running through the center of the bonnet. Subtle differences between the Emotion and Sport variants seen here. The Emotion gets two horizontal slats on the front grille, a plastic and chrome strip respectively sitting in front of a squared off design for the grille in the background. The Sport gets a single chrome strip in the foreground and a mesh type grille in the back ground.

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    - There are atleast two more visual differences apart from the above between the Emotion variants of the Punto EVO and the 90 HP Sport - the obvious one being the differently designed alloys wheels for the 15 inch wheels on the Emotion and 16 inchers for the Sport. The not so obvious one being the blackened out or 'smoked' elements in the headlamps of the Sport to make it look more...sporty. The regular EVOs will get silver accented elements in the headlamps.

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    - Lower portion of the front is dominated by a mesh grille. It is devoid of the horizontal chrome slat that is seen on the petrol Emotion variant. Also notice the two small 'dimpled' markings on the bumper meant for placing the number plate.

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    Last edited by roms; 19-08-2014 at 12:26 PM.
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    A Walk Around Of The Exteriors


    - Chrome surrounds for the fog lamps recesses may look excessive to some. What is interesting is that the lower variants are devoid of fog lamps as standard equipment, but they will get these chrome surrounds meant for the for lamps.

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    - The front three quarter view is where the Punto EVO fails to impress. It looks very similar to cars like the Ford Figo with the swept back 'reindeer' headlamps. We also miss the strong character line / crease on the fender that ran from the headlamps to the A Pillar of the car. Also note prominent wheel arches for an aggressive stance.

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    - The Outside Rear View Mirror with identical LED lighting as seen on the Linea:

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    - The Emotion variants get 'Diamond Cut' Alloy wheels with 195/60 R15 rubber. The Emotion came shod with Goodyear Duraplus, the new OEM favourite. This is supposedly a high mileage tyre, but is also decent with handling capabilities. I thought the design of the Diamond cut alloy wheels was more appealing than those on the Sport variant. The gun metal finish on these alloys went well with the pearl white shade of our test car.

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    - The Sport's alloy wheel design vaguely resembles that of the Palio. The Sport will come shod with 195/55 R16 Goodyear Eagle NCT 5 as standard. The Active and Dynamic variants will get 165/80 R14 rubber on steel wheels. Also, while the NCT 5 will most certainly be used for the top end Sport variant only, it seems the other variants could come fitted with either the Goodyear Duraplus or Apollo Accelere tyres.

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    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    A Walk Around Of The Exteriors


    - The rear three quarters of the car are still the best to view the car from. The addition of those gorgeous looking clear lens tail lamps up the 'wow' quotient. The LED strip running on the side of the tail lamps works as the 'pilot lamp' or 'Light Guide' as they officially term it. A conventional brake lamp is placed in the lower chamber of the tail lamp housing as seen in the picture. Existing Punto owners could replace their existing units with these new tail lamps.

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    - The bumper gets new chrome surrounds for the rear fog lamp and the reverse light housing that come along with reflectors that resemble the inverted 'tick mark'. The left side has the single reverse lamp while the right side gets the fog lamp for the rear.

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    Last edited by roms; 19-08-2014 at 01:16 AM.
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    A Walk Around Of The Exteriors



    - Thick chrome strip running the length of the rear bumper:

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    - The rear profile with newly designed bumper. The design of the number plate housing is also altered with a wider recess than before. Only Sport gets the 90 HP badge. No other variants will get badges except for the Punto EVO badging on the boot. There is subtle spoiler for the 90 HP Sport variant as well.

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    - While the overall build quality and quality of workmanship is certainly better than the previous Punto, its not really upto the mark in places. Panel gaps like the one seen here are really avoidable on a INR 8.5 Lakh hatchback. See the gap between the boot door and the body:

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    - Full wheel well cladding for the Sport and Emotion variant to keep road noise under control. Not sure if the Active and Dynamic will get the same. An Active variant of old Punto parked inside the showroom was devoid of fully clad wheel wells. The ground clearance for the all variants barring the Active Petrol and Dynamic petrol variants is 185 mm. The lower two petrol variants get an SUV rivaling 195 mm of ground clearance.

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    Up Next..The Interiors
    Last edited by roms; 20-08-2014 at 08:46 AM.
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Dear All,

    This thread is temporarily closed for posting comments. This is being done to maintain the flow of the test drive report. Will try and complete this thread at the earliest.

    Awaiting your views and comments once the thread is complete. Thanks



    EDIT: This test drive report is now complete and is open to your comments, views and feedback! Thank you!
    Last edited by roms; 21-08-2014 at 02:17 AM. Reason: Update - This thread is open for comments!
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Stepping Inside The Punto EVO



    It is now known that the Punto EVO gets an almost identical interior to the one seen on the new Fiat Linea. We have covered the design attributes of the Linea's interiors in detail in our on-going MFW Team Thread in post numbers 20 and 21 - http://myfiatworld.com/f25/mfw-team-...html#post10364

    Thus, only changes that are exclusive to the Punto EVO are covered in this post.


    - If the white and black interiors of the Emotion variant with the new dashboard layout looks fabulous, the full black interiors on the 90 HP Sport take the interior ambiance to an even higher level. They look and feel premium enough to belong to a car from a segment above. Fiat has really addressed this grouse with the outgoing Punto and one can even go to the length of stating that this is arguably the best dashboard seen in the segment, atleast in terms of look and feel. Ergonomics are a different matter altogether though. Emotion and Sport variants also get the red ambient lighting on the passenger side of the dashboard. High quality chrome accents used for the dashboard as well the base of the gear lever.

    The 1.4 FIRE Petrol Emotion variant (with Robert in the driver's seat and Hrushikesh taking the passenger's seat):
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    The 90 HP Sport Diesel:
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    - Premium looking dark fabric material on the Sport variant. However, we noticed a pen mark on the passenger side of the dashboard. Although washable, the fabric will get dirty with usage and may take some effort on the part of the owner to keep them clean.

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    - FIATian Rishi Lunawat had concerns about the driver's footwell. He heard that the already cramped footwell was fitted with a dead pedal that was causing a hindrance in the usage of the clutch pedal and someone with bigger shoes would find it difficult to operate the clutch effectively. The three of us particularly checked if this indeed was a deal breaker for the new Punto EVO. I was wearing sports shoes sized 9 and did not have issues adjusting between the placement of the clutch and dead pedals. Hrushikesh and Robert did not find it difficult to adjust as well. Yes, it is not a capacious footwell to begin with and one would need a few minutes of initial adjustment. But there should not be an issue operating the clutch or resting the foot on the deal pedal, unless maybe one is wearing really wide shoes that could pose a problem in this regard. Certainly should not be a deal breaker for most.

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    - The gear knob gets leather with white stitching for higher variants.

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    Last edited by roms; 19-08-2014 at 04:23 PM.
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Stepping Inside The Punto EVO



    - Hrushikesh placed his 4 inch Sony mobile phone in its designated cubicle below the hand brake lever and it was just about is enough for a phone of that size. I was unable to place my 4.7 inch Nokia Lumia 925 on the same. At a time when 5 - 6 inch phones have become the norm, this tiny crevice for placing mobile phone is insufficient.

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    - We missed mentioning the source of inspiration for the design theme of the dashboard employed in the new Linea and Punto. The two cars rely heavily on the Fiat Bravo's dashboard design, including the design of the twin pod driver's instrument binnacle. Check this out:

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    - Fiat Bravo inspired instrument console for the driver with legible fonts. Full array of instrumentation with speedometer on the left and the tachometer on the right. The center has smaller gauges for temperature and fuel respectively. Although not clear in this pictures, there is an ill fitted cloth cover placed between the steering console and the instrument cluster. It is partly noticeable in this picture.

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    - The steering wheel remains unchanged. Like many cars of today, it is a size smaller than what was seen in the Fiat Palio. Lovely to hold with perfect contours for placing thumbs on either sides, this is one of Punto's strong points and make it shine as a driver oriented tool that it is.

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    -
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Stepping Inside The Punto EVO



    - While at the wheel, Robert found an ergonomic flaw, one that will be rather difficult to adjust to. The thing is, the new instrument console is quite wide. The smallish sized height adjustable steering wheel needs to placed in its top most position in order to view the tachometer and more importantly the speedometer without issues. However, the steering wheel will not be comfortable to use when its height is at the top most position. It is a known flaw that the even at the lowest level, the steering wheel is not low enough. We found that the lowest position was just about okay to drive. At this position, it is virtually impossible to get an unobstructed view of the speedometer from the driver's perspective. Here is a picture depicting the same:

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    I had to virtually peep through the steering wheel while driving to glance at the speedometer. Having said this, maybe a driver will get adjusted to the perfect seat and steering height level over time. But it is quite difficult to get the perfect driving position in the Punto EVO and Linea as well. The driver's position is for the typical 'long armed short legged' Italian, inasmuch that the steering wheel is far too close to the driver and pushing the driver's seat behind could result in the legs not reaching the A-B-C pedals comfortably. So this ergonomic flaw continues.


    - The scooped out area above the driver's door in the roof lining that is originally meant for a dedicated sun glasses holder in the Linea.

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    - Dedicated rear a/c vent is useful. It comes with a pull type mechanism that reveals a cup holder for the rear passenger. On a related note, we set the temperature on the automatic climate control system at 18 degrees Celsius and found that the petrol variant took more time to cool down the cabin in comparison to the diesel. One can lower the rear a/c vent to cool a bottle.

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    Last edited by roms; 19-08-2014 at 06:25 PM.
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Stepping Inside The Punto EVO



    - The seat fabric used on the Sport is very 'Alfa' and it really adds to the already great interior ambiance. The regular variants of the Punto EVO get white and black coloured combination for the seat fabric and they offer better side bolstering than the ones on Sport. The under thigh support for the front seats continues to be inadequate.

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    - Inspite of the long wheel base, this car does not utilise its interior space well enough. As before, there serious lack of legroom at the rear bench. With the front seats adequately set up for the driver, the rear passenger's knees will almost touch the seats in front. The transmission tunnel is not flat enough as well, further restricting the space for a middle passenger. This, combined with the lack of adequate shoulder room make the Punto EVO a strict four seater. Three abreast at the rear maybe alright for short drives only. Also, the under thigh support for the rear seats is average. But the seat back angle is comfortable for long journeys.

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    - The Blue and me System's USB and Auxiliary ports are now placed conveniently near the gear box console. On a related note, Robert tested out the capabilities of the music system by streaming music from his Nokia 808's FM transmitter. The Blue and Me system continues to come devoid of A2DP playback, which means that one still cannot pair the phone and the system via Bluetooth to play music. I wasn't impressed by the Linea's music system while playing FM during the recent Comparison Test and really found no improvement over the previous speaker set up. Hrushikesh mentioned that the system came with bass and treble settings cranked at the maximum position of 6 by default. Hence, it was obvious that speakers would not be able to perform satisfactorily with the default settings. Robert lowered down the bass and treble levels to about 2/6 for each and that is when we found that the set up was definitely not bad at all for the regular listener. There was deep enough bass at mid volumes without the speakers crackling. However, the system is treble happy with four door mounted tweeters and that can be controlled. Overall, it felt adequate to play electronic music that Robert's phone was dishing out and most owners should now be happy with the improvement over the outgoing Punto in this regard.

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    - Other Points:

    - Some FIATians on our Facebook group mentioned that the doors felt lighter than the outgoing Punto. We compared the heft of the doors with an outgoing Punto Active parked in the showroom and found no discernible difference between the old and the new cars. Infact, the Punto Sport now weighs 1198 kgs as against the 1144 kgs of the outgoing Sport 90 HP. Similarly, the Petrol Emotion now weighs in at 1154 kgs as against the outgoing car's 1115 kgs. So if anything, the weight of the car has gone up in totality. Maybe it is the smoothness of the new doors that gave the feeling of them being lighter than before?

    - One can get the exact same black interiors as the 90 HP Sport for the other variants of the Punto EVO as well. Fork out approximately INR 40,000/- and Fiat will happily oblige.

    Up Next...the Drive!
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

  12. #12
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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Driving Impressions



    Short Drive of the Punto EVO Emotion 1.4 FIRE Petrol


    - Engine, Clutch and Transmission:

    The engine specifications read pretty well, atleast on paper. 1368 CC, Double overhead cam shafts, 16 valves, 90 PS (about 88bhp@6000) rpm actually sound pretty impressive, though a max torque figure 115NM @ 4500 rpm is not too promising, given that the new car weighs even more than before.

    Close the heavy door and the reassuring 'thunk' makes its presence felt on the EVO, insulating the cabin against outside noise really well. The 1.4 FIRE motor remains pretty refined at start up with hardly any noise or vibrations felt within the cabin. There is some good news with regards to clutch operation in the newer Fiats. Like the Linea, the EVO gets lesser clutch travel, thus making it more intuitive for smooth clutch operation. With the earlier cars, one had to get accustomed to this ergonomic flaw. Also, the clutch pedal feel is soft, a bit too soft actually. A change from the heavier clutch pedals of older Fiats.

    Slot the gear into first, release the clutch slowly and the vehicle moves off the blocks without having to touch the accelerator pedal at all. The 1.4 FIRE motor has always been a free revving motor and it is pretty easy to hit the rev limiter in first gear. I had to drive away from a signal and tried checking if the car was any good at the 'traffic signal grand prix'. Stepping on the accelerator pedal sent the tacho needle frantically into the red zone and I even touched the limiter without having intentions of doing so.

    However, one would expect the speedometer to gain some momentum in tandem with the tachometer and that is where the limitations of a short first ratio show up. Due to the lower peak torque of 115 NM, Fiat probably decided that a short ratio for the first cog could help in extracting the maximum pulling power by allowing it to quickly spin close to its peak torque range. This is done to enable quicker pick up from standstill. Also, it seems that Fiat has tinkered with the ratio for the second gear and made it slightly taller than before. Problem is, if one shifts up early from first gear, the car loses momentum as engine struggles to pick up from slower speeds in second gear. The Palio's 1.6 Torque has pampered the likes of me and Robert to an extent that we are able to take smaller speed breakers and slow speed turns without having to downshift to first. That will be not be the case with this motor. I tried a slow left turn in the second gear and the car really struggled to pick up speed adequately. Given that the engine was brand new and the already heavy car was loaded with four passengers, one can only hope that performance does get better with sufficient kilometers covered.

    Its only post shifting to third gear that the car gathers decent enough pace to keep up and even overtake slow moving traffic. The power delivery remains linear through the rev band with no perceptible spike at any given point. Given the traffic conditions on the Western Express highway, we were unable to utilize the fourth and fifth cogs all that much. Fiat knows how to make good sounding engines and that raspy engine note post 3000 rpm is addictive and a delight for the enthusiast. The gearshifts remain rubbery for the petrol variant but the throws seemed shorter than the older Punto.


    - Steering, Brakes and Suspension:

    The hydraulically assisted steering wheel is just the same - precise, highly communicative and perfectly weighted, it continues be one of Punto's real strong points. It is marginally lighter than the older Puntos but that only helps in maneuvering the car more easily in city conditions. It continues to weigh up brilliantly at higher speeds and allows the driver to push hard around bends by lending tremendous confidence to the driver. Probably the best steering set up under the million rupee mark.

    The Punto does not get disc brakes all around and comes with the conventional discs upfront and drums at the rear wheels. Yet, stopping power is really confidence inspiring. On our test car, the brakes responded with the slightest of inputs on the brake pedal.

    Continued...
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

  13. #13
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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Driving Impressions


    - Continued from above - Steering, Brakes and Suspension

    The finely tuned suspension set up was known to take on the worst of the roads with aplomb yet provide that fine balance between ride and handling. And both the Linea and Punto were by far the class leaders in this regard. While that continues with the facelifted Linea and Punto as well, a few things have changed here, albeit not drastically. The 185mm of ground clearance was bound to have some effect with the way the suspension behaves. Fiat have definitely stiffened up the suspension setup to compensate for the higher ground clearance and it shows at low speeds. The ride has a firm edge at slow city speeds but gets progressively flatter at higher speeds. Those accustomed to the older cars will miss the flat and sublime ride characteristics though. Inspite of the firmer set up, some amount of body roll was felt while going around a quick right hand corner on the highway. It is not pronounced though and is within fair limits.

    However, we can't help but wish that the finely judged suspension remained untouched for the Punto EVO. The new car's higher ground clearance certainly seems excessive, but maybe they had good reasons to do so. The the long wheel base probably contributed to the decision of increasing the ground clearance. During our Goa trip in 2012, we personally experienced how the underbelly of the Linea gets scraped when fully loaded and going over a bad surface.

    Make no mistake, this car is still a solid drive and the suspension feels indestructible over bad roads. Robert decided to test drive the car over the crater filled roads of 'Aarey Milk Colony' in Goregaon. It was a good decision as it gave us a chance to sample how good the suspension works. I cannot remember the number of times I used superlatives to appreciate the amazing ride quality of the Punto. Helped by the higher ground clearance, the suspension is capable of soaking up anything thrown at it. It remains absolutely unfazed by ruts and potholes, with almost nothing filtering into the cabin. Robert and Hrushikesh took turns driving quickly on that particular stretch as it was traffic free for the most part. And I took the rear passenger's seat along with the sales executive. Being so used to the super stiff suspension on the Palio, I was fearing the car would crash through some potholes that we were approaching. But it just did not!

    I think the Opel Astra set a benchmark for being the C+ segment car with the best ride characteristics for its time, and the Punto and Linea are the only ones that remind me of the legendary ride quality of that car. The 195/60 R15 rubber feels adequate for providing good handling, grip and high speed poise.


    Short Drive of the Punto EVO 90 HP Sport Diesel

    - Engine and Transmission:

    Its a 1248 CC variable geometry turbo motor that dishes out 93 PS @ 4000 rpm and a healthy torque figure of 209 NM @ 2000 rpm. Refinement levels are good at start up and remain so, even when the car is pushed. The harshness of the diesel engine's drone is only evident at higher engine speeds.

    Just like the petrol motor we tested, it seemed that the diesel too gets the short gear ratio and slightly taller second gear ratio. The Multijet engine is evidently known to suffer from turbo lag until the turbo spools up around 2000 - 2200 rpm. It is best to shift up once engine speed is close to the 3000 rpm mark in first, so as to avoid the tachometer falling out of the power band after shifting to the next cog. Basically, this engine needs to be kept on the boil to extract maximum performance. Inspite of the claimed 209 NM of Torque @ 2000 rpm, the engine feels sluggish, especially in the second cog where driveability is mediocre. And even when the engine is supposed to be in its turbo zone, there is no distinct surge of torque felt. Because it is a variable geometry turbo, you do feel a bit of that boost when the throttle is mashed. I remember the new Linea being better in this regard and one could definitely feel the additional wave of torque. Again, maybe the new motor needs some time before it can deliver to its full potential.

    The third gear is where the car does get a move on and things get easier past this cog. As is known, the other OEMs like Maruti manage to extract better performance out of the MJD motor, even in the lesser 75 HP state of tune. However, this engine is tuned to be cruiser and once out on the highway, the 90 HP should perform quite well in the higher gears.

    Hrushikesh owns a Punto Active Diesel and he showed how the Punto MJD is capable of overtaking in the 5th gear, thanks to its high torque output. So I guess its about learning how to utilise the torque with the right amount of throttle inputs at the right engine speed in order to extract the capabilities of the MJD motor.

    The gearbox in the Sport felt decidedly better than the one employed in the petrol, with more positive shifts and the same shorter throws as experienced with the petrol.

    The suspension, ride and handling characteristics stay almost identical to the petrol. The braking felt slightly less effective and it wasn't as sharp in comparison. We did not find much of a difference with the lower profile 195/55 R16 rubber. Maybe its at high speeds that the benefits of the lower profile tyres will be noticed, especially while cornering.


    Up Next...Conclusion!
    Last edited by roms; 21-08-2014 at 12:21 AM.
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Conclusion



    Here is the PDF document relating to the variant wise feature and price list of the Punto EVO that Hrushikesh has already uploaded on the Punto EVO reveal thread:

    FIAT_PUNTO_EVO_PRICE_LIST_-05_8_14.pdf

    - The Good

    • While the Exteriors will divide opinions, the well crafted interiors will please all and offend none.;
    • Improved overall quality of workmanship in comparison the old Punto;
    • Class leading driving dynamics such as outstanding straight line stability at high speeds, good handling, communicative steering feel, great overall ride quality continue with the EVO;
    • Improved refinement levels keep the occupants isolated from road and engine noise;
    • Improved quality of speakers used for the audio system;
    • Clutch pedal travel is reduced, one ergonomic flaw rectified;
    • Better ground clearance will help avoiding contact with notoriously large speed bumps; and
    • ABS and EBD standard from Dynamic variants onwards.


    - The Not So Good

    • Average outright performance from even the more powerful engines used in the top variants. Lower variants could feel underpowered with the 1.2 FIRE Petrol and 1.3 75 PS MJD motors respectively. The increase in weight of all variants does not help;
    • The Punto EVO ought to have got the T-Jet engine and/or the 1.6 MJD, atleast as Sport variants;
    • Lack of rear leg and shoulder room takes away brownie points in the practicality quotient;
    • Changes to gear ratios not significant enough, oddly chosen ratios for the first two cogs;
    • Visibility of the speedometer could prove to be an issue for some, given the new, bigger instrument console;
    • Panel gaps quite wide in some areas;
    • Suspension stiffened up to compensate for the higher ground clearance, leading to a stiffer ride at low speeds and slight body roll; and
    • Finding a comfortable driving position continues to be a difficult task with the EVO as well.



    The Punto EVO is definitely not your perfect family hatchback. Unfortunately, it isn't your aspirational hot hatch either. Fiat have really missed an opportunity here to please its fans by not including the fantastic 1.4 TJet Motor from the Linea in the EVO's line up of engines. The current 1.4 petrol motor feels more like a 1.2 due the car's increased weight. One can only hope that Fiat does plonk in the 1.4 T-Jet / 1.6 MJD motor somewhere down the line. That could help making the EVO a well rounded package.

    Having said the above, there are still things that would make one go 'wow'. Like the Jaguar F-Type grille that looks rather appealing, the clear lens tail lamps with the brilliantly done LED elements, the addition of new colours with better quality of paint finish, the well appointed and luxurious looking interiors, the awesome build of the car that makes one feel secure, the overall driving dynamics package with a steering that could put to shame cars twice its price. Like every Fiat, this one has its flaws, but its the car that tugs at your heart strings the most!. Once driven, it is difficult to make another choice.

    Thank you Robert and Hrushikesh for planning this joint test drive and for helping me with your valuable feedback and inputs with regards to the two cars. It really helped in making this review.

    The thread is now open for comments. Please do chip in with your feedback, comments and queries!
    The Italian - 2007 Canary Yellow Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport a.k.a The Bumble Bee - Sold
    The Czech/German - 2012 Candy White Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPI Automatic
    The French - 2013 b'twin ROCKRIDER 5.0

  15. #15
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    Re: Driven - The new Fiat Punto EVO !!

    Very well and to the point write Roms.

    I am with you for the conclusion however instead of plonking new engine FIAT should work on gearbox and make as peppy as Swift DDiS.
    Gearbox is the only negative point which steals away every bit of effort from FIAT India.
    Punter

    FIAT Palio Adventure 1.6
    FIAT Palio S10
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