Johannesburg - Renault South Africa is hoping to take the mini-people-mover market by storm with the new Triber, which brings seven-seat motoring to the masses with its starting price of just R164 900.

Going up against the Datsun Go+, albeit undercutting it by R8000 at the base of the range, the Triber was styled to look more like an SUV than an MPV and with a class-leading 182mm of ground clearance, it’s best described as a crossover of sorts.

The Triber rides on a modified version of the Kwid’s platform and it’s powered by an upgraded version of its 1-litre three-cylinder normally aspirated petrol engine, which produces 52kW and 96Nm. Whether that’s enough to keep it up to speed at Gauteng altitudes remains to be seen however. Fuel consumption should be impressive though, with Renault claiming a combined figure of 5.5 litres per 100km. All models are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The big drawcard here though is practicality and the Triber not only offers seating for seven, but numerous seating configurations - with Renault claiming there are up to 100 different variations, and there are also aircon vents for all three rows. There are four basic seating modes: Camp (two-seater), Surf (four-seater), Life (five-seater) and Tribe (seven-seater). The rear seats can also be removed completely.

Like most compact seven-seaters, there isn’t much of a boot when all seven chairs are in place, but in five-seater mode it offers up to 625 litres of luggage space, says Renault. That’s a lot more than you get in your average five-seat hatchback, which means the Triber will also appeal to those that don’t need seven seats, but who appreciate a really big boot. 

But how well equipped is it? 

Let’s take a walk through the range:

There are three models to choose from: Expression, Dynamique and Prestige.

The Expression comes standard with air conditioning (with separate controls for the second row) as well as front power windows, a cooled centre console, conventional two-speaker radio with Bluetooth, remote central locking, rear park distance sensors, dual front airbags and ABS brakes.

The Dynamique adds a 20cm touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto, electric mirrors, under-seat drawers, an upper glove box, upgraded seat fabric and exterior roof bars, while the rear occupants get power windows, an extra 12V power socket and a pair of extra speakers.

The Prestige flagship model gains a reverse camera, push-button start and front side airbags, while the 14-inch covered steel wheels fitted to the lower models are replaced with 15-inch ‘Flex’ wheels, which are designed to look like alloys.

All versions are sold with a five-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and two-year/30 000km service plan. Service intervals are pegged at 15 000km.

Look out for our driving impressions in Drive360 next Thursday.

RENAULT TRIBER PRICES

1.0 Expression - R164 900

1.0 Dynamique - R174 900

1.0 Prestige - R189 900

IOL Motoring