Camping with the Renault Triber
Spending our days either in the office or commuting to and fro leaves precious little time for ourselves. Even the much-awaited weekends aren’t a respite, with half of it spent planning and executing the so-called entertainment and the other half winding down to get ready for the weekday grind. Rinse and repeat. But today was different. It was a Monday, and yet we weren’t suffering from the Monday blues, all because of the Renault Triber, its Metal Mustard colour glinting a golden hue in the sun as it idled by the edge of the water. How did we get here? Welcome to a day with the newbies of the evo India tribe.
The outdoors with the Renault Triber
I love nature and the outdoors. Who doesn’t? The scenic vistas and silent woods hold a special place in my heart, so much so that while others’ weekend vibes involve banging heads to mad beats, I prefer warm cups of brew in a cosy green meadow under the stars. Music, sure, preferably the acoustic kind and all the better with close friends having a laugh about everything under the sun until the sun actually shows up. But, the unchecked growth of modern cities means green patches are all but gone. And small cars are the natural compromise for the congestion, their small size suited to filtering through traffic and parking in tight spots. But, by definition, small cars are only good as city runabouts – they’re no good when you have to squeeze in two suitcases while picking up your parents at the airport. That’s why the first upgrade is to a sedan, or as is the trend these days, an SUV. And yet here we were, searching for the greens with the perfect companion: the compact (on the outside) and yet so spacious (on the inside) Renault Triber. What we have here is the footprint of a hatchback, under four metres in length, allied to seating upto seven people or fit the aforementioned parent’s suitcases. I’m confused as to what to call this!
Fast forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon with the office buddies. “It has been so long,” says Suvrat, “since I strummed the strings of my guitar.”
“Me too,” adds our photographer Rohit. “I can’t imagine switching off... and not worrying about deadlines.”
“How about we take the Triber and spend the day doing nothing?” I asked. The glint in their eyes meant they knew just what I was talking about.
Now, as independent, inquisitive souls in a career that prides itself on delivering adventure, there are few places we haven’t explored to enjoy the Thrill of Driving. But, life has a way of serving up a googly, and it did serve a beautiful one, if I may add, in the form of the backwaters of the Veer dam, adjoining Shirwal town, hardly 60km from our home base in Pune. Clean, shallow waters, greenery all around, a gentle breeze, and winding roads with almost no traffic. The perfect location for a day spent in idle bliss with all my close friends.
Early morning drive with the Renault Triber
The day dawned even before, well, dawn, making my way to Suvrat’s place in the Triber, its soft fabric upholstery cossetting me, and its projector headlights and precise steering making sure I was able to easily identify and deftly change direction into the lane his house is in. Our resident musician, along with the tent and usual complement of snacks and drinks, brought his guitar too, all of which fit readily into the cavernous boot, courtesy the rear seats folding down into the easily adjustable ‘Surf Mode’, where one side of the split second and third rows are folded down to accommodate long objects like a surf board, or Suvrat’s guitar. Rohit and Abhishek soon joined us, their bags, cameras, and videography equipment also finding space without a hassle, courtesy the sliding second-row seat. We strapped ourselves in, stored our slurpy drinks securely in the cooled cabinet and our snacks in the lower of the two dash-mounted gloveboxes. Finally, I synced my phone via Android Auto with the Media NAV Evolution system, entered the location of choice, and set off.
Once on the highway, we smoothly made our way past the early morning rush of goods trucks and long-distance buses, all the while enjoying the tones from the six-speaker surround sound setup. At the helm, my progress was reflected on the brightly-lit and easily visible LED cluster, so I hardly needed to take my eyes off the road. It was here that it first hit me how impressive the combination of the impeccable engine and innovative chassis, with the four wheels pushed to the four corners is, as it ensured that even at speed, the Triber stayed exactly where I wanted to place it. And even with my enthusiastic driving style, both Rohit and Abhishek were easily able to catch forty winks, Rohit cooled by the column-mounted second row AC vents, while Abhishek enjoyed the breeze from the roof-mounted vents at the rear, his mobile charging via the dedicated 12V socket.
The Renault Triber is lovely on bad roads
Soon enough, we were off the highway and nearing our destination, the few potholes off the beaten path hardly disturbing the Triber’s composure (and Rohit’s sleep) as we cruised closer to Veer dam. Once there, all it took was one touch on the knob for the second-row seat to tumble forward, allowing easy egress for Abhishek. And there we were, enjoying the gentle breeze and lost in our thoughts, a sense of calm only felt far away from the cacophony and harshness of newly-erupted urban outcrops. The atmosphere near Veer dam, too, seemed to replicate this feeling of tranquility, as the crystal clear water surrounding us and stretching to the horizon seemed to mirror the sky, and was only occasionally broken by the fish swimming close to the surface.
Travelling has its own benefits, it gives you a perspective of yourself as well as the world around you. And this rendezvous with nature was exactly what we all needed to recharge our batteries and clear our heads. Breathing in the clean air got my cogs turning on how difficult the logistics of organising a camping trip usually is. Everything from the type of car to be taken, to the equipment needed (or omitted), to even the number of people to be included usually needs to be checked and rechecked. And here we were marvelling at the fact that the Triber, despite having a hatch-sized footprint, was able to easily ensconce four grown men and their abundant luggage without protest, and steal us away for this impromptu mini-vacation, personifying the adage ‘there’s more to it than meets the eye.’
The ride home in the Renault Triber
In fact, all the while that we were driving to or back from our camping spot, we had plenty of curious looks from the occasional bypassers, quite a few of whom asked the near six-foot tall Abhishek whether he was comfortable in the third row – and were genuinely surprised not only when he replied in the affirmative but also at the asking price of the Triber, a question that most of them fielded, naturally.
Soon it was time to go home, and while packing our camping gear we realised the benefit of the Triber’s Smart Access card, as you don’t fumble around with a key fob with your hands full of luggage. Now, as snacks and fizzy drinks aren’t really a balanced meal, we stopped at a restaurant on the way back. Here, too, we drew quite the audience, with the owners of the establishment, not content with merely listening to how much space the rear seats provided, asking us take him and his friends for a small drive. Of course we obliged, and could easily accommodate them in the third row, with Abhishek and Rohit sitting comfortably in the second. His curiosity changed to complete astonishment when we told them about the various additional seating modes the Triber offers.
“So I can fit my entire family, and even the supplies needed for running my restaurant?,” he asked excitedly. “Yes sir,” I said, my belly now expecting a great meal at the end of the drive.
Heading back home, we indulged in all kinds of musical tastes, everyone was fiddling with the large, seamlessly intuitive touchscreen, trying to zero in on their kind of music.
Overall, the day reinforced my belief that true enjoyment does not always mean extravagance. While everyone speaks about the virtues associated with cars of a ‘certain’ size, I now realise it’s all a matter of innovation, which the Triber has in spades. So what is the Triber? I find myself torn. Is it an MPV that can fit your entire entourage of friends? Or among the new breed of C-SUVs with its higher ground clearance to brush off bad roads? Or a hatchback that can fit into tight parking spots?
Whatever you want to call the multi-faceted Renault Triber doesn’t matter, what it provides is the liberty of choosing your own companions and mode of travel, and it ensures you enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.