Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fiat Grande Punto Multijet - Ownership Review

I have been thinking about writing my ownership review soon after I clocked 15,000 kms in my Punto Multijet (FGT - 75bhp). But simply did not find time enough to pen it. I was also very keen to write about my initial ownership review which I have already missed :-(. This time, I wanted to share my overall experience covering various aspects like FIAT ASS, Services, car reliability.

Foremost, I want to share the good things that keep me happy (listed below). But remember diesel car is always a diesel car. It makes hell lot of noise till the engine settles down and during idle. This is noticed even in BMW or Audi. But what really matters is how much the noise is insulated inside the cabin. So if this bothers you, stay away from diesel cars. In case of Punto, noise insulation is good when compared with swift, polo and figo.

Things I liked:-

1. Stunning look with excellent paint quality. Exotica Red is really a stunner.
2. Excellent road grip at high speeds with no compromise to ride quality.
 3. Hydraulic steering - Simply the best in its class. Well connected in high speed to give the confidence to push further.
4. Good boot space.
5. Blue tooth connectivity. Keep me connected with my wife during lonely drive :-). I use it extensively to kill the boredom.
 6. Good Fuel Efficiency. I get 15 to 17 km per liter in city ( with limited AC usage). On free road, she always return 20+ provided you maintain the midrange - 3000 rpm.
7. Turbo boost after crossing 2000 rpm. The real power of 197 kgm torque can be felt.
8. Good looking OEM alloys, no need for immediate upgrade. Also quite happy with good year GT3 (195/60/R15/) profile.

9. Long service interval i.e. 15000 kms. 

Things I hate:-
1. Unbelievably ground clearance is an issue even though it is 170 mm.
 1. Turbo lag below 1750 rpm. Engine gets life after ( literally only in 3rd gear). IMO, 2nd gear is simply useless.

2. Poor gear shift and Long travel in engaging. Especially the 2nd gear. This really affects the drivability in bumper to bumper traffic.
3. Turning Radius is a problem. You need to plan your U-turns accordingly.
 4. Of late, rattling :-(.Simply I am not able to get rid off it. Looks like you will have to live with it.
 5. Spare wheel is not alloy. So you cannot rotate  them.

Accessories that I have added are listed below;

3M protection - Sun film:
I have decided only to go for 3M. So said no to the one offered by Prerana Motors where I took the car delivery. I opted for 3M RE50 for side and rear. But I feel the necessity for CR sheet for the windshield due to the summer heat.

1. Very good visibility during night.
2. Glare is well controlled on the rear in the night.
3. AC chilling is good enough for the front row at-least.

1. Heat waves get easily in during the noon. No way of escaping. Some time I feel dark tinted sheet could do a better job.

My wife feels sometimes literally no sun film in place. But it is true that RE 50 controls 99% UV. But solar energy rejection is limited to 43%. If you give more importance to heat protection than visibility then Read more @

3M protection - Under body Coating:
Since I was concerned with the ground clearance with frequent brushing the bottom with humps, I went for 3M under body coating. You also get free checkup for 3 years or so :-).

3M Body Paint Protection (Pure money robbing experience with Prerana Motors, Hosur Road, Bangalore):
I also opted for 3M body paint protection just because once I ran over a newly tarred road. Ended finding tar sticking all over the car. I spend nearly an hour cleaning it up with kerosene. So during my next checkup, reported this to the prerana service center, Hosur road Bangalore. He suggested me to go for paint protection so that all remaining tar particles on the car can be removed . But this was nothing but marketing glimmix to buy the product. Later during my deliver I saw few places close to bumper with tar and he cleaned it using kerosene. I felt like my money was robbed. Nevertheless I was happy with the smooth surface on the car after 3M coating :-). I told myself at any cost I will never return to this service center. I also rated them poor during the feedback to Fiat Pune.

Necessary upgrades ( which I plan to do in near future):

1. OEM bulbs have poor visibility. Replacement is very a must in case you ride often in night.
 2. OEM speakers quality is poor. Simply you can not enjoy your music @ high volume.

1st Service @ KHT Motors, Whitefield, Bangalore:
 I was closing to first free checkup (service) and by then multiple problems started appearing like AC was not up to mark, wiper misalignment. And also my car already started rattling. Irritating mild noise h during the engine off and whenever I release the clutch. So time to take it to service center. Since KHT motors service center was nearly 8 km to my home, I took my car there for first free service. Prompted booked an appointment. Was attended well by Vinod, fiat service engineer. Overall experience was good and vehicle was delivered on time. I was satisfied with service. My rattling problems were fixed. Made me happy :-). Overall cost was around 1000/rs (include air filter change, wheel alignment). This also includes free oil top up.

Rattling Again:
 After my first service, my car started rattling from rear. I took the car again to them but was not to find a solution. Experience was not good. For such small issues, service engineer stay away and will be attended by assistant ( I feel these guys still learning). After an hour or so with various trials, rear rattling was not fixed. I came back empty handed. Since this noise comes only when I go on bad roads, I managed to stay with this for quite some time. But recently I took my car aadya motors for fixing it. This time, Sundar the service engineer took the car for the trial. Identified the real number plate is the culprit making the noise. He fixed it :-).

 Mind you, the real parcel tray, glove box, seat belts tends to make irritating noise which is part of all cars. But you can always find a solution yourself without taking to service center.

2nd Service @ Aadya Service Center, Bangalore:
 This time I took the vehicle to Aadya Service Center, Outer Ringer (close to Hebbal). This is the newly opened showroom cum service center, so wanted to try here and also other reason was it is close to my office located in Manyata Tech Park, Outer ring road.

Free service (complete checkup with following paid jobs) 
1. Engine oil change
2. Diesel filter change
3. Wheel alignment

 Total cost including VAT was 6100/rs. Remember free service means only labor charge and water wash are free of cost. You need to pay for old change. Best part after your oil change is literally you feel the difference in terms of driving i.e. good pickup, gear shift is nice. Experience is simply priceless. I remember GTO recommending oil change for every 7500 kms, I understood why after my car service.

Overall, I love this car. Never regretted for buying a FIAT product. But to be honest, never endorsed them to others unless they have same frequency. I love to take my car out for long drive. Driving it on free road is priceless!!!!.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review : Motorola Milestone XT720

This is my first blog in 2011 :-). I went quite for a long time owing to various reasons. Primarily I lost my interest in blogging. May be due to very simple fact that I am sick of composing the blog.
I ordered this phone from Amazon US last march for a mouth watering price of 299$. Same model is available for 23,000/rs in India. Of course, you get 512MB RAM whereas mine have only 256MB. Come on Motorola, rework on your pricing strategy else you will have no market share here!!!. I received it on 2nd April 2011 from US through a friend. In fact, this is my first motorola phone. This replaced a basic nokia handset that I borrowed from my in-laws.  I was sick of the keypad as it was so weird that's why I wanted a replacing handset desperately. 

Six months back, I was happy using my phone 2G. This phone works fine till today considering it is already 3.5 years old. Now it is with my wife now :-). I ended shortlisted this motorola phone after deciding to try an android phone as  it created so much interest in smartphone market. Also owing to the cost factor involved in purchasing new iphone 4G, I wanted a phone in a budget of 12,000-15,000/rs. I knew if I wanted a good deal for smartphone, I need to get a phone from US. This time I wanted a phone unlocked by the vendor with international warranty. XT720 made the top of the list after going through all reviews of unlocked phones on And I wanted a android based motorola phone as it brought the company back on track. It is truly reinvigorating :-). If you want to know the story behind reinvigorate, talk to any of your friend who works for nokia siemens :-).

Things I liked about this phone:
1. Excellent build quality for the price.
2. It pairs well with my punto's bluetooth connectivity.
3. Based on Android. My first android phone.
4. It is 3G phone but no front facing camera.
5. Good music player.
6. The hands free  offer decent quality with play/pause button for music.

Things I hate:
1. Battery backup is pathetic. No match to my Iphone 2G. It does not even last for 48 hours.
2. No update to Android 2.2. Android 2.1 simply sucks :-(.
3. User interface is not good as Iphone OS.
4. Contacts needs to be synced with Google contact.
5. Too much dependency on Google. This really irritates me.
6. GPS capability is based on Google navigation which is not supported in India.
7. Motorola navigation software is not free and not supported in India.
8. Finally, the voice quality is weird on phone. I found the basic nokia model had better reception.
9. The default browser from Motorola simply is outdated. It is simply not up to the mark of a smartphone. Remember seeing the similar UI years back on my friend's Moto Rockr :-). Badly need a browser like safari.
10. I am not aware of any backup option from Motorola/Android in case you wanted to update the OS, I guess you will end up loosing your personal data in case you try to update the OS unofficially.  I felt this was quite handy with Apple phones which can help you to restore/fallback at any point of time.

In details:-
For a end user, adding a contact should always be simple. I had no problem on any phones that I used before, even with Iphone (when it was introduced) moving contacts from SIM to phonebook was painful but adding new contact to phonebook was so simple even a kid can do it :-). In android phones, you can add it but will not be visible. But it took my days to see the new contact added visible on my android based phone book.
If you are so concerned about Google crossing limits when it comes to your privacy. Please stay away from Android. For every thing you need an Google account, your complete personal data is available for Google. God, I cannot imagine!!!!.
Next comes the battery issue. I cannot last more than 36 hrs or so, you will need to carry your USB charger with you always. I charged the phone last saturday evening, with wifi activated for whole sunday along with frequent calls. The phone is dead now :-(. What I observed was even you don't use the phone, battery get drained by 10-20% on daily as it is used by OS/phone. So ultimately 4th day, you run out of battery with no usage of the phone. And Motorola claims this phone have the best battery backup when compared with all other droid phones. 
And the USB cables what you get are so rigid, you will have tough time in connecting it with laptop. Not soft as one comes with Iphone. 

Tips for XT720 owners:-
1. Install the Motorola Software Update.exe on your laptop. And update your firmware on the phone. This will introduce few more tools on your screen. And additionally the CPU clock speed is tuned to 721Mhz which is really good.
2. Always have a updated copy of your contacts in SD card by exporting. Since you will have to frequently reset your phone to default factory setting. I have done twice because
   a. First time I always got a notification about Google calender sync failure which eventually will  drain the battery.
   b. I was not able to connect to Android Market due to login attempt timed out. 
But remember you will loose all personal data after restoring to default factory setting. Whereas you can import contacts from SD card :-). Quite handy feature.
Finally, I need to write about things that make me smile. The dial list can grow on i.e you can maintain the history for month will out losing the data. Something which was missing in Iphone 3.x OS.

Word of caution for people who wanted to get this phone from US. There are two version of this phone available in market. The European spec have CPU tuned to 720 Mhz and with 512 5 MB RAM whereas korean spec have RAM as 256MB and CPU tuned @ 550 Mhz. But as you read early one can retune CPU clock speed by updating the firmware.