Honda

Honda

FIAT AVVENTURA – READY FOR ADVENTURE

We’re not quite sure about exactly what goes on at the Fiat factory, but it seems that they’ve concocted some serum that has turned the docile Fiat Punto into a hulking CUV they refer to as the Avventura. Yet another entrant to the popular crossover segment, the Fiat Avventura seems like the more rugged version of the Punto.

Now Fiat doesn’t really boast of having the most market share or being the most popular choice, but there is no denying that they have very good offerings in their arsenal. The fact that it is one of the biggest brand names in the auto-world helps, so does the fact that it does a decent job of upholding its European heritage. Furthermore, acquisition of the management by Life Automobiles has seemed to inject new life into the moniker and they seem more active than before.fiatavventuranepal10Their newest offering has a common story of coming into existence. Created on the Punto platform it is in many ways identical to the hatchback, but Fiat has also been careful to avoid being dragged into the generalization that all crossover SUVs are plastic-clad hatchbacks that are only fronting as a new product. It created a lot of buzz in the Indian market and we were extremely eager for it to come into our market, and it’s finally here.

EXTERIOR

Right off the bat, we can tell that Fiat have put in a lot of effort to make the Avventura look beefy; they’ve gone the extra mile to make it look more muscular and they’ve even gone with the attention-grabbing spare wheel cover. This is the first thing that you will notice and you will also remember that you saw this with the Ford Ecosport. However, it is not a part of the tailgate as most would expect it to be. You have to unlock the spare wheel from the tailgate via the button on the  keys to spring that free and swing out horizontally and then open the boot vertically. Although it might take slightly more time to get your stuff inside the trunk, the spare wheel gives the Avventura its distinctly rugged looks.fiatavventuranepal13Although it holds a striking resemblance to the Punto, there are few changes that separate the Avventura from its sibling. It retains the trapezoidal front grille and swept back reindeer headlight that we personally loved. The Fiat logo stays above the grille but the front bumper gets a complete makeover, and now sports a brushed aluminium finish.fiatavventuranepal1The sides have been decorated with plastic claddings and a pseudo skid plate that help keep the Avventura in tune with its sense of adventure. It also features roof railings but we’re not entirely sure about how efficient it is in terms of utility (although some advertisements insist that it is perfect for transporting bicycles).fiatavventuranepal7INTERIOR AND FEATURES

There is a dual tone finish to the dash where the center console houses three distinct dials which display the clinometer, tilt-meter and compass. It is definitely interesting but we’re not quite certain of its utility.fiatavventuranepal14The Avventura gets other features like climate control, electric windows, a rear AC vent and an audio system that supports CD, MP3 and Aux-in. It does have Bluetooth but it is constrained to telephony and you can’t connect your device to the audio system. The cabin space is also decent and the seats are comfortable with proper lumbar support. The seats are a mix of faux leather and fabric which are very well designed.

The steering wheel is great to hold and houses the buttons for the audio system and Bluetooth telephony. The instrument cluster displays a digital clock, odometer, trip meter, distance to empty along with other telltale indications. Climate control is very effective and does a good job of cooling the cabin.

PERFORMANCE

The Avventura, adventure in Italian, has made it a point to ensure that the external claddings aren’t the only adventurous aspects about the crossover. You’ll be happy to know that the Avventura gets a 20mm increase in the ground clearance over the Punto Evo. This gives it a total of 205mm of ground clearance which has it standing tall without much of the belly scraping woes. And despite the increased height, the handling is not compromised.fiatavventuranepal4Although not a complete offroader, the front wheel drive can handle mild to moderate offroading. It was able to cope well with some unforeseen road construction that had the roads tattered and muddy during our test drive. We wouldn’t recommend you take it through slush though, or steep inclines without tarmac because traction isn’t its strongest suit.fiatavventuranepal5Under the hood of the diesel variant we test drove is a 1.3L mill that churns out 90bhp. It isn’t as peppy off the mark but it shines once you hit the 2100rpm to 3200rpm range. This makes the Avventura more suitable for highway stretches rather than stop-and-go traffic. Power delivery is smooth and linear which makes overtaking a fun ordeal; for best results you’re better off revving it to extract power. There is no diesel rattle in low revs and engine noise is minimum.fiatavventuranepal3Handling is also on par in its segment and it drives well in corners, highways and cities. The suspensions have been well tuned which greatly helps with the ride quality of the Avventura. Gear shifts are smooth but on the shorter side between the 1st and 2nd gear with a huge gap in between. Carrying forward the stability of the Punto, the Avventura proves to be a good cruiser. The brakes along with the wide tyres & ABS, ensures that you are always in control of the vehicle under heavy braking situations.fiatavventuranepal12VERDICT

Fiat have been one of the few manufacturers who have been able to confidently say that their crossovers aren’t just dressed up hatchbacks in heels. The increased ground clearance is a major plus for the Avventura and the fact that it handles mild offroads well makes it one of the more adventurous offerings in the segment. And provided you keep the motor spinning in the right rpms, it is a gem to drive in the highways. We’d definitely put highway driving ahead of city driving with this one.fiatavventuranepal6The designs are sporty and demand attention. Even if the spare tyre cover can be cumbersome to operate at times, it gives the Avventura a fresh adventurous feel.  In the segment, it definitely falls in the forefront of competition. A major factor here is the pricing which Fiat seem to have gotten very right. Although not brimming with creature comforts, the Fiat Avventura is close to becoming a compact SUV and not just a crossover. The fact that it doesn’t sear a hole in your wallet as big as others in the segment really makes the Avventura worth your interest.fiatavventuranepal9For specifications and pricing, click here

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