What is it?
The B-segment of the Indian car market is the new entry-point for first-time buyers. Our aspirations have stepped up and we as buyers have begun to demand more from manufacturers and this has raised the bar. A bar that Renault wants to match with this car- the Triber. It’s a different approach to a segment traditionally dominated by hatchbacks and the occasional sedan (hi Tata Tigor). And in this case, the approach is a people carrier, a segment created by Renault themselves in the 1980s.
How is it on the outside?
Renault has always been known for adding funkiness to a standard design and well this one is no different. The face is dominated by the signature three-slat Renault grille and rather sleek looking projector headlamps. There’s a muscular scoop out on the bonnet while the LED DRLs sit low and in their special recess.
A profile view reveals, more or less, the kind of design traits that Renault was going for which is a boxy people carrier thrown in with some flared wheel arches and a rather heavy shoulder line that extends from the A-pillar to the wrap-around tail lamps….
…whose design reminds one of an illuminated axe head (if that’s a real thing). Also, there are multiple elements in the light assembly and this gives it a nice modern appearance when illuminated. Of particular interest in the rear design language is the faux bash plate element as well as a pronounced chin below the number plate slot.
One of the downsides of squeezing the design of a larger car into a sub-4 framework is that the car ends up looking disproportionate (*ahem... compact sedans). But in the case of the Triber, Renault has managed to pull it off, the high roofline no doubt helping its cause.
How is it on the inside?
Let’s split this into three.
A. Overall appearance
A. Funky on the outside, funky on the inside, that’s the way the Renault Triber rolls. It’s a beige and black affair all around with seats even getting this colour combination via an arty stitch pattern design that gives off the impression of a post-modern compact sofa set. The same theme has been carried over to rows two and three although they get very minimal side bolstering and all three rows fall short in terms of under-thigh support.
In terms of touch and feel, the plastics are a mixed bag with the dashboard and doors getting hard and grainy textures while the regular control surfaces like the window switches and armrest get premium materials.
B. This is one department that Renault has put its money into while developing the car. You get what Renault has termed modes for the seats which are four different combinations that you can fold the seats into to use the Triber across various scenarios. This ranges from the seven-seat tribe mode to the two-seat surf mode that’s capable of holding a surfboard.
Besides, you get dual glove boxes, door pockets capable of holding dual 500ml bottles. The all-important third row is quite a squeeze and is best suited for a scenario where you need to take two additional people along without the need for a second vehicle. The seats can be removed entirely, expanding the boot to a massive 625-litres.
In this top-of-the-line RXZ variant that we examined, you also get a large cooled glove box built into the centre console. Here the speed control for the rear AC vents also does the same duty for the cooled glove box.
C. The Triber’s feature list is what I would like to term acceptable i.e it has whatever is needed to keep it relevant in the segment. This list includes dual front airbags, touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play/ Android Auto through an 8.0-inch display, button start with keyless entry, vents for the second and third-row and a cooled glove box. The touchscreen interface is the same as the one found in the other Renault models but now with a bigger display and even an eco-mode that judges your driving style and gives you a score (in leaves) accordingly.
What is under the hood?
The Triber will be sold with a 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 72bhp/96Nm and can be had with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed AMT. We haven’t driven the car but will be able to give you our first driving impression very soon.
Expected price and launch date?
We believe that Renault will price the Triber in the range of Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 7 lakhs for this top-of-the-line RXZ manual variant that we have had a chance to preview. The car will be launched for the Indian market on 28 August with bookings open from 17 August.
Photos: Kapil Angane