If you think that India’s first sub 4 meter utility vehicle was the Mahindra Quanto, then you are so wrong.
[Left - Facelifted Zotye 5008 spotted production-ready; Right - The Premier Rio was updated last year]
India’s compact SUV race was started by Premier Auto which launched the Rio SUV in India in 2009.
Of course, Premier did not have the marketing machinery, the brand equity or a retail network like Mahindra or Renault to make their product a common sight on Indian roads. But credit is due where credit is deserved.
Now, the Premier Rio, a rebadged Zotye 5008 which is basically an old Daihatsu Terios, has received a minor facelift in China.
It features an all-new front fascia with a new front bumper and new fog lamps, new headlamps and a new grill. The redesign makes the Chinese SUV look slightly modern and stylish, there's a hint of the new M Class from this angle, but for once, its not deliberate.
In China, the Zotye 5008 is powered by two petrol motors (1.3L and 1.5L) borrowed from Mitsubishi. Here in India, you can buy the Rio with the Fiat 1.3L Multi-jet engine.
This mid-life facelift is to keep the customers interested in the model until an all-new successor is ready by 2015. The all-new 5008 will be built ground up by Zotye. The idea is to move away from shared technologies and establish Zotye as a serious carmaker in the Chinese market.
Do you think Premier Auto should bring this facelift to India as the 2013 Premier Rio?