• The Triber is one of the latest new offerings from Renault.
• The seven-seater compact SUV is an affordable alternative vehicle.
• Pricing starts below R170 000.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
It's a well-known fact that SUVs have taken the world by storm. But the Covid 19 pandemic caused a devastating impact on the motor industry; and people's ability to acquire their much-loved SUVs.
So, the Renault Triber could not have come at a better time.
It does qualify as an SUV (a mini one), it gives you a rugged look (in a softer kind of way), and it can accommodate up to seven people.
Most importantly, it satisfies an essential concern around affordability. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the economy, with many having to endure retrenchments and reduced salaries.
The motor industry only resumed full operations in June. Data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) indicates an annual decline of 65% in new passenger vehicle sales in the second quarter of this year and a year on year decline of 100% in April 2020.
But this devastating news brings some hope for vehicles like the Triber. Recent research shows that cars under the R200 000 range will increasingly be the category in which South African car sales will take place. The data shows that vehicles in the sub-R200K range are likely to do well, while a decline in sales will continue in cars that cost R300 000 and more.
Engine, power and handling
The 2020 Renault Triber is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which generates 53kW at 6250rpm and 96Nm at 3500rpm. The refinement of the engine stands out, and one is barely able to hear the motor.
Questions have been raised about whether or not the Triber is adequately powered, but that question is a non-starter for a significant pocket of the market; especially in current economic conditions. It has what you need, and no one buying a car in this category is looking for a vehicle with earth-shattering power. No doubt one can expect sluggishness with a full load of passengers, but it's unlikely this car will be carrying maximum capacity too often.
School and work runs will certainly dominate use for the Triber. I doubt drivers of this vehicle are likely to push it too hard, but if they were, it doesn't handle too badly, and the 15-inch wheels are a huge advantage. It does, no doubt, enhance handling.
There have been many critiques of the Kwid and its lack of adequate handling, but the Triber is a different kettle of fish; even though it may come out of the same factory. While the Kwid leaves you trembling at times, the Triber is smooth, and there is a refinement that one doesn't enjoy in the Kwid.
Technologically I was impressed with the touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One may not expect this in this category, but it also comes with keyless start with extra USB sockets and somewhat surprisingly, power windows and mirrors are also standard.
The word practical comes to mind when one thinks of the various aspects of the Triber. Extra thought seems to have gone into making the inside practical. Additional space is a huge advantage when the seats are removed.
According to the manufacturer, there are multiple options for seat positions (as many as 100) and 625l of luggage space is available when the seats are removed. So there's ample space for multiple large bags foe your overseas trip and even space for your mountain bike as you make your way to experience a new track along South Africa's beautiful countryside.
It goes without saying that one wouldn't expect high-end materials for the interior, but the inside is aesthetically pleasing and not too shabby. It is plastic, but the finishes are finely manicured, and some soft material secures a hint of cosiness on the armrests of the seats.
Driving in Durban, one can appreciate the comprehensive air-conditioning – considering markets in South Africa and India an efficient AC system would undoubtedly be welcomed.
Safety and pricing I've heard many talks about feeling unsafe in the Kwid, but ABS, two airbags in the Expression and Dynamique, four airbags in the Prestige, and rear park distance control add to the feeling of safety in the Triber. The Global NCAP rating for the Kwid was not something to write home about, but much better is expected for the Triber; although it has not been tested yet.
Pricing is as follows:
Renault Triber Expression 1.0-litre ENERGY - R164 900
Renault Triber Dynamique 1.0-litre ENERGY - R174 900
Renault Triber Prestige 1.0-litre ENERGY - R189 900
The Triber comes with a two-year or 30 000km service plan, and a five-year or 150 000km mechanical warranty with a 15 000km service interval.
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