Next-gen Fiat Punto: What we know so far
It will not carry the Punto moniker forward and will make its official debut around mid-2017 in Brazil
Fiat is developing a successor to the ageing Punto and its Brazilian wing has been entrusted with the job. Even in India, the Punto has lost its sheen – despite the current facelift, feature additions and the introduction of the Abarth version – and is in dire need of a replacement. Though sporting the timeless Giugiaro design, the Punto has been present in several international markets – including India – for too long (more than a decade) without a generation change.
The first alleged test mule of the Punto's replacement – yet to be named, but codenamed X6H – was spied exactly a year ago, in December 2015. And now, according to the Brazilian media, the Italian automaker is on the verge of wrapping up testing the car, which will have its market launch next year (reportedly in the first half of 2017) in the South American country and will replace the Punto as well as the second-gen Palio. The information about the X6H is scarce at this moment, but here's what we've been able to piece together about the upcoming spiritual successor to the Punto.
Fiat's CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed earlier this year that the European market will get no replacement for the Punto EVO (facelifted Grande Punto). However, in all probability, we'll get the new X6H hatchback since the Punto's sales have been declining drastically, year-on-year, in the country. Also, the Indian and Brazilian markets have similar sentiments and they share a lot of entry-level cars – including the Renault Kwid – as well. This may compel the Italian automaker to launch it in India. We hope Fiat launches the new hatchback by the end of next year or early 2018 in India.
Brazilian media suggests that the X6H will have a new platform, which will borrow a few of its components from the second-generation Palio. Also, some of the components in the car will be made of boron steel. The Ford EcoSport and the Fiesta (discontinued) also use boron steel in their construction. Also, this new platform will give us a sedan offering, which is codenamed X6S, and will replace the Linea. The Punto and Linea are known to be some of the best vehicles in the ride and handling department, and we believe the upcoming versions will carry that tradition forward.
All the test mules of the hatchback were heavily camouflaged. Fiat has even come up with a weird camouflage for the ORVMs in some of the mules. Though it has been designed and developed by Fiat of Brazil, its inspiration might lie in some of its latest siblings, especially the Tipo hatch.
In the Brazilian market, the new hatchback is likely to be powered by the 1.3-litre four-cylinder motor from Fiat's brand-new, global Firefly family of petrol engines. This motor puts out over 100PS of power and nearly 134Nm of torque. Apparently, the company will offer a turbocharged version of the same too, and will also offer a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol.
In India, Fiat might offer the new Firefly engine in the country, but the chances of that happening are low. However, we are sure that the 1.3-litre MultiJet will soldier on in the upcoming hatchback. Transmission options are expected to include a new five-speed manual and six-speed automatic (the latter from cars like the Jeep Renegade and the Fiat Tipo).
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