New Premier Rio Price & Review
The new Premier Rio can now be sold in major towns and cities in India following the fitment of a 1200cc petrol engine under its hood which is BSIV compliant. This will also ensure that the Rio will sell in larger numbers than ever before.
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Along with the new engine, the looks of the car have also been given a facelift and now it would look more at home in urban settings. In this article we take a look at the new for 2012 Premier Rio.
Features of New Premier Rio
The outgoing Rio, which wasn’t much of a looker, when viewed head on because of its gawky and dated looks, has now a much better visage thanks to some design changes carried out by the original manufacturers of the Rio, the Zotye Group, which is based in China. In China, the Rio is called the Nomad and the Chinese manufacturer has fitted the car with new headlights which are more curvy and cut into the bumper.
The new design grille and the spoiler endow the Rio with a sophisticated and pleasant look. To make these changes possible, the bonnet and the fenders have been redesigned and so has been the bumper. According to the manufacturer, the new design makes the Rio more efficient.
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The side cladding and the plastic covering for the wheel arches are now finished in body color and this makes the mini sports utility vehicle better looking and more appealing when viewed from the side. Outside rear view mirrors with integrated turn indicators also add flair to the overall design of the mini-SUV.
The outgoing model looked the best when it was viewed from the rear, but it is not so now and this is thanks to the changes made in the front. But the rounded glass on the tailgate and the rear-mounted spare wheel add to the good looks of the car. The new rear bumper also adds to the overall clean line of the car. The Rio which is based on the Daihatsu Terios, remains unchanged overall.
The track is still narrow though the 15” tyres give the Rio a planted feel. Add to this a generous ground clearance of 20cm and the Rio is capable of traversing through almost anything you can throw at it while motoring around in the city. The Premier Rio looks adventurous and youthful and attracts lot of eyeballs.
There have been changes made to the interiors too and these are also going to hold attention of onlookers longer than the exteriors. The color of the upholstery has been changed to beige and this makes the cabin appear more cheerful and spacious.
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The steering wheel has also been given extra cushioning and this makes it beefier and more comfortable to hold. The steering boss is also new and has been garnished with chrome. However, ergonomic flaws like the awkwardly placed switches for the power windows haven’t been fixed.
As mentioned earlier, the Rio now receives a 1200cc petrol engine, which has been designed by AVL of Austria and manufactured in China, from were it is brought to India in fully assembled condition. The engine is mounted longitudinally and the power output is 75.5bhp while the torque generated is 10.5kgm and power is transmitted to the rear wheels.
Driveability, Ride & Handling
At idle, the engine is smooth and the insulation, which does duty on the diesel-powered Rio, works very well. Slotting the vehicle in first gear is a notchy but light affair, while the clutch is easy to use. Performance wise the Rio disappoints. The power output is not that good because engines in other vehicles with a similar capacity make substantially more power.
As the vehicle is rear wheel drive, there is loss of efficiency. Having a kerb weight of 1080kg, the Rio is quite heavy compared to hatchbacks of a similar size. There is an outright lack of punchiness in the motor but what mars the driving experience is the unresponsive nature of the powerplant. Whenever the driver dabs the throttle, the engine responds with a lethargic and dull response.
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Even putting the short travel accelerator pedal to the floor doesn’t awaken the engine. Past 3200rpm, the engine awakens a bit but still it is not what you expect. The Rio just wants to amble along at its own sweet pace rather than being hustled around, which it is not capable of. Overtaking is also a chore with the driver needing to downshift couple of gears.
On the highway, the Premier Rio can attain a top speed of 140kmph but to reach there you need to be patient, while the engine sounds quite strained. In gear acceleration is also slow, with the gear ratios being too tall resulting in the vehicle losing speed when you slot it into the fifth gear.
There is one area in which the Rio shines and that is the way in which it takes bad roads in its stride. The mini SUV goes over rough surfaces like a professional. But the suspension is a bit lumpy at slower than average speeds and there is a bit of body roll when negotiating corners. The suspension makes quite a lot of noise when the Rio is cruising at high speed.
Sum Up & Price of New Premier Rio
The looks of the Premier Rio have been enhanced by the cosmetic changes, both in the exteriors and the interiors. What lets down the Rio is the new 1200cc engine, which gives the vehicle poor performance and will be detrimental in making it a sales success. But what works in the Rio’s favour is the niche segment it occupies, which doesn’t have any other competitors in the below Rs 5 lakh price range.
What also works in its favour is the SUV looks and its urban-friendly size. But, what can dramatically change the Rio’s fortune for good is the introduction of a Fiat-sourced Multijet diesel engine, having an output of 74bhp. Expected in the middle of 2012, the diesel Rio will certainly endear itself to lot of buyers. The Premier Rio can be had for Rs 4.95-5.80 lakh.