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    Thread: Fiat Punto EVO | Life with the silver hawk

    1. #1
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      Fiat Punto EVO | Life with the silver hawk

      THE SILVER HAWK

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      This world is different, this world of car clubs. This wonderful world of car friends. This world of following car culture. This brotherhood of cargasm. This talk of automobiles, that never endless talk, which bonds us, increases knowledge spread, leads to endless debates and discussions, drives, making new friends, and spreading the love for automobilia.
      It's a different world, which fantasises dreams into realities, from the toy car, to a scale model, to the virtual reality, to the 3D configurator, to the actual object of desire we buy. 4 wheels, the never ending stuff of mechanical complexities, the sculpted body, those comfortable insides and the drive, everything in this world of automobiles, exists for a reason.
      A reason called cargasm.
      Its addictive, exciting, exuberating, thrilling and to top it all, expressive. Feelings that, we, this small world that exists within the world's biggest democracy, can only comprehend.
      It's we, that started it all. We, the humans. Cars are created, and more choices are created. And people buy different automobiles, and for everyone, there exists a choice. Choice to learn, own, modify, build endless dreams and converting those dreams into realities, and living the dream.
      That's what we call automobile culture.

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      The silver hawk.
      Its not just another motor car. Its created by a human being, for us, to enjoy moments and compile stories.

      Because, we meet like minded people. Think of those moments, that we spend with them, be it those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and perhaps decades.
      Its a never ending story of passion and excitement. Perhaps, stories, that are expressed, are meant to be written, but after a point of time, these stories become a part of our everyday lives, because of our relationships that we build with our machines.

      That's because,
      A motor car, or a product, goes through many aspects. From the conceptualisation of ideas, to designing of possible shapes and sizes, all through the wild imaginations of designers above and beyond, to the clay mock up to give a virtual reality, to the design of all parts, components, interior, exterior, the likes, et al, to the prototypes that are being final tested on the road, to the consumer, the actual test bed.
      We buy cars......
      To sync and enjoy our drives with our loved ones.
      To make car clubs.
      To listen to that soulful music.
      To make car friends.
      To start endless debates.
      To eat, sleep, drink and smell cars, and only cars.
      We use them, and rack in miles, after miles.
      And the more we use them, the more debating we are.

      Aah, stop staring please.

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      For a company, selling 350 cars per month, without much of an effort, the little they do the better it is, because they have "done something". I was surprised that they did way too much more than I expected them to do. So, some effort they did put, to perhaps, justify the reason?
      Its pretty much a heavy facelift on an old vehicle. And it does take some razmatazz to get used to. Perhaps, not so easy to digest, specially after being spoilt by that timeless decade old Giugiaro design called the Grande Punto.
      So, for starters, you get an all new front with twin stage honeycomb mesh grille and surrounded by dollops of glitterati chrome, huge fog lamp with chrome ribbon tied around it, the enlarged "reindeer" headlamps with those lovely dual tone detailing around, the Fiat logo moves up to the bonnet, and the bonnet has that omnipresent "powerbuldge", flatter and tauter with two extreme creaselines, and curvacious fenders which surprisingly gel well with the ancient doors and windowline with glittering chrome handles to the sides.
      The side profile more or less remains the same, save for the "now mandatory" turn light LED indicator on OSRVM and the rear too sees a minimal change.
      For starters, the taillights have LED elements for parking and separate brake and indicator lights, while the bumper is all new with more curvacious reverse and fog lights integrated onto it like before. And of course, to make it glitter and burn the eyes of "buri nazar wale", surrounded with high quality chrome fittings.

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      The build quality remains more or less the same, with heavy body in white that gives you the feeling of invincibility, the doors somehow feel a bit thinner and lack that "thud" of old Fiats of yore, and all this facelift has increased weight to a portly 1190 kgs. Enough to make its tinny competitors wet their pants.
      The car rides on the same chassis underpinnings as that of the 2005 "C" platform of Europe, though nothing much in basic has been updated, and suspension continues to be the same as earlier.
      This is one of the last species of cars in its class to use HPS, and this old school tech is evident as far as driving manners are considered.
      One thing which I like about my car is the paint quality. The thickness measured in 130-140 microns as per the coating thickness meter, though orange peel is somewhat evident. Now, orange peel is a problem with all competitors and all cars have it from the factory itself.
      The car carries a 3 year/1,00,000 kms warranty against any manufacturing defects of components, though component wise warranty parameters defer, and for 3 years against any anti perforation, as written in the owners manual.

      Its a refreshing air of aromatic balance, inside.

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      Lets get inside, and study the theme.
      Its airy, bright, and has an aura of coziness surrounding it. In fact, there is lot of math around.
      Lets start with the instrument cluster. It has a hooded arc, with 2 circles built underneath. Like two souls, in love with each other, covered with an umbrella over them. Come down, and a simple leather clad cover surrounds the steering wheel to mask all that naked bits and pieces inside. Pretty cool, eh?
      The "in your face" steering remains unchanged, covered in the cheapest quality "so called" leather possible, and is, always, lovely to hold with thumb contours just placed at the right sides. The circle vents on the right now feature air volume adjustment buttons, just and when you need an airy environment or you can even shut off the circulation when that "hoohohohoho" mood of chillness appears. The bottom right houses switches for "My car" settings, the headlamp levelling device for 3 levels of beam adjustment, and front and rear fogs for extra light during that foggy scary ghost night.
      I like the fact that fit and finish has improved, but the Achilles heel of misaligned ignition console and horn pad gap remains...gotta get used to it. There is now a coin holder under the MID buttons, and as usual, the MID features comprehensive display which has instant FE, average FE, distance to empty, average speed, travel time, passenger airbag on/off switch, auto locking on/off, speed limit warning setting buzzer, units for speed, fuel consumption, settings for date, time etc. No, the radio display does not come because of the new HU. That said, the MID can be viewed in 9 different European languages, like a swagger mode on always.

      The whole dash is covered in a soft touch satin beige cloth like material which looks classy and lifts the ambience throughout. Atop, an arc shape spectacle case, which needs an index finger and a middle finger salute to open, pops out to store her glasses, the moon shaped integrated AC vents have the same feature of air volume control, and down under, the auto climate control takes pride of place with quirky soft click buttons. In fact, even the glovebox now gets an extra storage slot, which pops down with the flick of a rotary knob. Of course, the glovebox is now illuminated.

      Now, during the night, the whole ambience is just like a room of lover's paradise. With warm orange lighting, right across the dash, and buttons across, completing the ambience. That's called, attention to detail of course.

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      The front seats, feel more deep and cushy and soft compared to my previous car. Would have preferred better underthigh and lumbar support, but, they are now much much more comfortable. The H point at rearward is higher and the height adjustment range is more from what I have noticed. Legspace remains good, with a 5' 10" person easily be able to stretch his legs completely. I normally drive with front seats fully pushed back, so this helps. Not to be mistaken with the weird pedal placement which are so close to each other, or the high set dead pedal which is made for evil ankles. Plus, the placement of power window switches-too far ahead remains weird. They still think we are chimpanzees.

      Somewhere, in the helm of marketing affairs, became friends with rear seat seekers and worked upon to provide an extra Air vent, placed in the middle, in addition to the foot level vents which were already standard, and improving the rear seat width and overall comfort and cushioning. Still, the overall contours feel flat and not deep enough, though, the H point has been redesigned for better thigh support. The seats split 60:40, so luggage carrying or shifting extra items shouldn't be an issue. But, legspace remains terrible at minimum levels. Any person sitting behind me will have to crouch his leg and bear the pain for the atrocities he has committed in the past, or take the area behind the co driver seat to avail any additional space. Thankfully, all 4 head restraints are adjustable, an important factor from safety point of view, and so does the rear seat metal back.

      The load carrying area remains unchanged, and you need an acrobatic move to load luggage from the high set loading sill deep into the boot. Its wide and deep enough, but competitors do have bigger boots. 2 full size suitcases, or 2 strolleys and 2 bags, you can adjust accordingly.

      The car has 2 half a litre bottle holders on front foor pockets, just designed like an afterthought. and a pop out bottleholder behind the rear AC vent, and a single one next to the gear lever. Airbag has deleted the second glovebox which my old car had, and an extra coke can holder has been stolen by Fiat in the facelift which my old car had ahead of the gear lever. Foolish fellas.

      I do appreciate the fact that Fiat has upped the overall interior ambience WRT quality quotient and should no longer be a deal breaker. Though, at many lower half places, that outdated plastic texture and lack of upmarket grains does make its presence felt.

      The "ICE" age.
      From stone age to pakka modern age. What a revolution it has been. I am surprisingly surprised at FCA's bold step. My car is equipped with a factory fit touchscreen system from supplier DAICHI, and does away with a CD player (quite contrary to my previous car which only had a CD player). It has inbuilt navigation system from mapmyindia, USB port (does not play with mobile phones as USB support), aux-in jack, an additional SD card slot and bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones and also, bluetooth music streaming. The voice connect has been deleted and phone dialer is located on the touchscreen itself. The 5 inch touch is easy to operate, pretty lag free though in daytime, clarity could have been better. The system has basic bass and treble settings and individual speaker volume control instead of seperate fader/balance buttons. My car came with mopar branded "made in China" speakers-6.5" in front with tweeters, and 5" at rear. Surprisingly, the overall sound quality was much better than all the past Fiats, though the OE speakers do crackle at high volume. An average joe can surely live with, but, I had those rainbows, and got them installed without any fuss with STP damping at all 4 doors from driven. The output from stock system for these speakers is very good and I am happy overall with the way the overall setup now sounds. Amp and subwoofer? Nope...maybe never.
      The navigation had two modes-the day mode and night mode which change colours automatically and it also has a dashboard which shows the vehicle speed and destination coordinates. Plus other functions like home guidance, traffic function, pumps etc all can be customised by going in the settings. Once you get used to the quirks, its only then you begin to realise, every quirkiness is a quirk in itself.

      Its a heart worth showing off.

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      When you drive the least popular car with the most popular heart, you are bound to be asked, does every reason skip a heartbeat?
      Because, every heartbeat has a reason.
      I liked the fact that since the first VGT Punto I drove in 2010 which was nothing to write home about, till the version I possess, there has been continuous but silent yet not so significant to communicate tweaking that Fiat has done to the ECU and the 3 decade old gearbox which powers this car.
      For starters, the low end in stock form has improved a lot. The lag which plagued the 90HP VGT Multijet is no longer a deal breaker and turbo spooling has been made much more earlier. Though the peak torque of 209 nm is rated at 2000 rpm, 80% is available from 1700 rpm onwards. To play in stock form, gear 1 tops at 30, the gear 2 is made taller till 80 (indicative), and driveability on 3rd and 4th gear is much improved, thanks to the updated ECU map which many owners reported in the past year as being received silently by Fiat. The timing chain also sees a new design or perhaps, improved mechanism which the manufacturer now recommends to be replaced at every 90,000 kms, up from 60,000 kms earlier. I noticed that the motor also sounds more refined and less gravelly, though the age is surely felt. Truth be told, I was spoilt by the instant burst of power in my remapped red 90HP Punto that this car did lack that overall juice. I waited till 3000 kms and then decided...IT HAD TO HAPPEN

      So, booked an appointment with GT Tunerz.
      Four hours later, that wide grin after the TRANSFORMATION!!!!
      Its not the claimed estimated 115 bhp or 265 nm of torque on crank that impressed me, but its now, that the actual fun of VGT can be experianced. Power delivery was always linear, but the surge that was missing in stock car, returned just like I wanted and torque distribution was just seamless. I always admired the VW 1.5 of late just because of the motor's flexibility to usher in incredible amounts of torque at your disposal and that smile of similar level was restored after the remap.
      The engine has become smoother, and climbing at low revs on 4th and 5th gear has become a breeze. In gear acceleration is very competent and the car just pulls effortlessly. Won't use the word brutal per se, that's reserved for the VW 1.5, but yes, almost close to it. So finally, the deserving chassis that always begged for more power and torque finally gets it. And post the oil change at 5000 kms, and again at 12500 kms it goes even more smoother and engine has opened up. Turbo now spools from 1500 rpm and the entire power band is now wide and torque curve seemed flat. The kick is not felt, but the high end distribution and mid range is a big breeze. 1st gear remains similar, lag is reduced in second, driveability in 3rd has been upped considerably, and low rpm response on both overdrive gears is seamless. All in all, a complete package.
      And when its driven more and more, then we begin to realise, "every drive for driving is a drive in itself."

      With great power comes great responsibility.

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      All the virtues of my old Grande Punto, like the superb suspension, ride and handling, braking and steering feedback continue to endear me in the Punto Evo. That ghastly wheelwell gap remained an eyesore, so does the absence of rear anti roll bar (present in Abarth), but the package overall remains competent. My earlier car used to ride stiff, and this continued to. I switched the tyres to Continental MC5, in same 195/55 R16, and that has made a great improvement to the overall dynamics of this car. Ride is more pliant, the tyres provide excellent grip and traction, and this aids handling also. The large wheelbase and 5M turning radius does remain its irritations, but I think high speed stability and cornering, this hatch remains unmatched. HPS remains its USP, and despite the obvious body roll, the car remains planted and stable at triple digit speeds. The car did became a handful on goodyears due to increased power, but MC5s have cured this to a large extent. I just wished that the car remains atleast few mms lower than present spec, with stiffer dampers. Would prefer a car that handles over ride quality, and this will increase its dynamics quotient considerably.

      Now, came the big question...I was tempted to lower the stance of my car ever since I hated the truck like wheelwell gap of my car. Eibach distributorship was taken by Autopsyche and many of my friends who are VW car owners gave a very positive feedback on the overall balance of comfort and roadholding of Eibach. Plus, in Delhi, one Abarth Punto also got the same fitted and lowered from Autopsyche. That tempted me to take plunge and do the same.
      Went to Autopsyche, and Arush was extremely helpful in answering all my queries that I had. Springs were installed in 2 hours and quality of work has been very good. We did testing across all kind of surfaces, including bad roads, potholes, speed breakers etc, and the car took no underbody hits thankfully. Gave a go ahead and there has been an estimated drop of 30mm. The car has shock absorbers which are about few mms higher compared to 2009-2011 Puntos and this also helps in overall practicality. The balance between comfort and roadholding is just perfect. Yes, There is some stiffness felt over bad roads and that inherent bounciness associated with stiff springs but its not bone jarring or juddering. The springs are progressive and even with 2 people+luggage behind, I havent noticed any underbelly hit till date.
      Rest updates when more kms are clocked.

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      FTD factor, of course, remains, and add to that, the connectivity of steering to the road, something that today's EPS systems still struggle to get it right. This is something that old school purists might too agree. I did notice that compared to avventura or urban cross, steering is a bit lighter and the rear tends to lose composure due to lack of anti roll bar. The Eibachs compensated this to a great extent, and the car feels glued to the road even at high speed cornering.
      The brakes remain top notch, and are strong points of the car. ABS is a boon, and just prevents wheel locking at the right time. The car comes to a dead stop without any fuss, though heat smell is present if hard braking is repeated. One thing to remember is the pads take abuse well and if abused heavily, won't last long. And priced the highest at Rs. 3,450 for the full set, aren't exactly cheap to replace either.
      Safety, should not be a reason. And full marks to Fiat for providing the engineering depth which includes the ever present metal engine sump guard and solid engine and gearbox mounts.


      Because, buying a car is one thing, owning it is another ballgame together.

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      Fiat, like all its previous offerings, follows the same service pattern, which is
      -first free service at 5000 kms or 6 months, whichever is earlier
      -second free service at 15,000 kms or 12 months whichever is earlier
      -third and final free service at every 30,000 kms or 24 months whichever is earlier
      -subsequent service at every 15,000 kms or 12 months whichever is earlier.

      Quality of service here up north is not much of an issue, remains a hit or a miss, but building a rapport with GM or SA does the trick.
      What remains is the network spread, which is terrible to say the least. the whole of Delhi NCR has only 4 workshops, though the arrival of the jeep brand can improve the reach. I got my first service done at 5000 kms (the car stands at 5300 kms now) from Kashyap, which included oil change, basic filters change, alignment and balancing et all. Same pattern was also followed at Kashyap at 12,500 kms. I plan to follow a 7500 kms oil change interval strictly and use only what the manufacturer recommends. Will comment on the product quality and warranty parameters as I rack in more kilometres. Fiat has claimed to improve the overall component quality, but will only reserve my comment once I check how long they last. Things like shocker mounts, brake pads etc don't last much long (going by my previous car's experience) but cost of parts and consumables itself is on par with the competition, except mentioned elsewhere-wipers and brake pads. That the turbo needs to be taken care of, else a replacement turbo VGT costing Rs. 52k isn't exactly cheap.
      Because, owning a product is only one aspect, supporting with a proper backup is another.

      Writing a story, beyond all stories.

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      We often go through a phase where we don't know who and where we are, don't know what to do, can't decide whom to talk, where to write and express our mixed feelings and undecided on the road ahead. When that phase is like a deep pothole determined to grind you down. But, when we cross that pothole intelligently and in a patient manner with a happy face, we begin to realise the true fact of our life, that "every drives happen for a reason".
      Reflection comes in all shapes and sizes. When you dig deep into understanding the creativity and design, we begin to realise how creative a human mind is. Sketching all possible lines, curves and angles to culminate in one final artistic design, they guide the pathways for you in a dark, mystical night and light the way ahead for you to see the road ahead.
      It's then you begin to realise "every creation has a reason".
      Because, when you start shining in your life, you make progress.
      You make progress, you evolve.
      You evolve, you discover new things.
      You discover new things, you begin to appreciate a phenomenon.
      That phenomenon is called change.
      It's only when you begin to realise, that, "everything happens for a reason".

      Yes, there are many reasons to write stories, because, its
      not every second, minute, hour, day, week, month or year that we get opportunities to explore our own inner instincts and create relationship stories with our automobiles. Living with cars is like a love hate relationship, just like a Bollywood love triangle, but, perhaps, we have come to appreciate the nitty gritty things that make us love, or hate the same.
      Cars are meant to take us from point A to point B, but few of them have the ability to connect around us. To communicate. To speak. To express. And what not? A car is a creation of a human being, and its our creations that speak for us.
      The personality, the shape, the size, the performance, the FE, the overall support after we purchase, all things fine, thatís what makes relationships between we and cars happy. Just like the best friends. Perhaps, its, just like our inner instincts, connect us close to our prized possessions.
      Take good care of them, and you will be rewarded, in return, with that timeless look, time after time.

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      Yes, I can go on and on, but, perhaps, its time to take a break. Stories that will continue to remain forever, close to our hearts, buried deep in the lost archives of History books.

      Stories, written by the people, for the people, for those, the steering isn't just for holding, its for holding on.



    2. #2
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      KimiRaikkonen's Avatar
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      I have barely seen the silver color punto evo. It looks great. What was your tyre up-size from ?

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      Congratulations on the Fiat. Enjoy caring and caring..

      This is one of a such car with great dash which can accommodate an orchestra.. make it more alive with an active sq.

      Cheers.
      Thanks & Regards
      Balavignesh Ramasamy

      PIONEER DEX-P99RS | TCHERNOV SPECIAL MAKE II IC | HYBRID AUDIO TECHNOLOGIES LEGATIA L1 PRO R2 HIGHS | LEGATIA L3 PRO MIDS | LEGATIA L6 V2 LOWS | CLARUS 10" SUB WOOFER | BRIAN B4 SOUNDSTREAM REFERENCE CLASS A PICASSO AMPS | STINGER HPF 4GA OFC POWER WIRE | KnuKONCEPTZ 4GA SCREW RING TERMINALS | RF DB |



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      sapatel20's Avatar
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      Congratulations for Fiat .I am also having silver Evo 76 .. and she looks beautiful and after remapping she became more dynamic. Enjoy your Punto


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