The Renault Triber has been the center of attraction in the Rs 5-7 lac bracket ever since it was launched late last month. And why not? Here is a car that is more than just a conventional hatchback, offering space for 7 without compromising on key parameters like features, design and value. But can a 1000cc motor be enough for such a vehicle and most importantly, how does this new Renault drive? With these unanswered questions in our mind, we flew down to scenic Goa to lay our hands on a car that might create its own niche in India.
The Triber is a sub 4m vehicle and this is essential to enjoy small car tax benefits. But in flesh, it does look large and well proportioned with a front end design that does stand out from the usual crop of mid-size hatchback. There is a hint of sportiness with swooping headlamps that also get projectors in the higher trims. The three slat grille looks nice, you get slim DRLs below the main lamps and the bumper itself gets a sporty lip.
See one approaching you on the road and it does look nice – this is also due to its width and height with the Triber being taller than cars like the Figo and the Grand i10. Believe it or not, it is even wider than the Ertiga!
The highlight of the side profile is the design of the Pseudo looking alloy wheels – what you see here are wheel caps that are cleverly designed to look like alloys. Good move here – we first saw this on the Tata Tiago NRG. You do get roof rails and Renault is offering an official roof rack at the showroom level.
You also notice the hump in the roof towards the rear and this helps liberate good headroom at the back – this inspite of roof mounted vents for the 3rd row passengers. At the back, the design is rather sober – no chrome treatment or sporty design for the bumper. That said, the prominent Triber badging looks nice.
The cabin of the Triber is its USP and this is one area that has generated a lot of interest. For starters, I like the design of the fascia and the use of various shades – black, beige and even the horizontal silver strip that runs across the width of the cabin. Touch and feel of plastics too is good but what gets it brownie points from us are the practical storage spaces.
You can keep your mobile below the air-con vents, there is space for a couple of wallets ahead of the gear lever, twin cup holders behind it and a very good, cooled storage space on the left of the hand brake lever. It is deep enough to keep 3-4 soft drink cans and is concealed with a lid – looks neat indeed! And then there are the two gloveboxes and generous door pads which can hold bottles.
Thanks to its height and width, two tall, well built adults will feel at home up front in the first two seats. These are comfortable and provide a lot of side bolstering. And then the visibility part – even short drivers will feel confident while driving this car in peak traffic. Ditto for ingress which is good, thanks to doors that open wide. In terms of features, we had the top spec RXZ version and this comes with a touch screen infotainment system, push button start, four Airbags and a digital speedometer console. That said, the Triber does not offer steering controls, a front arm-rest or adjustable front head restraints.
The 2nd row also offers good space and even with the front seats positioned for tall adults, similar sized passengers will not complain at the back. The floor is almost flat which is good news for a 3rd (middle) passengers and the 60:40 split means you can slide or recline this row independently. Infact, the seat reclines by a massive angle and this is useful for a power nap on the move. That said, the 2nd row windows do not roll down completely. But its the last row that has been the talking point. First, getting in is easy from the left as the 2nd row seat tumbles ahead with a one touch operation. Next, if you do slide the 2nd row ahead, even average sized adults will feel at home. I was also surprised at the amount of headroom in here and you don’t feel too hammered in. Plus, there is a charging outlet and the dedicated vents do their job well. For kids or young adults, the third row is definitely a good place to be.
This last row can be taken out in less than two minutes and is possible without any help. All Tribers will come with a proper Renault branded bag for storing away these seats. And once you take them out, the available space is enough for four large sized suitcases. That said, with all the rows in place, the space is just about enough for three shoulder bags.
The heart of the matter here is a 1000cc petrol unit and no, it is not the same that powers the Kwid. This motor is from Renault’s international line-up of Energy series and makes about 4 PS more and 5 Nm higher torque than the Kwid’s 1.0 unit. Most importantly, the max torque comes in at 3500rpm (lower than Kwid’s 1.0) and this is what makes a world of difference when it comes to daily drives. Yes, the typical 3 cylinder vibes remain and this unit becomes very vocal at higher revs but part throttle response works pretty well. I had a chance to potter around in the back lanes of Goa’s countryside and the Triber showed its strengths in terms of gaining momentum from lower speeds.
This unit comes with a dual VVT and you can clearly feel a spike in acceleration if you are doing pedal to metal from lower revs. However, it isnt a smooth transition and takes time getting used to. Also, at lower revs, when you lift off the throttle, there isn’t an immediate and pronounced back pressure and engine braking effect, with the momentum remaining for a fraction or two. This can catch you off-guard initially before you get used to it.
I also not a fan of the way the gearshifts work – the ‘box has a rough edge to it and quick shifts need to be done properly. The clutch however is light enough. Driven lightly, the on-board display will show an easy 13-14 kmpl, even with the air-con running but for this figure, you will have to use higher gears (3rd and 4th) in traffic. This is possible as the low end punch is decent enough to keep you neck to neck with traffic.
I also like the feather light steering which is a boon for slow moving traffic, parking lots and while doing a 3 point u-turn. Yes, it may feel lifeless at anything over 70-80km/h and enthusiasts will criticise it for the lack of feedback but as an urban runabout, the steering set up is spot on. Ditto for the ride quality – its a good balance and most undulations are absorbed easily. Only the sharp ones are felt inside but with a load of passengers, even this gets taken care of. Brakes do work well but I must add, at higher speeds, you need to be careful before changing lanes.
Prices start at Rs 4.95 lakh for the base version and in my opinion, the flexible 3rd row itself is worth a good 20-30k! In terms of value for money then, the Triber scores high marks. Renault is offering low maintenance cost, an extended warranty of up to 5 years with roadside assistance and an annual maintenance package to further lure in buyers. In this segment of Rs 5-7 lakh then, if you are a married couple with kids and live with your parents, which other car manages to offer the space and versatility? Yes, the engine isn’t the best with a lack of an automatic a big hindrance but look beyond these parameters and the Triber seems to be a winner. Good work there!