2012 Fiat Punto 1.4 - Design review

31/03/2012 - 08:36 | ,  ,  ,   | Kaustubh Shinde

2012 Fiat Grande PuntoI 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?

2012 Fiat Grande 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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto front2012 Fiat Grande Punto front2012 Fiat Grande Punto rear

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!

2012 Fiat Grande Punto front profile

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto front2012 Fiat Grande Punto headlamp2012 Fiat Grande Punto grill

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto front2012 Fiat Grande Punto front

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto side

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto ground clearance

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto OVRMS2012 Fiat Grande Punto OVRM

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto nose

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto rear2012 Fiat Grande Punto rear

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto spoiler2012 Fiat Grande Punto tail lamps

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.

2012 Fiat Grande Punto

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.

Stay tuned for the Interior review and the Driving impressions.

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