The looks of Punto has most of the people left in awe and the car is undoubtedly beautifully proportionate and a head-turner. Most of the Indian automotive media has appreciated a number of things on the Punto but all seem to get stuck on a couple of things - performance and interior quality & space . It seems as if road test editors from all the publishing houses sat for a beer and after 2 hours one drunk guy decided that we all need to keep a few things common in our review. Of course things which are bad appeal as bad to most but that's only if you're judging a crooked body, a face like the Williams sisters or a man living on a diet of Viagra. The Punto's performance though is not that bad and so isn't the interior quality or the space.
Things will be better to understand if taken one at a time for those who are frantically thinking of a comment they can leave me.
Both the 1.2 and the 1.4 engines are adequate as per the car's specifications. Undoubtedly the car could do with more power but is there really any limit to more power? Even the Veyron failed to satisfy some crazy nuts who at this point of time are busy tuning a Ford or Chrysler engine to a million horsepower while their wife is sleeping with the guy who comes to deliver parts for the car since the crazy contraption breaks down every time it moves an inch.
Considering Indian roads and the traffic and of course the highly courteous moves that people display on the roads every minute, a Punto should suffice for your needs. It's very easy to point out mistakes, a good thing to do but criticism is good only if constructive and not if you're forced to criticise a car because if you don't you won't get your salary since the magazine lost out on major advertising revenues.
People need to understand that at rs 3.99 lakhs (399,000) you get a car which resembles a Maserati and an Aston Martin. You get a car which safely cocoons you in case of an accident. You get great features and hence bigger bang for your money. Most importantly you get better driving pleasure overall because the handling of the car is as if it is on rails and what you lose in power you make up for more than that in handling. You've all read and heard journos cribbing about the short rev band, an absolutely crappy claim. How many of us really rev the car past 4000 rpm on a regular basis? The 1.4 is a decently powered car and compares well with other cars in its category. Does being 2 seconds slower to 100 mean the world for you? If it does then you don't and can't buy a satisfactory car with 4-6 lakhs. for being 2 seconds slower you get 2 million times better looks then any Maruti or crappy Hyundai, you get better handling and way better safety.
In no means I aim to reject any extra ponies that Fiat might give us but putting down a car of Punto's class and claiming a Hyundai to be better is what I stand against.
I completely agree to the fact that the interiors could have been better but they aren't' as bad as many suggest. The quality of interiors is down because a large chunk of the plastics has been localised in order to get cost advantage and that is what allows Fiat to give you a gorgeous car wrapped in a overall great package for 4-6 lakhs. If Fiat would've given the same interiors as in the European model then you couldn't pay just 4 lakhs for this car and drive off. And if Fiat did that then everyone would start whining about the car being badly priced. In short no matter what or how great Fiat does, some Indians challenged by the top most part of their body will criticise it for no reason.
In terms of space utilisation, there certainly has been wastage of space but that is because the car is more style-oriented than providing acres of space inside. I really find it ridiculous when the interiors of Punto are compared to the Jazz. For Chris sake the Jazz cost nearly twice of what the Punto does.
The bottomline is that people in Indian seem to have developed a notion that Fiat can't make reliable cars even though it has been making cars since most of us weren't even planned to be born. Quite surprisingly though they do believe that Hyundai, a company which couldn't even make or design its own engine till 1991 and till date can't design even the car's exterior body without ripping off someone else's designs can make better cars than the Italian marque.
The Grande Punto is the best overall package your money can buy you in its segment and if you want more of the things that Punto hasn't got you'll lose more important things if you buy any other car. However, if you want the best of everything then either go and learn to earn more quickly or become a saint and preach people (most successful business in India) and then go and buy yourself a BMW M3.
You decide what's more important for you. If you want to pick a beautiful girl from a disc or a pub who's not a hooker then get yourself a Punto. The car will speak a lot about your taste and attitude in life and believe me girls who are not prostitutes are damn good at judging a guy by what he drives and wears. However, if you do happen to be someone in your late 50s and in a state where even Viagra doesn't help you anymore then get the Ritz. If you haven't been to a good school/university and know about sophestication as much as your 4 year old knows about where he came from and how then buy an Indica Vista. And very disgustingly if you are a homosexual then don't think beyond the Hyundai i20. Just buy the i20 and drive to any pub and you will find a partner. the best part is that the i20 does have some good, soft and comfortable seats so when you head back to your home in the morning with a sore back your seats will comfort you to a great extent.