We first saw the Premier Rio almost three years ago. Since then, the Pune-based company has been burning the midnight oil to refine the formula and now the Rio is very close to being the perfect little mini SUV
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.
With regards to the way it drives, this is an area that still needs a bit of work. While ride quality is decent on normal to slightly bumpy roads, the car does tend to tramline over really undulating surfaces. This, of course, has more to do with the Kenda tyres that Premier sources from China than anything else, and a switch to either MRF, Apollo or Goodyear rubber should sort out the issue in a jiffy. The tall design of the body with a fairly narrow track is not the best combination when it comes to handling, but as long as you don’t decide to get too aggressive with the steering in tight corners, it’s not really an issue. And thanks to brakes equipped with ABS, stopping power is fairly good as well, though there is an overall lack of brake feel.
The real gem of this new Rio, however, is the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine which has been sourced from Premier’s once collaborators, Fiat. With 72PS of power and 183Nm of torque on tap, it’s not the quickest of cars on the market by any means, making the sprint from zero to 100km/h in 20 plus seconds. But this engine’s strengths lie in its tractability and smooth power delivery. The 5-speed manual gearbox has a fairly positive throw on the shifts and combined with the Multijet powerplant, pulls well in each gear.
On the whole, the proposition of the Premier Rio has been made significantly sweeter with the addition of this brilliant engine. And at a price of Rs 6.70 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), it’s not too bad a deal either, considering what you’ll end up with is a reasonably capable, extremely good looking car that will set you apart from the average motorist. However, there are still some loose ends that Premier needs to tie up first, and most of these relate to the tyres, suspension ratings and the quality of the interior plastics. But Premier is a company that has been very receptive to the feedback it has been receiving about its product, and is in the process of ironing out these little bugs, which when done, should make the Rio the stonking great product it was meant to be.
Recently Asked User Questions and FAQs about Premier Rio
User Questions and Answers
Mani_Kandan_4 asked a question on 13 April 2018
Q.What is the Seating capacity?What is the Seating capacity?
Its technically a 5 seater but the rear seat also has recline-able function. so with 4 people on board, the rear seats can also be adjusted like the front for comfort on long drives. rear seats can alIts technically a 5 seater but the rear seat also has recline-able function. so with 4 people on board, the rear seats can also be adjusted like the front for comfort on long drives. rear seats can also be split folded in 50:50 setup....Read More
answered by JOY MRC on 17 April 2018
Dharam_Singh asked a question on 12 April 2018
Q.Sir it is good looking but it not common on roads in india . why ?Sir it is good looking but it not common on roads in india . why ?
It was a Niche segment vehicle when launched.So compact SUV's didn't pick up well at the time, Quanto is another example from a well known maker. secondly this is a CKD car(Completely Knocked Down KitIt was a Niche segment vehicle when launched.So compact SUV's didn't pick up well at the time, Quanto is another example from a well known maker. secondly this is a CKD car(Completely Knocked Down Kit) so only assembly takes place in India. People have concerns over buying a new brand car wrt spare parts availability and resale value in future(It wasn't cheap either @ 7.5-8.5 lakhs on road for a car with such basic interiors). Premier had a very scarce dealership network in India and the poor advertisement of the product jointly went downfall for the car. It's a good car just like any other in the market but failed....Read More
answered by JOY MRC on 17 April 2018
Vishal1969 asked a question on 9 April 2018
Q.Is the Rio still in production ? If Not what is the availability of Spares ? If Available, please share details preferably in North India ? Also, please suggest price for used 2012 GLX ? Would you recommend buying the car ??Is the Rio still in production ? If Not what is the availability of Spares ? If Available, please share details preferably in North India ? Also, please suggest price for used 2012 GLX ? Would you recommend buying the car ??
Currently, there are no dealers or authorized service centers functioning for Premier Ltd. However it is possible to buy one brand new possibly at discounted rates from the Premier factory itself whicCurrently, there are no dealers or authorized service centers functioning for Premier Ltd. However it is possible to buy one brand new possibly at discounted rates from the Premier factory itself which is in Chinchwad, Pune. They had a sales center within the factory compound. All genuine spares parts of the vehicle are available all over India via doorstep delivery(3-5 days) since 2015 but finding spares in local shops is difficult. If you are hill bent on buying a Rio(like me :D ) I would suggest getting the CRDi4 variant which uses the FIAT 1.3L Multijet engine. This variant is there from 2012 onwards. The advantage is that finding engine/service spares is a breeze as the same engine is used in 30+ vehicles in India, so spares can be used from FIAT or other vehicle makers also like Maruti, TATA etc. The GLX you've mentioned seems to be using the 1.5L diesel engine sourced from Peugeot. If its the 1.2L petrol engine variant, best to avoid it as it sold in very less numbers and spares are also hard to come by. The ideal price range for good condition 2012 diesel Rio would be 2-2.5 lakhs. CRDi4 can fetch upto 50,000 more depending on condition. Try to get it at lowest price possible as you will have to face extremely low resale in future. For spare parts query, Whatsapp only 09447768811. I would recommend my car to someone as it is immaculately maintained from day 1 or a new car from Premier. It is just as reliable as any other car. BUT We don't know the story with other used cars so inspect thoroughly with a mechanic and get a repair/spares quote before hand and factor that in before arriving at a price for the car. Hope this helps. Regards......Read More