2014 Punto 90HP owning experience

 Enthusiast car, The excuse every four wheel lover  makes for buying a high maintenance car .The simplest way to explain this term is “the car you buy with your heart and not with your head”. In a market where “practical” cars are enthroned as segment bests, finding a true enthusiast car is difficult, but when FIAT introduced its Palio in 1996,it was a game changer, the first true hot hatch. As a kid I’ve always wanted to own an FIAT. So back in 2014 march 27 I took keys to a punto 90HP.the latest offering by fiat which they claimed to be a driver's car. in this article i explain why india's  one of the most unappreciated cars is an enthusiast car.


Even though the central console hasn't got many whistles and bells ,it's quite neat. 


              The same 75HP engine that powered most of the diesel Maruti Suzukis and Tatas once, the Multijet, does the pulling work here in the punto, but with an extra flavor, a bigger turbo. The new output is 93 HP and 209 Nm torque. Although dated, It still remains as one of the most frugal engines in the market.

this is what runs most of  the Indian cars,though hyperbole,if you think about it...

                 The engine alone can’t make a car an “enthusiast car”, but is the blend of it’s suspension, weight, steering, tyres and engine that makes one. Fiat has done a spectacular job in this car when it comes to driving experience. The hydraulic steering transmits everything onto the steering wheel that you feel the smallest pebble you go over. It is nicely weighed which makes winding highways a joy.


                 Cochin-Coimbatore has been my favorite ride for a very long time now, the mostly four lane road is the best to drive around march when the roads are bone dry and the palaghat landscape engulfs the evening sun in an extraordinary fashion during sunsets. this is one road where you can completely exploit the playful 209 Nm of the car. In high speed cornering, hold the wheel, point to where you want to go, the car simply clings on the tarmac and does that with no drama at all. The shocks are just finely tuned that speeds upto 180kmph is easily achieved with no fuss, the most striking aspect of the car there is its stability,it is rock solid. But since the car has a bigger turbo the threshold rpm for boost is way too high,which means that there’s nobody home until 2300 rpm which,in turn means that you’ll find yourself shift down more often. But after 2300 mark,it’s maniacal.

The western Ghats that separates Kerala and Tamil Nadu is  spectacular to pass by at dusk or dawn. and when you're behind the wheels of a punto,is pure bliss.


                Another  great aspect about fiat cars are their built quality, the punto is aptly praised “Built like a tank”. The reassuring thud of the doors and the cocooned like structure of the interiors makes sure you have a confident drive. Not much cars in the segment and the price point offers this kind of reassuring driving experience.


               But owning a fiat these days is not all a fairy tale because it has got many faults. The sound deadening for example, after 2012 the company started insulating its cars like McDonalds employees gave free ketchup, not even remotely enough, one would argue that noise from the engine is music for a car lover, but, if your mom travels with you for most of your journeys, silent engine is the way to go. And good service network, there isn’t any. There is only a handful of FASS(fiat authorized service station) that knows the car.and there's this issue of terrible rear leg room, the only people who can be comfortable behind this car are minions.

But it does accommodate a 2 year old Labrador fairly well!


               I’ve used the car for 3 years now,60,000 kms later I still get butterflies in my stomach each time I get into the car, and I find myself smiling each time I start the car, now that, is an enthusiast car.

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