Premier Rio road tests – all you wanted to know

First impressions and road tests of the just-launched Premier Rio have started popping up. I don’t know about you, but there is something about this vehicle that makes me really wish it would be successful. However, looking at the initial driving impressions, that does not seem likely to happen.

But then they could be wrong, and perhaps Maitreya Doshi of PAL has a better insight into what the market wants than the bloggers and websites.

Adil Jal Darukhanawala of Zigwheels has given the Rio one of the more positive reviews.

Take a look at this.

The Rio drives very well, is sprightly without being over the top, and can more than hold its own with all of the A-segment hatches as well as the entry level B-segmenters.

That is interesting. Others who had a test drive had quite the opposite view.

He also says that the car is essentially a kei-car which falls under the Japanese kei-car regulations. That means that there are restrictions on size. Perhaps we should not be complaining about the size then? This definitely does not look like a vehicle for the really tall or fat.

As far as drivablity goes, he says that you have to keep the Rio in its torque band, and then progress is pretty good. His view is that the rear wheel drive of the Premier Rio makes it quite different, and “brings a flush to your face.” Hmmmm.

You can read the full review of the Premier Rio road test from Zigwheels here.

Sirish Chandran of Overdrive has a totally different view on the Premier Rio. He has serious problems with the build quality of the car and finish. That is stuff which Adil says is par for the course for a car that is built to a price. Nothing to complain about, according to him.

According to him, the Rio does not feel confidence inspiring. The Rio has doors which does not open wide enough, there is not enough room for the rear passengers, and even small hatches which cost less today feel more sophisticated and drive better, says Sirish Chandran after his quick road drive of the Rio. You can read his full story on the Rio and a quick driving impression here.

Team-bhp, that hangout of auto enthusiasts from across India, too have  quick driving impression. The general opinion in Team-BHP is negative, and seriously so. But remember that these are car enthusiasts, and there may be nothing in the Rio that would appeal to them.

One of their members, Dippy, who drove the Premier Rio around a bit had this to say:

The driving position is not great with the steering touching the legs of even a short driver like me. This gets quite irritating. The power steering is quite light though and driving it through traffic should not be a problem. Coming to the rear, the Rio is strictly a 4 seater as opposed to the company’s 5 seating capacity.

Nothing positive about the Rio there either. You can read the full thread on the Rio here.

Remember that nobody has done a complete road test of the Premier Rio and tested its performance on all its aspects. We will have to wait a bit for that. BSMotoring has promised a detailed driving impression this weekend, and we will wait for that.

Also, whether the vehicle is a good for the market that it is targetting – that is something no one has seriously examined yet. This is definitely no replacement for the much-loved Maruti Gypsy, for sure.

Our feeling is that even considering that the Rio is built to a price, that argument may not work as the top end variant costs almost Rs 7 lac on-road in Mumbai.