Fiat India, after having parted ways from Tata Motors is on its way to a turnaround. The company is opening its exclusive dealerships at a rapid pace, and will have more than 150 exclusive showrooms in place by the end of 2014. The aggressive ramp-up in terms of presence will be complimented by a slew of new product launches – giving customers more options across segments. As a part of the new launch strategy, the new 2014 Grande Punto, branded Punto Evo by the Italian carmaker is about to be launched soon. Fiat has organized a media drive for the new car, and as always, we are a part of the select media getting the privilege to sample the much appreciated model.
Our colleagues Arjun Dharve and Hanoz Patel are reporting live from the drive event, feeding us in with images and key observations. We’ll update the contents of this thread through the day to ensure that you have a reasonably good understanding of the car by the end of the day.
We figured the orange theme interior light goes well with the amber backlit chrono dials.
Glove box has twin partitions and opens with a nice sturdy feel.
Some parting pictures and the rest will be covered in an exhaustive review soon, so stay tuned, we will transmit more of this Italian programme.
Clutch action on the 90 hp is light and a breeze to use.
Could be this particular test car, however, the assuring ‘Thud’ when the doors closed on the predecessor, is missing.
Fit-n-Finish levels are acceptable and better than the outgoing model. Menu and Bluetooth functions are difficult to master at first attempt.
Default Audio system is good for the average user, potential buyers looking for studio quality-sound might need an upgrade.
Two-tone interiors are standard, 90 hp version gets an all black cabin, Nice!
Gearshifts in the 90 hp requires shorter throws, better than the predecessor
Rear Ac-vent is effective, however, only one of the occupants will enjoy the breeze.
Rear wiper comes on automatically when car is slotted in reverse and if the front wipers are on. A thoughtful feature that adds to the experience, we like.
Network issues and bad light conditions have created a hiatus
The dashboard features a new compartment, like the Linea, with a flip open lid and space for a wallet.
Claimed mileage is 14.4 kmpl, which isn’t too great
Power for the 1.4 liter engine rated at 90 PS at 6000 rpm, Torque rated at 115Nm at 4500 rpm
Some more images from the drive
The car will be available in 7 colors, only 5 available as of now. All 5 are available in the media drive event. We will share images soon
The brakes feel somewhat grabby initially, take time before you get used to the brake feel
High speed composure and stability is great
The Punto Evo handles potholes better than the previous version
Slow speed ride of the car is on the firm side, resulting in a slightly bouncy cabin at slow speeds – but it improves drastically with increase in speed
Steering is heavy as ever, allowing for great stability at high speeds but creates a bit on issue for slow-speed maneuverability
Gear shift has improved, and feels better. The rubbery affect on the previous car’s gearbox has reduced significantly
Rev limiter cuts in at 6500 rpm
However, it feels nice post 4000 rpm – it’s responsive and sporty post that mark
1.4 NA engine feels slightly sluggish and not as refined as some other engines in the segment in the lower to mid revs.
Overall quality on the inside has gone up – plastics and other materials feel much better than the previous version.
The new generation Blue & Me can be paired with your phone using voice commands only. We are facing some trouble doing that right now – will update on the issue again
Top end variant features auto air conditioning and a stock audio system
The soft to touch beige insert on the dash is of great quality, but may be prone to soiling
The interior has changed too – Piano black inserts and new beige material for the dashboard aLa Linea have improved the quality perception inside the cabin
The car has more appeal for the Indian customer in the new avatar, but the undiluted Italian lines seem to have been corrupted somewhat to please the audience
You can see the changes made to the exterior – headlamps, new grille, new fog lamp housings and alloys
We are driving the 1.4 petrol version (FIRE)