The Fiat Punto Pure is the pre-facelift model (Grande Punto) that was sold before the launch of the Punto Evo in 2014. The carmaker’s motive is to offer an affordable hatchback within the Rs sub-5 lakh range. We sampled both the petrol and diesel versions to tell you what this car is all about.
The Punto Pure has a well-rounded appearance with not many cuts and creases over the body shell. Upfront, the grille is chrome-free unlike many new cars. The sloping bonnet, chunky headlamps and the protruding nose add the much needed character to the fascia. To further accentuate the look, our test car had these good looking alloy wheels which are optional. The Punto Pure, however, only comes with steel rims as standard to bring down costs. Again, the OVRMs and door handles are not body coloured, but the Punto Pure doesn’t really look too bad without it. The rear section is attractive with high placed tail lamps. Especially, the ‘Pure’ badging on the tail gate and registration plate neatly tucked into the bumper has kept the look minimalistic.
The interior is basic. The instrument cluster is an analog one with clear white font on a black background. There is also an orange-lit small digital screen in the centre that will tell you the fuel economy and the distance-to-empty. For your infotainment needs you will have to get a system externally fitted as seen in the pictures. But, we couldn’t help but wonder about the missing central locking in the Punto Pure.
The cabin also reveals some elements where the Fiat's team has really cut corners. The plastic quality is tacky and lacks lustre. Panel gaps are clearly evident on the dashboard and some components like the AC switches feel flimsy. Thankfully, the two tone upholstery is acceptable. The back rest is quite supportive but these fabric seats do lack under thigh support. Similarly, the rear seats can fit two comfortably with good headroom and shoulder room, but three people might become a little too snug. t. Thankfully, the knee room is just about adequate for average-size individuals. The practicality bit was not lost on us either. You have various small spaces on the dashboard to stow away your small stuff and for the larger luggage you have the folding rear seat that liberates boot space. But then, you may find it a little inconvenient holding a water bottle in your hand as the Punto Pure lacks space in the door pockets to hold one.
The Fiat Punto Pure misses out on the famed 1.4-litre petrol and the 90bhp diesel version. What we now have is the 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel mill tuned to produce 75bhp at 4,000rpm and a peak torque of 197Nm at 1,750rpm. Power for the petrol trim comes from the 1.2-litre FIRE unit tuned to churn out 67bhp at 6,000rpm and 96Nm of torque at 2,500rpm. The transmission is a five-speed manual gearbox only.
The diesel engine starts with a typical clatter that mellows down as the car starts to move. The 197Nm of torque can be put to good use in the city and on the highway as well. This diesel Punto has a good mid-range once the turbo kicks in after the 1,800rpm mark. It achieves high speeds at lower revs and one can easily cruise at 100kmph with the needle of the tacho just above the 2,500rpm mark.
On the other hand, the petrol is the quieter one, but lacks the punch that can be seen on the oil-burner. You will have to continuously floor the pedal and keep the revs built above 2,500rpm to get going. You will have to shift to a lower gear, while overtaking or climbing even a small incline. It is nevertheless more refined than the diesel variant.
The Fiat Punto is known for its good ride and handling. The hydraulic steering offers good feel. The steering responds precisely at slow speeds and also weighs up nicely at high speeds. The 195mm ground clearance is good and the suspension is rightly set for Indian conditions. It is quite firm and takes corners without unsettling the car. Even the tyre noise is minimum at high speeds. The brakes have enough bite to inspire confidence even if they are not that progressive. ABS would have definitely made a difference, but sadly it is not even offered as an option. None of its competitors do either.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||67bhp @ 6000/75@4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||96bhp@2500rpm/197bhp@1750rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||45|
|Tyre size||165/80 R14|
|12V power outlet||Yes|
|Foldable rear seat||Yes|
|Body coloured bumpers||Yes|
|3 years/100000kms warranty||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||67bhp @ 6000/75@4000||84bhp@6000rpm/69bhp@4000rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||96bhp@2500rpm/197bhp@1750rpm||114Nm@3500/140Nm@1800rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||45||35|
|Tyre size||165/80 R14||155/80 R13|
Today, there are cars like the Tata Tiago, Hyundai i10 and the Chevrolet Beat that offer quite a load of new tech and features. And all of this, at a lower price than the Punto Pure (ex-showroom Rs 4.54 lakh for the petrol and Rs 5.63 lakh for the diesel). So it might be difficult for the Punto Pure to establish its foothold in such a competitive market.
However, if you are willing to overlook the price and are up for good ride dynamics, then this is your car. For the Fiat purists, who missed the charm of the old Punto, you might just want to opt to pay extra and get the Punto Evo that offers premium features and better quality of materials.
Pictures by : Kapil Angane