Looking at the Premier Sigma, strange memories come to my mind. Of Lionel Richie singing ‘Hello’ to a blind girl and people wearing those tight ‘stretch’ Hara jeans. Yes, the Sigma would remind you of the eighties too. That was the time when we first saw an engine buried beneath the front two seats of the Maruti Omni, slid the rear doors to get in, gaped at the luggage space behind and marvelled at the Suzuki’s brilliant turning circle.
So you know what, even if the Sigma looks right out of the 1980s, it need not be a bad thing. It fits in a niche that’s absent in our country. If you want to buy a reasonably priced diesel vehicle that can carry six or more people and don’t want to go in for large utility vehicles like the Bolero or Qualis, you really don’t have a choice. Which is where the Sigma makes sense. It will be available in 5, 7, 8 and 9 seater options, it will also give you the option of having a twin-AC, single AC or no AC at all. The van format is something we Indians are quite comfortable with, thanks to the sterling work done by the Omni. Now imagine a taller, more spacious Omni with a diesel engine, and you can see the applications the Sigma can be used for – not just a personal family vehicle, but as a commercial vehicle too.
We had published a scoop picture of a van called the Galaxy about two years back. Premier was planning to launch this vehicle and it was undergoing tests in and around Pune. The Galaxy was a Mitsubishi van of Taiwanese make, but the engine inside was the very familiar Peugeot TuD5 – it’s a good thing the TuD5 was not chosen, I’ll tell you why later. Things have changed since then, and we have the Sigma instead. So Premier has diligently been at it that long, and finally they seem to be ready for launch. Which should be sometime around Dussehra/Diwali.
Ignore the 80s look – gawky appearance, un-adventurous straight lines, uncomfortable front end, a hatch that opens with the help of metre-long struts, and the overall similarity to the max headroom Maruti Omni we had earlier – and let’s see what’s on offer.