The moment you say Fiat Punto 90HP, you can easily count all the Fiat fans in the room, from their eager grins and rapt attention. But say Tata Vista D90 and you suddenly see the whole lot looking the other way. That’s the kind of emotional connect the Fiat brand has with enthusiasts, while the Tata Vista D90 tries really hard to get into this club.
The thing is the Tata Vista D90 is really trying very hard to be a Punto in a Vista body. And it has got it almost right. So if you had some cash to plonk for either of these “hot” hatchbacks, which one would you choose? We try to put them in perspective.
Where the Fiat Punto 90HP is better
Looks and design
The Fiat Punto 90HP is attractive at first sight. The Italian design, cuts and curves on the car just appeal quite well to just about anyone, without trying too hard. The Piscean front, with cute-looking headlamps and the chunky rear, all lend this car a kind of sporty character. The Tata Vista D90, however, is trying too hard to look good. No doubt, the contrast roof, headlamps borrowed from the Manza and other subtle touches make it look better than a regular Vista, but it doesn’t look as premium as the Punto despite all the add-ons. The other drawback – the Vista’s association with the Indica brand will take some time to come unstuck. Also read: Tata-Fiat breakup – what this means for you?
Performance and handling
The Fiat Punto 90HP and the Tata Vista D90 have virtually the same 1.3 litre multijet/quadrajet diesel motor built by Fiat and equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger. The Punto, however, puts out slightly more power of 92 bhp (93 PS) compared to the Tata Vista that puts out 89 bhp (90PS) of power. The Punto also makes slightly more torque of 213 Nm at 2000 rpm, compared to the Vista’s 2000 Nm of torque. The gearboxes too are almost identical. However, it’s the way the Punto’s set up works and the surge of power that comes on, coupled with the precise steering and well-tuned suspension that makes it superior to the Vista D90. To the Vista’s credit, it has a more linear torque curve, which builds up peak performance faster, which would make it better in traffic conditions. Steering feel and suspension set up are also good in the Vista D90 – almost matching the Punto at times. Also read: First Drive impression of the Tata Vista D90 at the Buddh International Circuit
Luggage and interior space
The Fiat Punto has 280 litres of boot space to offer compared to just 232 litres on the Vista D90. The suspension struts intruding into the boot are what have reduced the boot space in the Tata Vista compared to the Punto. The Punto is also longer than the Vista in length at 3987 mm in length compared to 3795 mm for the Vista, and the cab-forward design too has helped free up more luggage space. Also read: The Fiat Punto – to buy or not to buy
Where the Tata Vista D90 is better
Overall, both cars are quite fuel efficient as well, with the Punto 90HP claiming 20.5 kmpl on diesel while the Vista D90 is better at 21.2 kmpl. The slight lack of power is made up for in fuel efficiency. Also the Vista D90 is slightly lighter than the Punto 90HP by a few kg.
Features and gadgets
The Tata Vista D90 boasts of far more features than the Punto 90HP. Both cars have two airbags, ABS, alloy wheels (15-inch in the case of the Punto), fog lamps and a Bluetooth integrated music system with steering audio controls and phone controls (Tata has taken most of this from Fiat when the two were partners). But Tata has gone a step further and added a touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation. Other subtle features such as its backlit instrument cluster from the Manza, do look a little more premium than even the Punto. Also read: Top 3 feature loaded hatchbacks under Rs.8 lakh in India
The irony of it is that Fiat shared the same service network as Tata till now, but from here on it has to set up its own service stations to service its cars. And that is going to take some time. Its initial plan is to have 70 operational dealers and service centres by end of March 2013. However, Tata has a far larger service network, and although service standards may not be the best, you get better access to service stations with a Tata Vista D90.
The Tata Vista D90 is really a lucrative buy at the price it is being offered at. The Vista D90 ZX+ top-end variant with all the goodies is priced at Rs. 6.83 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. The Punto 90HP is Rs. 55,000 more expensive in comparison, being priced at Rs. 7.38 lakh, ex-showroom, with on-road price difference going up to nearly Rs. 80,000. Also read: Tata Vista D90 launched at Rs. 5.99 lakh
What we think
So is the Tata Vista D90 as good or possibly even better than the Punto 90HP? Not really. To the enthusiasts and purists, the Punto 90HP will always be the car of choice. However, seeing that the Tata Vista D90 offers more features and a lower price, it is much better value for money than the Fiat Punto 90HP. The only thing it really has going against it is the image – it just doesn’t have that snob appeal that the Punto does. Also watch: Tata Vista D90 first-drive video at BIC