Premier is expanding the reach of the Rio compact SUV to metros now that it has a BSIV compatible diesel engine. The new variant of the Rio with the Fiat-derived 1.3 multijet diesel engine will be available from August 2, in all metros. The Rio CRDi4 as it’s called is priced at Rs. 6.7 lakh, ex-showroom Pune and is available in four colors.
The Rio is the original compact SUV to first make it into the Indian market two years ago with a petrol and diesel engine choice, but because of the lack of reach of Premier’s dealerships and a non-compliant engine for metros, the vehicle has not seen much sales. However, Premier now has 55 dealerships in place and plans to expand it further. It plans to have 100 dealers by December 2012, and is also setting up 200 PASS (Premier Authorized Service Stations) across the country.
Premier claims that since the engine being used in the Rio is the same as the one found in the Punto, Ritz, Swift, Vista, Linea, Manza, Ertiga and SX4, spares for the engine will be easy to come by in most parts of the country. The Rio will be available in black, red, silver and white.
The Rio is being assembled by Premier at its plant near Pune in Maharashtra, with body shell and components being imported from Zoyte of China. The company claims it has the capacity to supply 1000 Rios a month or 12,000 annually, which it thinks is adequate to meet demand initially.
The Rio is powered by a 1248 cc, multijet diesel engine, that puts out 72 bhp of power at 4000 rpm and 183 Nm of torque at 1800-2400 rpm. This is slightly lower than the power specifications of the same engine on the Swift, Punto and Vista, as Premier is using a different turbocharger for the engine. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. It has a claimed fuel-efficiency of 19 kmpl. Also see: Premier Rio video review
The Rio is a compact vehicle, and gets the benefit of excise duty for small cars, as it measures less than 4 meters in length. The Rio is only 3970 mm long, 1570 mm wide and 1730 mm tall, with good ground clearance of 200 mm. This would make it a good city runabout, and a good alternative to some premium hatchbacks. Also read: Premier Rio vs Renault Duster
The Rio does not have airbags, but it does come with ABS. It also offers a music system, beige interiors, power mirrors, rear wash-wipe and defogger, and a boot mounted spare wheel, with underfloor storage in the 320 litre boot.
The Premier Rio CRDi4 is priced at the same level as the Maruti Swift ZDI, shares more or less the same power specs, but offers the high driving position of an SUV with a lot more ground clearance.
What’s your take on the Premier Rio? Is it a good alternative to a premium hatchback?