Dacia Lodgy Stepway

The Duster has been the best selling Renault vehicle in India and the French automaker wants to replicate the success of its compact SUV with another model based on the same platform. Since Renault and Nissan have a joint venture, people were expecting Renault to bring out its own re-badged version of the Nissan Evalia. However Renault already has a completely different vehicle that is all set to compete in the growing MPV segment in the Indian auto market.

The Renault Lodgy aka the Dacia Lodgy is underpinned by a modified version of the Duster’s platform. It is a front-wheel-drive vehicle and Renault will plonk in the highly acclaimed 1.5-litre K9K turbo diesel engine in the vehicle. The engine produces 85 BHP of power and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Dacia has designed this MPV in such a way that it offers a very low turning radius and this feature will be a boon on our crowded roads.

The Renault Lodgy is a 7-seater MPV and is slightly bigger than the Ertiga measuring 4500 mm in length and 1750 mm in width. The front of the vehicle looks very good but the side profile is too bland while the rear is plain quirky. Coming to the interiors, the space sure seems better than the Ertiga and there are enough cubby holes and storage spaces to keep all your nitty-gritties. The dashboard also has a straight-forward and functional design with Renault India making tweaks to the cabin for improved aesthetics (just like they did with the Duster).

The Renault Lodgy MPV seems like a very capable vehicle and the Maruti Ertiga will surely get some tough competition once its launched next year. The Lodgy will provide a good fight however we saw the Nissan Evalia fail in our market owing to its van-like styling so the Lodgy does has one major downside here. However, it will still be a very good option for those families who go on long drives frequently since this vehicle offers more space. The Renault Lodgy will also compete with the Honda Mobilio, which was showcased at the Auto Expo and is due for launch by July.

Renault will price the Lodgy between Rs. 7-10 lakhs and is working aggressively on localising parts. The launch is still a year away (January 2015 with production commencing in Chennai a month prior) and thus Renault chose against showcasing the vehicle at the 2014 Auto Expo as it was too early to build hype around the product. Renault has only one launch left for 2014, which is the Duster facelift in the second half of the year. The Koleos and Fluence facelifts were launched last week.

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