The Evo Arrives

The next big churn in the car market may not come from the market leaders


The one brand name which has everything going for it in India, but still does not make the cut in terms of number of cars sold, has brought price and warranty to the bargaining table once again, in an attempt to push flagging sales. Its diesel version cars use the same engine as the Maruti Swift and some Tata Indica variants, while its petrol engines deliver more than enough grunt as well as reliability, with fuel economy too. Its cars are not too far behind those of market leaders like Honda and Toyota.


Yes, I’m talking about the new Fiat Punto Evo and, specifically, the version with the 1.2-litre petrol engine version. Priced at a shade below Rs4.5 lakh, the engine delivers all the performance you need for regular city use and more. A friend brought a diesel top-end version over for a quick spin and I can say this much—the car has everything that can be expected in terms of not just fittings but also handling.


In fact, the upper-end diesel versions give serious competition to the Maruti Swift and other hatchbacks available in the market, specifically in the context of what can be termed ‘style and class’ and handsome interiors. I would suggest you take a serious look at this car if you are in the market for a sub-four-metre hatchback. That apart, the minimalist and clean lines, as well as the sweep of the hatchback curve, stand out in a market full of similar looking cars.


If you can find a dealer nearby, this is one good car, with a low-lying dealer network, which is crying out for direct online sales to potential customers. And, yes, the three-year 100,000km warranty can apparently be extended some more, if you bargain hard.


Can Maruti Lead the Way?


Maruti Suzuki is said to have commenced production of Ciaz (a sedan to replace the old SX4) and is likely to start production of the S-Cross (Crossover) soon. Both cars should create an impact of the sort the Celerio created also because it is being reported that automatic transmission versions will be fitted in them, in addition to a quantum leap in what goes inside the cabin and controls.

I will be glad to see the end of those unwieldy mechanical steering locks in Indian cars, and the sooner the market leader moves to push-button start and electronic immobilisers, the better. Some other brands have moved in that direction; but until the market leader does so, too, this menace of steering locks springing shut at the wrong time will remain and probably cost some lives in the process.


Achche Din for Car Owners?


Are we likely to see achche din for automobile ownership soon? While it depends on what this means to you, here are some factors that will make a big impact:


Cost of ownership and operating a motor vehicle is certainly going to go up across all aspects of motoring. Even something as innocuous as the cost of parking your wheels is going to shoot up, in case you hadn’t noticed it already.


What is going to come crashing down, however, is the wastage and corruption associated with road transport. One of the benefits that will accrue, almost immediately when GST (goods & services tax) arrives, is making India one national market and the consequent removal of many of the otherwise bothersome and troublesome check-posts and barriers all over the country—especially on state and district ‘borders’.


Corruption on tolls, however, will continue to take its toll, on us and on our roads, in more ways than one.

8 years ago
There is something fundamentally wrong with Fiat... their engines and AMT gearbox (from Fiat's sister) is providing huge success to its rivals. Fiat is sitting on the fence and applauding for them, being happy to sell engines/gearbox/spares to them. Fiat needs to look ahead, be the leader rather than just be a spectator. Manufacturers like Maruti and Tata source the same engine from Fiat and tune it for more power in their cars... shame on you Fiat !
mathew sabu
8 years ago
Definitely it is going to shook the market leaders such as maruthi Hyundai and tatas.After all they use the same technology such as engine, now recently AMTs begging from magnetti marelli which is fiat subsidiary.
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