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Renault is planning to launch a people carrier at the Auto Expo 2014 in India. It will be based on a Dacia, which is company owned by Renault, called the Lodgy, instead of launching a re-badged Nissan Evalia. The Lodgy was launched in 2012 and is available in Europe right now. In India this car will go head on with the highest selling MPV, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga as well as the Mahindra Quanto, the Toyota Innova and the low selling Nissan Evalia.

The Dacia Lodgy is based on a modified Duster platform with front-wheel drive. It is powered by the highly proven K9K 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine with 110 BHP and a 6-speed gearbox. We can expect it in India with the 85 BHP version or both states of tune like the Duster. The ride quality and drive-ability of the car is pretty good. The car has a pretty small turning radius and performs acceptable on corners as well. So like the Duster this car can be expected to be very comfortable with decent road manners in its Indian version as well.

On the outside, the Lodgy is slightly bigger than the Ertiga measuring 4500 mm in length and 1750 mm in width and seems very spacious on the inside with flexible 7-seat configuration. The styling is pretty decent with a good front end, a very plain side profile and a quirky rear end. But overall seems like a very easy on the eyes, functional design.

The interior too it is a lot more spacious than the Ertiga with proper seven seats, where even the third row can seat two adults with sufficient leg room and still have decent luggage space in the boot. There lots of storage spaces and cubby holes. Also the seats are very flexible and can be folded to create a huge storage space like a van. In Europe the interior is grey with very good plastic quality and other materials as well. The dashboard has a functional design and all controls are very ergonomically placed. We may expect beige or a dual tone interior with decent interior material quality like the Indian Duster.

So the Dacia Lodgy seems to be a pretty good contender for the Indian roads for the French Automotive company to invest upon. It has all the credentials to be a spacious, comfortable 7-seater for bigger families that can even be used on long trips with luggage. But given the failure of the Nissan Evalia to sell in the Indian market due to its ‘van’ styling, we will have to wait and watch to see how the Indian market responds to this very capable product.

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Source – Business Standard