Making a mark against rival as formidable as Toyota Innova requires a competitive offering with well-thought out market strategy. Maruti and Honda have tried their best to wrest MPV crown from Toyota though found little success in their attempts. With its all-around capable engineering and sophisticated technology, Innova has blunted every attack on its leadership. Innova’s genuine space credential has also helped company to stay ahead and firmly occupying pole position all through theyears. But now, there isnew challenger on horizon in form of Renault Lodgystaking its claim on MPV crown. Unlike compact Maruti and Honda, Lodgy is a fully grown and genuine 7-seat MPV. It is as spacious as Innova and comes equipped with very reliable and fuel-efficient dCi engine. Furthermore, Lodgy trades at much lower price than Innova which is sure to help Renault to wean away price-conscious consumers away from Innova. Sensing the severity of Lodgy’s challenge, even Toyota has started fencing around its Innova castle. Will this preventive measure work or Renault Lodgy will storm away leadership of Innova? We find answer to this and even more in this road test comparison review.
How these looks on Outside?
Both Renault and Toyota has given utility design to their MPVs. Cab-like styling dominates design theme of both Lodgy and Innova as both propositions tends to maximize space utility over design pizzas.
Renault Lodgy: Quirky Silhouette
Despite of fresher offering, Renault Lodgy seems a bit out of shape especially when seen in profile. Renault gas tastefully crafted Lodgy’s frontage though towards sides and rear, Lodgy starts losing its charm. Lodgy’s Silhouette is stretched ungainly to offer maximum space and though its best-in-class wheelbase is excellent feature, it spoils overall shape and profile view. Rear too fails to break clutter as it feels very slab-like and square-ish to behold. Parts quality is downer and inconsistent panel gaps are evident at number of places.
Toyota Innova: Liberal use of chrome
Toyota Innova comfortably takes edge over Lodgy in terms of beholding opulence. Of course, it looks like a MPV but then design is easier on especially in profile. Panel gaps are virtually non-existent as this Japanese has got together its act more precisely. Innova’s chrome strips upfront and at rear also add zing to overall design.
Dimensionally Innova takes lead over Lodgy in length, width and height parameters though Lodgy with its longest wheelbase of 2810 mm dwarfs Innova that stretches 2750 mm between centres of wheels. Ground clearance of both MPVs is identical though Lodgy is considerable lighter than Innova.
Renault Lodgy: 3/5 Toyota Innova: 3.5/5
How these feel inside?
Like outside, inside too Lodgy has got quality and stitching issues. Lodgy has got most of its cabin bits from Duster which means in-cabin quality isn’t great. Further, ergonomically Lodgy is not a much sorted proposition though space-wise, there is little to complaint about. Lodgy has got best in class cabin space and it’s easily segment benchmark on virtue of roominess.
Renault Lodgy: Best in class wheelbase
Second bench can be ordered in either captain chairs or fully-foldable bench that is a nice option to offer. Third row is equally competent to seat adults though only two can be there comfortably. Boot space is another plus point of Lodgy as even with all three rows up, Lodgy can gobble couple of suitcases and bag packs. Driving position of Lodgy is commanding and with high seating position, driver can easily access all-around traffic which is very practical feature in our congested roads.
Toyota Innova: Quality cabin
Toyota Innova again edges out Lodgy with its class-leading interiors quality and fit-finish. There are no rough edges in Innova and ergonomically, this Japanese is hard to fault. Space has always been one of the strengths of Innova as for travelling with whole family, Innova is still the best choice. Not it is only wider than all other MPVs but its third row also offers matchless space and seating comfort to occupants. On boot space, it lags behind Lodgy but then it quickly makes up for deficiency with its ergonomically laid-out cabin and seating comfort. Both MPVs have roof-mounted AC though Toyota feels more effective in quickly cooling the cabin.
Renault Lodgy: 3/5 Toyota Innova: 3.5/5
Power and Performance
On paper, Innova holds the edge in terms of displacing higher cubic capacity of 2.5-litre compared to 1.5-litre
of Renault. Move down the spec-sheet though and Lodgy starts emerging as leading player in terms of power and performance. Despite of low capacity engine, Lodgy puts out more power and torque while Innova lags behind by good margin. Lodgy get holds of 110 PS and 245 Nm while Innova manages to churn out 100 PS and 200 Nm. Further, Lodgy has got 6-speed manual transmission for added convenience of highway cruising while Innova has got only 5-speed ratio.
Renault Lodgy: Excellent Cruiser
On road performance of both MPVs differ and this difference is perceptible especially on highway. 6-speed cruising of Lodgy is very much relaxed and as compared to Innova’s 5-speed gearbox, Lodgy feels much more competent highway cruiser. Innova also feels quite eager in town though out on open stretch and Innova’s progress is not very enthusiastic one. Innova attains 3 digit speed mark quickly though beyond that one has to rev the engine hard. On other mechanical linkages, Innova fits the bill perfectly.
Toyota Innova: Bigger 2.5-litre engine
Cutch is progressive and though not as light as we would like, there is reassuring feel to whole mechanical package. Brakes are ultra-competitive and dead stop Innova at the point of application of retardation. In contrast, Lodgy is not as competent as Toyota. 6-speed gearbox of Lodgy is perfect for cruising though shift experience is notchy. Clogging is far away from inspiring as gates are poorly defined.
Renault Lodgy: 3.5/5 Toyota Innova: 3.5/5
How these behave on road
Renault Lodgy: Brilliant dynamics
Renault has honed its dynamics with every successive product launch and Lodgy gets benefitted from the learning curve of company. Lodgy ride is spot on and will sure to become one of the strongest selling virtues of the car. Lodgy glides over all sorts of roads with quite an ease and it seems like you are wafting in air over few feet above road. It’s such a comfortable vehicle. Handling is on par with segment as stretched wheelbase and lengthier dimensions tend to roll a lot though application of brake soon sorts the matter out.
Toyota Innova: Average handling
Innova tends to chase Lodgy in dynamics but even after upmost effort, falls short by few notches. Its ride is a bit bumpy at slow speeds though it tends to become stable as whack rises. Highway stability is good but body roll is quite generous. Innova doesn’t like to be hustle around and if subjected to lane change without any premeditation, it protest in form of weaving off from track.
Renault Lodgy: 3.5/5 Toyota Innova: 3.5/5
On value for money, Lodgy trumps over Innova with thumping majority. Top-spec price comparison accrues advantage of Rs 3 lakh to Lodgy’s account which is quite considerable amount. Lodgy may have lagged behind Innova on number of aspects though when its price in itself is large enough to offset all the ground gained by Innova. Renault has priced Lodgy brilliantly and there can’t be two ways about it. As a comfortable, economical, 7-seat MPV Lodgy ticks all the right boxes but then don’t expect this French flair to deliver something extra than transportation from point A to B. It lacks the flair, quality and opulence and this is exactly where Innova comes into picture. We agree that Toyota has priced Innova quite ambitiously but then Innova is worth every extra penny you spent on it. It looks better than Lodgy, has got quality cabin, boasts top-class fit-finish, comes with genuine 7-seat with 3 rows, and above all brand name of Toyota. Of course, you need to spend few lacs extra on it but then quality seldom comes cheap.
Renault Lodgy: 3/5 Toyota Innova: 4/5