India’s most compact SUV

 Premier Rio front

Premier was established in 1944 by industrial pioneer Walchand Hirachand. It was one of the first Indian companies to start manufacturing automobiles in collaboration with Chrysler Corporation U.S.A. The first car rolled out of its factory in Kurla, Mumbai in 1948. Thereafter, Premier has had several collaborations/joint-ventures with FIAT, Nissan and Peugeot etc. Its most popular model was the FIAT 1100 popularly known as Premier Padmini reputed for its ruggedness and reliability. Premier has also successfully launched several other models including the popular 118 NE, Fiat UNO and various diesel variants.

Premier India which was once famous for its Padmini sedan, has made a bang with the launch of all new SUV – The Rio. Rio is basically the Zotye Nomada which is a mini crossover which is manufactured by leading chinese auto manufacturer – Zotye Autos. The factory of Zotye occupies 500,000 square meters and there are over 6,000 employees. They have the capacity of annually producing 100,000 cars. Premier Rio is a small city SUV which has been developed on basis of advanced technology from domestic and international autos. The company has tied up with a Chinese auto company Zoyte International. The CKD version of the car will be assembled at premier’s Chinchwad facility in Pune, where it currently manufactures Sigma van and Road-star pick-up. Rio is less than four metres in length and has 1489cc engine which is below 1.5 litre engine capacity, so it gets the tax benefit of a small car. “We will be targeting fun-loving small families for their multi-purpose use with Rio. It is placed between the mid-sized passenger car and larger utility vehicles,” Premier Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Maitreya Doshi said here after launching the vehicle. Premier India has inked a five-year component and kit supply agreement with Chinese car maker Zotye Group, which entered into the field in 2005, to assemble Rios in its Pune facility.

In terms of design Rio looks very familiar and plain jane, there is nothing unique about the design. As this was expected as Rio is based on Zotye Nomada which was once sold as Daihatsu Terios in late 1990s. Rights to the Daihatsu Terios were sold to Chinese car maker Zotye Auto and now Premier has done a deal whereby the entire car sans the drivetrain would be brought into India as a CKD unit. At the front it features twin parabola headlamps with wire mesh grille having chrome strip on top of it. The turn indicators are integrated into grey finished front bumpers which gives it a bold SUV type looks. At the rear end it features ford fusion type vertical tail lamps in D-pillar. Also the spare wheel is mounted on the tail gate like we have seen in safari and endeavour. With its significantly higher headroom, the Rio also offers more storage space than the large hatchbacks without enlarging its exterior dimensions.

Premier Rio interior

Rio is going to be choice of a customer who wants SUV looks in a affordable 5 seater vehicle and for a price of premiumhatchback. The base model of Rio comes with front power windows, rear defogger, rear wiper/washer and electric adjustment for outside rear view mirrors. In addition to all these comfort features the top model of Rio comes with AC, Central Locking, ABS, EBD & CD Player with AM/FM and premium fabric in different shade. The front and rear seats of Premier Rio are firm and well bolstered but the overall quality of upholstery is inferior but then Premier had no choice as they wanted to slot Rio in a price range of 5-6 lakhs. As seen in pictures the quality of plastics used in dashboard, steering wheel and centre console is also not up to the mark. But still it is very good in comparison to some Maruti & Tata products including the 800, Alto, Indica V2 and Tata Sumo.

64 Bhp Euro III Ready Turbo Diesel Engine Powered by Premier’s own engine that is essentially a downsized Peugeot TUD5 diesel engine, the Rio’s engine capacity now measures in at 1490cc and develops 65 Bhp of peak power. The 1489cc Turbo Diesel engine generates maximum power of 65 Bhp at 4000 rpm with maximum torque of 152 Nm at 2250 rpm slightly feels unpowered. But the engine feels underpowered in comparison to the weight of vehicle and 65 Bhp is very less for a SUV – as Premier India is promoting Rio. Though ARAI has not announced any mileage figures for Premier Rio but the company is claiming around 15-16 kmpl on highway and 11-12 in city driving conditions which is quite ok for a utility vehicle. But Premier should have launched Rio with the more powerful 98 Bhp engine with which it is being sold in China, they have not even kept it as optional.

Premier India has launched Rio in three variants – Premier Rio EX, Premier Rio DX & Premier Rio LX. All Variants Of Premier Rio Comes With Following Styling, Comfort & Safety Features:

  • – Headlamp leveling device which is now mandatory as per law
  • – Electrically operated Outside Rear View Mirrors
  • – Side claddings which gives Rio a rugged and muscular look
  • – Rear wiper + washer with Rear window demister
  • – Rear fog lamps, Day-Night rearview mirror
  • – Cup holder in console with Cigarette lighter
  • – Remote fuel lid opener
  • – Power steering, Front Electric windows
  • – Side impact beams, Brake assist

In Addition to all the above mentioned features the DX model and top model of Premier Rio LX comes with – Central door locking, Manual air-conditioning, 15″ Alloy wheels, CD player with AM/FM radio, 4 Speakers, ABS with EBD and Keyless entry.

Premier Rio is available in five shades – Brick Red, Tafeta White, Sleek Silver, Royal Black and Sea Blue. Here is the price list of Premier Rio:  Premier Rio rear

  • – Premier Rio EX – Rs. 5,25,000.00
  • – Premier Rio DX – Rs. 5,50,000.00
  • – Premier Rio LX – Rs. 5,95,000.00

Premier Auto has launched Rio in three models – The EX, which is priced at Rs 5.25 lakh, the DX at Rs 5.50 lakh and LX at Rs 5.95 lakh – all ex-showroom, Pune. Premier Rio is going to shake the SUV segment with its killer price as it has got loads of features on offer even in the base model.