Fiat Punto 1.2 petrol road test

Fiat Punto 1.2 Petrol FIRE-engined variant road-tested

fiat punto road test

Fiat launched the Grande Punto last year and was it selling reasonably well until the new kids on the block – the Ford Figo (Ford Figo 1.2 petrol road test), Chevy Beat (Chevrolet Beat road test) and the Volkswagen Polo (Volkswagen Polo 1.2 petrol road test)  – arrived and spoiled the party. Suddenly, the perception changed  – it was said that the Punto, though a very able car, was over-priced. Related story: Fiat Grande Punto Sport and Trendz at Auto Expo 2010

fiat punto 1.2 petrol road test photo gallery
Cheaper, more fuel-efficient Punto

Fiat had to do something to recreate the excitement and they did it by introducing a new 1.2 liter petrol-engined Punto in two variants – the Dynamic and Emotion. The Petrol Punto was, till now, available only in the basic Active variant. Related: Fiat Punto 1.2 petrol Dynamic and Emotion launched

The company has also added two new exterior colour  options to the 1.2-litre petrol Grande Punto –  Fox Trot Azure (a light blue shade) and Tuscan Wine (a deep red, the one we drove fr this road test.) As always, if you are in a hurry, scroll all the way down for the Fiat Punto 1.2 road test photo gallery.

Design: Exteriors

The already nice-looking Fiat Punto doesn’t get any visual changes as far as the shape goes – but it gets an all-new paint shades and exclusive trim levels for the 1.2 variants.

The 1.2 Fiat Punto has the same timeless European look which everyone seems to love. Everything remains intact on the outside: the family grille, tear-drop shaped headlamps..  The thick front bumper with integrated fog lamps make it so nicely Italian. Door handles and the mirrors are body-colored, the door frames get the blacked-out look.

In the 1.2 liter petrol Fiat Punto, alloy wheels not standard fitment anymore and regular wheels with Fiat wheel caps come in. The Punto was always a good looker from the sides, with high waistline and a generous glasshouse. The doors close with a sound Fiat thud. The rear is pretty as well with high mounted tail lamps shaped into the body-line and the new red-colored Fiat logo in the centre. Fit and finish overall is good and maintained since the Punto was launched.

fiat punto rear photo

Design: Interior

On the inside, the Fiat Punto 1.2 is slightly different: now a height-adjustable steering wheel comes standard. The instrument cluster remains classy as ever, and the music system is standard on the Emotion variant that we drove. Fiat is also now giving away MP3 players as a special offer with the Dynamic variant.

fiat punto petrol interior photo

The rest is standard fare in Puntos. Fog lamps, power mirrors, split seats and a nice little glove box above the normal one which opens upwards. The Emotion variant gets four power windows as standard.

Fiat hasn’t left out much in here to keep the Punto 1.2 safe from any comparisons to its competitors. The interior is all-black, including the seat fabric and the centre console is in silver grey. Seats are just perfect with the much-needed height adjust feature on the driver’s side. Thigh support and cushioning is on the harder side, but aids in comfortable driving nevertheless.

Fiat Punto 1.2 road test: Engine and Performance

With so many hatchback cars now running 1.2 petrol engines, the New Punto too gets a 1.2 litre FIRE engine which is now BS-4 complaint. This engine makes 68PS @ 6000rpm of power which is a little bit low on paper. Maximum torque produced is 96 Nm @ 2500rpm. Remember, this is an older SOHC engine running on 8 valves – and the Punto weighs a bit more than its competitors.

fiat punto petrol engine

On the move, the Punto 1.2 petrol did not feel underpowered while starting off. But during the road test, we noticed that the power feels a bit inadequate. You can put this down to the heavy body, and the tuning of this 1.2 petrol engine is more optimised for fuel efficiency in the city. You have to decide if good fuel economy is worth the slightly inadequate power.

Gear shifts are smooth without any false changes. Acceleration is a bit slow as we mentioned. During our road test of the Fiat Punto 1.2,  car hit 100 kmph only after 18 seconds – that is slow compared to its rivals. Remember, this engine is tuned for more city drivability and this is where it shows its true colors. On the move in the city, the Fiat Punto 1.2 behaves very well. Gear ratios are perfect, and not many shifts are needed. Pickup is not instant, but once it speeds up, it is a smooth drive with minimal gear shifting. The heavy body keeps the Punto 1.2 handle bad roads well and keeps the car planted on the road. The suspension setup isn’t altered or re-done as compared to the other Punto variants, and that is perfect. The car handles rather well owing to the overall dynamics and weight giving the car a sedan-like feel.

Fuel efficiency / mileage

The simple reason for Fiat getting a 1.2 variant of the Punto was the competition with a bunch of 1.2litre fuel-efficient small cars. As far as fuel efficiency goes, the Fiat Punto 1.2 is much better than its elder1.4 sibling and returned mileage figures of 12.5 kmpl in city conditions and 13.5 on the highway.

Price

Fiat has priced the 1.2 Punto Dynamic at Rs 4.57 lakhs and Rs 4.87 lakhs for the Emotion variant ex-showroom Delhi which makes it comparable, price-wise, to the other hatchback cars in India. The competition includes the Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat, Maruti’s New Wagon R, VW Polo, Tata Indica Vista and the Hyundai new trimmed down variants of the i20.

Fiat Punto 1.2 road test: Verdict

The overall package seems quite attractive. Some factors like the heavy body are useful for handling and good road manners. But power to weight ratio is nothing great, and makes the car a bit sluggish off the line. If that matters to you, then the Punto 1.2 is not for you. On the other hand, if you are happy with the great design, comfort ad fuel efficiency, it certainly is.

Fiat Punto 1.2 Specifications

Engine:   1172cc, 8V, SOHC

Power:   68PS @ 6000rpm

Torque:   96Nm @ 2500rpm

Transmission:  5 speed manual

Top Speed:   152 kmph

Fuel Type:   Petrol

Suspension:  Independent Wheels Suspension with Mcpherson Struts, Helical Springs, Double Acting Telescopic Dampers with Stabilizer bar (Front), Torsion Beam, Helical Springs and Double Acting Telescopic dampers and Stabilizer bar (Rear)

Tires:    165/80/14 Tubeless Radials

Brakes:   257mm Ventilated Disc (Front), 203mm Drums ( Rear)

Safety:   Immobilizer With Rolling Code, Fire Prevention System

Fiat Punto 1.2 petrol road test photo gallery

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