The best part about all that suspension retuning is that the Avventura is friendlier on bad roads now. Not that the ground clearance was ever an issue with the Punto Evo, but more is always better when it comes to that, especially in India. It has been increased to 205mm, 10mm up on the Punto. And that’s as good as a lot of full-fledged SUVs in the market.
To keep the body roll and pitch in check with the added clearance, the engineers have tightened the suspension a bit. But unfortunately, there’s still a fair bit of roll even with the suspension tweaks in place. The Punto Evo runs on chunky high-profile rubber, but this one gets slightly lower-profile tyres. The ride, just like the Punto’s, remains sublime. It swallows potholes with utter ease, without making any disconcerting noises while going over battered surfaces.
On the looks front, the biggest highlight of the Avventura is the tailgate-mounted spare wheel. Fiat thinks it makes it look more like a SUV. We’re not entirely sure if it does, but it certainly gives it an unmistakable look.
The front bumper gets a complete makeover, and now sports a brushed aluminium finish, and a few more touches to add to the rugged look. At the sides, things are largely untouched, barring the plastic cladding (a must for every little crossover) and a huge ‘Avventura’ badge on the front doors. At the back, the spare wheel is mounted on a hinge, and swings out horizontally, while the hatch opens vertically, much like a regular hatch. This makes accessing the boot an unnecessarily time-consuming affair.
Inside, the dashboard too has been revised – there’s a dual-tone finish on the dash, and the centre console houses the inclinometer that we told you about earlier. The seats are a mix of faux leather and fabric. They look neat, and they’re quite comfortable, too. The Avventura will be available with both petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol is the 1.4-litre unit, and the one we drove was the 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel block. There’s no 74bhp option, as this motor, in the Avventura, comes only with a variable geometry turbocharger that helps it churn out 89bhp.
Despite the tweaks, there’s still plenty of turbo lag at the bottom end of the rev range, and the turbo kicks in only after the needle passes the 2,000rpm mark. Fiat makes this engine, and lends it to several other manufacturers in the country. But surprisingly, some other manufacturers like Maruti have been able to tune this engine better than Fiat in terms of power delivery.
4cyl, 1368cc (Petrol)/1248cc (Diesel), 92bhp/89bhp, 115Nm/200Nm, 5M, FWD, fuel tank: 45 litres, Rs 6.14 lakh - 8.41 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).
Fits the bill if you want a compact car that can handle your weekend getaways, too.