Renault is on a roll in the Indian market. It seems to have made its presence felt in almost every segment in the market with at least one vehicle and now wants to enter the MPV market. The French automaker’s representative will be the Lodgy, a product of its Romanian subsidiary Dacia, the same people who created the Duster.
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The Lodgy is Renault’s entry into the MPV segment in India. The MUV has been on sale in the European market for a while under the Dacia badge and the same has been adapted and improvised by Renault as per the requirements of the Indian customers.
The Lodgy is an interesting looking vehicle; the front is like any modern MUV with the A-pillar converging with the short sloping bonnet. The rear is rather boxy, giving an impression that the design has been taken back seat to maximise the space and utility. However, the unconventional tail lamp design and the embossed badging add some premium touch to the back. Renault has added lot of chrome both to the front and rear of the car to make it a little more appealing to the Indian masses. The Lodgy is basically an extended version of the Renault Duster to fit three rows of seats, but it is not evident from the design. The only thing that it carries forward from the Duster is the squat stance and elaborated wheel arches that give the MUV decent street presence.
The Lodgy looks big by itself, but is small in length when compared with the Innova. It is evident from the side profile. However, the car has a bigger wheelbase as compared to the Japanese MUV, which translates to more cabin space. There is plenty of room in the first two rows and even the third row is bigger than most MPVs in the segment. It is available in seven seat or eight seat variants, which will offer either captain seats or 60:40 split bench as middle row.
The interior quality is not the best, the plastic is hard and the fit and finish is just about acceptable. The top-end variant has a decent features list including touch-screen music system, alloy-wheels, rear parking camera and steering mounted audio control. However, it is not close to the segment best and features like start/stop button, cruise control are missing.
Renault has not entirely compromised on the safety and all the variants have ABS-EBD and Brake Assist as standard feature. The airbags however are missing from the STD and RxE variants.
The Lodgy uses two versions of the 1.5-litre K9K turbocharged diesel engine to power the Lodgy. The 85bhp / 200Nm version uses the five-speed manual transmission, while the more powerful 110bhp / 245Nm mill is mated to six-speed gearbox. Both drive the front wheels of the monocoque chassis-based MUV. The 110bhp engine is the most powerful unit in the segment, outperforming both the Honda Mobilio and the Toyota Innova. Renault has also worked on the refinement and compared to the Duster, the Lodgy has much lower cabin noise. The ARAI efficiency of the 85bhp model is rated at 21.04kpl and the 110bhp model claims 19.98kpl.
The Lodgy has a similar setup to that of the Duster and should hence have a decent ride and handling package. It uses the MacPherson strut at the front and H-Type Torsion beam with anti-roll bar at the rear.Competition:
The 85bhp version of the Lodgy competes with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Honda Mobilio, while the bigger 110bhp version takes on the Toyota Innova in the premium segment.