Renault Lodgy Review
Car Tested: 2015 Renault Lodgy
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 9.59 – 14.30 lakhs
The Renault Lodgy is a versatile MPV offering utility and comfort in plentitude
Renault is set to attack the MPV space in India for the first time with the Lodgy. We all know that the Toyota Innova is the king of MPVs ruling the roost at the premium end, while the Maruti Ertiga and Honda Mobilio are taking good care of their volumes in the compact MPV space. Now Renault is trying to dig out a sweet spot for the Lodgy between the two segments and compete directly with the aforementioned rivals. High on the Duster’s success, the French carmaker is quite confident with their badge in India now. Renault claims that the Lodgy will be a segment breaker that will redefine the benchmark, offering performance of a sedan with the space and convenience of an MPV. Let’s find out whether the Renault Lodgy is capable enough to rock the pants off its rivals or is it just a storm in a teacup?
Motor Quest: Renault is known to be the inventor of MPVs in the world, as they introduced the Espace MPV in 1984. Without doubt the French car manufacturer is one of the oldest multi-utility vehicle makers. Betting big on their expertise, Renault now plans to enter the MPV segment in the Indian market with the Lodgy, launching in April 2015.
Exteriors – Renault has been quite safe when it comes to the styling of their cars, at least in India. Notice the entire lineup offered here and you would realise that there’s nothing exciting in their design language, it’s neutral. Same is the case with the Lodgy. No, it doesn’t mean that it looks bad, the styling is conventional yet contemporary and there are certain bits that make it look cool. The front looks pleasant with a detailed grille having a good dose of chrome and a big Renault badge sitting proudly. The headlamps are sizeable that makes the car look big at the front and it gets day time running lights that are not LEDs. The lower half of the bumper is done in black, integrating foglamps and some chrome accents as well.
Renault has altered the styling for India for a more premium appeal
The Lodgy is 4498 mm long and has the longest wheelbase in its class measuring 2810 mm, longer than the Innova’s 2750 mm. This is quite evident in the side profile with short overhangs. It also looks quite tall with a huge glass area. There are no violent creases running across the body and the design is kept simple and neat. The door mouldings on the lower half of the body get highlighted in chrome while the 15-inch 5-spoke alloys don’t look much exciting. Despite having uniquely shaped tail lights and chrome embellishments, the Lodgy tends to look plain at the rear. The tailgate needs some muscle for better presence. The thick chrome strip having LODGY etched on it is a good touch but the keyhole above it looks out of place and ugly. The overall design looks appealing to all and offending none with balanced proportions ideal for an MPV. Renault will also offer 47 categories of accessories with 4 accessory packs including chrome pack, essential pack, sport pack and techno pack to enhance the exterior appeal.
Interiors – The first thing I noticed while entering the cabin is the ease with which you get inside. High roofline and convenient floor height makes ingress and egress effortless, which is good for elderly people. The moment you sit inside, you would notice that the quality of the dashboard is a couple of notches above the Duster. The dual tone beige and grey dashboard has a layered design that looks good with a clutter-free centre console having a piano black finish, chrome inserts and a touchscreen with minimal buttons. The 3-spoke steering also comes with the updated Duster, which looks nice and feels good to hold. There are cruise control buttons on the steering but the audio controls are mounted on the steering column, which takes time to get used to. The instrument cluster is similar too with three chrome outlined pods including MID that displays necessary information such as distance to empty, instant fuel average, overall fuel efficiency, etc.
The Lodgy shares many elements with the Duster that includes circular air vents, inside door handles, air conditioner switches, gear knob, etc. Thankfully, the OVRMs control knob has been positioned conveniently on the right side of the steering. The power window switches and the stalks feel good to use with tactile feedback, it now comes with lane changing indicator function. The Media-Nav system has a 7-inch touch screen that includes navigation, USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity. The quality of touch is excellent and the interface is user friendly. Music streaming is seamless and the sound quality from the speakers feel above average. Renault is offering this navigation system with 3 years of free map updates. This screen also doubles up as a display for the rear parking camera with guidelines, works quite well along with parking sensors, a necessary combination for this size of an MPV.
The Renault Lodgy’s long wheelbase carves out tremendous space on the inside for occupants
There are 12V charging sockets for all the three rows. The Lodgy gets dual AC with roof mounted vents for second and third row that cools the cabin quickly. Renault claims that it gets the temperature down from 45 degrees to 23 degrees in 20 minutes. It gets manual AC across the range, at least the range topping RxZ version could have got automatic climate control. Storage space is in abundance in the Lodgy. The front door pockets can hold 1-litre bottles, wide storage space on top of the dashboard, tickets/cash storage on the driver’s side, open storage area on the passenger’s side above the glovebox and glass holders under the centre console. The glove box is a bit shallow and fouls with the front passenger’s legs while using because of its low positioning. The driver’s footwell gets decent space but no dead pedal.
The new beige Alpaga quilted leather upholstery with diamond pattern stitching looks excellent and boosts the premium appeal inside the cabin. The dual tone colour of the seats matches perfectly with the dashboard. Yes, they are as comfortable as they look, having good back, thigh and head support for the front seats with adequate cushioning. The sad thing is that the driver’s seat and captain seats of the second row get individual arm rests but the front passenger seat doesn’t. The driving position is upright and confident with clear visibility all around, thanks to the large glass area and well sized rear-view mirrors. The Lodgy will be offered with 8-seat and 7-seat configurations. We had the 7-seat version with captain seats that are reclinable but don’t move forward and backward. The captain seats are supportive enough for short passengers but tall people would complain about the under-thigh support and neck support because the head rest doesn’t stretch all the way up. The legroom is adequate in the second row and no one would ever complaint about the headroom, it’s just unlimited. The second row also has the convenience of foldable trays with bottle/can holder.
The main talking point of an MPV is the third row and it is surprisingly practical to seat an average sized Indian. To enhance the comfort of the third row, it comes with adjustable headrests, large windows, dedicated air vents and arm rest with cup holder. The only thing lacking is under thigh support, which would be a problem for an adult for long journeys otherwise it has good legroom and headroom with decent shoulder space. It also gets seatbelts for three but seating three together would be a bit tight. The cabin is extremely versatile with highly flexible seating. The second and third rows are foldable and can tumble. You can even completely remove the third row. The second row has 60:40 split and the third row has 50:50 split. With all the seats upright, it has 207 litre of boot space, tumble fold third row and you get 589 litre space. Extract the third row for 759 litres of space and get the maximum 1861 litres of space with both the rows tumbled and folded. All of this adjustment doesn’t need much effort and with a low loading lip, it has very practical cargo space.
Performance – The Lodgy is powered by the same tried and tested 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, carried over from the Duster, offered in two states of tune – 110 PS/245 Nm and 85 PS/200 Nm. It won’t come with the 1.6-litre petrol engine though. The 1.5-litre oil burner is a gem of an engine that we have tested in various cars before. It is quite a refined motor with stellar NVH levels, fuel efficiency and tractable power. The engine behaves the same in the Lodgy, pulling the MPV in a strong yet linear fashion. There is the typical turbolag under 2000 RPM with the 110 PS version, which is not present in the 85 PS version. The car has a punchy mid and top-end power that makes it a confident highway performer. The diesel clatter is not intrusive in the cabin but gets a little vocal near the redline that comes at 5000 RPM.
The 110 PS Lodgy is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission while the 85 PS gets a 5-speed gearbox. Gear shifts are smooth and slick but the 110 PS has a heavy and snappy clutch, which can get annoying in stop-go traffic. 100km/hr in the 6th gear sees the needle ticking around 1900 RPM, which makes cruising quite relaxed. The 110 PS version does the 0-100 km/hr sprint in 12 seconds with a top speed of 170 km/hr and the 85 PS does it in 13.3 seconds having a top whack of 163 km/hr. The French automaker claims that it has the best acceleration and top speed in its category. The ARAI fuel efficiency figures for the 110 PS and 85 PS Lodgy are 19.98 km/l and 21.04 km/l respectively, take them with a grain of salt though as real world mileage will be at least 4-5 km/l lesser.
Driving Dynamics – The Lodgy has a monocoque body with McPherson struts at the front and torsion beam at the rear equipped with anti roll bars. This setup is usually ideal for brisk handling and high speed stability, which is quite evident in the Lodgy. It handles the corners pretty well despite being an MPV and the body roll is well controlled but due to the tall stance, it tends to swing the passengers to a certain extent while cornering hard. The steering feedback is quite disappointing, being vague at the centre. Unlike the Duster, the steering of the Lodgy doesn’t communicate well with the driver having inconsistent feel. High speed stability is impressive and you can do triple digit speeds easily but the steering being on the lighter side makes you a bit nervous.
The Lodgy irons out the undulations orderly having a comfortable ride
The ride quality is fantastic in the Lodgy and it eats bumps, potholes, rough tarmac quite well for avoiding vertical movement. The sorted damping also keeps those ugly clunking sound away when you hit big potholes. However, the rear tends to bob a little when there are no passengers sitting at the back. The 185/65/R15 tyres do a great job of absorbing rough roads and keeping the MPV glued to the tarmac at corners. The long wheelbase makes its presence felt while taking a U-turn having a relatively wide turning radius. Braking performance is strong and confidence inspiring with a good pedal bite. The stopping distance from 80-0 km/hr is 35.26 metres.
Safety and After Sales Service – The Renault Lodgy has got only three star safety rating from Euro NCAP and that too for the international model having 6 airbags as standard. Renault will be offering the Lodgy in India with only dual front airbags, which is a big letdown. It will also get ABS, EBD with brake assist. Apart from cruise control, the MPV will come with a speed limiter as well. Renault currently has a network presence of more than 157 facilities across India. In order to get volumes and provide better after sales service, the French automaker needs to ramp up their presence, which they say they are doing through the year and claim it to be the fastest ramp-up by an automaker in India. Renault will be offering 2 years/50,000 km warranty with 2 years Road Side Assistance and extended warranty options of 3 years/60,000 kms and 4 years/80,000 kms.
Verdict – The Renault Lodgy’s tagline ‘Take Your World With You’ is quite apt for the kind of utility it offers along with the convenience of a present-day car. The styling has been tweaked for the Indian market that makes it look pleasant and fresh to stand against the rivals. Yes it does have that typical boxy MPV feeling from the rear but it doesn’t look offending. The interiors have good build quality and are loaded with modern day features to keep you pampered. The super flexible cabin is its big USP, which can scare the competition to a large extent. Then there’s the drivability that doesn’t make it feel like a big MPV. All in all, it’s a potent machine that can bring in some excitement in the market as well as in Renault’s pocket. The success of the Lodgy largely depends on the pricing and their service network. It is an uphill battle to crack the MPV segment in India but you never know, Renault seems to be well prepared this time.
The Renault Lodgy has all the necessary attributes of being a proper MPV. With the ideal size and up to date features on offer, the carmaker is targeting a wide section of the MPV audience. However, if Renault tries to play the premium game with optimistic pricing, they’ll find it difficult to churn out big volumes.
* Perfect size for an urban MPV, neither too big nor too small
* Good quality interiors, ample storage space and a long list of features
* Dual AC cools the cabin quickly
* Highly flexible seating for optimum passenger and cargo space
* 1.5 dCi diesel offers strong performance in a refined manner
* Plush ride quality and good high speed stability
What’s Not So Cool
* Rear profile looks plain and boxy
* No automatic climate control and power folding ORVMs
* Turbolag and a bit heavy clutch in the 110 PS version
* Vague steering feedback and poor turning radius
Alternatives: Toyota Innova, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Honda Mobilio
Renault Lodgy Specifications
* Engine: 1461cc, 8V, dCi
* Power: 85 PS @ 3750 RPM (85 PS); 110 PS @ 4000 RPM (110 PS)
* Torque: 200 Nm @ 1900 RPM (85 PS); 245 Nm @ 1750 RPM (110 PS)
* Transmission: 5-speed manual (85 PS); 6-speed manual (110 PS)
* 0-100 km/hr: 13.30 seconds (85 PS); 12 seconds (110 PS)
* Fuel Consumption: 16 km/l (85 PS), 15 km/l (110 PS)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 185/65/15 Alloy
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Dual Front Airbags
Renault Lodgy Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4498 mm X 1751 mm X 1697 mm
* Wheelbase: 2810 mm
* Boot Volume: 207 litres, 589 litres, 759 litres, 1861 litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1368 kgs
* Ground Clearance: 174 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.55 m