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French carmaker Renault launched the Triber MPV in the Indian market last year in August. The Renault Triber was offered with an excellent package and good looks, which made the vehicle a value-for-money proposition. The company sold more than 40,000 units since its inception last year.
Well, most of the manufacturers at the time of a product launch, offer multiple powertrains and gearbox options, but the Triber was only offered in a single-engine and gearbox combination: 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. Now, the company has introduced an AMT transmission in the Triber. We got our hands on the cars for a couple of days and here is what we have to say about the Triber AMT.
Design & Styling
As far as the design is concerned, the Triber AMT remains identical to the manual variant, both inside and out. At the front, the MPV gets a projector headlight setup with halogen bulbs. The LED DRLs are placed at the lower part of the bumper in place of the fog lights. To give the Triber a premium look, the company has installed the car with chrome accents on the grille, inside the headlight housing and around the DRLs. And boy, that gives the MPV an upmarket look.
Moving on to the side, the car gets black cladding around the wheel arches with turn indicators integrated into the cladding. Now, the thing that confuses most of the people are those 15-inch wheels. They might look like alloys, but those are steel rims and the wheel caps are placed so nicely, that if you are standing slightly away from the car, you will definitely mistake them from alloys. The tyre profile on the Triber 185/65/R15 and those MRF ZVTV ecotred tyres provide phenomenal grip, even on a wet surface.
Moving on, the car gets body-coloured ORVMs and there is no chrome present on the side. The roof-line rises toward the rear end and that is because the third row also has AC vents. Now the Triber also features keyless entry, but there is no dedicated button on the front door handles. So how does it work? Well, if you have the key in your pocket and you come close to the car, it unlocks and as you move away, it locks back again.
This is a nice feature as you do not have to even press a button to open the door. On the other hand, it can become irritating because every time you are near the car or if you happen to cross by it, it locks and unlocks on its own. The Triber also features a start/stop button for the ignition, so, while unlocking, locking or starting the car the key can remain in your pocket all the time.
At the rear, the car gets the TRIBER badge right in the centre below the logo. Now, how will one differentiate between the Triber AMT and the MT? There is a small 'Easy-R' badging on the bottom right-hand side of the boot lid. That is the only way one can tell that it is an AMT. All the badges are finished off in chrome. However, you get the variant badge (RXZ) on the right-hand side C-pillar, which we felt was kind of strange.
The Triber also gets a rear parking camera with parking sensors and guidelines. However, the guidelines are not adaptive but the quality of the rear camera is decent, so parking in tight spaces should not be an issue.
Interiors & Features
Now moving to the inside, the cabin of the Triber feels spacious. You have a dual-tone finished dashboard and seats. There are silver accents present on the dash and on the doors to give it a nice contrasting look. The centre stage of the dash is taken by an 8-inch infotainment system that features Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The screen is an anti-glare screen so reading information during a bright sunny day while driving will not be an issue.
Right below the infotainment system are few buttons that control the locking/unlocking doors, rear defoggers and the hazard light. Below that is the climate control system that features knobs. However, there is a lot of storage space inside to keep plenty of stuff.
The steering wheel is wrapped in a soft-touch material that gives the driver a premium feel while holding it. It also gets two blank slots on each side, that look like steering mounted controls. However, we expect that the facelifted version will feature steering controls at least to control the infotainment system.
The Triber AMT gets a digital instrument cluster that also features a 4-inch MID screen in the middle. A lot of information like the trip, distance to empty, speed, time etc. can be seen on the screen. The good part about the cluster is that it does not have a glass in front of it, so there is no reflection and the readouts are pretty clear on a bright day also.
As far as comfort goes, both the front seats offer decent under-thigh support and side bolsterings. The seats will not tire you out on a short trip but, if you are planning to cross states, then a few stops are recommended so that your back can relax a bit. The middle row is large and can easily accommodate three people, but the lack of underthing support can tire out the people.
Now coming to the third row, surprisingly, there is room for two adults. Thought if you are planning a long tip then the third row might be uncomforting after munching a few miles. However, the second row has AC vents on the B-pillar and there are roof vents for the third row. Both the rear vents are operated via a separate know, which is placed right behind the gear lever.
Driving Impressions & Performance
Now coming to the heart of the matter, The Triber AMT is powered by a 999cc, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine. The unit produces around 72bhp of power and 96Nm of peak torque, which is not that exciting. However, the unit now comes mated to a five-speed AMT gearbox.
Now speaking about the gearbox, the first thing we liked was, unlike the Kwid AMT that uses a rotary dial for the gear selector and has no possibility of manual shifts, the Triber AMT gets a traditional gear lever that gives the driver the option of manual shifting. Now, the main highlight of the car is the introduction of the AMT gearbox, so let's talk about it.
Before we talk about the gearbox, we would like to point out that the brake and the accelerator pedal are placed too close to each other. Seems like Renault just took the clutch paddle out of the car and did not bother spacing the rest of the two paddles.
Once you put the car into 'D' and leave the brake, since the Triber has the creep mode, the car starts to roll without any acceleration, which is a good feature. Now the company claims that the AMT gearbox has been tuned to offer better shifts than other AMTs present in the market, but, we think that the gearbox needs more tuning. Well, it is extremely laggy and sometimes just kills the pleasure of driving around fast.
Gear shifts are not the smoothest and there is a lot of lag while shifting up or down. In the manual mode, though you have some control over the shifts, it does not do justice to that either. Once you shift from say second to third, you will experience the head wobble as the car takes its own sweet time to shift.
It also gets variable valve timing for both the intake and the exhaust, which means that the car is decently responsive once you hit the gas. However, the power delivery is very linear and the car has got a flat mid-range. To compensate this the company is going to introduce the turbocharged engine on the Triber soon in the near future.
The ride quality is comfortable as the suspension is on the softer side and the car absorbs the bumps really well. But, because of that, there is so much body roll in the car and one has to be careful while taking hard turns. The feedback from the steering wheel is not that great, but it does the job.
Since the gearbox lags in the manual mode also, it is best that the Triber AMT be driven around in the automatic D mode and let the car do the shifting for you. As far as the mileage is concerned, it has dropped by a margin with the introduction of the AMT gearbox. We could not get a reading of the mileage since we had the car for a short period of time, but the company claims that the car offers around 18 km/l, whereas the manual variant is claimed to give around 20 to 21 km/l.
NVH levels and insulation on the Triber is not that great. At lower revs, the engine is pretty quiet, but as soon as you hit the gas and the revs build-up there is a lot of noise inside the cabin. However, the price difference between the manual and the AMT variant is just Rs 40,000, which makes it a perfect deal.
The Triber AMT is available in three variants RXL, RXT and the top-of-the-line RXZ. Prices for the Triber AMT starts at Rs 6.26 lakh for the base and Rs 7.3 lakh for the top-end variant. At this price point, Renault is offering a seven-seater along with the comfort of an AMT gearbox. All prices are ex-showroom (Delhi).
However, the Renault Triber AMT is convenient to drive around the city, but we feel that the engine could be more refined and offered better performance, the suspension could have slightly been on the stiffer side and the gear shift speeds could have been improved slightly. Other than this, overall the Triber AMT is an excellent package for people who want more space in their cars, but at the same time do not have the budget for a larger-sided SUV.