Battle of Abarths: Why the Avventura is a better everyday car

With Fiat India offering two versions of the Abarth Punto – the ‘regular’ Abarth Punto based on the India-spec Punto Evo and one based on the crossover-ish version the Avventura – we look at which of the two make a better everyday car. Because hot hatches might be all about performance, but if it gets terrible at the mundane stuff, that would surely hurt its prospect, won’t it?

You see the Avventura is not an out and out sports hatchback (okay, hot hatchback). It’s a regular car with a brilliant engine under the bonnet. The Fiat Abarth Punto on the other hand is positioned as the almost no holds barred hot hatchback, which apart from the said engine – a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit – promises better dynamics, hotter styling, and of course, a better prospect of being a track tool, which makes it sort of uncompromised. We think the Avventura makes for a better everyday car, and here’s why:

Ground clearance

Fiat Avventura Powered by Abarth

While the Fiat Abarth Punto was lowered – ride height is 155 mm – the Avventura continues with the same ground clearance as the stock car – 205 mm. What that means is that in case of the latter there’s no scraping the undersides, and of course, no need to worry about bad roads.

Fiat has somehow managed to keep the increased ground clearance and still the vehicle doesn’t run short of confidence even at high speeds. Body roll is well under control, and the suspension isn’t stiff enough for bumps to unsettle the car, either.
That’s a win-win!

Plastic cladding

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The pseudo SUV look of the Avventura comes down to the use of plastic claddings on the body. Not only does that make the Avventura appear more rugged, it also helps to save the body from stray stones that would have otherwise scratched the body.

If you want your vehicle’s performance to be complemented by its looks, then the Fiat Abarth Punto wins hands down, but as an everyday car, that might just be an overkill, to be honest. The Avventura, on the other hand, manages to look special, even without the added body graphics/loud accents. It might look too similar to the regular version, but that’s no bad thing, in my humble opinion.

Looks

Avventura Abarth front three quarter

If you want your vehicle’s performance to be complemented by its looks, then the Fiat Abarth Punto wins hands down, but as an everyday car, that might just be an overkill, to be honest. The Avventura, on the other hand, manages to look special, even without the added body graphics/loud accents. It might look too similar to the regular version, but that’s no bad thing, in my humble opinion.

Fiat Abarth Punto

Similar performance

Abarth Avventura Fiat

According to Fiat-claimed figures, the Avventura (Powered by Abarth) is about a second slower to 100 in comparison to the Fiat Abarth Punto. The reason behind that is that the engine makes about 5 hp less than what it does in the Abarth Punto. But in real world conditions, that’s not going to count.

What will make a difference, apart from the above mentioned points, is that the Avventura too can cruise at about 100 kmph comfortably in the top (fifth) gear at around 3,000 rpm. It will also just need a prod at the accelerator, especially if you’re close to the 3,000 rpm (well within the powerband), to overtake the slow moving traffic.

The steering – a standout feature in the package – is the same. So you get the precision and weight of the hydraulic unit as you do in the Abarth Punto. The turn-in is good, keep it smooth n steady and the it will stick to its line all day long, much like the Punto.

Common issues

Leave the low ground clearance of the Fiat Abarth Punto, the Avventura seems to have a similar share of issues. First, there’s the gearbox, which a lot of people find annoying – slow and not great in terms of feel. Then there’s the inability of Fiat products to retain their value, so if you’re planning to buy and sell your Abarth soon, you might end up losing more money than you would have in most other brands. While it’s still soon to comment on that, but the Fiat’s image in the market is yet to improve and until that happens, this whole fight is not going to take a back seat. Thirdly, there’s the service. My personal experience as a Fiat owner hasn’t been horrible, and while the servicing is far from perfect, the Indian arm is still making efforts to make it right.

So which one?

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Well, what looked like a pretty difficult question is pretty easy to answer. Get the Abarth Punto if you’re looking for a proper hot hatchback, but if you are looking for something more useful every day, then the Avventura wins hands down.