Review: New 15-Year Old Daihatsu Terios, Sold In India As Premier RiO

Faisal Ali Khan
by Faisal Ali Khan
review new 15 year old daihatsu terios sold in india as premier rio

Ever heard about the Daihatsu Terios? It was born in 1997 and it is sold in India as the Premier RiO. No, not the second generation model, but the first generation model is being sold in India. The rights of the first generation Terios were sold to China’s Zoyte in 2006. Premier (one of the oldest automobile companies in India) imports CKD kits from China and assembles the Terios. I had a chance to drive this car. All I can tell you: This 15 year old does show its age. Premier positions the RiO as India’s first compact SUV. I position it as a fail.

Rounding out the poor quality of plastics and abundant panel gaps, the RiO has poor dynamics too. It doesn’t drive well and has a lot of body roll. There is absolutely zilch feedback from the steering wheel. Power comes in from Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine, which produces 72 BHP and 183 Nm. This motor is already powering close to 10 cars in India (from Suzuki, GM to Tata). Premier has the NVH levels all wrong, the engine sounds very noisy and there are a lot of vibrations . There is decent power for city driving though.

The cabin is quite cramped and there is not much space for the passenger. The vehicle is priced at Rs. 7.94 lakhs / $ 14,400 (with taxes and insurance), which buys you front power windows, power steering alloy wheels, an audio system and ABS as standard. There are no rear power windows, or airbags. At this price, one can get the Hyundai i20, or Maruti Suzuki Swift, or Volkswagen Polo. Now you know why Premier sells only 200 units a month, while the Swift sells close to 18000 units.

Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of, a website covering the auto industry of India.

Join the conversation
4 of 16 comments
  • Ariesdevin Ariesdevin on Sep 12, 2012

    "I was looking for a powerful car with good mileage and drivability so to use it as a daily commuter. After a lot of research I decided to go for Premier Rio with the new Multi-Jet engine. I have bought this car and has already driven it around 500km. The car is powerful and fuel efficient as I wished, it features a 1.3 multijet engine which is finely tuned and gives ample performance, gear shift is also very smooth. The Car also looks very good and powerful, its masculine looks attracts everyone. The twin barrel headlamps look good, whereas neatly furbished fog lamps adds charm to it personality. The roof rails, side cladding, alloy wheels and body colored ORVM make its side profile impressive. The interior quality is also good, the material like plastic and fabric are good in quality. The cabin space is very good and car can accommodate five adults easily, so it becomes a perfect family car for us as we are only four members in our family. The fuel efficiency is what attracts me the most, I have a top-end diesel model which gives a mileage of around 19 km/l which is pretty good for a SUV. Its SUV like looks and off road qualities makes it an ideal tourer too, in addition the boot space is pretty good. I usually go on weekends so its a perfect car for me and my family. I am enjoying the feel of driving a SUV and mileage of a hatch or a entry level sedan, it is just a awesome feeling. I will just say if you are thinking of buying a compact SUV go for RiO."

  • Indyb6 Indyb6 on Sep 12, 2012

    7.94 lakhs?? Wouldn't that buy you a base TATA Safari? How about a Scorpio? If it does, then I would definitely take the Safari. But, if its Premier, bring on the Padmini. I'll take one in tan/orange with brown/tan bench seats. Oh, I still remember the sweet sweet smell of my grandpa's "Fiat" :)

    • See 1 previous
    • Romashah Romashah on Oct 24, 2012

      Faisal Ali Khan...Are the TATA GUYS PAYING YOU FOR WRITING RUBBISH?? THE RIO IS A MUCH BETTER PRODUCT THAN WHAT IT WAS AND JUST CANNOT BE COMPARED TO A SAFARI !! ITS A COMPACT SUV. I test drove the car at chembur and found it perfect for Mumbai.