When does one become two, five, seven or any combination in between? Take one Renault Triber and the seating combinations can be adjusted to any of those.
When it was launched earlier this year, I have to admit to raising an eyebrow at the idea of a three-row seating combo in a vehicle that size but, after spending a bit of quality time with it, I can appreciate where the designers were going with this.
Literally designed to suit the varying needs of your ‘tribe’, it offers four seating modes and 100 seating combinations to provide the space needed. The modular seating configurations include: CAMP MODE [2-seater]; SURF MODE [4-seater]; LIFE MODE [5-seater] and TRIBE MODE [7-seater] and the EasyFix seats allow for the two rear seats within the third row to be completely removed with ease.
Sure, with all rows of seats in place there is no luggage space. With a 5-seater setup this presents 625 litres of storage – the downside on the luggage angle being there is no covering so your precious goods are on view.
There is also an additional 31 litres of in-cabin storage, including cold storage in the centre console and lower glove box – this driven by the air-conditioning system. Equipped with roof rails as standard, the Triber can also take an additional 50 kg of luggage up top.
The SUV-inspired Renault Triber has all of Renault’s familial looks from the projector headlights through the crease in the hood, shoulder lines wheel arch flare and prominent LED daytime running lights, with the C-shaped lighting signature representing the identity of the brand.
The interior has dual-tone trim and a new centre fascia with chrome edges, a dual-tone dashboard with silver accents and a digital instrument cluster with LED illumination and sportier graphics.
Aside from the four vents in the front row, there are the two independent controls for the air-conditioning with vents on the second and third rows.
The 8-inch MediaNav Evolution touchscreen comes integrated with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto compatibility, Voice Command button and video playback on the screen, while a Smart Access Card for Keyless Entry and Stop / Start functionality enable an easier driving experience, and a Reverse Parking Camera with guidelines helps with parking in tricky situations.
The Triber is powered by a 1,0-litre 3-cylinder petrol Energy Engine that generates 52 kW with 96 Nm torque and is equipped with dual VVT.
There are three trim levels with fairly minor differences in aesthetics. The test unit came in range-topping Prestige trim, which means 15-inch wheels (14-inch on the others), tweeter speakers and 12-volt power sockets in all three rows.
Driving through a five-speed manual gearbox the little engine is a tryer even though it gets a bit noisy under pressure. It is a capable unit and, under various configurations and loads, it performed functionally and coped with varying elevation with a bit of gentle rowing through the gearbox.
It is not rapid transport and best left to work its own way to a comfortable cruise mode according to the load. Then, it will complete the assigned task in the most frugal way possible – our test consumption numbers going from an unladen highway run at 4,6 l/100 km to urban numbers around 7,0 l/100 km and fully laden at 8,2 l/100 km for an overall average of 6,6 l/100 km.
That, perhaps, is a touch unfair since it is unlikely the Triber will spend large portions of its fully laden so the manufacturer claim of 5,5 l/100 km average is probably closer to the mark.
Like other Renault offering such as Duster and Kadjar, it is an easy drive with light touch steering and conveniently sited switches and controls. Unlike more luxurious Renault models, Triber does not have a multi-function steering wheel.
However, it does not stint on safety and comes equipped with anti-lock brakes, emergency lock retractor, and 3-point safety belts in front and for the side seats in the second row with retractors and three-point belts for third row seat belts without retractor. There is a pyrotechnic pre-tensioner driver seat belt, load limiter for the driver and passenger safety belts, driver and passenger crash bags across the range with front side crash bags on the Prestige.
The Triber model range comes standard with a 2-year/ 30 000 km Service Plan, plus a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. Services take place at 15 000 km intervals.