Premier Rio sidelined by the likes of Renault Duster and Mahindra Quanto; what led to its downfall

Friday 19 October 2012, 11:53 AM by

The arrival of Renault Duster and Mahindra Quanto has heaved a new lease of life in the compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment of the Indian automobile market. However, the country's first compact SUV Premier Rio seems to have lost its traction in the domestic market and the neatly priced car failed to inspire the Indian audience towards the Premier showrooms. The company retails the Rio within a price range close to Rs. 5.3 lacs and Rs. 7.5 lacs in the country.

Premier Rio sidelined by the likes of Renault Duster and Mahindra Quanto; what led to its downfall |
Premier Rio sidelined by the likes of Renault Duster and Mahindra Quanto

There are plenty of reasons that reciprocated among each other and led to the unfortunate story of the Premier Rio. First and most significant being the semblance and overall appeal of the Premier brand among the Indian consumers, which contributes to an extremely small number of the domestic market. Over the years, the car maker is identified with old and obsolete models, besides the small number of Premier Service centres have steered the Indian car enthusiasts away from the brand.

The company looked to change all the conceptions about its image and presented the Indian audience with their first compact SUV in the form of Premier Rio. The Rio looks a decent offering with a reliable Fiat Multi-jet diesel motor under its hood and an acute price tag, but the car dips in value due to its below par interiors and quality.

Currently, the Premier Rio is available in both petrol and diesel guises in the Indian passenger car market. The petrol Rio features a 1.2 litre, 4 cylinder, 1173 cc power-mill that rolls out a maximum power and torque equation of 76 bhp and 104 Nm, respectively and delivers an impressive fuel economy of 16 km per litre (ARAI rating). On the other hand the diesel variant of Rio comes fitted with a 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder, 1489 cc motor, which churns out a peak power of 65 bhp and a maximum torque output of 152 Nm. The car fells short on the fuel economy terms and manages an ARAI certified mileage of just 12 km per litre. Hence, considering under the hood specifications, the Premier Rio appears a decent buy and makes one wonder what led to its current situation of being driven away from the spotlight.

From a first glance, the Rio compact SUV looks great and it can be said with certainty the car could easily give the popular hatchbacks a run for their money. Evidently, it is the interiors that considerably drop the value-for-money quotient of the compact SUV, which is plagued with poor quality fabrics, plastics usage and a major irritant - high Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels inside the cabin.

Currently, the fight for the best-selling compact SUV title in the Indian market is a two horse race between Renault Duster and the fresh Mahindra Quanto. Both the vehicles have been breaking sales records in the segment and there's absolutely no scope for the Premier Rio to pose a few problems for its direct competitors. In order to make the Premier Rio a worthy dark horse to check the domination of Duster and Quanto, Premier will have to redefine the car's imbibed DNA and relaunch a more refined product, besides not necessarily keeping the same humble price tag.

Upcoming Cars
Recent Car Launches