Fiat Punto Evo: First Impression
There is a new Fiat in town and it looks and feels different from the earlier model. Fiat is calling it Punto Evo, which also symbolises its evolution from a simple curvy looking hatch to a more radical looking offering.
They have not been aggressively pitching their products in the trending hatchback scenario. In spite of just having two products, Fiat still managed to impress decent number of clients with its Italian legacy reflecting in both their machines.
Specifically designed for Indian market, the Punto Evo offers a bolder design with upmarket interiors targeting the premium hatchbacks sold in the country. We take it for a quick spin from Mumbai to Lonavala and find more in our first impression report.
I have always liked Punto’s looks because it said a lot without screaming much but the new design makes the car appear bolder than before. The overall shape of the earlier version has been retained. It gets significant updates on the front and rear section.
The face now sports a more pronounced radiator grille with rounded edges. The headlights get its sets of detailing with a sweep back design and new reflectors. Fiat prefers calling it reindeer headlamps. Simple and functional bumper design gives way to a more modern approach with individual chrome garnished fog lamp housing. The same is seen on its rear section.
If it weren’t for those smart alloy wheels, differentiating the Punto Evo from its predecessor is difficult. A closer look highlights the increased ground clearance. They haven’t changed anything when it comes to the shoulder line which still flows strongly along its length. Even the flared wheel arches are intact.
The rear has been tweaked too and the most remarkable change is use of LED tail lamps. Other than that, even the Punto font style has changed bidding farewell to the earlier symbol. It also gets Evo written underneath. We must say the new design might not appeal at once but then the design eventually grows on you.
Why make it new when you can just borrow it- the inspiration behind Punto Evo’s interiors. The interior trims now feature upmarket finish to make it feel premium. It shares its central console and many other elements with the new Linea. This change helps the new cabin feel better.
We had the 90Hp variant which features all black styling for both row seats. In terms of comfort nothing has changed as the seats offer decent comfort levels. While the front legroom continues to be better, the rear zone feels cramped. Seats are finished on good quality fabric. We feel the Sport variant should have offered leather seats as standard package.
Instrumental cluster feels smarter than before and thanks to new Linea, it gets the same dashboard as well. The only area where the Punto Evo needs to improve is the quality of plastics. The Punto has its appeal but then the consumers get multiple options with better finishing for the same price. Fiat should improve the quality of finish in addition to making the car look good.
It gets automatic climate control along with a new additional rear AC vents. Unfortunately, the AC unit was not effective in cooling the cabin generously. It gets USB/Aux-in plug in options near the transmission stick. There are steering mounted controls to operate the entertainment system and Bluetooth telephony too. With the help of Microsoft powered Blue & Me, the voice assist system can operate music system, read our messages and take incoming calls too. The same existed in the earlier version too.
The Punto Evo will be offered in four engine trims. There is a 1.2L 68PS petrol engine, 1.4L 90PS petrol engine, 1.3L Multijet diesel 76PS engine and a 1.3L Multijet 93PS engine. There is a minor change in the 76PS engine which has made the drive smoother.
The drive was from Mumbai to Lonavala and thus we chose the 93PS Sporty variant over other options as the Mumbai Pune Expressway would give the engine enough space to breathe freely. This one produces 93PS at 4000 rpm and 209Nm of torque at 2000 rpm. This is the highest power and torque producing engine compared to the entire line-up.
Sadly, so much of numbers on paper make the Punto Evo 93PS sound very exciting but when it comes to real world performance, it has a tough time justifying its Evo personality. The initial power delivery is too low and the torque too does nothing to get the Evo move quickly. It is only when the needle crosses the 2200rpm mark, there is some action. Agreed, it is a typical diesel engine trait but then this one feels very sluggish at low speeds.
So in city, it is not exactly a power tool to steer around. We hoped the same would not be much of a hassle on highways as here the engine gets a fair chance to spread the powerband and perform at its ideal best. It is the heavy body structure which makes the Punto Evo suffer more. This version has a kerb weight of 1198Kgs while the new Volkswagen Polo with a bigger 1.5L engine weighs 1158Kgs and obviously acts as a benefit for the latter.
While the Punto Evo could not impress us with its performance, it remains consistent in terms of handling. The heavy weight acts as an advantage during turning at greater speeds as it does not leave traction. The ride quality too is as impressive and the suspension setup took rough patches with great ease.
|Price||To Be Annnounced|
|Power in PS/RPM||93 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||209 / 2000|
|Gears||5 / MT|
|Wheel base mm||2510|
|Fuel tank capacity L||45|
|Tyre Spec||195/60 R15|
|Fire prevention system||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Central door locking||Yes||-||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Rear Fog lamps||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front fog lamps||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Body color Door handle,ORVM||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Dual tone dashboard||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Driver seat height adjust||Yes||No||No||No|
|Distance to empty indicator||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Power windows||Front & Rear||Front||Front & Rear||Front & Rear|
|Remote key less entry||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Electricaly adjustable ORVM||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Rear windows wiper&washer||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Leather wrapped steering and gear knob||Yes||No||No||No|
|Rear foot level AC vents||Yes||No||No||No|
|Automatic climate control||Yes||No||No||No|
|Steering mounted controls||Yes||No||No||No|
|Blue & me with USB port||Yes||No||No||No|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||1.3L MULTIJET||Highline1.5L (D)||ZDi|
|Price (Ex Showroom Delhi)||To Be Annnounced||730,000||665,000|
|Power in PS/RPM||93 / 4000||89 / 4200||74 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||209 / 2000||230 / 1500||190 / 2000|
|Gears||5 / MT||5 / MT||5 / MT|
|Wheel base mm||2510||2469||2430|
|Fuel tank capacity L||45||45||42|
|Tyre Spec||195/60 R15||185 / 60 R15||185 / 65 R15|
The new design which is an India exclusive works in favour of the Punto but then will it be sufficient to influence customers to buy one needs to be seen. The Punto Evo replaces the Grande Punto line up and will be the new generation model of the existing hatchback.
With the Punto Evo, you might not have a solution for all your needs. It is purely for the aficionados looking to buy a niche car. It has ride and handling too as its positive traits. One more interesting update is that the Punto Evo paves way for the Avventura – Compact Crossover, which the company had showcased at the 12th Auto Expo in Greater Noida. In terms of design, a lot would be shared among these two except that the Avventura will be a more aggressive looking version of the serene hatch. Fiat officially launches the Punto Evo in second week of August across all its dealerships in the country.