Fiat Punto EVO Petrol Review – First Drive
Exteriors – Compared to earlier model, Fiat Grande Punto, new facelift version is more desirable. New pouting front grille, chrome border, new fog lamps and chrome surrounds again, redesigned bumper, repositioned badge and not the least, new headlamps that was seen first in Fiat Avventura crossover at 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, all make for a sure shot attention grabber. Although new Punto EVO misses trending LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) at front, it doesn’t seem like Punto needed it as front fascia is already well embellished.
Rear of 2014 Fiat Punto is also filled with decors, right from roof lip spoiler at top to chrome treated fog and reverse lamps embedded at bottom of bumper. Thorough and appreciable facelift job is expected to reward in sales.
Offered in 7 colour options including new Glitterati Gold, Tuscan Wine, Exotica Red, Vocal White, Magnesio Grey, Minimal Grey and Hip Hop Black.
Interiors – Dashboard and controls taken from 2014 Fiat Linea, Punto EVO gets revitalised aura in cabin. Plastic quality is almost best in segment. Beige (borderline white) and black interior design theme extends from dashboard and door panels to seat upholstery fabric, ensuring completeness in Punto EVO’s room.
Features list includes air conditioning with climate control, rear AC vent, music system with Bluetooth, USB & AUX-in connectivity, speed sensitive volume control, voice commands, SMS readout, steering wheel mounted audio controls, analog speedometer & tachometer, LCD Multi Function Display (MFD), driver seat height adjust, front & rear fog lamps, electrically adjustable Outside Rear View Mirrors (ORVM), Day / Night Inside Rear View Mirrors (IRVM), auto down power windows, ambient lighting, desmodronic foldable key, dual front airbags, passenger side airbag deactivation, 60:40 split rear seats and the like.
Engine – Fiat Punto EVO has two petrol engines, 1.2 litre FIRE and 1.4 litre PDA. Former unit produces 68.22 PS max. power @ 6000 rpm and 95.75 Nm peak torque @ 2500 rpm, while latter generates 89.5 PS @ 6000 rpm and 115 Nm @ 4500 rpm. Both engines are mated to 5 speed manual transmission; there is no automatic variant in Fiat Punto EVO.
Performance – Compared to 90 HP diesel sport variant, 1.4 PDA in new Punto EVO is more drivable. All engine options are already seen in older model, Grande Punto, and there is no change in tune or performance of motors. For those who haven’t experienced previous Punto behind the wheels, here is a jist of what you may feel about Punto EVO 1.4 petrol.
Low end acceleration is feeble, power is felt starting from mid range only, making it difficult to push in city. On highway, mid level and high end power delivery is enjoyable. Fiat Punto EVO 1.4 petrol is rev-limited at 6,500 rpm, until which is fun to throttle. Punto EVO 1.4 sprints from 0 to 100 kmph in 15.99 seconds, which is not a great number, as a result of heavy chassis & body. Top speed is 165 kmph; mileage as certified by ARAI is 14.4 kmpl, which is also not admirable.
Ride & Handling – Ride quality and handling has been the USP of Punto since its inception, and the case is same with new Punto EVO. Ground clearance of 185 mm is delightful for irregularities in Indian roads. Thanks to brilliantly tuned dampers, most of bumps and potholes are ironed out. Stability at high speeds is also commendable.
Hydraulic power assisted steering in Fiat Punto EVO is a driver’s treat. Feedback and response kindles driving pleasure, but due to less access to engine power, fun of driving a Punto cannot be enjoyed throughout the rev range. Mild off-roading is welcomed by Punto EVO’s suspension setup.
In short, Punto EVO 1.4 petrol is excusable in dense city traffic, amusing on highway and not so lustrous in between.
Braking – There is not much to say about braking quality of Punto EVO except that it lacks sharpness. However, for regular drivers / commuters, this will not be an issue as front disc brakes and rear drum brakes do their task well enough when called upon; enthusiasts would prefer a tad bigger bite. Antilock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (ABS with EBD) is on offer.
Verdict – For the price it demands, new Fiat Punto EVO offers substantial quality in exteriors & interiors. Passenger comfort, safety and utility also score high marks but looses rank when it comes to performance, especially against closely priced competitors. Considering Fiat’s promise of providing better service and ownership experience, Punto EVO would make it to list of choices of many looking to buy an attractive premium hatchback. We haven’t driven 1.2 litre petrol variant yet, review on that will come soon.
Here is price list of Fiat Punto EVO petrol (ex-showroom Delhi):
Punto Evo Petrol Active – Rs 4.55 lakhs (1.2 FIRE)
Punto Evo Petrol Dynamic – Rs 5.12 lakhs (1.2 FIRE)
Punto Evo Petrol Emotion – Rs 6.65 lakhs (1.4 PDA)
Why would you buy Punto EVO 1.4 petrol:
Solid built quality
Fun to steer
Appreciable ride quality
Why would you not buy Punto EVO 1.4 petrol:
Inaccessible engine power