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Renault Lodgy India Review - a practical MPV!

  • Apr 21, 2015
  • 2997 Views
Renault Lodgy India

In terms of monthly sales, Renault India is perched at the 9th position in the domestic car market. It’s only the Duster SUV in its five car portfolio that is doing decent numbers. Now in terms of figures, the company sells about 3500 cars per month, far less than what Toyota manages alone with the Innova or Maruti with the Ertiga. This brings us to the ever booming MPV market in India, a segment that has witnessed quite a few launches in the past couple of years. It’s a market that does about 15,000-20,000 units on a monthly basis and is now under Renault’s radar.

Here is our video review



The Lodgy is not a new product. It was launched three years back (internally) and is sold in quite a few countries under the Dacia brand name and remains almost unchanged for the Indian market. We took this new MPV for a spin in and around Bangalore to see if it ticks all the right boxes to steal away limelight from other established players in the market.

Looks and design

Renault Lodgy India

The Renault Lodgy is a MPV and looks like one. It won’t win any beauty pageants but will still turn heads. It’s not really an out of the box design but what does the trick is the long wheelbase – at 2810mm, it’s just 40mm shy of the Aria’s and a good 158mm more than the Mobilio’s! Leave those tiny 15-inch wheels aside and aesthetically, the Lodgy starts growing on you. The front with chrome overdose and a unique grille design wins your heart. The headlamps flow into the body neatly and you notice the muscular design lines on the bonnet as well.

Renault Lodgy India

Move to the side and you notice the sloping roofline and massive windows. While the alloy wheel design is rather sober, the rear part of the Lodgy is interesting. Again, it doesn’t look smart or beautiful but the rather uniquely or arrow shaped tail lamps get your attention. Again, there is an overdose of chrome and the overall effect is above average.
Our test car came in deep purple and I must add it makes the MPV look premium.

Interiors

Renault Lodgy India interior

A family MPV should be both spacious and practical and the Lodgy delivers on that account, well almost. You don’t need to step in, rather you can literally walk into the cabin and if you have been in the Duster, you will feel at home. The steering and gear lever are picked up from the Duster AWD and even the air-con knobs and vents are identical to its SUV sibling. That said, the overall feel and quality of plastics is definitely better.

Renault Lodgy India interior

What you see here is the top end RxZ version that comes loaded with features including steering controls, cruise control, touch screen infotainment system with GPS (free maps for 3 years) and rear camera etc. A climate control is missing and so a co-driver armrest.

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The best part about the Lodgy is the space and air feel. Front seats are comfortable though we didn’t like the way the driver’s seat is adjusted for height – you need to get off the seat to raise it! There is enough space for the biggest of adults up front and enough places to keep your knick knacks. There is space ahead of the gear lever, above the central console, above the glove-box, on the right side of the steering and so on.

Renault Lodgy India interior

Shift your focus to the second row and this is where you come across the biggest flaw. The second row of seats (be it a bench or captain seats) lack the fore & aft adjustment of its competitors. You simple cannot slide and adjust these seats for added leg space. This is something offered by all the other three (main) rivals of the Lodgy. With a tall driver up front, space at back is best termed as average for a MPV. That said, a flat floor and ample width makes it a good place for 3 adults. The split seats (in bench arrangement) can be folded separately and you also get a central arm-rest with cup holders. The good part about the 2nd row is that its set higher than the front seats which means you get a good view of the surroundings and further, large windows mean you won’t feel claustrophobic at all.

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The rear row in the Lodgy is claimed to be comfortable for three adults. In reality, it’s best for 2 full size adults but pretty comfortable given the segment. What’s nice is the way this row can be accessed. The 2nd row seats flip up completely, thus liberating enough space for passengers to step into the last row. You do sit with your knees up but nevertheless, this is one of the better places among all the other MPVs in the segment.
Boot space with all the rows in place is 207 litres but expands to 589 with the last row folded. You can also remove the third row and increase the space to 759 litres. If you need more, tumble the 2nd row and the Lodgy ends up liberating 1861 litres of boot space!

The engine!

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The Lodgy is available with the same 1.5-litre dCi motor that powers (in different states of tune) close to a dozen other cars in India – from the Micra/Pulse to the Sunny/Scala, the same engine can also be seen in the Terrano/Duster cousins as well as Evalia, Fluence and Verito too. In the Lodgy you can either opt for the 85PS version or the one we got on test, the 110PS model. This model has a higher power output than the Innova, Mobilio and Ertiga and the same goes for the torque rating too. The problem with the 110PS version is the turbo lag, something also present in the Maruti Ertiga. However once you get going, you simply fall in love with the motor. Power delivery is punchy and you never seem to run out of breath. The same goes for the NVH levels which are superbly under control and make the Innova feel dated. With a 6-speed gearbox, eating up miles on the highways during that Himalayan trip is an easy affair. The gearbox itself is one of the better ones when it comes to shift quality.

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At the same time we would have loved to see the same gearing set-up that comes in the Duster AWD. The shorter gearing would have made driving this MPV a piece of cake in slow moving traffic, especially with a full load of passengers and luggage.
ARAI certified economy for the Lodgy 110 stands at 19.98, far more than the Innova (12.99) but less than the Mobilio (24.2) and Ertiga (20.77). With a 50-litre fuel tank, expect a real world range of about 750-800km on highways and 650-700km in city conditions.
Ground clearance stands at 174mm and given the long wheelbase, could be an issue when driven with a full load.

Ride and handling

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So the Lodgy is spacious and has a performing engine. But there’s more to this MPV and it is the way it glides over typical Indian roads. The Lodgy is based on the Duster platform, a car that is often been praised for its comfortable suspension. The Lodgy feels even better and inspite of small 15-inch wheels, eats up whatever comes its way. The ability of the suspension to soak up imperfections is remarkable and will go down well with families. Further, both road and suspension noise are well control and the cabin remains pretty quiet.
Large windows also mean visibility is great and it’s not a task when driving this MPV in city traffic. You can see tight spots and make your way around vehicles easily. For the driver, the Lodgy is like a big hatchback to drive. Steering is light enough for slower speeds and weighs up adequately for highway usage. At triple digit speeds it is not as stable as the Innova but nevertheless inspires confidence while changing lanes or braking hard.
Turning radius is slightly more than the competition but that is to be blamed on the long wheelbase.
Other noteworthy points include adequate under-body protection like a solid engine and sump guard (metal), metal casing for the brake and fuel lines and so on.

Safety

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The Dacia Lodgy received 3 out of 5 stars under the NCAP testing and the same goes for the Renault Lodgy too. ABS is offered across the range while airbags are offered from RxL version onwards. Further, doors auto-lock once you start moving, all windows come with anti-pinch function and there is also a speed limiter function.

Verdict

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Pricing for the Lodgy starts at Rs 8.19 lakh, exactly same as the Honda Mobilio diesel. However, the base model is almost Rs 3 lakh cheaper than the base Innova E (with PS). Likewise, the top end Lodgy retails at Rs 11.79 lakh, more or less same as the Mobilio but a good 4 lakh less than the Innova!

The Lodgy fits its purpose of being a MPV rather well. We agree there a few shortfalls like non-adjustable 2nd row and questionable styling, but at this price, the overall comfort and practicality score top marks. The Ertiga has aged, the Mobilio lacks the finesse and the Innova is simply too expensive for some. This is where the Lodgy will find takers and help Renault India finds its way up the ladder in the Indian car market!

INTERESTED IN OTHER MPVs?

- Mobilio vs Innova vs Ertiga comparison including video (click to read)
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