Premier Rio launched – price Rs 5.95 lakh for top end LX version

Premier Rio min SUV launched – no four wheel drive, though.

So here we have our ‘curious’ launch of the month – the Premier Rio mini-SUV. We had written about the upcoming launch of the Premier Rio a few days back.

The Premier Rio really is a curious vehicle in India. India’s first car from China, and from the company that gave us the Premier Padmini too.

Without much beating about the bush, here is what we have come to know.

Photo: Premier Rio
Photo: Premier Rio

Engine

All variants of the Rio feature the Peugeot TUD5 engine with the addition of a turbocharger, now at 1489 cc producing 65 bhp at 4000 rpm, and 152 Nm of torque at 2250-3000 rpm. Unlike what we thought earlier, the Premier Rio does not meet BS IV emission standards; BS III is what you get. Premier Auto claims a fuel efficiency of 16 kilometers to the litre for the Rio. Five gears, manual transmission.

Rio EX

The Premier Rio will be launched in three versions. There is no difference between the engines of the three versions. The base model Rio is priced at Rs 5.25 lakh, ex-showroom Pune. Add another Rs 50,000 or so to that, and you get the on-road price. Rs 5.75 lakh is not cheap, but then that is the price of a medium sized hatch in India. What do you get for that? Power steering, front power windows and central locking are there, plus an MP3 enabled audio system. No mention of air conditioning for the EX, sadly.

Rio DX

This is the mid-level variant, and it is priced at Rs 5.50 lakh ex-showroom, Pune. We are not sure if ABS would be available in this model. Alloy wheels are likely.

Rio LX

This is the top end variant. Priced at Rs 5.95 lakh, the Rio DX gets ABS, and alloy wheels. No all-wheel drive / 4WD. Four wheel drive would be fantastic for such a small SUV. The orginal Daihatsu Terios and the Zotye Rio have an AWD option, but it not not available for the Indian Rio. No airbags on the top end version, either.

We are still waiting for any update on the AWD situation. (Correction. No four wheel drive.) We will be updating this page as soon as we get any info on that.

While Premier Auto could not offer Bharat Stage IV emission compliance at the time of the launch, they are aiming for that, says the company.

Colours

Red, blue, white, silver and black.

Competition

Well, any hatchback could be a competition at this price. But then again, the market may not be very welcoming to a Chinese car, even though you could point out its Toyota/ Daihatsu family tree. And Premier does not enjoy a great reputation after their flops with the Peugeot 309 more than a decade back.

But your low-end Boleros, Invaders, and even the cheapest Scorpio might face some competition from the Premier Rio in some markets. The Bolero has several low end models where the maximum horsepower is 63 bhp and maximum torque 180 Nm. Suddenly, the light-weight Rio does not seem very underpowered.

Frankly, we want to see the Premier Rio succeed. Nothing is more inspiring that a company down in the dumps coming out with a new niche product, and making it work. Whether that will happen or not, we shall see soon.