Renault Lodgy First Drive
If a long vacation is around the corner, we all haste in finishing our mundane tasks to finally relish the freedom from work and responsibilities. You would not want to take your sedan as it has a boot but no space for people, not a hatch for sure as it can go fast but not practical. Enter the MPV class, a saviour for the middle-aged family lover, who likes to snug in with everyone once in a while.
Renault, the ones who originally introduced the MPV type, is here with a brand new offering - The Lodgy. They are not directly targeting the Big Daddy of MPVs, Toyota Innova, but are sure to create a minor dent in its sales. It is the Honda Mobilio and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga against whom the Renault Lodgy will lock horns to be the most practical compact MPV available in India.
Tall claims as it might appear on paper, Renault is confident that the Lodgy will make everyone give the MPV class a rethink. Our first drive experience is here...
The Renault Lodgy shares its design theme with the Duster as the voluptuous curves and flowing lines make it resemble the compact SUV to a great extent. There is no doubt that the Lodgy looks boxy with its flat lines and straight sections but Renault has tried to hide it with subtle detailing around the design.
Instead of a in your face profile, it gets a rather smooth design on the front with petite headlights just around the front corners with a strong chrome line forming the hood lip joining both the headlights. The twin slat grille flows horizontally around the solid Renault logo placed at the centre. The front bumper gradually flows out from the headlight giving it a car like design. It also gets a two tone finish with the lower portion finished in matte also forming an air splitter and fog lamps housing. The chrome touch given all over looks decent.
The uniformly straight flowing roofline makes it look like a typical family carrier but at the same time it looks way better than Nissan Evalia and Chevrolet Enjoy. Large windows for all three rows make it look impressive as well as serve for a roomier feel inside the cabin. The wheel arches gets a subtle flair and the 185/65 R15 tyres with five spoke solid alloys suit the large contours. To make sure the silhouette doesn’t look drab, the Lodgy gets crease lines on front and rear sections. There are chrome protectors on the lower section.
The rear quarter view looks as impressive as the front quarter with swollen sections and solid profile. The fish tail styled tail lamps is a nice attempt to distract from otherwise boring looking tail door. It gets roof mounted brake lamps and a large rear windshield. There is again solid chrome above the number plate area as well as on the lower section of the tail door. Overall, the rear profile looks clean and scores more points than many other MPVs excluding the Honda Mobilio, which has the best tail door design.
The interior architecture of the Renault Lodgy looks familiar to the Duster. On the plus side, the trims look pleasant with a decent build quality. The plastics aren’t much about upmarket finish but at the same time it won’t leave you complaining.
The three pod instrumental cluster which was launched in the new gen Duster makes its way into the Lodgy with an analogue speedo and tachometer. It gets an information display screen on right which displays tripmeter, odometer and fuel left in digital format. The three spoke steering wheel offers good grip, has buttons to control the cruise control and speed limiter. As for operating the central infotainment and media options, there is a media rack nicely tucked on the column behind the steering wheel. Quirky it might appear but then it is useful.
Being the top end RxZ version, it had the best of all features like media-navigation screen which also doubles up as a screen for manoeuvring in reverse and parking. It has a decent resolution and is user friendly. One can pair phones, listen to music via USB or Bluetooth and navigate using this screen.
Renault’s attempt in making sure the Lodgy feels more appealing than competition has paid off well, which can be seen in the right colour combination of Gris Fume and Beige used in the interiors. The nicely stitched leather seats feel comfortable. All three row seats get leather as standard for the top spec variant. The under thigh support too is decent for first and second rows while the third bench type seat just fulfils the basic need.
Unlike the sliding doors which aren’t the best in the business to welcome occupants, the large standard styled doors make great sense. Even the large windows aid the mission of making the cabin feel more airy and roomy. Our test car had captain style second row seats but Renault will offer standard bench styled seats for the second row as well with a central armrest and cup holders. All seats in first two rows get armrests. The negative here is the immovable fixture of second row seats, which doesn’t let the seats slide horizontally. This could have made more knee room for the second row occupants. Renault also claims that the third row seat offers more room than the Innova, 43% to be precise.
In addition to using inside-cabin space to the maximum, even the storage options appear smart. There is a lid-covered shelf on the front dashboard for keeping parking tickets, a glove box with an intermittent recess above it, storage pockets to hold four 1L bottles and five 0.5L cups, charging points on all rows and snack trays mounted behind front row seats. The boot space can be arranged by adjusting the seats in 56 different ways and thus, from a minimum of 207L of space with all seats in place, it goes up to 1861 L without the third row and folded second row of seats.
Sharing its heart with the compact SUV, the Lodgy too is available in two diesel engine options. Firstly, the more efficient 85PS engine which makes a torque output of 200Nm followed by the more powerful 110PS engine which makes greater torque of 245Nm at lesser rpm. The 110PS engine is available in a manual 6-speed transmission while the 85PS will come fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Even though the engine is same as the Duster, the Lodgy’s power train features the updated T4 Electrical and Electronical Architecture which has an improved power delivery along with a refined engine response. The same was introduced in the recently launched new generation Duster. It also helps the Lodgy to comply with the latest emission norms.
It is a known fact that Renault cars handle better than its competition. They have a special way of tuning the suspension to make it feel just right. The Renault Lodgy is based on the Duster platform so it has the ability to take on hard surfaces with great ease. Though, the Lodgy, on account of its design and overall architecture, offers a more sorted ride than the Duster.
We had the 110PS variant. Dodging city traffic is not a fun experience in this car. In addition to hauling the grand mass, the lag in power delivery gets evident as lower gears feel short. Though, on positive side, the engine revs freely and it feels extremely easy to steer around corners and by lanes. While driving around Bangalore, we did miss some turns but the Lodgy’s impressive manoeuvring skills didn’t let us loose calm. The steering wheel feels rightly weighted like that in a sedan. The powerful air-conditioner too helped tackle unbearable afternoon heat.
In our attempt to capture scenic shots, we drove it over surfaces which aren’t frequented by the MPV class. Here its SUV pedigree helped as the almost SUVish ground clearance gave us enough confidence to drive it over hard surfaces without a second thought. There was no seepage of redundant ambient noise inside the cabin proving the benefit of strong cabin insulation. It felt very well built.
The Renault Lodgy feels home only on highways as the power band gets enough area to showcase its true potential. The gear shift quality is smooth and active at the same time. Upshift and there is enough power to overtake at one go, condition being the engine is revving well above the 2000 rpm mark. The straight line stability is amazing unless you push it hard to reach the other end of the speedometer. There is enough roll felt around the corners, demerit of its construction style but the longer wheelbase and a stable body keeps it in line on straight sections.
|Power in PS/RPM||110 PS / 4000 RPM|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||245 Nm / 1750 RPM|
|Fuel Consumption - ARAI||19.98|
|Wheel base mm||2810|
|Ground clearance mm||NA|
|Fuel tank capacity L||50|
|Tyre Spec||185/65 R15|
|Features||Renault Lodgy RxZ|
|Dual AC with Roof Mounted Vents for 3rd and 2nd Row||Yes|
|Premium Beige Alpaga Leather Seat Upholstery||Yes|
|Adaptive Suspension with Anti-Roll Bar||Yes|
|Dual Front Air-Bags||Yes|
|ABS with EBD & Brake Assist||Yes|
|Rear Parking Sensors||Yes|
|Rear View Camera||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Power in PS/RPM||110 PS / 4000 RPM||90 PS / 4000 RPM||100 PS / 3600 RPM|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||245 Nm / 1750 RPM||200 Nm / 1750 RPM||200 Nm / 1750 RPM|
|Fuel Consumption - ARAI||19.98||20.77||24.2|
|Wheel base mm||2810||2740||2652|
|Ground clearance mm||NA||185||189|
|Fuel tank capacity L||50||45||42|
|Tyre Spec||185 / 65 R15||185 / 65 R15||185 / 65 R15|
What makes Renault confident about Lodgy’s acceptance? They have studied the basic needs of the MPV seeker. The Honda Mobilio and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga are based on a hatchback platform and thus don’t do justice to the MPV tag, they are best suited to be station wagons or hatchbacks with more luggage space and practicality. The only MPV which stood against the competition, for more than a decade, is Toyota Innova. Performance, Comfort and Reliability are the key reasons for it but still shelling out more Rs 19 lakhs (on-road) for it is not justified especially considering the minimal changes it went through from the time of its launch.
The Renault Lodgy is a great attempt in making an attractive looking compact MPV. The interior quality is impressive and acceptable. In terms of comfort, it scores more than others in the competition. The amazing storage and boot space makes it a practical solution for a family. It has the underpinnings of Duster, which has already made its mark in the compact SUV segment. Both the diesel engines are highly promising and efficient. It gets dual airbags, ABS, EBD with brake assist and rear parking camera with sensors.
The company has also started growing its presence across the country as they have aggressive dealership expansion plans. This has been initiated not only for Lodgy but also for the upcoming XBA hatch, which will be a volume seller in India. Everything of the above will only make sense provided Renault prices the Lodgy in the most logical way. It is not a surprise that Renault will price the base variant of Lodgy a little above Rs. 9 lakhs and will price the more expensive variant below Rs 14 lakhs. If the company can pull off this one, it will surely be the most practical compact MPV in India.