Fiat Motors India is red hot at the moment. It has been the topic of much debate in automotive circles in recent times with the intended launch of its 500, Bravo, Linea and the Grande Punto, cars which it hopes will change the fortune of the company in the country. But as of now, it is the Fiat Palio that is holding the company's flag high in India. Its latest Palio 1.3 Multijet is a car with immense potential, and a diesel engine said to be the finest in the world among small engine capacity.

The Palio 1.3 Multijet designed by I.D.E.A of Italy is one charming looking car. But for the all-new body-coloured radiator grille, tail lamps, headlamps, and inventive Fiat badge and in case of the range-topping SDX, shiny new alloys, it would have looked like a photocopy of the 1.2 petrol version of Stile.

On a slightly disappointing note though, the interior remains unchanged and thus seems dated. The instrument controls look outdated from a bygone era and so do the slider air-con controls. The Palio multijet doesn't boast of a wide range of features, as it comes only with the basic air-con, power steering and power windows. But that aspect can be overlooked, as this car doesn't belong to high-priced section-it costs Rs. 5 lacs and doesn't compete with the state-of-the-art high profile cars. It has its own qualities though-spacious interiors and comfortable seats, attributes carried forward in all its erstwhile models too.

The 1248cc 4-valve diesel engine producing 75bhp is the same unit found under the hood of the Maruti Swift diesel. But on the Palio, it doesn't feel as fleet-footed as it does on the Swift.

The torque is impressive at 184nm and is available from 2000rpm onwards. Owing to the perfectly spread torque across the rev bands, the Multijet, even though not as impressive as the Swift, is a very drivable car, both in the city and on the highway. The mileage is impressive at 12.2kmpl for the city and 16.2kmpl on the highway.

There are a few notable chinks in the Palio that may not go down well with all those who look for perfection in all its splendour, like the imprecise gearshift and brakes, which tend to lock up easily.

For the same reason ABS is badly missed. There is also a prominent diesel clatter but good insulation restricts the noise to the outside only.

Despite its few failings, the Palio Multijet is car not anyone would have any grievances against. It is a car, which spells elegance, presents great value for money, makes one experience an enjoyable and undisturbed ride, and what's more-is economical too besides looking extremely alluring.

Isn't that something that sounds like a great bargain? After all, what more can you ask for from an automobile that costs even less than what you would believe would make a dent in your pocket? Ranging between Rs 4.32 and Rs 4.70 lacs, it satisfies many potential buyers' requirements but more than that, it fulfils many of their aspirations of possessing a dream car that combines quality, class, affordability and of course utility.

Source: Full Throttle
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