Efficiently packaged and smartly engineered vehicles have always intrigued my curiosity and demanded my attention; it’s always a delight to see manufacturers imagine things differently. And so was the case when Renault introduced the Triber back in 2019, a ‘car’ that is positioned in the conventional entry-level hatchback segment and comes with an extra row of seats, a total of six air vents and some very usable features – like the key fob and the tray under the climate control. So what brings us back to the Triber again? Well, Renault has finally added convenience to their already sweet package by offering an AMT, and we want to find out if it still remains the bargain of the lot.
The Triber hasn’t changed its appearance and continues to wear that international look – there are a few additional badges to tell you this is the AMT. It sure sticks to the rule book by being just under 4-metre long, however the width and height are substantially large. This combined with the trick to place all four wheels at the extreme ends opens up a long wheelbase, which directly translates to enormous amounts of space on the inside. The best bit though is its versatility – the front and middle row seats can be moved to make it feel like a ginormous five-seater or a decently spaced seven-seater. And unlike many other seven-seaters, this third row is actually usable – thanks to its easy one lever seat tumble action, wide-opening doors and a fairly accommodating third seat bench. Trust me, from the back seat you wouldn’t even imagine it to be a sub-four metre vehicle.
Since none of the bits on the inside have changed except the gear stick and the absence of the third pedal – let’s talk about the AMT. Now, the automatic variant is a welcome offering in the transmission options as the manual wasn’t the smoothest to operate, especially going up an incline with full load. All of that is gone now – use your right foot to modulate the throttle and you would notice that the AMT is well calibrated. No, it isn’t lightning-fast and neither is it silky smooth but then let me take a moment to remind you the sticker price on the Triber. The gearbox isn’t shy of holding gears to the redline, although you would back off because of the engine noise penetrating into the cabin. Dive it sedately and it works just like any other unit out there, the gearbox shifts down when you floor the throttle to overtake, and will upshift when it senses you’ve successfully done so.
The AMT also gets a manual mode however the relatively short gear stick contrasting with the high seating positing doesn’t make for an exciting driving experience. What aids the convenience to this package is the ease with which it crawls in traffic (yes, it’s been programmed to creep forward) and gives you that initial assist when you slot it into reverse. Get going on an incline and it does roll back a fair bit, and you’ll need some throttle inputs to move ahead. What’s brilliant though is the ride comfort and suspension setup. It was oddly satisfying to drive fairly fast over broken sections of road and potholes and the feedback was even better with the rear suspension being loaded up. You do get some vertical movements as you pick up speed, however it’s nothing that would pose as a deal-breaker.
So, has Renault made the Triber even more appealing to the masses? It sure isn’t perfect – the NVH levels are extremely high and the engine does need a few good courses of refinement. But the Triber has a lot going for it – and it all begins with its dimensions. Park it next to a conventional hatchback and this feels a segment above if not two. And then there is that hugely practical cabin with plenty of features and cleverly engineered bits like the side-mounted rear AC vents, the intelligent key fob that gets the walk-away auto lock feature, the quality of the plastic used on the inside, smartly placed chrome reflectors in the headlamp cluster that adds to its upmarket feel, an easy operating one lever second-row tumble mechanism…the list goes on. Sum up the added convenience of an AMT along with an excellent ride and handling vehicle and you’ll realise nothing else comes close to offering this much bang for your money.
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder DOHC petrol
Transmission: Five-speed AMT with manual override
Fuel tank: 40 litres
Boot space: 625 litres
Tyres: 185/65 R15
Prices: Rs 6.25 lakh onwards (ex-showroom)