• The Renault Triber presents itself as a high value proposition.
• The Triber offers seven seats, of which one is offered with only a lap belt.
• The seven-seat Triber boasts with low fuel consumption.
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A number of manufacturers and importers have nailed it on the head in terms of its affordable product offering. At the very bottom end of the market, Renault and Suzuki, for example, have been some of the leaders. When it comes to seven-seaters, the three main competitors are Suzuki's Ertiga, Toyota's Avanza and then the subject of this test, Renault's Triber.
Launched in 2020, the Triber did a few things right upon its arrival. It doesn't look like a seven-seater from the get-go, and secondly, its pricing was, and still is, very competitive. I spent a week with this car driving more than 700km to find out what it is like to live with on a daily basis.
The second and third row of seats
First, the specifications. There are seven seats, with three in the middle row and two at the back. Yes, the rear ones are only applicable for children, and sadly, the middle seat of the second row is only offered with a lap belt.
The functionality of the seats makes it a very practical car. The middle row has a 60:40 split, which means the seats can be moved forward and backwards in this split or tumbled forward.
The two rear seats can also be removed, or you can remove the back ends, or you can fold the seatbacks forward, or fold them forward. Being partially light in colour, I would recommend investing in a good quality seat cover as these seats will get dirty and damaged if you plan to load objects into the cabin on a regular basis.
Seated in the second row behind my ideal driving position (I'm 1.87 metres tall), I was able to sit comfortably with my knees lightly touching the driver's seat while headroom was ample. There is also a single 12V socket for the rear seat passengers and a separate air con knob with three speeds to feed air to the second and third row of passengers, ideal on a hot summer’s day.
Behind the wheel
Under the stubby bonnet is a modest 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine connected to a five-speed manual transmission. For the price, one would expect a basic cabin, which is indeed the case. However, a simplistic infotainment screen offers a Bluetooth connection to your phone, radio, and behind the gear lever is a slot to plug in a USB stick or phone connection and an AUX-in slot. The instrument binnacle is extremely basic, with a rev counter that only indicates chunks of 500r/min, a trip computer and a speedometer.
The engine has a fairly gruff sound, but when used in anger, it performs, however that is hardly what the engine has been designed for. I quickly find myself keeping to the slow(er) lane on the highway at a constant 100 or 110km/h.
The result is that over the course of a week and mixed drive of the highway, running errands and town driving, the car averaged an indicated 6.7-litres/100km. At times we were two adults on board and sometimes with a child.
It is important to note that overtaking on the highway is not really an option. The Triber will accelerate modestly to around 120km/h, at which point it struggles, with a single occupant on board, to reach an indicated 130km/h.
The ride quality is good, the seats are comfortable, and you have a good view through the windows, and there is enough storage space around you.
If you want space and the basic level of safety (ABS with EBD, two airbags), it ticks the boxes for these requirements. Even during an emergency brakes test I conducted, it performed well and didn't swerve or became unstable. Priced at R211 900, it is hard to fault the Triber for the value proposition it offers. That is if you need a spacious car with seven seats.
*Tests conducted with Racelogic's VBOX Sport
Price: R211 900
Engine: 1.0-litre, in-line three-cylinder, petrol
Power: 52kW @ 6 250rpm
Torque: 96Nm @ 3 500rpm
Gears/Drive: five-speed, front-wheel drive
0-100km/h: 14.49 seconds (tested)
Top speed: N/A
Fuel consumption: 5.5-litres/100km (claimed)
Tyres: 185/65 R15 (front and rear)
Warranty: 5-years or 150 000km
Service Plan: 2-years or 30 000km
Emergency brake test (120-0km/h): 3.46 seconds over 55.35 metres
0-60: 5.68 seconds
0-80: 9.32 seconds
0-100: 14.49 seconds
0-120: 21.58 seconds
0-140: Didn't reach this speed during testing
In-gear acceleration (km/h):
80-120: 12.26 seconds
60-120: 15.90 seconds
Fuel consumption during test: