Assuming your need for a good family bonding time, what logical and economical MPV do you choose? On one side, there are economical offerings like Maruti Ertiga, Honda Mobilio but then credentials of these people movers to carry around extended family of 7 to 8 adults have always been questionable. Then on other side there is Toyota Innova that has no such space apprehension but then it suffers from exorbitant price. In sum, Indian MPV space had lacked spacious yet economical proposition, and this is exactly where Renault envision role of its new MPV, the Lodgy. Renault takes pride in originating MPV segment almost in Europe three decades back, and now with Lodgy, claims to transform face of Indian MPV segment. With generous proportions and reliable engine, Lodgy has got its basics right in terms of assessing requirements of Indian buyers. Lodgy can comfortable seat 7/8 adults and its longest in-class wheelbase, makes sure that even third row provides good seating comfort to occupants. Further, optional captain chair seats in 2nd row and roof mounted AC vents are virtues that make Lodgy quite capable to stand against any mighty rival. Design is definitely not the strongest part of this French marquee though practicality and versatility of cabin is large enough to make up for some boxy and bland proportions of this silhouette. Now after these initial observations, its time for us to hit road in Lodgy and here’s what we think overall about this new Renault.
How Lodgy Looks Like
Renault Lodgy is MPV and it makes no bones about this fact. It is massive in its sheer size and dimensions, and dwarfs its rivals in almost each and every comparison on dimensionality. Renault has gone overboard in stretching profile as Lodgy could have come without some of unnecessary mm. That said we really can’t complain Lodgy’s design as space is primary criterion for MPVs for and showing concern for this parameter is in fact shows manufacturer’s concern for buyers’ need.
Overall design of Lodgy is mixed bag of things. While frontage looks quite modern and attractive; profile and rear is tad boxy and unanimated. Up front Renault has exploited Indians’ liking for chrome quite well to its advantage. Thick chrome slat with multiple chrome insets in grille looks appealing. Air dam is characteristically sharp and with chrome outlined fog lamps, lends a purposeful nose to Lodgy.
Move around and Lodgy’s massive length becomes instantly evident. With longest in-class wheelbase, Lodgy stretches ungainly between centres of wheels thatthough favours practicality affects visual beholding negatively. At rear Lodgy feels boxy and strangely clustered tail lamps don’t offer any help either. Rear windscreen is flat and could have featured some more glass area. Lodgy’s rear reminds a bit Of Mahindra Xylo which is not an image we think Renault want to cherish.
How It Feels Inside
Like external, interiors of Lodgy are also mixed bag of things. While on space and practicality Lodgy has lot on offer while quality and cabin’s over-layout is quite a downer. Lodgy has generous three rows of seats with middle row that can be ordered in both captain-chair and flat fully foldable bench arrangement. Space is in acres as Lodgy has even got plenty of room even at third row. Front driver seat is excellently bolstered and offers commanding view of the road.
2nd row has got genuine width and offers seating comfort for three fully-grown adults. There is no problem of shoulder space and this makes Lodgy quite a comfortable people mover. Lodgy’s third seat is roomier than most of current other people movers in market. Three adults at 3rdrow won’t be that much comfortable though two can sit in quite a comfort even for long journeys.
On quality front, Lodgy has no answer to Innova which is way much superior in quality, finishing and important aspect of Ergonomics. Lodgy shares most of part-bin with Duster which means quality even at its best is quite an average. Lay-out design is not tasteful and though it boasts cluster of equipment and features, it lacks the superiority and elegance of Innova.
Along with other equipment, Lodgy’s familiarity with Duster is instantly recognizable with a look at instrument cluster, steering wheel, gear lever and round air-con vents. There are shiny bits and uneven gaps which don’t bode well for the Lodgy’s long-term appeal. Overall, Lodgy’s interiors please the utility seekers though elegance and quality conscious consumers won’t find Lodgy much enticing on quality
How It Likes To Drive
Power front of Lodgy is commanded by Renault’s quite familiar and highly efficient 1.5-litre, dCi, K9K diesel engine. Power output has been tuned to produce either 85 PSS or 110 PS depending upon variant. We sampled higher 110 PS variant and can say safely that this motor is quite a gem. It may not be the most refined power plant in business but it has all requisite of a great making. Drivability is quite fair as after initial lag, motor pulls quite cleanly and stress-free.
Mated with 6-speed manual transmission, Lodgy is an excellent highway cruiser. Gear-ratios are identified quite competitively as Lodgy feels relaxed over entire engine rev-range. Especially on highway, Lodgy is extremely relaxing and can do whole day in three-digitwithout any stress mark. Cruising ability is one of the strongest virtues of Lodgy and undoubtedly will contribute to make Lodgy successful.
Clutch of Lodgy is quite heavy and mechanicals are far from superiority of Innova. Shifting of gears is uninspiring as gates are defined poorly. Meshing of gears is not something that inspires the driver though relaxed engine offers some compensation of this poor shifting experience. Brakes are safe and help Lodgy to stop with dead surety with advanced technology like ABS, EBD and BA are standard part of equipment in all variants and models.
How It Feels On Road
Just like strong engine, Lodgy feels sure-footed on road, and offers quite comfortable riding experience. High speed stability is quite impressive and along with powerful engine, makes core part of Lodgy’s appeal. Occupants are sure to find Lodgy’s ride experience comfortable. Sound insulation of the cabin in impressive too, and as compared to Duster, Lodgy’s cabin is quite impressive in terms of offering good sound insulation.
Handling of Lodgy is in-line with other MPVs which means there are quite roll on winding road. Given massive proportions of Lodgy, we don’t feel it as big deterrent. As long as one is patient with driving and desists from making emergency lane changes, Lodgy won’t bother much and in fact comes across as a credible MPV.
Renault has struck gold with Lodgy’s pricing that starts at just above Rs 8 lakh mark. Even top variant is far cheaper than Innova’s top-line trim, making Lodgy an excellent value for money. Of course, Lodgy is not free from defects. It has its own limitations in terms of average design, mediocre cabin quality and notchy gear shift. That said, Lodgy has got its basics right with on offer is impressive space, roomy cabin, strong cruising diesel engine and class-leading fuel-efficiency. On one hand, Lodgy feels cut above the likes of Ertiga, Mobilio etc. owing to its all-around cabin room, and on other, it dwarfs Innova’s clout by eventuating at lower end of price spectrum. Renault has got another segment in Lodgy and after Duster, Lodgy is going to be another French blockbuster.
Style & Substance 3/5 Ride & Handling 3/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3/5 Safety & Equipment 3/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 4/5