Renault Triber Roadtest Review – What’s Your Tribe?

Renault in India is known for the Duster and the KWID both of which have sold extremely well right since their launch. Off late the French car maker has seen some decline in its sales and they want to come back strongly all guns blazing with an all-new product – the Triber MPV. More car per car is what the Triber offers and we set out to lovely Goa just find that out, heres our detailed road test review of the latest French offering the Renault Triber 7 seater MPV.

Food for thought

The Triber was developed by Renault specifically for the Indian market which also sells in the Indonesian market. The Triber uses the modified version of Renault Nissans CMF-A modular platform which is a very cost effective platform jointly developed by the two. As per Renault, the key USP of the Triber is flexibility, versatility and practicality. The Triber has a mix of a Crossover, SUV and an MPV in its design and styling elements. This is going to prove to be a very important model for Renault India going ahead.

Design and Exterior

The Renault Triber is an extremely exquisite looking car in terms of design and styling. From the front, it looks like a compact SUV. But, when you look at it from the side, it looks like an MPV. With the overall length just under 4 meters, it falls right under the sub-four meter lineup of cars giving it some tax benefits. Having said that, the Triber has its very own identity. The bonnet of the car is muscular with some sharp yet subtle character lines. Front is dominated by the huge Renault Lozenge logo which is complimented by a mixture of matte black and triple edge chrome grille. Headlight assembly is quite detailed and features a projector type low-beam, a multi-reflector high-beam and integrated turn signal indicator. LED DRL’s makes its way on either side of the dual-tone front bumper and its horizontally placed surrounded by black plastic and a chrome outline. The front bumper has a huge air dam and a faux bash plate finished in silver, again enhancing the SUV’ish looks of the car. Coming to its sides, the Triber gets the typical black plastic cladding all over, thankfully it’s not overdone and helps give the car a sporty stance. The waistline has a small kink on the rear door with variants badging on the C-Pillar. The B & C-Pillars are blacked out and the rear view mirror housing is finished in dual-tone.

The car that was given to us came shod with 185/65 R15 tyre/ wheel combination which is not a part of the actual RXZ model. However, Renault has a list of accessories for the Triber which also includes an SUV kit. We are sure the larger alloy wheel/tyre combo is a part of the same SUV kit. Coming back to the design, the top of the car smartly hides the bulge at the rear thanks to the placement of roof rails, which are functional when it comes to carrying some load on the top. The eagle beak like split wrap-around tail lamps give the rear a rather interesting look. Thankfully the rear glass is not flat but curved on the sides and slopes down at a certain angle which adds to the overall design. The tailgate has the Triber badging right above the number plate placement and the branding on either side and again the Renault Lozenge right in the centre. The lower half of the rear bumper gets skids plates which creates the overall SUV stance of the car.

Interiors and Safety

Just like the exterior of the Renault Triber, the interiors gets interesting with smart touches all over. The highlight of the interior is the massive 8- inch touchscreen ‘MediaNav’ ( as Renault likes to call it ) infotainment system. The dual-tone dashboard is mostly black with some silver accents thrown here and there. The Triber gets dual glovebox and the one at the bottom is a cooled glovebox. Smart use of the available space even with an integrated passenger side airbag. The hazard light, lock and the rear defogger switches are placed right below the infotainment system, followed by the rotary controls for the air conditioner. There’s small stowage tray right below the aircon controls and the engine start/stop button is placed there. It can also be used to place your smartphone etc., although we wish it had an integrated wireless charger too. The steering is quite chunky to hold but does away with any steering controls for the infotainment system.

The instrument cluster is a digital one which displays all the required information and is backlit in white blue colour. The MiD gives out all the other information about how much fuel the car has consumed, two trip meters so on and so forth. The driver and co-driver seats are well bolstered, but the under thigh support is a bit lacking. There’s a smart cooled stowage between the drive and co-driver seats which is deep enough to hold more than a couple of instant energy cans. The rear passenger seat is 60:40 split and is fully adjustable for sliding and reclining. The rear seats are comfortable and offers adequate support and more than enough knee room even for taller people. Wait, there’s more seats on offer! Yes, the Triber offers not just 5 but 7 seats in total, which is an added bonus. However, you might think that the third row of seats is strictly for small children. But, it can comfortably seat average sized humans too. However, it can get tiresome for longer period of time, but for shorter spins you won’t find the third row of passengers complaining about the space. Another additional utility if you don’t require the third row of seats, then you have the option to completely remove the third row of seats and open up the cavernous 625 liters of boot space which can gobble up the world for you. All thanks to the Renault’s smart modular platform. With aircon vents available for second and third row of passengers and a decent sounding music system, we’re sure none of the Triber’s occupants will ever complain about anything.

Wait, there’s more seats on offer! Yes, the Triber offers not just 5 but 7 seats in total, which is an added bonus. However, you might think that the third row of seats is strictly for small children. But, it can comfortably seat average sized humans too. However, it can get tiresome for longer period of time, but for shorter spins you won’t find the third row of passengers complaining about the space. With aircon vents available for second and third row of passengers and a decent sounding music system, we’re sure none of the Triber’s occupants will ever complain about anything.

Renault with it’s ‘more car more features’ philosophy has left no stone unturned when it comes to safety. Apart from the usual ABS + EBD combination and the standard two airbags for the front occupants, the Triber gets an additional set of side airbags for driver and co-driver. Speed sensing door lock, impact sensing door unlock, speed alert warning, rear parking sensors and rear camera just adds to the overall safety of the car and its occupants, making the Triber not just a fun city car, but also a safe city car.

Engine, Transmission and Drive

The Renault Triber comes with only one engine offering which also does duty in the 1.0L Renault Kwid. It’s the same 999cc 3 cylinders powertrain which is tuned differently to generate more power and torque, 71 bhp @ 6250 rpm and 96nm @ 3500 rpm respectively. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. We drove the Triber on the beautiful and well laid out tarmac in Goa. We were quite impressed with the ride quality of the Triber. The suspension setup is good for Indian roads and soaks up bumps and handled undulating roads quite well. Even on some broken patches the car didn’t lose its poise and held its line quite well. We got a chance to take it on one of the beaches too and the Triber got a lot of eyeballs and inquisitive questions from the locals and tourists alike. Talking about the powertrain, the engine is quite capable within the confines of the city, but try to push it and it loses steam.

Even with four fully grown adults and all their luggage the car pulled effortlessly. Thanks to 90% of all the torque which is available lower down coupled with the short first and second gear the Triber gets a good start. The third gear is the most flexible, it can pull the car from as low as 25kmph or even lower, all the way up to a ton effortlessly! But again like we mentioned above, the 3 cylinder engine has its own pros and cons. It’s a very refined engine, it’s extremely smooth and supremely silent at idling and fuel efficient all at the same time, but slightly underpowered for long tours. We think the gearbox is the culprit to some extent, its notchy and the gearshifts are reluctant and doesn’t give a positive feedback. Maybe the gearshifts will improve with time as the car clocks more kilometres on the odometer. Overall we were quite impressed with the Triber and it’s ‘grown up’ car like mannerisms while on the move.

Verdict

An exquisitely designed car with almost all features a buyer looks for in a city car which fortunately is priced aggressively by Renault keeping in mind the Indian car buyers psyche and sentiments. We don’t see any reason for the Triber to not connect with it’s buyers and will conveniently ruffle a few feathers in the industry. This is keeping in mind the competition and what other companies offer for the same or slightly higher price. The Renault Triber has it’s trump card up its sleeve which offers a 7-seater car for the same amount of money, which absolutely no other manufacturer in India offers.

Words – Amit Shelar
Photography – Govind Gadekar

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