Hyundai launched the ‘i-Gen’ i20 last week at a starting price of Rs. 4.73 lakh. The new i20 gets Hyundai’s fluidic design theme with refreshed front and rear bumpers, headlamps and tail lamps.
The new i20 gets an updated 1.2-litre Kappa2 petrol motor but retains the 1.4-litre Gamma petrol and 1.4-litre CRDi that powered the old i20. Fiat launched the 2012 Punto in January which has a starting price of Rs. 4.90 lakh. The new Punto gets updates such as a standard audio system across all variants, improved ground clearance, AC and dual tone interiors. The 2012 Punto retains the same engines of the old Punto. The Punto is known for its solid build quality, handling characteristics and features. Read our Fiat Punto road test review here.
Let’s see if the new i20 can beat one of its chief rivals in the premium hatchback segment, the Fiat Punto.
Performance and handling
On comparing the 1.2-litre petrol engine versions of both the cars, the i20 has a clear edge for its engine puts out 84 bhp of power, which is a full 17 bhp more than the Punto. Similarly, the 1.4-litre Gamma petrol engine of the new i20 puts out 98 bhp of power which is 10 bhp more than the power of 1.4-litre engine of the Punto.
But since the i20’s 1.4-litre petrol engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission while the Punto comes with 1.4-litre manual, expect the performance of Punto 1.4 manual to be slightly better than the i20 1.4 automatic.
Coming to the diesel engine variants, the new i20 is powered by the same 1.4-litre CRDi motor that puts out 88 bhp of power while the Punto is powered by the 1.3-litre Multijet engine offered in two states of tunes: 75 bhp and 90 bhp. With similar power outputs, the new i20 with its 6-speed manual transmission can be expected to offer better drivability especially in city driving conditions than the Punto which comes with the regular 5-speed manual gearbox. Also read: New Hyundai i20 launched starting at Rs.4.73 lakh!
The Punto is a great handler. With its solid chassis and well tuned suspension setup, the Italian hatchback takes on the fast corners with ease and inspires great confidence even when pushed to its limits. We haven’t driven the new i20 and reserve our judgment on whether it handles better than the Punto or not. But the Punto will likely still be hard to beat when it comes to handling.
Space and comfort
The new i20 is expected to retain the same space and comfort of the old i20. Hence, the car will continue to be a proper five seater with abundant legroom, headroom and shoulder room for all passengers. Besides, the cavernous boot makes it a practical weekend car as well.
The Punto, on the other hand, offers great comfort to the front row passengers, but at the rear, the limited headroom may be bothersome for tall passengers. The Punto offers adequate luggage space, but slightly less than that offered in the new i20.
Overall, the new i20 has an edge over the Punto in terms of both space and comfort.
Hyundai has the same fluidic design theme on all its new cars but still manages to give each car its own identity. The new i20 is a good example for it looks different from the i10 and Eon. The clamshell bonnet soft-looking headlamps, the new alloy wheels and chrome door handles give the new i20 an up market look. The rear gets a refreshed tail lamp cluster and reflectors integrated to the bumper. The dual tone interiors give a refreshed feel inside the cabin.
The Punto is one of the best looking hatchbacks in India. Its sporty mesh grille, long hood, high mounted tail lamp cluster and sleek side profile give the Punto a mix of both classic and modern design elements. The dual tone interiors brighten up the things, but fail to look as modern as the new i20.
While the Punto has gorgeous exteriors, the new i20 steals the show with its refreshed and well put together interiors.
With regard to base variants, the Punto as well as the new i20 come with minimal equipments such as AC and electric power steering. However, the Punto base variant comes with a music system and four speakers which are not offered on the i20 base variant.
When it comes to top-end variants, Hyundai has loaded the i20 with six airbags, sunroof, auto-fold and heated mirrors, push button start, rear camera, auto headlight and rain sensing wipers. These features are not offered on the Punto top-end variant.
Features wise, the base variant of Punto has an edge over the new i20. But when it comes to top-end variants, the new i20 has a significant edge over the Punto.
Price, mileage and overall VFM
Both premium hatchbacks are pricey when compared to its rivals. Among the petrol engines, the base variant of i20 priced at Rs. 4.73 lakh is Rs. 17,000 lesser than the Punto’s base variant. The top-end variant of i20 priced at Rs. 6.65 lakh is just Rs. 1,000 less than the Punto top-end variant.
However, amongst diesels, the base variant of the i20 diesel priced at Rs. 5.96 lakh is Rs. 37,000 more than the Punto base variant. Similarly, the top-end variant of the i20 diesel priced at Rs. 7.44 lakh is Rs. 23,000 more than the Punto top-end variant. Summing up, the petrol variants of i20 are cheaper than the Punto, but among the diesel variants, the Punto is cheaper.
With regard to mileage, the new i20 has a claimed mileage figure of 18.5 kmpl for petrol and 21.9 kmpl for diesel which is higher when compared to the Punto’s claimed mileage of 15.2 kmpl for petrol and 20.5 kmpl for diesel.
Overall, the i20 is a better value for money proposition as it packs in more features, has more space, is more comfortable and also offers slightly better mileage than the Punto.
Pros and Cons
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The Punto looks great and handles better than the new i20. But when it comes to overall package which includes features, space, comfort, performance and mileage, the new i20 is the winner in this comparison.