Fiat Palio Stile 1.1 : Roadtest
The Fiat Palio in its 'Stile' avatar is an upgraded version of the big hatchback. Fitted with a new engine, Muntaser Mirkar checks out if it's any good...
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If there's ever a list of Indian cars that tingled people's hearts to the point of attaining stardom, the Fiat Palio has to be one of the top names. The car that introduced the concept of the big hatch in India probably got a lot of steam let off about its presence by the much-awaited Tata Indica that was launched around the same time. The Palio 1.6 did manage to make die-hard fans out of not only owners but also aspirers alike. To this day, anyone who's had a taste of the Palio swears by its performance. The Italians sure know how to make cars!
Why the smaller engine?
But all was not smooth sailing for the Palio. Marred by some inconsistent build quality, buying a Palio and getting a good, reliable piece was more like a lottery. As fate would have it, the Palio 1.6 was phased out and the smaller engined 1.2 did duty for a while. With a change in excise benefits for small cars with engines of 1200cc capacity and less, Fiat set out to revive the Palio. A shift in manufacturing location from the age-old Kurla plant to a new state-of-the-art facility in Ranjangaon and a facelift later, the Palio is back on Indian roads- with a 1.1 gasoline engine in the bay. But will this little brat be able to match the fervour that the original Palio had?
Definitely better looking than the old model!
What Fiat has done to the Palio's styling to make it the Stile is a little uncertain. While the front end is definitely more curvy and in tune with modern day design direction, the rear seems to have taken a step in the backward direction. All-new headlamp unit is clear lens and shows off a double barrel light cluster. Gone are the rectangular headlamps pf the earlier Palio and in comes a unit that is more on the lines of the VW Passat - very upmarket. The new Fiat logo takes pride of place in the center of the rectangular grille that is flanked by muscular creases running the length of the bonnet. A wide air damn with round fog lamps on either side comlpetes the nose.
I liked the earlier tail lamps better!
Side profile is more or less unchanged and looks sporty -well, at least as much as the previous generation Palio. While the front end is radically different from the outgoing version, the rear end harks back to the earlier car, albeit in a very understated way. Typically Fiat tail lamp design that had a lot of Italian flair and innovation is absent in the current unit. Personally, I liked the older tail lamps-they were well rounded and displayed a uniqueness that no other car had. The current set looks outrageously square and simple-making it also very uninspiring. Undoubtedly if there's an angle you'd want to look at the Palio Stile from, it's got to be the front three-quarter angle. The car looks sporty and stylish from here -just how a Palio should be!
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by Team ZigWheels Photography : Kunal Khadse
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