Looks – There is no denying the fact that the Palio is a head turner. It still manages to look absolutely gorgeous despite its age, and i find the Palio to be as good looking as the Swift, if not better.
Interiors – Fiat needs to work on it asap. Interiors are surely a generation behind and the beige treatment just doesnot work. Plastics used are on the cheaper side & no digital odometer is quite shocking.
Engine & Performance – For starters the Palio 1.3 Multijet has the same engine found in the Swift Diesel, albeit with slighly lesser torque. Quite suprisingly though Fiat’s Multijet engine works much better in the Swift. The Palio just doesn’t seem to go as fast as the Swift, having said that its no slow coach either. Turbo lag is prominent but thats the silence before the strom. Once the turbo kicks in the Palio just moves like crazy, the torque is insane and the car gives you a kick and moves rapidly. Turbo kicks in at around 2000RPM and the mad pull can be felt till almost 2400RPM. Engine is quite quiet but a tad noisier then the Swift inside, maybe due to better sound damping in the Swift.
Ride, Handling & Braking – Ride is still fantastic in the Palio, it takes to bad roads like Sehwag does to batting, absolutely effortless over poor roads and dare i say the ride is like a carpet. The Swift rides very harshly over bad roads, where the Palio glides. Handling is good but not as good as the Swift. The puny rubber can be blamed for this. Braking is very good but wheels tend to lock up on heavy braking. Lack of ABS, even as a option is a major disappointment.
Misc – The AC is pretty good, the seats are comfortable, the build quality is fantastic, doors close with a solid thunk and there are no rattles or squeaks whatsoever. Rear legroom is better then the Swift but the gearshift feels quite rubbery and is average at best. Fuel efficency is similar to the Swift diesel that is 15kmpl in the city and 20kmpl on the highway.
Verdict – The Palio diesel is quite value for money, being cheaper then the Swift and offering more features like rear wiper, rear demister, etc. However Fiat service is not as good and the resale is still poor. Some spare parts do take time arriving and Tata has a very casual attitude wrt Fiat cars. If you ignore the service and resale, the Palio makes a strong case for itself, its fantastic value and does everything well but my eyes are on the Fiat Grande Punto which is quite a machine and is coming soon too.