I got to test drive the new Fiat Grande Punto 1.4 on Friday. In fact, it was a very pleasant experience – especially after my disappointing outings with the Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia – both being 1.2 litre engines.
The Grande Punto 1.4 in India, is almost a complete car with exceptional high-speed stability and driveability. It also comes loaded with nice features. As usual, there has been several India specific adjustments done – like cheap plastics and fabric – but the main part i.e. the engine rocks! Moreover, according to me, it’s the best looking car in that segment and the pricing is reasonable too.
Image courtesy: Fiat India
You can read my complete review of the Fiat Grande Punto 1.4 at Mouthshut
Skoda produces some of the finest cars in the world today. Their entry to the Indian market has been with the highly successful Octavia model. The Octavia’s market has been recently hit severely by the likes of Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla and hence Skoda wanted to get into the segments below that of Octavia and above as well.
Image courtesy: Skoda India
The Skoda Fabia 1.2L has been a successful product throughout Europe. Obviously, that prompted them to bring that model to India as well. However, when things are produced or marketed for India, it has to be tailor made to fit the Indian taste and that’s exactly where they failed.
The Indian mentality is mainly around mileage and resale value and not exactly build quality or safety. The pricing has to be reasonable and the after sales service is of the highest priority as well. Unfortunately, in all these aspects the Skoda Fabia failed miserably.
Please read my complete review of the Skoda Fabia 1.2L at Mouthshut.com
I test drove the Hyundai i20 Asta Petrol for a friend last week. Basically, he is in search of his next car which is basically a hatch upgrade. At the moment he’s driving a Fiat Palio and obviously he wants something better than that.
i20 Asta Good and bad
Image courtesy: Hyundai India
- Loads of features (Electrically foldable ORVMs, Multi-display, Good looking alloys, ABS, Airbags etc)
- Good passenger head/shoulder room
- Good gears and drives like a bigger car
- Decent brakes and ABS is effective
- 295L of boot space – probably near best in the class
- Tilt and telescopic steering
- Cooled glove box
- Over pricing (30-40K overpriced)
- Bad suspension (and hence the ground clearance feels even lower)
- Coffee-coloured plastics (heard they are changing it soon)
- Cheap looking multi display
- Bad spring action on steering
- Ineffective a/c
You can read my detailed test drive results of Hyundai i20 Asta Petrol here
I had test driven the Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi petrol variant last month and written a detailed review of this awesome vehicle at Mouthshut. As usual, I am just posting the excerpts from that review here.
The Ikon legacy continues
Ford Ikon was a super-successful model in India. To be frank, I haven’t enjoyed driving any other vehicle in India as much as an Ikon (Read about my Ford Ikon experience. The trademark of an Ikon – despite its incompleteness in many build aspects – was its exceptional drivability. It’s a true drivers car and so is the Ford Fiesta!
The car I chose to test drive as the SXi variant though the sporty S variant was available for test drive as well. Basically, I wanted to feel the family sedan experience as against the sports variant as I presumed that the S variant with low-profile tires will offer bumpy ride.
The following are the highlights of my test drive (more in my detailed review as per the link below)
Major plus points
- Great to drive car – excellent handling
- Low turning radius
- Good features at this price – electric ORVMs, 2-din music system, semi-leather seating, ABS, Airbags
- Good gear ratios (along with low turning radius makes great city driving)
- Reasonable mileage and good power for the price
- A bit outdated looks
- Poor plastic quality at places
- Uncomfortable, straight backseats
- No alloy wheels
- Poor tire dimensions
Overall, it’s an exceptional car for the price at which it comes (with all those current discounts) and my rating is 4/5.
For the complete review, please read Ford Fiesta review.
I had a chance to test drive the Fiat Linea Petrol – Emotion Pack – a couple of weeks ago. I must say that, I haven’t seen any better looking car in this segment or for that matter even in immediate upper segment until today in India. It looks so beautiful, feel heavy and nice but unfortunately has a weak heart.
Image courtesy: Fiat India
Fiat make amends in India
Fiat had spoiled its image in India way back in 70s and 80s itself. Since then nobody seriously took Fiat as a serious brand probably except those Mumbai taxi drivers who still maintain their 1965 Fiats. However, eight years back, Fiat India surprised all of us with a stunning Fiat Palio which was a highly successful model. It went through many modifications and the next was the turn of the Linea.
If Palio was peppy enough and beautiful, its bigger brother has its European traits of inherited looks but it really drags on the road. The 1368cc (what a pity, it’s not even a 1.4L engine) petrol unit delivers a pathetic 115Nm torque at peak which means that you have to be somewhere in third or fourth gear to feel that the car can actually move. The engine offers a decent 90BHP power but nobody will feel it due to the poor torque.
The ground clearance is another area of concern. It hits almost every speed breaker on the road with just two people in the car itself and I can imagine the situation if the car is fully loaded. The car comes loaded with a lot of features such as Blue and Me blue tooth integration and the interiors are okay for the price.
However, a car is a car first because of its engine, anything else comes next. Due to the same reason, the Fiat Linea’s Indian edition is not a great car. On top of this Fiat’s notorious after sale service adds to the woes. Overall, the vehicle can be rated something like 3 out of 5.
You can find my road test report of Fiat Linea Petrol at Mouthshut.com. Let me know your thoughts on this beautiful laggard.
I have been test driving quite a few C and C+ segment cars of late because the time has come to bid bye to my favorite Ford Ikon 1.6. I preempted Skoda Octavia from my test drive suite as it was already becoming an outdated vehicle.
You can find my detail reviews on both these awesome cars at the following links. At the end of it, though my heart said Civic, my head said Altis for the practical reasons in Bangalore and hence booked a Toyota Corolla Altis.
Image courtesy: Honda Siel Cars India
Honda Civic review
Image courtesy: Toyota Kirloskar Motors India
Toyota Corolla Altis review
Enjoy reading and Happy motoring!