The last time I drove the Renault Triber was exactly a year ago. From then till now, many things have changed. For example, we have started wearing masks, going out less frequently, and aren’t working from an office anymore. During this time, the Triber has also changed a bit. It is now available with a BS6 engine, become a bit costlier and there is the very reason why we are revisiting it – an AMT. AMTs have been known to sap the fun out of an engine. However, here the AMT has got a task as the Triber’s motor was always perceived as underpowered. How well does the AMT complement this modular 7-seater car’s characteristics? Read on.
AMTs usually have me skeptical but having experienced a Renault-Nissan AMT before, I knew what to expect here. No surprises then! Renault has managed to refine the AMT in the Triber to a noticeable amount from the one used on the Kwid. Those head-nods register a faint sensation but quickly fade into the oblivion so much that you forget you are driving an AMT. It only comes to the fore when you try to push the car in manual mode. Just for trying the manual mode, I had used it and found it to be slow to upshift. It was better to let the ‘box do its job in automatic mode.
Speaking of manual mode, the Renault Triber AMT as you would have seen here uses a proper gear lever. Slotting into manual allows you to rev the engine right to the red line in the first three gears. Any automatic shift happens the moment the needle bounces off the rev limiter. There is creep function dialled in allowing the car to move ahead at a speed of 5kmph without accelerator inputs. Back to the initial question that is on everyone’s mind. Yes, the AMT auguments the Triber and overall brings out the car’s character. It in fact, masks the engine’s power shortcoming and makes piloting the car not only less tiring but also brings a small smile on the driver’s face.
In traffic conditions, the Triber’s AMT logic doesn’t leave you guessing but holds on to the required gear. I had the car with me for just a couple of hours and never once did I feel like I was driving a budget automatic transmission vehicle. Kudos to the Renault-Nissan engineers. When slotting the gear lever into D or R, there is no transmission jerk either.
Refinement of the powertrain at low speeds is the talking point though the engine becomes quite vocal when revved hard. At city speeds and even when cruising, the Triber is decently quiet. The claimed fuel efficiency of the Triber AMT is 18.29kmpl, slightly lower than the 19kmpl claimed by the manual. A small price to pay for the automatic convenience, I believe.
The design stays the same as the manual version and you get projector headlamps, 15-inch steel wheels with caps that masquerade as alloys and eagle-beak-like tail lights. A 2,636mm wheelbase inside means three rows of seats are possible. The steering wheel is devoid of any buttons while the negative LCD instrument console looks good but lacks clarity in broad sunlight. We like the 8.0-inch touchscreen system that comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. It is not only simple to use but also in the driver’s line of vision. It also doubles up as the display for the reverse parking camera. As I had noted in the manual, the grid lines here could have been dynamic in nature while the resolution could also be a tad better.
The main reason one will go for the Triber is the utility it offers and the AMT version is no different. Three-row of seats with each getting dedicated AC vents is unheard in this segment. The AC itself cools very well. There are enough storage spaces with the front passengers getting double glove boxes, with the storage space near handbrake getting a cooling function, 1.0-litre water bottle holders. With all the seats intact, the Triber boasts 84 litres boot space whereas it increases to 625 litres with the last row stowed away.
As far as driving manners are concerned, the Triber’s suspension is a bit noisy but the better part is where it doesn’t let any bumps inside. The occupants are cocooned in, with even the road noise kept at the bare minimum up to 80-90kmph. Post this, the engine becomes noisy and road noise too creeps in. As for the handling, the car stays planted at triple-digit speeds and the steering is light for use in the city. There is good all-round visibility as well.
I like the brakes too as they offer good feedback from the pedal and bring the car to a halt without any fuss. The only gripe will be that the steering isn’t telescopic while the driver gets no seat height adjustment either. Getting into the third row isn’t as painful as it seems while the seat there is best suited for kids or grown-ups for a short time.
The Renault Triber AMT prices begin from Rs 6.25 lakh to Rs 7.29 lakh, ex-showroom. This price is only Rs 40,000 more than that of the equivalent manual versions. Pretty much every variant of the Triber comes with a decent set of features including four airbags in the RxZ. For those looking for affordable motoring and on a tight budget, the Triber AMT is highly recommended as a premium alternative. As a family man and someone looking at just point A to B travel, there is lots to like in the Triber. For now, the added automatic convenience with one of the best AMTs in town truly makes the Renault Triber a near-perfect car to own.
Images by Gagandeep Puri
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