Ford EcoSport S 1.0 EcoBoost: Review In Pictures
- May 29, 2018
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The cross hatchback segment has never really been popular in India, which is why the segment has never really been explored by any manufacturer until recently. This might be due to the fact that the Indian audience has always been interested in the more traditional body styles like the hatchback, traditional sedan or SUV, and in recent times, the compact sedan or SUV. This year though, we have seen a spate of new cross hatchbacks from the Volkswagen Cross Polo, to the Toyota Etios Cross and now, the all-new Fiat Avventura.
The Fiat Avventura is based on the newly launched Punto and comes with the obvious cross hatchback additions. Around the front, the swept back and blackened headlamps and large snout shaped grille has been carried forward from the Punto. The front bumper though gets a few add on parts though with a chunkier skid plate and side mouldings. The wheel arch extensions and chunky side skirts too add to the cross appeal and will certainly be appreciated by the SUV crazed Indian audiences.
Around the rear, the trapezoidal exhaust pipe adds a touch of class to the Fiat Avventura. The large tailgate mounted spare wheel with its large plastic wheel cover too adds to the appeal and has been the point of conversation to most passersby who stopped to admire the Avventura. One does have to remember to be careful while reversing though due to the extra overhang. Tying up the design nicely, the 16-inch alloy wheels, also carried forward from the Punto compliment the overall design well.
Interior & space
The Avventura borrows its interiors from the new Punto Evo including the dashboard, centre console and the instrument cluster. That said, unlike the Punto the Avventura does not get the stylish ambient lighting on the dashboard. The dashboard though does get a soft touch grey finish in the centre which when combined with the black plastic looks quite stylish apart from feeling well built. Strangely, there does seem to be some sort of a mismatch between the dashboard and the brown seats that come with the Avventura.
Seats are not just wide but also comfortable with great under thigh support. There is ample of space at the front as well as at the back. The rear seat is wide enough to seat three with ease and the boot does feel a tad bit bigger than the Punto.
Features & Equipment
The Fiat Avventura is a mixed bag when it comes to features. It does not get the climate control system that you get on the Punto Evo. Instead you get a set of chunky rubber coated knobs that would feel right at home in a luxury off road SUV. The Avventura also skips on the rear AC vent, which in our opinion is a direction Fiat India should have avoided. Also absent are the steering mounted audio and phone controls, which in today’s day and age have almost become a necessity.
What the Avventura does get though are a set of dials just above the AC vents that display information like pitch, yaw and direction of travel just like on a hardcore off roader. That said, even though the Avventura does not come with all-wheel-drive and these gauges are merely an additional accessory that provides no real value, we think they look quite cool. A feature we did sorely miss though are reverse parking sensors or a parking camera which would have been especially useful due to the additional length.
Engines & performance
The Fiat Avventura comes with two engine options, 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder, petrol and the bulletproof 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder, Multijet diesel engine. Both engines offer the same levels of power at 90PS.
The petrol engine in the Avventura does make the car feel a tad bit sluggish and underpowered down in the rev range but keep the tachometer between 4,500-6,000rpm and 115Nm of torque brings more energy to the proceedings. There is no hint of clutch judder though and the gearbox feels well placed and offers great throws. Personally, we would have preferred the 1.4-litre T-Jet engine in the Avventura instead as the Avventura does not really have to worry about excise duties since it is over 4-meters long.
Ride and ease of driving
Just like the Punto, this is one aspect were the Avventura does quite well. The steering feels well weighted and confident while cornering or changing lanes at high speeds and offers great feedback. The hydraulic steering feels slightly heavy while manoeuvring through busy roads but gets lighter as you gain speed. Like most Fiats, the ride quality over rough roads is impressive with the passengers rarely being bothered by jolts and judders that are common on the roads of India.
The petrol version feels easy to drive in the city and on the highway mainly due to its light clutch. That said, the dead pedal is a little intrusive and is a hinderance for people with larger feet. One might find oneself having to shift gears a little more than required though as most of the power and torque in the petrol engine is at higher revs.
Handling & braking
The Fiat Avventura is one of the best handling cars we have driven in a while, not surprising since it is based on the Punto. It might not have the overall solidarity of the Polo or the first generation Grande Punto, but it is certainly better than everything else in its segment.
The 205 section tyres combined with the 16-inch wheels offer great grip and compliment the suspension setup brilliantly. As we mentioned earlier, the Fiat Avventura feels great irrespective of how hard you throw it into a series of bends. Body roll isn’t an issue either and the braking with its ventilated discs up front and drum brakes at the back is strong and stable.
Price and Fuel efficiency
Although Fiat India have not revealed any detailed specs about the Avventura yet, we think the car should be priced at around Rs 6.5-8 lakh depending on the engine and variants. Not only does that make a lot of sense for someone looking for something special as compared to your average hatchback, but we think it could also cannibalise compact SUV sales with its purpose-built looks.
There is no doubting the fact that the Fiat Avventura, especially in a bright shade of orange is a head turner. The tailgate mounted spare wheel looks exceptionally smart and the stuck on plastic claddings too go well with the overall look and feel that defines a typical cross hatchback. And of course, it comes with a set of good engines and acceptable levels of performance. Although traditionally the Fiat Avventura would be compared to the likes of the Volkswagen Cross Polo and the Toyota Etios Cross, we believe its real and closest rival is the Ford Ecosport instead. With Fiat on a roll in India with new dealers and service centres, maybe the Avventura is just what it needs to get back into the minds and hearts of the critical Indian car buying audience.
Overall Score: 3.5/5
Recommended Variant : Avventura Power Up 1.3 Active
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