Premier Rio MultiJet: Road Test
I’m about to drive out of my building’s parking lot, when I notice an attractive woman looking in my direction, and smiling. Just as I exit the gate, she walks up to the driver’s side door to talk to me. And just when I start to let my imagination stray, it all comes crashing down as I realise all she’s interested in is knowing about the car I’m driving – the Premier Rio. Well, I shouldn’t be too disappointed considering that the Rio is an extremely attractive little car. The compact SUV segment, where once the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy ruled supreme, has all but disappeared these days, but if there was ever the perfect candidate to revive it, the Premier Rio has got the formula nailed just right; dimensions no larger than a regular hatchback, good ground clearance to tackle the worst of Indian roads, looks that should appeal to absolutely everyone, and now a sweet little Fiat-sourced Multijet diesel motor to power it along.
Speaking about the looks, thanks to the 2012 model year update, the Rio now looks absolutely fantastic. All the little bits such as the side cladding, the bash plate up front, the roof rails and the overall proportions make it look like a scaled down version of a big, butch SUV and that adds oodles of appeal to anyone casting a glance in its direction. Even little details such as the spare wheel mounted on the tailgate give the Rio that typical ‘little-big’ SUV feel. The same however can’t be said about the insides. While not really lacking in features or creature comforts, the overall quality of the plastics and a design theme straight from the 90s does leave a little to be desired. Interior space is at a slight premium, but that is to be expected in a car of this size. That being said, it’s not exactly what you might call uncomfortable and some nifty features such as the 50-50 split folding rear seats do add a massive chunk of practicality. And even the boot space will put a lot of our premium hatchbacks to shame.