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Fiat Grande Punto Review: Fiat Grande Punto 2012 Review: Delicious Hatch

Fiat Grande Punto 2012 Review: Delicious Hatch

By Aditya Chatterjee; 7th April, 2012
Introduction

Fiat Grande Punto 2012 Review: Delicious Hatch

Cute, pretty and beautiful are the terms that this car has always gathered. Her curvy and groovy looks makes the sleek designs envy. The Fiat Grande Punto launched in 2009 has been part of the fiercely populated B+ Segment.

Small car segment in India has been the most sorted after these days. Every manufacturer wants to pitch its own small offering. The intention is to increase the portfolio and also to make the brand more popular.

Fiat Grande Punto

Grande Punto recently got a 2012 make over. The all new 2012 changes include a mix of both interior as well exterior aesthetic changes. But will all the new changes be sufficient to tussle it out with the market leaders?

We review the 1.4L petrol Grande Punto 2012 Emotion variant and discover more of the small beauty.

Exterior

Let’s face it; the Punto is one beautiful looking car. It looks like those delicious looking pastries with different layers of icing on it. Like the pastries, this one too is all round and nice and makes you wish to eat it and not just look at it.

Enough of describing it in edible forms, the Fiat Punto 2012 looks identical to its predecessor only marginally tweaked this time, which also translates to a new ground clearance of 195mm on Active variant.

Fiat Grande Punto

It looks like a mouse like front profile; the front has a curving and elongated bonnet. The head lights blend in the elongated bonnet and contribute in the waistline as well. Headlights on this one come with an Auto activation photoelectric sensor, which automatically gets switched on detecting darkness and off detecting light.

A very bold radiator grille with a contrasting mesh holds the Italian logo. The shoulder line is a very definite one making the bonnet and the jaw meet. One more thing about the bonnet is, it has very subtle character lines on is giving it a very nice profile.

Coming to the side profile, the car looks very much in motion. The designers seem to have designed this with a very balanced approach of not getting overboard with lots of lines and camouflaging contours.Our Emotion variant had the sporty 15inch, 12 spoke alloy wheels. These wheels with the ascending shoulder lines running to the end of the vehicle make it look sporty indeed. Even though, the Punto has bulging lines, still I won’t term it as a “He” car; she still remains a curvy ride for me.

Fiat Grande Punto

Every small detailing done on the car is an extension of the overall design. This can be seen from the shape of the ORVMs or the door handles. The ORVMs are retro styled and branch out from the doors in a nice way, while the door handles resemble the car shape. These are very small but important elements, I think even Mercedes-Benz can learn from this and improve the design of their mirrors on the C-Class.

The C-Pillar has been affixed with the vertically stacked tail lamp cluster. This may have a resemblance with other hatches but none match up to the design of this.

Fiat Grande Punto

Rear Profile of the Punto is wide. The rear profile has been distributed in 3 simple zones, the rear windshield, the tail gate and the rear bumper. This is the case with all cars? Yes, but unlike other cars, the Punto doesn’t boast of very jazzy lines and instead endorses simple but classy elements.

So the 2012 Fiat Punto has not got any substantial make over, but a new Oceanic Blue shade and an improvised ground clearance for the Active version. I am of the opinion that if the Fiat Punto is blown out and transformed into a bigger car, it may be a very good compact SUV. A compact SUV with the handling of a hatchback and not a sedan. Interesting? If Fiat guys go ahead and make this you know who gave them the inspiration. 

Fiat Grande Punto

Interior

Delicious exteriors earned lots of praises. The interior of the 2012 Grande Punto have been revisited too. The new upgrades include brighter two tone interiors and powerful Air-Conditioning as well.

Fiat Grande Punto

I love the small cocoon shell type cabin of the Grande Punto. It has a very sporty and low driving position. This low position can get scary if something as massive as a Toyota Fortuner stands beside your car. One small mistake by the Fortuner and you shall be squished.

The instrumental panel is too simple and basic. The design of it doesn’t do justice with the racy exteriors of the car. Numbers on it are very boring and drab even though it serves the purpose well.

Fiat Grande Punto

It shows all the real time information on the range of kms left to empty tank, trip readings and service reminders. The small screen also doubles up as a display of the media player showing the current track being played.

The 3-spoked steering wheel has media player buttons as well as the Blue&Me Windows button. The feel and grip of the steering wheel is amazing and contributes well in handling the car too.

Grainy black dashboard runs big and wide throughout the width of the car. Small elements will make you realize how precise design engineers get while executing different themes. The root of the wiper and the headlight levers are stylishly planted above the steering column.

Fiat Grande Punto

Central panel comes with an integrated music system. This feature has been made available across all its variants. The contrasting Aluminum finished central panel houses the AC controls as well as the music system. Fit and feel of the buttons is amazing.

The entertainment system comes with a 4 speaker CD, MP3 and FM compatible system. The USB plug-in has been provided at a very odd location inside the Glove box. If you are alone and wish to attach a USB drive being in the driver’s position, this won’t be a pleasure experience at all.

Front row seats are good and give good legroom and headroom. The rear seats however are not that generous in welcoming the occupants. They offer decent legroom but the overall rear space appears cramped. So the rear passengers won’t be in a very joyful mood for long in long journeys and the chances of a fight for who sits in the front seat is always there.

Fiat Grande Punto

The sloping door trims are impressive and come with the ORVM position settings on them along with utility pockets.Glove box holds the Microsoft Windows Mobile box as well as the USB. This won’t swallow an impressive load of articles. There are 2 cup holders before the transmission stick and one cup holder for the rear occupants. There is also a small recess after the gear stick.

A boot space of 280 liters makes the Grande Punto pack in more luggage than Maruti Suzuki Swift but still it’s less compared to the new 2012 i-Gen Hyundai i20.

The interiors of the 2012 Fiat Grande Punto have always been an impressive element along with its exteriors. The build quality, the secure feeling and the finishing have always impressed all. 

Performance

Our 2012 Fiat Grande Punto came with a 1368cc DOHC engine. This petrol unit produces 90PS at 6000 rpm and a torque of 115Nm at 4500 rpm. It comes with a 5-speed manual transmission. I have not had a brief encounter with Punto`s earlier iteration but have seen many owners vouch for its performance and feel. I was really looking forward to the performance bit of the 2012 Grande Punto.

Fiat Grande Punto

Being a big Abarth performance fan and all those seduction commercials of the Fiat 500 had got me charged up to drive the Fiat Grande Punto. This was the very first time; I would be driving a car for real long.

Crank her up and she is smooth. The AC indeed is super powerful. Transforming the entire cabin into Antarctica didn’t take a yawning time. I felt so blessed with it to beat the unbearable hot summer and the ever traffic clogged streets of Mumbai. I term is as a blessing because we had reviewed the Force ONE prior to this, whose AC was nothing but a loud sounding blower.

The music system doesn’t score too much in terms of quality of music but yes it won’t disappoint you. It is somewhere in the middle. The weird positioning of the USB plug-in in a dark corner inside the glove compartment took me some good time to discover and then some more time to insert my pen drive.

Fiat Grande Punto

Now something about the music system that really made me rip my hair off was the music control. Only the driver can toggle between different tracks as only he has been bestowed with the supreme track change buttons on the steering wheel. If you are a passenger and wish to change the track being played, you have to be at the mercy of the driver.

This is just one issue, the other issue is if you wish to skip some tracks and play something else, the only way to do it is that the driver buttons his way to that track. Just imagine the horror if you are on the 7th track and wish to play the 65th track. Please give us a roll over button and make our life easy.

Coming back to the drive factor, the 1.4L Petrol Grande Punto is not a super performance car as such. If you had a wish of getting one and painting it with Abarth vinyls, I would recommend against it. The engine is sluggish is nature and there won’t be any need to carry a lap timer watch for this one.

Fiat Grande Punto

There is however a brighter side to this, The Grande Punto is a very refined commuter. With a super smooth powertrain, you won’t get exhausted even in long journeys. Handling of the car along with tight braking continues to be fantastic.

Kitna Deti hai? We got a steady mileage figure of 11kmpl throughout our review. 

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Fiat
 Model GrandePunto
Variant 1.4 Fire Emotion 1.2 Fire Petrol
Displacement in cc 1368 1172
Max power in PS/RPM 90/6000 68/6000 RPM
Max Torque Nm/RPM 115/4500 96/2500
Transmission 5/Manual 5/Manual
Tyre Specification 
1.2L Fire petrol - 165/80 R14
1.4L Fire Emotion  195/60 R15 -
Dimensions
Length 3987 3987
Width 1687 1687
Height 1495 1495
Wheelbase 2510 2510
Kerb weight 1090 1090
Ground clearance 173 173
Boot capacity 280 280
Fuel tank capacity 40 40
Mileage 13.8 15.2
Features
Features 1.4 Fire  Petrol
Emotion
1.2 Fire Petrol
Active
Dynamic
Fire prevention system Yes Yes Yes
Central door locking Yes Yes Yes
ABS with EBD Yes No No
Dual airbags Yes No No
Rear Fog lamps Yes Yes Yes
Front fog lamps Yes No No
Body color Door handle,ORVM Yes No No
Dual tone dashboard Yes No No
Driver seat height adjust Yes No No
Distance to empty indicator Yes No No
Power steering Yes Yes Yes
Tilt steering Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Front & Rear Front Front & Rear
Remote key less entry Yes No No
Electricaly adjustable ORVM Yes No No
Rear windows wiper&washer Yes No No
Rear defogger Yes No No
Leather wrapped steering and gear knob Yes No No
Rear foot level AC vents Yes No No
Automatic climate control Yes No No
Music system Yes No No
Steering mounted controls Yes No No
Blue & me with USB port Yes No No
Ex showroom Mumbai 702312 519068 543544
Competition
Specifications
Fiat
Punto
Honda
Jazz
Marut Suzuki
Swift
Variant Fire Emotion X Zxi
Engine Capacity 1.4 1198 1197
Max Power PS/RPM 90/6000 90/6200 87/6000
Torque Nm/RPM 115/2500 110/4800 114/4000
Gears 5/M 5/M 5/M
Power Steering Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes Yes
A/C Yes Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes Yes
Fog Lamps Yes Yes Yes
Rear wind shield washer Yes Yes Yes
Defogger Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes
Airbag 2 2 2
Average fuel efficiency 13 16 16
Ex showroom Price Mumbai (lakh) 686942 696290 609737
Conclusion

The styling and the build quality of the Grande Punto elevate it really high followed by the drive of the car. It is a classy car. I agree it is a sluggish hatchback especially if you compare with the zippy Ford Figo.

Saying this, I don’t mind getting a car that can take me to the sophisticated Golf events as well as Page 3 parties. The Grande Punto would suit your tuxedo and your T and jeans equally. It has a dual personality which has a youthful as well as a classy image.

Fiat Grande Punto

It is a very good car with a refined engine. The reason why many are distracted to choose a Grande Punto is Fiat’s image especially in after sales. The Tata-FIAT arrangement has not been able to do justice to the Fiat brand of cars. Also promoting Fiat cars in Tata showroom lacks the enthusiasm, which we personally experienced at a Kalyan showroom in Mumbai.

Fiat, with an initiative of coming with its own individual dealers is trying to strengthen its brand. Fiat Caffe, is another unique way that Fiat is using to promote its brand. Let’s hope Fiat gets back aggressively in the tough race.