Red is a colour that has very few associations.
Ferrari is one of them, Alfa Romeo is another and well, Fiat India thinks you should be associating red with their spunky new small car, the Punto. Yes, you read it right, Punto and not the Grande Punto. You see, when the 'Grande Punto' first came out some three years ago, Fiat was still manufacturing the 'Punto', which is why this one got the name Grande or 'big'. Now that the erstwhile Punto has been retired, the Grande Punto has lost its Grande, so there. But let's get back to our discussion about the colour, and I admit, it looks good in red. Heck, it looks good in any colour and if I may dare say, it is the best looking small car on sale in India today, at least until Fiat introduces a scorpion-badged Abarth version. It also has one of the most sorted rides, has very good high speed stability and feels like it's built to last a pounding for a couple of Raid de Himalayas. Is that enough dope for you to stop reading further and go ahead and book yourself a Punto? I fear not, so let me explain in as structured a manner as possible.
LOOKS AND INTERIORS
Really, I mean it when I say it looks stunning. And it's not a case of form overruling function, but a genuine attempt to marry both. Like with the Linea, the association of the design language with Maseratis is quite strong and that can only be a good thing. The large ovular headlamps sweep back to create a pear drop effect, while the large checkered grille with the MultiJet badging looks smart. The integration of the bonnet shutline is a work of art too, and instead of resorting to fuzzy pinch lines, Fiat left the bonnet clean.
The flowing lines and the large A-pillar make the car appear larger than it actually is. With clean door panels and a well-integrated tail-lamp cluster, the Punto is a study in design. Even the boot lid has no fuzzy detailing with just badging to round off the exteriors. The MultiJet we have here comes with fantastically carved 14-inch alloy wheels, but the 15-inchers on the 1.4 FIRE look even more exciting.
On the inside, you are greeted by now familiar interiors of the Linea, a sign that this is how much Fiat could differentiate between two cars base on the same platform. The Punto is priced a couple of lakh lower than the Linea and that shows on the interiors. Some of the plastics feel poorly built and the finish on some others isn't the same as on the Linea. Yet the dashboard feels solid, the control stalks feel strong and the dials are, well, as you will find on the Linea - pretty good indeed.