Fiat India Automobile Limited after creating a successful collaboration with Tata motors around the year 1997 has carved a niche for itself in the market for and has been busy for the past few years on an endeavor of launching mid-sized sedans of good quality with decent prices. Although, it has not grown as big as its partner, it has been sincere in its efforts to establish a strong base in India. The result of this is cars like Palio and Petra. However, it faced initial difficulty to have its break in the market and even with great changes made to it; a question still exists if it has been completely accepted in Indian markets or not.

Engine and Performance

Petra has two variants in engine, the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.9-litre diesel which is derived from its cousin Siena. Both these engines are familiar and reliable. The 1.6 cc pumps out 100bhp power, it crosses the 100kph mark in an amazing 11.57sec and is not too noisy at this. The fuel economy is not so enviable and is only average at 8.2kpl on city roads and 13.7kpl on highways. But, the 1.9-litre diesel variant is the largest of its kind and seems to be a exotic blend of basic mechanical components with high-tech electronic ones. Highway pace is decent with both the variants.

Lovely drive

A strong bottom end and optimal gearing make the Petra a breeze through traffic, with immediate throttle responses and plenty of torque. You can be happy cruising with this sedan until you reach 110kph and above this it turns to be a frustrating experience. Above 3500rpm, the engine gets into trouble, and performance increases only marginally after this. The acceleration of Petra seems to be sluggish; a turbo could have made this even better. A city figure of 11.1kpl and 15.7kpl on the highway are average again, however these lose when compared to class-leading Esteem diesel engines. The stiff chassis, fine-tuned suspension and overall body control and handling are far ahead of the competition.

Design and Build:

The actual fact about Petra is that it is basically a Siena with its name changed and a chromed-off grille, but that is nothing bad about it. With Siena's platform, Fiat has developed models with new names and a small make up suiting the needs of customers from different parts of the globe. The ground clearance is taken care of keeping the bumpy Indian roads in mind. It is massively strong and has good solid doors that shut with a thunk. It is comparatively heavy and this in turn affects its performance.

Other features

The suspension in the front end is conventional McPherson strut and it is the non-independent rear suspension that features a torsion-axle and there are anti-roll bars at both ends. There is no significant change in the interiors from the Siena that came for the first time back in 1998.

Price of the car

This ranges from 5.9 lakhs to about 6.1 lakhs on Indian roads.

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