The only remaining survivor of Deep Space Nine's three original runabout vessels dropped off by the Enterprise-D.

The Rio Grande was first used by Science Officer Dax and Commander Sisko, during their initial exploration of the wormhole. Later, with the wormhole aliens' help, the runabout towed of the wormhole a Cardassian warship.

When Sisko and Dukat took the Rio Grande, along with the other three runabouts, to head off the Maquis at the Bryma colony, it sustained damage to its impulse fusion core, port warp nacelle, and required a few days to repair.

Jake Sisko and Nog disabled half of its systems while trying to navigate back from a Gamma Quadrant science project interrupted by Commander Sisko and Quark's capture by the Jem'Hadar.