Saturday, June 27, 2015

The new ‘big boy’ in town - Renault Lodgy


Disclaimer: The entire opinion showcased here is my ‘own’ and I was part of the 40 blogger contingent that met up for the #LiveLodgycal drive at Goa hosted by blogadda sponsored by Renault India.

Renault, the French auto giant has the Pulse, Scala, Duster, Fluence, Koleos (in order of their price) lineup of models in India and the fact is that other than Duster, none of the others have anything to boast in terms of numbers sold or popularity and in this scenario, now comes the Lodgy, the new MPV (big boy) in town comparing against the likes of the Maruti Ertiga, Honda Mobilio, Toyota Innova, Mahindra Xylo, a MPV segment jammed with many competitors, a product Renault is hoping to work for them and to repeat the success of the Duster. There has been none to beat the Innova till now… well, I said ‘till now’.


(picture by Renault India team during the event)

First thing first, you spark the Renault Lodgy to life and it’s pretty hard to accept that it is a diesel vehicle you are seated in. I was surprised to hear it could do 0-100 in flat 12 seconds, faster than any of the competition here.

Look & Feel: The Lodgy name itself sounds a little odd to me though and it’s a big vehicle on appearance and is cleverly concealed when viewed from certain angles. Look wise, it’s not a head turner and looks boxy from the rear (but better than the Innova or the Xylo). Lot of chrome is used on the exteriors and interiors, something liked in a market like India though! The interiors are very practical and appear pleasing to the eye. Plastic quality is good and sturdy and many bits are carried over from the Duster. The seats are cushioned well and provide ample comfort. Overall, you feel good in a Lodgy.

Interiors: First thing you notice is the cabin is very airy and well-lit owing to the large glasses all around. Plenty of storage spaces, be it on the dashboard or the seat pockets, the door pockets or the arm rests. Reading lamps for all three rows and charging sockets too. Overall, appeared to be good and looks long-lasting. Small gear level, neatly laid out layout, practical dashboard, cruise control buttons and steering mounted audio controls are some of the eye-catching features that you notice instantly.

Ride & Handling: I only got the chance to drive the 100ps variant and it cruises above 2000rpm, below which it lags and needs frequent downshift of gears. Overtaking on highways is an easy task and exceptionally low noise levels inside the cabin. The ride quality is good across roads and many a time I didn’t feel like driving a big vehicle, a completely small-car like drivability. Really, need to test it out on a ‘long drive’ to be able to tell the steering response and confidence of handling this ‘big boy’ on the faster highways.


(picture by Renault India team during the event)

Space: Well, the biggest news is here. Owning a Xylo that’s massive on space, no other vehicle came close to that in offering space to all 3 rows of seats till now, but the Lodgy dispels that to an extent, albeit not entirely to my satisfaction. I couldn’t just digest the fact that the 2nd row seats are fixed. (Just imagining the scenario where I remove the 3rd row seat altogether and have 4 tall people with some luggage, translating it means more space for the luggage than the people itself).



Surprisingly, the 3rd row seats are ‘usable’ (far better than others in the MPV segment but not yet close to the Xylo) and can seat 2 adults or 3 kids or 1adult+2kids. You remove the 3rd row seat altogether and fold up the 2nd row seat to reveal a massive storage space. With all seats up, you find less space and can fit in 1 medium suitcase plus a couple smaller ones. Still, it’s pretty decent on space and comfort.


Pricing: Slotted bang in middle of the Ertiga and the Innova, this big boy has it spot-on and capable of moving people away from Ertiga/Mobilio on being more practical and usable and from the Innova on being more faster, refined, drivable and cheaper buy a good 500 thousand rupees. But, it can’t match the confidence an Innova evokes even at speeds of 150kms.

To summarize, I would list my pros and cons as below…

Pros:

  • Pleasure to drive above 2000rpm on the highways (I’m generally seen on the highways, you see)
  • Superb drive quality and zero noise
  • ABS standard on all variants
  • Very airy cabin with ample light seeping in (feels good to me)
  • 6 speed shift on the 110ps variant (I miss it on my Xylo)
  • Rear large windows completely roll down
  • All 3 rows get AC vents and charging points (only on the top variant though)
  • Usable 3rd row seats (yes, I repeat usable for adults)
  • Plenty of small storage spaces (but front door pockets are small)
  • Massive luggage space when the 3rd row is completely removed and offers multiple combinations to suit all
  • Smart lever to tumble the middle row seat (not clumsy nor hard)

Cons:
  • Fixed middle row seat (how can they do that!) and limited middle row legroom (especially for tall people)
  • No dead pedal and the clutch pedal tad small for my liking
  • The indicator levers on the left side of the steering (It’s takes a long time to get used to it, not to my liking though)

Overall, it would not be wrong to say that Lodgy is a good vehicle to own, a firm competition to the ageing Innova at a lesser price and is an overall good package.


Test it and go for it!



(picture by Renault India team during the event)

Finally, it leads me to one point – ‘how about after sales & service’... well, only time can tell!

If you are looking for a detailed review, then go nowhere else than this review on team-bhp.


I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by BlogAdda.com in association with Renault India.
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