This review primarily focuses on the 1.4-litre FIRE petrol variant of the Fiat Punto Evo. For a detailed review of the exterior and interior, please read our Punto Evo Sport Diesel test report.
The exterior of the Punto Evo Emotion (the 1.4-litre FIRE petrol engine is available only in the top-end Emotion trim) has a few minor differences compared to the range topping Punto Evo Sport 90 HP diesel. The differences come in the form of smaller 15-inch alloy wheels (the Sport gets 16-inchers) and the lack of a roof mounted spoiler, and of course the absence of the "90 HP" badge on the tailgate. Except the more powerful diesel variant, none of the other variants advertise their power outputs.
All petrol variants adopt a dual-tone beige-black theme. The dashboard is horizontally split by a prominent beige element which, while doing a good job of making the cabin feel airy, is prone to get dirty quite easily. The seats are also upholstered in matching beige and black fabric with the former being the primary hue.
Engine and Gearbox
The 1.4-litre FIRE petrol engine is inherited from the old car without a change. The naturally aspirated motor develops peak power and torque of 90 PS (88.7 bhp) at 6,000 rpm and 115 Nm of torque 4,500 rpm.
The engine settles into a smooth idle but while on the move, the noise level in the cabin is slightly more than one would like for a petrol car, and there is a small hint of vibration when pushed hard. The initial impression is that the motor has a sluggish low-end response but it has to be said that the drivability is much better than the 90 HP diesel variant.
The part throttle response at lower rpm in bumper to bumper traffic is decent but even if you demand a little more than that, the engine takes its own time to respond until you shift a gear down. Once past the initial hesitation (till about 3,000 rpm) the engine revs build up quickly accompanied by corresponding progress and the car gets sprightly post 4,000 rpm all the way up to its 6,500 rpm rev limiter. We would have certainly liked a wider powerband to play with.
Again, at 1,154 kg, the Punto Evo 1.4-litre FIRE is heavy by segment standards and does sap the engine's potential to some extent. The gearshift quality feels marginally better than that of the diesel test car but the lack of feel while slotting into second is still there.
Performance and Fuel Efficiency
The Fiat Punto Evo 1.4-litre FIRE is claimed to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 15.99 seconds before hitting a top whack of 165 km/h. The ARAI rated fuel economy stands at 14.4 km/l which is 0.2 km/l less than the previous edition's economy. We managed an indicated overall fuel economy of 10.98 km/l but the engine was made to work hard all the time.
Ride and Handling
Ride and handling characteristics are excellent, just like the diesel variant. In fact, it is the exceptional chassis balance that actually makes you crave for some added oomph from the powerplant.
Safety and Equipment
The Emotion variant is fully packed and offers all features that are seen in the Punto Evo Sport such as dual airbags, ABS, audio system with Blue&Me, Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, multi-function steering wheel, ambient dashboard lighting, multi-info display on the instrument panel, automatic climate control, alloy wheels (15-inch) and so on.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine is not eligible for the small car excise duty concession and hence its premium price of INR 6.65 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi.
There is little doubt that the Fiat Punto Evo 1.4-litre FIRE targets driving enthusiasts but the performance on offer can be best defined as adequate rather than grin-inducing.
Is it a proper hot hatch? Not really, as the engine lacks the grunt that enthusiasts look for. Another thing that works against its favor is the additional excise duty for noncompliance with the sub-4 metre norm that bumps up the price.
We can't help but wonder how good it would have been, had Fiat bestowed the Punto Evo with Linea's 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo petrol motor. The point is, if you decide to forgo the excise duty concession to please the enthusiast, you may as well go the whole way.
Fiat Punto Evo - Spec Sheet
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