This is how we figure the meeting at the Renault Headquarters must have gone when they came up with the Renault Triber.
“Here is what this car has to achieve,” someone at the meeting must said. “It has to be able to seat seven people comfortably. It also has to be an MPV that comes in the price bracket of a B-segment hatchback. We can’t skimp on the equipment and features, and it has to be under the four-meter mark.
Surely, a stunned silence must have followed as the fellow walked out of the room, leaving the rest to figure out a way of achieving this task of boiling the ocean.
As impossible as it seems, Renault have achieved more or less everything they set out to with the Renault Triber… at least on paper. We thought it sounded too good to be true, so we asked the good folks at Advanced Automobiles Pvt Ltd (distributors of Renault Cars in Nepal) to give us the keys so we could test it out for ourselves.
It does NOT look like an abomination.
Consider for a while the task the designers had at hand with the Renault Triber. Creating an MPV that seats seven people while staying under the four-meter mark and still making an aesthetically appealing car could not have been easy. Let’s give credit where it’s due: Renault have done a great job with the Triber in achieving a good design.
The Triber is based on a modified version of the CMF-A platform which underpins the Kwid. When you view its profile, you will notice two things. The first being the steeped roof that adds headroom for the rear passengers. You will also notice that the wheels have been pushed as far out towards the bumper as possible in order to extend the wheelbase, thereby improving the legroom for the occupants of the car. And the side cladding, well, those are just stickers.
Once you decide to get into the car, the car unlocks automatically.
That’s provided you approach it with the keys in your pocket. It also locks itself when you walk away from the car after you’ve parked it. The good thing about the cabin is that it’s spacious. There is plenty of legroom and headroom. We reckon there will be slightly less usable space in the third row (the seats weren’t provided), however, Renault promises it will be usable for adults.
It is clear that the Renault Triber is built to be practical. The second row is very comfortable for two adults and you can slide them forwards or backwards to your liking as well as fold them individually. You also get aircon vents on the B-pillars which will be very welcome once summer comes along in full swing. You can control the rear aircon vents via a nob that’s placed behind the handbrakes. Even the third row gets roof mounted a/c vents.
To further the cause of practicality, there is plenty of useful storage space. You get a storage bin under the front seat that can hold up to 1kg. Also very useful is a deep 4.3L storage space in the center console that gets cooling. And there is plenty of boot space on the Triber, 625 liters of it. But that’s because the Triber comes as a five-seater in Nepal. You do, however, get the option to put in the third row yourself. With the third row installed, the boot space shrinks to 84 liters.
Here is how it is to drive…
Powering the Triber is a 1.0L 3-cylinder petrol engine, a tweaked version of the one that you get in the Kwid. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to tell that it isn’t a powerhouse. Nevertheless, the [email protected] 6,250rpm and [email protected],500 rpm gets the job done. You’re not going to get anywhere fast, but it will get you there. If you really ask a lot from the engine you will be met with a lot of noise and vibrations.
Driving in the city is adequate, but on the highway you will be working the engine hard. The light clutch doesn’t make things a lot of fun, but the 5-speed gearshift is decent. You’ll make the best of it if you’re driving it at a passive speed like the MPV that it is, and not like a maniac. This will also help keep the body-rolls in check.
The ride quality is decent and the Triber soaks up minor bumps and potholes well. However, it isn’t always a cushy ride. The suspensions did better with passengers in the rear seat as compared to the seats being vacant. The electric power steering is decent and is great for in-city driving or when you find yourself in a tight parking spot. Even on the highways the steering wheel weighs up nicely.
In terms of safety, all variants of the Triber get ABS + EBD as standard. You also get four airbags in higher variants, however it is still far from the safest offering in the market. The brakes work as expected and will get the job done well.
So where does this bring us with the Renault Triber?
Once again, the Renault Triber is focusing on making the Triber as practically usable as possible. So we understand why the performance plays second fiddle to utility. The possibility of transporting seven people from one place to another in relative comfort, with a bit of luggage, will always win against corner carving and/or an exhilarating driving experience. But the experience you get when you’re driving it is nothing to write home about.
The Renault Triber does not feel like it’s trying to compete against any existing product; at least not directly. What Renault has done with the Triber is create a differentiator and filled a void in the market that they discovered. A better engine would have been great but that can be said of almost any car in the market today. But the moment they fit a better motor, the Triber will no longer be available at this price point. This car is for the average income level family that has to accommodate an above average number of family members in a car that comes under a budget.
The distributors in Nepal offer the Renault Triber as a 5-seater but we still see the Triber filling the unique needs of a large family.