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Fiat Punto Evo Abarth review - the Italian Hooligan

Fiat Punto Evo Abarth review - the Italian Hooligan

Fiat Punto Evo Abart..

  • 17 Nov 2015, 3336 Views

Roshun

Super Moderator

Member: 13 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 2035

  • 17 Nov 2015, 8:13 pm ( 7 Photos )
Some companies are just plain mad. And some Italians have been described that way as well. So it's little wonder that the guys to bring out one of the craziest cars in India are the Italians. The Fiat Punto Evo Abarth is just 145 horses worth of fun. That turbocharged petrol engine with 212 Nm of torque has the potential to keep you smiling every time you drive it. However, although the Fiat Punto Abarth seems like the one car that is the answer to enthusiasts prayers, it may not really be that popular. Still, for the few who want that fun under Rs. 11 lakh on-road, it's the one to pick.
What I love about the Punto Abarth:
* Mad, mad, mad engine!
* Wheelspin any time you want it
* No electronic nannies such as traction control to spoil the fun
* The ability of the car to plaster your face with a silly grin each time you take off from a traffic light!
What I don't like about the Punto Abarth:
* Too much ground clearance dulls the handling a bit
* Driving position still not sorted out - the steering is set to high and pedal travel is too deep.
* Gear shift is too rubbery.
* Needs better tyres, these Apollo Alnacs don't look like they can hold on to this torque monster for long.
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The Punto Abarth was one among three cars that we were shooting a few days ago for a comparison that has appeared elsewhere on ZigWheels. We set out early from South Delhi towards Greater Noida for the shoot and the scant traffic helped in really enjoying the shove the car has. Forget wheelspin in first gear, second gear wheelspins were pretty common each time we set off from a traffic signal. The squeal of the hapless Apollo Alnac tyres on tarmac was quite a treat. And, no, there is NO traction control to spoil the party! It's just raw power going straight to the front wheels.
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However, with the Punto Abarth, being a turbocharged engine there is some lag below about 1800 rpm. Let the rev counter climb to about 5,000 rpm and shift and you'll find the Punto surging ahead pretty fast that it left all other cars (and these were hot hatches too) as specs in its rear view mirror. However, around corners if you shove the accelerator a bit too much, the car tends to understeer badly. And in a straight line, an enthusiastic launch leads to a bit of torque steer, for which you really need to grip the wheel to keep it from trying to wander.
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The 1.4 litre T-Jet engine is brilliant. Period. But what we wish Fiat had done was to probably add a bit of a sport exhaust note to go with that power. The exhaust is muted - probably to meet CMVR norms, but I'm sure there is enough room for a bit of sound engineering that will make it live up to its name.
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Now, there’s no point really harping about the looks of the Punto Abarth. It is identical to the regular Punto Evo, except for the graphics and badging. The one I drove came in black with red graphics. All the Fiat badges in the car have been replaced with Abarth badges. And of course the 16-inch alloys, with a Scorpion claw design look hot.
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The tyres though are barely adequate. Sure, the Apollo Alnac 4G tyres (195/60 R16) that it comes shod with are decent, but for the kind of performance hooligan this car is, you will end up changing tyres fairly often. The brakes have decent bite – with all four disks. Ground clearance could have been lowered a bit – it’s currently at 185 mm, which is great for bad roads, but not so much in a performance car.
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Fiat hasn’t done anything to the hydraulic power steering of the Abarth Punto and it continues to provide a pretty direct feel – like the regular Punto. However, the position of the steering in relation to the pedals is still a bit off.
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But you are willing to forgive the car all these little idiosyncrasies because of that motor. The shove from standstill with the squeal of the tyres is thrilling. The gears, although with a bit of a long throw, slot in easily propelling the car to 100 kmph in under 10 seconds. Drama, thy name is the Fiat Punto Abarth!

I Live For Spee..

Hypercar Boss

Member: 15 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 137

  • 19 Nov 2015, 10:37 am
Pros:
>THAT ENGINE! OMG 145 HP in a hatchback in India = stuff dreams are made out though the Torque is the real star, it's got almost as much Torque as my i20 DIESEL in a freaking petrol engine
>Discs on all fours means those brakes stop like Magneto stopping missiles in X-Men : first class haha. You know how you look ahead and brake to ensure there's enough breaking distance, in this you'll probably have to look behind and brake to ensure the guy behind doesn't ram you
Cons:
>Completely agree with you on the ground clearance bit, it's quite tall still and could be further lowered.
>The gearbox is on the rubbery side ( so I have heard) so that keeps it from being perfect.

Arjun

Moderator

Member: 26 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 807

  • 23 Nov 2015, 8:33 pm
After the Palio 1.6 GTX/S10, Fiat is back to claim the hot hatchback position.
This is the best car to challenge the Polo GT and this comes with a manual gearbox which was something everyone was asking for in the GT TSI.
However, the car has not been able to fire up much sales for Fiat, who still are selling the same old 3 digit numbers for some months.
For most enthusiasts, the enthusiasm ends with a test drive, as when it comes to spending money, its not just the performance that matters.
The practicality and the Fiat service are two main concerns for most of the buyers who have been impressed by the car. With VW stuck in the other scam, and Fiat has an advantage for itself.
However, a price hike in less than a month from launch was not something that they should have done. They have started running even before getting a strong hold, and this is not something people are looking for.
For the married enthusiasts, it would be quite a pain to explain to the better half, why you would be paying a few more lakhs for the Abarth, when the Punto Evo Diesel is available for a cheaper price.

I Live For Spee..

Hypercar Boss

Member: 15 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 137

  • 25 Nov 2015, 3:02 pm
They hiked the prices?! whats the ex showroom ( delhi ) now?

NikilSJ

Moderator

Member: 02 Nov, 2015

Total Posts: 2354

  • 26 Nov 2015, 3:33 pm
I think it is Rs 9.95 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.

Roshun

Super Moderator

Member: 13 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 2035

  • 28 Nov 2015, 6:06 pm
"Originally posted by I Live For Speed"
Pros:
>THAT ENGINE! OMG 145 HP in a hatchback in India = stuff dreams are made out though the Torque is the real star, it's got almost as much Torque as my i20 DIESEL in a freaking petrol engine
>Discs on all fours means those brakes stop like Magneto stopping missiles in X-Men : first class haha. You know how you look ahead and brake to ensure there's enough breaking distance, in this you'll probably have to look behind and brake to ensure the guy behind doesn't ram you
Cons:
>Completely agree with you on the ground clearance bit, it's quite tall still and could be further lowered.
>The gearbox is on the rubbery side ( so I have heard) so that keeps it from being perfect.
The brakes, although with four discs, are fairly OK. Not really with too much bite, but just enough to keep things in control. The gearbox though is a bit disappointing, long throws and a rubbery feel.

konarktyagi

First Gear

Member: 24 Dec, 2015

Total Posts: 55

  • 24 Dec 2015, 11:40 am
Drove its cross-sibling, the Avventura 'powered by Abarth' for a couple of days. The 1.4-litre T-jet is mad ! Definitely takes a while getting used to the torque steer and the tall stance of Avventura just doesn't let you cream out 140 ponies the way you'd want to.

kaiserketkar

Moderator

Member: 26 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 403

  • 24 Dec 2015, 3:10 pm
"Originally posted by Roshun"
What I love about the Punto Abarth:
* Mad, mad, mad engine!
* Wheelspin any time you want it
* No electronic nannies such as traction control to spoil the fun
* The ability of the car to plaster your face with a silly grin each time you take off from a traffic light!
Ha ha Electronic nannies, it seems. But I feel it's still good to have the option of traction control, which you can disable by the press of a button when you get into sport mode.
What I don't like about the Punto Abarth:
* Too much ground clearance dulls the handling a bit
* Driving position still not sorted out - the steering is set to high and pedal travel is too deep.
* Gear shift is too rubbery.
* Needs better tyres, these Apollo Alnacs don't look like they can hold on to this torque monster for long.
.... And this is exactly why I feel Fiat short changed the customer buying into the Abarth experience. Internationally, the Abarth Punto supposedly has a much better gearbox, but here Fiat continues with the Evo's box. Awkward driving position and cramped interiors are not ok for a 10lac hatch. And since you're charging 10 lacs and delivering a hot hatch, what budget cut warranted Apollos on such a mean machine?
Albeit with fewer horses, but almost as quick with better interiors, features, etc, the Polo GT feels like a more rounded package [I guess it would be blasphemy to mention the higher mileage on a hot hatch thread, so I'll just skip that. ]

Stig-Wannabe

Second Gear (Confirmed Member)

Member: 24 Dec, 2015

Total Posts: 3

  • 24 Dec 2015, 3:57 pm
"Originally posted by kaiserketkar"

Albeit with fewer horses, but almost as quick with better interiors, features, etc, the Polo GT feels like a more rounded package [I guess it would be blasphemy to mention the higher mileage on a hot hatch thread, so I'll just skip that. ]
Believe you've driven both the cars back to back to come to that conclusion. Because, relatively, all the cars are 'almost as quick' as the other one in its segment. Also, the Punto Abarth is exclusively meant for fun. It has its drawbacks but it is aimed towards a particular section of buyers. The Polo is a great car to live with, everyday, but the Abarth Punto is silly fast, and the drive experience is in a different league altogether.
If I were looking for a more rounded package, prioritizing features, mileage and interior quality etc. etc., I will probably end up buying an Elite i20. So, I honestly don't understand that argument.
PS: Have driven both the Polo GT TSi and Abarth Punto on the road, and not on paper.

kaiserketkar

Moderator

Member: 26 Oct, 2015

Total Posts: 403

  • 24 Dec 2015, 6:24 pm
"Originally posted by Stig-Wannabe"

Believe you've driven both the cars back to back to come to that conclusion. Because, relatively, all the cars are 'almost as quick' as the other one in its segment. Also, the Punto Abarth is exclusively meant for fun. It has its drawbacks but it is aimed towards a particular section of buyers. The Polo is a great car to live with, everyday, but the Abarth Punto is silly fast, and the drive experience is in a different league altogether.
If I were looking for a more rounded package, prioritizing features, mileage and interior quality etc. etc., I will probably end up buying an Elite i20. So, I honestly don't understand that argument.
PS: Have driven both the Polo GT TSi and Abarth Punto on the road, and not on paper.[/I]
Taunts aside, you miss the point.
It's rather simplistic to assume that this was a comparison to a family hatch [surely you don't think the GT TSI is a family hatch?!]
The Abarth may well be silly fast and a drag race dream, but does that mean it's ok to skimp on other aspects, especially ones that should ideally complement a hot hatch?
It's undoubtedly a brilliant car and I feel Fiat could've worked on the whole package to make it better, something that VW managed with the GT.

Stig-Wannabe

Second Gear (Confirmed Member)

Member: 24 Dec, 2015

Total Posts: 3

  • 28 Dec 2015, 12:37 pm
"Originally posted by kaiserketkar"

Taunts aside, you miss the point.
It's rather simplistic to assume that this was a comparison to a family hatch [surely you don't think the GT TSI is a family hatch?!]

Exactly my point.
If some one is out in the market to buy a hot hatch, and not a family runabout, then the Abarth Punto is the only choice. The Polo GT TSi is a sensible way out if you can't make up your mind as to whether you prefer outright performance/fun or practicality (interior, features, build quality, mileage, convenience etc.). The Polo, in that case, will emerge as the best overall package.
The Abarth Punto is for nutcases. And a nutcase will never settle for a Polo GT TSi after having a go in the Abarth Punto.
To be honest, I find the Polo GT TDI to be a more worthy rival for the Abarth Punto than the GT TSI. It is equally mad, has a manual gearbox (more enjoyable and more reliable), comes with all the bells and whistles as the GT TSi and is only marginally expensive. And the best part about living with a diesel car is its running costs!

Biju Jose

First Gear

Member: 20 Feb, 2016

Total Posts: 6

  • 21 Feb 2016, 12:08 am ( 4 Photos )
The rubbery gearbox is the only deal breaker I guess, rest everything can be worked upon aftermarket. A hot hatch, but the market did not accept this well in the months so far.

More Photos

konarktyagi

First Gear

Member: 24 Dec, 2015

Total Posts: 55

  • 1 Mar 2016, 2:03 pm
Biju Jose Have you bought it?

Biju Jose

First Gear

Member: 20 Feb, 2016

Total Posts: 6

  • 15 Mar 2016, 9:19 pm
"Originally posted by konarktyagi"
Biju Jose Have you bought it?

Nope, I cannot afford a second car now, already have a Linea and am very happy with it.

Fourth Div