Indian car buyers today would prefer going for an SUV or a hatchback instead of buying an MPV. And the addition of affordable compact SUVs has left MPVs gasping for air. So in the reign of small, practical hatches and big aggressive-looking SUVs, can a sub-four metre Renault Triber survive?

Renault has had a few hits and misses with its designs in the past, and the Triber, is a bit of both. Smart yet simple design decisions help make the Triber attractive. For example, the sporty roof rails that almost completely prevent you from noticing the bump in the roof towards the rear. The styling in the front is cleverly done with striking headlamps and sleek LED fog lights. The black plastic claddings along the side with front and rear skid plates induce more of an SUV aura. The rear is where the car loses points for looks. The simple boring rear design doesn’t do justice to the well-designed front of the car.

 

 

Stepping inside, the cabin of the Triber is clean and well-packed with modern-day essentials like a touchscreen infotainment system and a push start/stop button along with loads of storage options. The overall quality of the plastics used inside the cabin are above average and the various toggle switches placed in the centre are extremely tactile. The all-digital instrument cluster is an addition that lends the Triber a more premium feel. The 8-inch infotainment system was easy to play around with, but faces lag issues that could be frustrating after a while. Jumping to the back, the passenger row is spacious with ample amount of headroom and knee room on offer with comfortable seats for passengers to recline on. But the Triber’s strength and main selling-point is focussed on the last row of seats. With the needs of the big Indian family prioritized, Renault successfully managed to fit three rows of seats that help convert the Triber into a seven-seater. Entering the third row was definitely a squeeze, but once you’re settled, it’s fairly decent. It’s not meant for tall passengers on long drives, but kids and teenagers won’t have any problems back there. Interestingly, the third row of seats are completely removable which helps the boot to expand to a mammoth-sized 675-litres.

 

 

Taking the car onto the road, you immediately feel the lack of power. It is powered, or rather underpowered by a 3-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine that produces 72 hp and 96 Nm of torque. It is linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox with no automatic option available at the moment. The engine can do a good job of transporting full-grown adults while matching city speed limits, but don’t expect to take this car on long drives and have fun driving it. But Renault claims that they have a diesel engine in the works which could help deliver some much-needed power to the car. The suspension is soft and manoeuvrability is easy due to the light steering wheel. Renault has placed heavy emphasis on safety. The Triber comes with four airbags, rear parking cameras with sensors, ABS with EBD and other little safety features as well.

 

 

While the Renault Triber isn’t meant for drivers who love powerful engines and breath-taking performance, it is perfectly tailor-made for big Indian families and hence, tries to provide as much practicality and comfort it can. The clever designing should not go unnoticed and the car could prove to be a hit among families who struggle to fit themselves in their five-seater vehicle. It offers something no car ever has and at a price point that places it right in the sweet spot of a person who wants a big car with a small car’s price tag.

AT A GLANCE

ENGINE:

1.0-litre petrol

TORQUE:

96 NM

POWER:

72 HP

PRICE:

Rs 4.95 lakh to Rs 6.49 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India)

ON THE INSIDE:

8-inch infotainment system, all-digital instrument cluster, reverse camera, 4 airbags, ABS with EBD

WHAT WE LIKE:

Addition of third-row seats

WHAT WE DON’T:

The underpowered engine

MW RATING:

3.5/5