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Renault Triber, test drive review

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Sub four metre cars have slowly become the segment of interest among carmakers who have launched an all out assault to get their models to duck under the sub four metre mark thus gaining the maximum of the market share and sales.

But while most cars to make it to our shores under the sub four metre mark are either sedans or SUV’s, Renault taught otherwise and went on to develop a mini MPV tailor made the Indian market which resulted in the Triber.

Based on the CMF-A platform the Triber may be built on the same platform as the Kwid but the designers at Renault have worked tirelessly at making the styling package stand out and have its own identity.

Upfront it gets a raised bonnet with pronounced lines flanked by large projector headlamps and triple edge chrome grille while bumper gets nicely placed LED daytime running lights with chrome surround, rugged cladding and skid plate.

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Moving to the sides, the Triber has an attractive profile and does not end up looking van like as is the case with most MPV’s. Look closer and you will notice the raised roof and kink in the window line that has been cleverly done to free up more space on the inside. Other styling bits such as 15-inch alloy wheels, large roof rails and a smart shoulder line lend the car a matured look.

The rear however gets a busy design with a long tailgate, roof spoiler, wraparound taillamps and bumper with cladding and skid plate, while the Triber badging in bold lends the car a premium look.

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If the exterior impresses for its car like proportions, the interior will leave a mark for its improved cabin quality. The dashboard especially looks nothing like what has been seen on Renaults of the past and is without any doubt the best we have seen so far on a Renault at this price tag.

The black and beige dual tone finish along with subtle chrome touches make for an airy feel. The centre console gets a large premium looking 8-inch touchscreen infortainment system along with toggle like switches that appear to have been lifted off an aircraft, while the A/C vents have a chunky feel to them.

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The seats the front are well developed and offer great support, it also gets seat height adjust that can be adjusted to provide a better view out of the cabin. Legroom and shoulder room is pretty good for a car of this size. This is something most customers would like about the second row, legroom and shoulder room is great, while the scooped out roof allows for an extra inch of headroom. The big windows give a stunning view out and kill the idea of feeling coofed up altogether, the second row seats also gets slide and recline function which further increase the level of comfort. However most owners will feel that thigh support could have been better.

Getting in and out of the last row is easy due to the large rear door and one touch tumble down function for the second row seats, however though the seating position in the last row is a little knees up, but fitting in three adults in comfort on long journeys without much of a compromise should not be much of hassle. The second row also gets pillar mounted A/C vents while the last row gets them on the roof which is a welcome addition in the car.

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Space is something; no customer will worry about as the Triber comes with load of it. There’s space to store your phone and other light items on the centre console above and below the start/stop switch which is unique. It also gets two gloveboxes on the dashboard and a one behind the gearlever. Interestingly the lower glovebox in the dashboard and the one behind the gearlever are both cooled.

Boot space with all the three rows up may be limited to just 84 litres but fold down the third row and it increases that to 625 litres altogether. The Triber also comes with ultra modular modes and Easy fix seats.

The ultra modular modes include there modes to use them which are –

  1. 7-seater Tribe mode with all 7 seats in place,

  2. Surf mode with four seats in place

  3. Camp mode where the second row and third row are folded flat.

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The Easy fix seats allow for easy removal of the third row of seats in three easy steps thus making the Triber a practical car to carry your extra luggage when the third row of seats are not in use.

Power for the Triber comes from a 1.0 litre Energy engine that produces 72PS at 6,250rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3,500rpm. The engine is powerful and has enough grunt, the flow of power is smooth with no sudden burst in power or surge. However engine does come with dual variable timing system which makes the engine respond better at lower speeds, but having said that, initial responses are a bit lazy and the Triber does take some time to get up to speeds from standstill, but once past it, the power flow just keeps on coming and you can keep going and making quick overtaking manuveours without much hassle. The 5-speed gearbox feels easy to use and even the gear ratios are well matched, however the clutch does require some time a little extra effort as it is not the smoothest to use.

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NVH levels are something Renault has addressed on a serious note, having heard the motor in the Kwid which was regarded as cumbersome for being too noisy. An improvement was much needed, but with the Triber Renault seems to have gone one step further with a far quieter cabin experience. The sound from the motor is well worked on and does not filter into the cabin even at higher speeds. The only time you hear the engine noise filter in is when you push the engine really hard, but even that is a far better note to hear.

Stability and smart handling is not something expected from a MPV at all, but the Triber fares pretty well on this too. Get into a corner and you will notice that the steering is well weighted and evokes good response even while getting into hard corners and sharp turns.

The suspension also feels well tuned for Indian roads, the McPherson strut at front and Torsion beam units seem to work well in soaking the potholes and undulations, while also leaving no room to crash in even at higher speeds.

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Braking system of the Triber which includes disc at the front and drum at the rear is also well worked on; it provides enough bite to come to a standstill from higher speeds; however the pedal is placed too deep down.

Verdict

The new Renault Triber is one of the few well enginerired cars in the Indian market, which are hard to fault. The car like design is smart and nice to look at, as opposed to van like stiloute most MPV’s have and the sub 4metre packaging does not compromise on space either. The improved cabin quality will surprise many existing customers who own a Kwid or even the Duster for that matter. The new engine is well calliberated and its revv happy nature means it’s good to drive in the city and highways as well.

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The best part however is the removable third row of seats or Easy fix seats which can are easily removable thus freeing up massive room to carry some extra luggage or go the weekly shopping at the market and can be easily fixed back when required as well. If there is anything we felt could have been better would be the horn quality which feels like a direct lift from the Kwid and the second row could do with slightly better tight support.

Otherwise it’s a well rounded package for its price tag and there’s no doubt Triber from Renault has enough to give its rivals some real competition and could very well set the bar rolling for Renault again.                                   Renault Triber 1.0 litre Energy petrolPriceRs 5 to 7 lakhsEngine3 cylinder 999cc, petrol enginePower72p at 6250pmTorque96Nm at 3500pmTransmission5-speed manualFuel tank40 litresMileage20.5 kmplTyre size165/80 R14Length/weight/height3990/1739/1643mmwheelbase2636mmGround clearance182mmKerb weight947kgsVariantsRxe, Rxl,Rxt, Rxz

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