Sunday, June 07, 2015

'Renault Lodgy' Is A MPV With The Best In Cost & Comfort

Renault says MPVs are tricky business. It's more a rational purchase than an emotional one, compared to most other body styles. That probably explains why most of them tend to look boxy and ungainly. 

The Lodgy is no different. It is not a design that will make you go weak in your knees or result in you having to wipe your drool off the floor, but strangely, it turned quite a few heads as we drove it around Bangalore.

The Lodgy is based on the Duster platform, which is a good place to start for mechanical advantage. The vehicle is shorter in length than an Innova, but interestingly, boasts of a longer wheelbase than the Japanese best-seller.

Renault designers have given it a neat face with a prominent chrome grille and reasonably large headlamps. A smart dual-colour chin with angled edges gives the front a focussed and distinctive look. A high waistline and a large glass area that is typical of an MPV profile. The rear gets angular, and not too large, tailamps. The sheer size and a relatively crisp lines makes the Lodgy less ungainly to look at despite the inherent MPV body style.

The car is powered by Renault's tried-and-tested 1.5-litre diesel engine that also powers the Duster, and just like in the SUV, it is being offered in two states of tune - 84bhp and 108bhp. We drove the 108bhp version and it has retained most of its grunt from the Duster. It pulls from any gear and is a very practical powertrain for our kind of driving conditions where changing gears is frequent. This engine is mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox that slots smoothly into any gear. The 84bhp version gets a five-speed gearbox.

On the road, the one word to describe the Lodgy's drive is - effortless. It doesn't feel too heavy and is quick on its feet. Once past 1500rpm, the torque starts kicking in. And although it peaks at 1750, you do not feel a drop in power and you can see the speedo climb happily into three-digit speeds. The steering is well-weighted, and the chassis feels balanced at reasonable speeds. The long wheelbase helps in a straight line but body roll is present. That said, it isn't a handful around turns unless if you doing really high speeds.

The cabin of the Lodgy isn't luxurious but surprisingly pleasant. It feels spacious and airy, thanks to its clever combination of trim colours, layout and some shiny bits. The dash borrows heavily from the Duster with a similar touchscreen multimedia system, but this time, it also gets a reversing camera.

The Lodgy's talking point is obviously the three rows of seats. Renault will offer the option of captain seats for the second row. On the top RxZ spec, it has used leather trim for the seats and it is neatly done. A good thing is that the second row sits a bit higher than the front, allowing passengers a slightly elevated view of the front. The last row is wide but not the most comfortable. Two adults and a child can sit with ease. Under-thigh support is missing in the last row, but backrest angle is good, and the knee-room is more than adequate. Renault has done away with the second row's central air con of the Duster, and instead, got a roof air con for the rear passengers. The cooling felt more than adequate in the Bangalore heat, this time of the year, even at the rear.

Overall, the Lodgy is proof that Renault is at the top of the MPV game it started globally, some three decades ago, with the Espace. The Lodgy offers space, comfort and a reasonable drive experience in a body style that inherently isn't very cool to look at. It isn't as compact as the Ertiga or Mobilio and hence offers genuine space for a third row of seats without being as intimidating as an Innova's bulk.

Of course, MPV's being as much a rational purchase as an emotional one, as Renault itself says, pricing is crucial. The top-spec car we drove is available for ?11.79 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, and the base model starts at ?8.19lakh, ex-Delhi. Now we expect the Indian MPV segment to see some change of order.

The numbers
  • Lodgy 108bhp
  • 4cyl, 1461cc, turbo-diesel, 108.6bhp, 245Nm, 6M, 1368kg, 185/65 R15, 19.98kpl (claimed), 50 litres fuel tank, ?12.5 lakh (on-road, Delhi)
The verdict
A wholesome MPV that gives a balance offering of space, comfort and on-road dynamics.

Your family is important to you. They matter to us as well. Generous and comfortable, the new Renault Lodgy is available with 7 and 8 full-size seats. It is a contemporary car, fulfilling the needs of modern families with its practical features and numerous storage areas. For a safer yet more entertaining trip, we have fitted the car with the MediaNAV multimedia system, easily controlled from its 7-inch touchscreen. It also has active and passive safety features.

TAKE YOUR WORLD WITH YOU: A face to be envied. A body to be admired. Best-in-class 110 PS engine and 6-speed gearbox. Class-leading space (7 & 8 seat options). ErgoDrive for total driving pleasure. Advanced infotainment with MediaNAV. 2nd & 3rd row smart-sense AC. The Renault Lodgy features the best of all worlds, unlike any other MPV.

SLEEK DESIGN: Stay true to yourself. Robust and generous, the styling of Renault Lodgy is marked by pure lines, its wide headlamps and the lean profile of its rear lamps. 

PERFECT EXTERIORS: A face to be envied. A body to be admired. Never thought you’d describe an MPV like this? Think again. A stylish chrome grille and chiseled front end flows into a sleek, dynamic profile. Contemporary European lines accentuate a sedan-like stance, to give the Renault Lodgy a striking presence.

GET A TASTE OF COMFORT: You only have to open the door to see just how practical the Renault Lodgy is. It is spacious with up to 7 full-size seats over three rows. Its modular loading volume is unbeatable thanks to the folding 2nd and 3rd row bench seats. We have thought of everything for your comfort and well-being, from the climate control to the 30 L of storage space located around the vehicle. Everyone will feel at ease and right at home on-board the Renault Lodgy.

TECHNOLOGY - INNOVATION RULES!: When it comes to equipment, the new Renault Lodgy always has more to offer. Enjoy fingertip control of the MediaNAV multimedia system thanks to its 7-inch touchscreen. Parking is child's play, with the rear parking aid. Keep control over fuel consumption with the Eco mode. All these features make for an easier drive.

STYLE MEETS FUNCTIONALITY: Come get enthralled with the neatly placed chrome-finished AC vents and state-of-the-art MediaNAV console, highlighting them for a convenient use.

SAFETY- STAY RELAXED: Travel safely and let the new Renault Lodgy take care of you. Our experts have done their utmost to ensure the safety of you and your family.


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