The premium hatchback segment is one of the fastest growing segments in India and is highly competitive as well. Maruti Suzuki Swift is the largest selling premium hatchback though there are so many models available in the market today.
Here, we compare the segment leader, Swift with the recently launched 2012 Fiat Punto to know as to which car is a better proposition than the other.
Driving and Handling
The Punto petrol has two engine options: 1.2-litre motor that puts out 67 bhp of power and the 1.4-litre motor that puts out 88.7 bhp of power. On the other hand, the Swift is powered by 1.2-litre K-series petrol motor that puts out 87 bhp of power. Performance wise, the Swift is a bit peppier and has a good pick up.
When it comes to diesel engines, both the cars are powered by a 1.3-litre motor that puts out 75 bhp of power, though the engine tuning and gear ratios are different. The Swift diesel has little turbo lag which makes it an easier car to drive in city. The Punto too, behaves like the Swift in its diesel avatar.
The Swift with its sporty suspension and precise steering feedback is an excellent handler. However, the Punto’s suspension setup makes it an even better handler than the Swift. In particular, the Punto feels solid even at high speeds while the Swift feels a bit unsettled at those speeds.
Summing up, the Swift, with its peppy engines, is a more drivable car than the Punto in both city and highway traffic while when it comes to handling, the Punto has an edge over the Swift.
Space and Comfort
Both the Punto and Swift are certainly not the most spacious hatchbacks. The front seats in the new Swift, offer excellent thigh support, lumbar support and adequate legroom. The rear legroom too has been improved, thanks to the mildly extended wheelbase.
The boot is quite small by premium hatchback standards; a mere 210 litres. On the other hand, the front seats of the Punto have adequate legroom, shoulder room and offer good lumbar support too. At the rear, the headroom is inadequate for tall passengers. Boot space of 280 litres is a respectable figure for a premium hatchback.
With regard to comfort, the Swift with its high seating position and wide opening doors is easy to get in and out of. Whereas in the Punto, the seats are set low, especially at the front which means, ingress and egress is a bit difficult. Though both the cars can comfort only four passengers, the occasional fifth passenger will feel slightly more comfortable in the Punto, as it offers more knee room than the Swift.
The Punto is slightly more spacious than the Swift while the latter offers more comfort.
The Punto is one of the best looking hatchbacks available in the market today. It’s cute looking headlamps, neatly chiseled fog lamps and sporty mesh grille grabs the attention of onlookers instantly. The high mounted tail lamps and high ground clearance adds some muscle to the Punto.
The new Swift, is more of an evolutionary design when compared with the older model. The bonnet is a clam-shell design, with longer swept back headlamps. In profile, you see a rising window-line with smaller rear windows. The rear has been redesigned and the tail India has made many features such as music system, central locking, rear parcel shelf, power steering with tilt adjust as standard across all Punto variants.ps have vertical slits giving a sporty look.
Overall, the Fiat Punto is better looking car with aerodynamic proportions and bold curves than the Swift.
The 2012 Punto comes with lot of standard features across all variants. The base variant of Punto comes with a music system, rear foot level AC vents and front power windows which are not available in the base variant of the Swift.
When it comes to top-end variants, the Punto gets Bluetooth connectivity (Blue&Me), passenger Airbag deactivation, steering mounted audio/Bluetooth controls, 60:40 rear split seat. These features are not available in the Swift. On the other hand, the fully loaded Swift has turn indicators on outside mirrors and electromagnetic back door opener.
The Punto has more features and hence, scores slightly more than the Swift.
Price, mileage and overall VFM
The Swift petrol is priced in the range of Rs. 4.22 lakh – 5.53 lakh while the Punto petrol is priced in the range of Rs. 5.04 lakh – 6.54 lakh. The base variant of Swift petrol is nearly Rs. 60,000 less than the base variant of Punto petrol. The mid variant and top-end petrol variants of Swift are roughly Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 1 lakh cheaper than the corresponding variants of Punto.
The Swift diesel is priced in the range of Rs. 5.17 lakh – 6.37 lakh while the Punto diesel is priced in the range of Rs. 5.48 lakh – 6.71 lakh. The base variant of Swift is nearly Rs. 30,000 cheaper than the base variant of Punto. The mid and top-end variants of Swift are Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 33,000 cheaper than the corresponding variants of Punto. Clearly has an advantage over the Punto in terms of pricing.
When it comes to mileage, the Swift, again has an edge over the Punto. The Swift petrol has a claimed mileage of 18 kmpl as against 15 kmpl of the Punto petrol. Similarly, the Swift diesel has a claimed mileage of 23 kmpl as against 20 kmpl of the Punto diesel.
Overall, the Swift with its competitive pricing and good mileage is the better VFM than the Punto.
Pros and Cons
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If you are concerned about service and maintenance costs, resale value and mileage, go for the Swift. If you want a stylish premium hatchback with brilliant handling characteristics and slightly more gizmos, the Punto will fit your bill.