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!!!!.


Anonymous said...

Nice review. I am gonna join Fiat's club soon, as I have booked my Punto and waiting for delivery within 2 weeks.

Senthil Prabu.S said...

Cool. Did u get it delivered. Njoy your drive.

Drive Safe