With the Triber, Renault Cars have pulled off some rather unconventional and never seen before. So when Renault said they had a compact car on the cards for our market, they didn’t mean a larger Kwid or a compact sedan. They wanted us to have a car that could seat a family of even members – and so they gave us the Triber, which seems to have had its fair share of success over the last one year. We tell you what makes it worth the money.

Not as boxy as you think

You could call the Triber compact, but calling it small would seem a little inappropriate. It’s 4 meters long, but is surprisingly very spacious, but we’ll come to that later. It’s quite wide and tall, and its wheelbase is the biggest among all sub4-meter cars on sale in India. It gets a stubby bonnet, which explains why it has a small engine. And the prime focus was on seating the maximum number of passengers. We can’t call this one a crossover, although it does gets some styling elements that hint it is one, like the scuff plates at the front and rear, the plastic cladding along the sides and over the wheel arches and of course, the roof rails. The ground clearance is remarkable at 182mm, but it looks really good with the 15-inch wheels that get wheel covers that could be mistaken for being alloy wheels.

The Renault Cars have been inspired by Renault’s global models, in terms of styling. Up-front, it sports the huge Renault lozenge on a three-slat grille that is flanked by wraparound projector headlamps. It also features LED DRLs, and that unique kink in the C-pillar which rids it of a typical MPV-like window line. It looks good from the rear too, with its huge horizontal tail lights.

Compact or spacious?

At the front, the driver is bound to like the heightened seating position and the view out-front is equally good. The quality of plastics, believe it or not, betters what you’ve seen on the Duster and Captur. Just don’t expect any soft-touch materials, and that thick strip of faux metal across the dashboard looks great, and the dual-tone theme makes you feel like you’re seated in something from a segment above. The multi-fabric seats, the neat-looking steering and the bezel bordering the start-button – all give it a classy look. It features an 8.0-inch touchscreen that gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and something called an Eco Readout that rates you based how fuel-efficient your driving is. Then there’s the part-digital instrument cluster. A couple of other features include front and side airbags, a remote-like key and keyless entry and go.

You also get a lot of storage areas, like the tray beneath the AC controls, two gloveboxes, bottle-holders in all four doors and bay below the centre console. Let’s talk about the middle-row now. The doors open wide, making getting in and out a breeze. The big windows give the rear an airy feel and the raised seats offer good visibility from the front windshield too. The middle-row seats can slide back and forth and there’s good legroom available too. However, it’s best suited for two occupants. The seats in this row are also supportive and there are AC vents on the B-pillars, while the third-row gets vents on the roof.

Coming to the third row, the seats will surprise you with the room on offer. Tall passengers will find it a squeeze, but three teenagers can fit in without an issue. It’s amazing when you think about, because remember, this is still a sub4-meter vehicle. Headroom in this row is good too, but you sit with your knees up and the rear windscreen is frighteningly close to your head.

Small hearted?

There’s no diesel mill on offer, and given the trend of petrols these days, it’s unlikely there’ll ever be a diesel option. So the Triber comes powered by a 999cc, three-cylinder petrol engine that develops 71bhp and 96Nm of torque, while ARAI claims a fuel economy figure of 20kpl. Now with an engine that tiny, you’re going to wonder how the Triber will pull seven passengers – and while it does, it doesn’t feel peppy, it’s mostly underpowered, and we’re hoping the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine from the upcoming Kiger SUV makes its way into the Triber as well. The 5-speed manual isn’t too slick, but there is also an AMT automatic to choose from. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.