I am sure you must have read the 2012 Fiat Linea review we published recently. Fiat also gave some interesting updates to the hatchback Punto before the Auto Expo.
Now, Punto is placed in a segment where most manufacturers are looking for volumes and the Punto is getting anything but volumes. Earlier version of Punto was a rockstar for the company when it was launched but with the passing days, demand dipped and it dipped drastically!
But Fiat is sticking to its motto of ‘try till you succeed’. So have these new changes made any difference to the Punto?
The Grande Punto that we see on the Indian streets is actually a third generation of the Punto that was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005. It was officially launched in India in 2009 after the Linea. When the Punto was launched internationally, Fiat was going through its toughest phase and needed a ‘revival car’ to spear head the company out of the red.
So General Motors’ Gamma platform was chosen as a base for the Punto and Fiat’s Centro Stile design center and Italdesign-Giugiaro sharpened their pencils. And the results were remarkable!
The Punto’s strongest USP is its styling which makes it stand apart in the crowd; Not in a LOOK-AT-ME way by a rather subtle and a beautiful stance. It’s an honest attempt to merge form with function.
The large ovular headlamps sweep back to the fenders to resemble a droplet of water. The majority of the Punto stance and elegance comes from its chrome-plated front grille and silver fog lamp surrounds.
This is a perfect example of how to use chrome to enhance the beauty of the car. Trust me, very few manufacturers know how much chrome is too much chrome.
Coming to the side profile, Fiat has tried to keep it as simple as possible. The side profile is also an area where we get the glimpse of the one of the updates for the Punto. Fiat has raised the ground clearance of Punto to avoid the underbody scraping on the lunar roads of India.
The Punto 1.4 which we drove had a 185 mm of ground clearance (GC) but if you buy a Punto 1.2, you get an incomprehensible 195 mm of GC. To put it into perspective, the Premier Rio ( a compact SUV from Premier Auto) has a GC of 200 mm.
The side profile is dominated by subtle design specifics such as flared wheel arches with tight crease running between them, thick wing mirrors and a steep raking roofline expressing the boldness of the design. The mirrors of the Punto are mounted on the door below the beltline rather than above the beltline as seen on most present day cars.
The long sloping nose and the exquisite 15-inch, 12 spoke alloys are the real heroes that bring so much character to the design. The increased gap between the arches does look a bit off but the benefits outweigh the flaws.
The rear profile of the Grande Punto features vertical tail lamp assembly like the Ford Figo and Indica Vista. The rear windshield area is small and the tail lamps assembly invades the side profile. As a result, it makes for a wide tailgate opening which helps to dump the luggage in the back.
Two reflectors at the bottom, a rear spoiler with integrated braking light and rear wind shield wiper complete the side profile. We wish the exhaust was also given slight design flair as it looks rather dull and boring.
Fiat was always known to adopt function over fashion. The Fiat Panda, Doblo are really very practical cars but rather odd balls to look at. With the Punto, Linea and the 500, Fiat has successfully managed to distinguished its cars from rest of the manufacturers. Be it the chrome grill, 12 spoke alloys, steep windshield or the long sloping nose, the Punto manages to charm the on lookers which its very strong and bold design.