Having tasted great success with the Duster SUV and Kwid hatchback, Renault is the most successful European brand in India. If there is one thing you can’t blame it for, it is making dull and boring cars. Renault cars are anything but dull and boring. The carmaker now is bringing out, what seems at first sight a mix of a hatchback, a MPV and even a compact crossover. Renault hopes that buyers will want to buy a compact MPV that offers good space, comfort and practicality but without having to pay a premium price. Prices for this sub-4 metre 7-seater are expected to start from around Rs 5.50 lakh. Here is our first look impression of what the Triber is all about.
The face of the car can easily be identified as a Renault product. It has the stylish grille, which is very similar to the one on the Duster and Kwid. In fact this car is built on a modified Kwid platform, so space utilization should be good. You get generous dashes of chrome on the grille and around the foglamps. The side profile with its rising beltline looks muscular too and you also get roof rails to hide the accentuated roof towards the rear. The quarter glass at the rear adds to the compact SUV look. In fact from a distance the Triber looks like a compact SUV rather than a MPV. The rear with its squared out tail lamps and the slanted glass looks good too. Overall, the car looks well balanced. Special mention has to be made about the 182mm ground clearance. This gives the Triber a good stance and should help it achieve good traction with buyers who always want a car that looks like an SUV.
The big and boxy shape on the outside reveals plenty of space inside. The car comes with a massive 625-litre boot with the last row of seats removed. Yes, you can remove the last row of seats to make way for a mini-truck sized boot. Renault has paid great attention to detail and even the last row occupants get their own AC vents along with 12v charging point. The seats themselves are decent with the right amount of cushioning and padding available.
The central row is easy to get in and out of thanks to the wide opening aperture and also the seats can slide up and down. You can also move the backrest angle. The AC vents are in the pillars and you get a charging point here as well. The large windows also go a long way in ensuring that the car feels very roomy on the inside. The front seats offer great space for utility. There is a cooled box between the two seats which can house atleast five or six diet coke cans and the twin gloveboxes also offer good space. The doors offer large bins as well. The infotainment system is one that is similar to the Kwid. So its not the most high-res unit but then again this will be an affordable car so these are things you can live with.
Engine and gearbox
This was only a first look of the car so we were not allowed to drive it extensively. Renault is offering a 1-litre 72bhp. This is the same 1-litre unit as found on the Kwid. However, Renault engineers have worked hard to improve it. The new engine comes with variable valve timing to help it breath better. We’ve already seen that this is a good engine for refinement and is also a proven engine for performance. The gearbox is also the same unit as the Kwid, however, the action will be improved as well. We reserve our judgement about the engine and performance till we get behind the wheel fully and have a proper drive of the car. We will also reserve our judgement about the ride and handling of the car till then. However, going by our earlier experiences with Renault cars, its easy to realise that the French carmaker makes cars with good comfort and exemplary ride quality.
The Triber islakh a unique proposition. It is expected to sell at roughly the same price as the Hyundai Grand i10 and Maruti Swift yet offers the uniqueness of seven seats, which makes it good value. We suggest you wait a while if you are in the market for a compact car with a budget for Rs 5-7 lakh.