2014 Fiat Punto Evo India first drive
There are very few cars that go on to look fresh and current despite being around for quite some time, one such car is the Fiat Punto. In the last few years, the car has received a few tweaks and new engine options but the car looked the same and nothing really changed in terms of design. But then some visible change was needed considering the car's poor sales. The car was updated internationally quite a while back and named the Punto Evo but even that car never made it to India. However, Fiat India has finally readied a new Punto and it too is called the Evo, the face though is all-new and one that hasn't been seen in any other market.
Let's get to most obvious change first, the exterior. The classic Italian front of the older Punto has now been replaced with a more modern but not so Italian face. Fiat designers have not just redesigned the headlamps and bumper but a lot more - the bonnet now receives a bulge neatly detailed with two prominent lines running down to the Fiat logo placed on the upper part of the front bumper, the bumper as before integrates the front grille but is much larger now and is chrome outlined and split. The headlamps are an all-new design and are much larger too because of the extensions on the sides. The regular variants get chrome detailing inside the headlamp while the sport variant like the car seen in the pictures here, are fully smoked. There is more chrome in the front, the fog lamp surrounds use a lot of it. Overall, the new front end gets a comprehensive update and looks more like a generation change than just a facelift. Internationally though, the Punto Evo only received a different front bumper and it didn't make sense to bring the same here, besides the all-new front was primarily developed for the soon to be launched Punto-based crossover, the Avventura.
Chrome surrounds around the rear fog lamps and reflector grab attention
It's only when one views it from the side that one realises the car is in fact a facelifted Punto, the sides are exactly the same except for a slightly tweaked front fender to accommodate the new headlamp and bonnet. What really adds character now to the side are the new-design alloy wheels. Fiat have always offered striking wheels and the new Punto gets two styles. The Emotion variant gets an Abarth style diamond cut alloy wheel that contrasts well with a lighter shade like red or white on the Punto. The more powerful Punto 90 receives a lighter shade rim and a different design but is larger (16-inch). The chrome coated door handles are still present and don't go well with the sporty theme. The rear end is almost the same as before but now gets a new bumper that also features chrome surrounds like in the front for the fog lamps and reflectors. The LED tail lamps are the same as the ones seen in the international Punto, they look great especially when the sun goes down.
Dashboard is all new and goes well with the new styling, finish has improved too. The wheel, however, is the same
Step inside and one is greeted by an all-new dashboard, similar to the one seen in the new Linea. Gone is the boxy layout and in comes a more rounded approach. All the Puntos (with the exception of the Punto 90) receive a dual-tone interior (black/beige) and a matching fabric wrap for the centre part of the dashboard. The centre console is finished in piano black, it looks premium but attracts fingerprints. To go with the sport theme, the 90 receives an all-black interior. The car we drove even featured ambient lighting in the form of a hidden LED strip that runs across the left AC vent till the centre console. This feature is standard only in the top variants. The steering wheel however is the same as before but the dials are all-new. Everything else is similar to the outgoing car. Quality of materials has improved in the dashboard area but there are a few sections like the steering wheel housing between the wheel and dashboard that are either not finished or don't fit well.
The 1.3-Multijet is a carry over from the previous model and receives no updates
All four engine options (1.2-litre petrol, 1.4-litre petrol, 1.3-litre 76PS diesel and 93PS) have been carried over and receive no updates. It would have been great if Fiat could have updated the gearbox with the smoother shifting unit seen internationally, performance also could have improved especially in the Punto 90. The car isn't as quick as its rivals despite producing 93PS. Ride and handling is impressive and the new car even gets better tyres. The car will be available in three trim levels as before and offers similar features too. Two new shades will also be available, the shade seen here and a new, more flamboyant Glitterati Gold. Prices are expected to be slightly higher than the outgoing Punto, the car is slotted to be launched shortly.
Check our image gallery of the new Fiat Punto Evo in India