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Renault Lodgy Stepway 110ps First Drive Review

What is it?

We have always rated the Renault Lodgy, highly as a product. When it came to desirability though, it lacked finesse and clearly is a MPV that prefers function over form. To make it more attractive Renault launched the Stepway Lodgy late last year with some cosmetic enhancements and additional features. Yes the Stepway edition was already available on the previous car but it was optional and came only in the top RxZ variant. So apart from some minor changes, the Lodgy remains the same. So this review is more of a refresh of what this MPV is all about and if the Stepway edition is what makes the Lodgy more alluring than before. We took this MPV for a spin, late in the night on streets of Mumbai to find out.

On the outside the Stepway version of the Lodgy definitely looks more premium. The jewel-studded front grille looks nicer, and the front bumper with a faux skid plate underneath gives it a tougher look. In profile the 16-inch alloys are now finished in gun metal black and at the back the bumper looks sharper thanks to the faux silver skid plate. You also get a crossover like front and rear wheel arch cladding to make the car look more rugged. Overall the Stepway edition definitely looks better, but you still can’t get away from the boxy dimensions and the van like profile of the Lodgy.

 

How is it on the inside?

Slide into the Lodgy’s front seat and you are welcomed by a cabin that remains unchanged. The light colours, low dash and large glass-house help make the interiors feel very airy. The dashboard design is quite straightforward, but thankfully the gloss-black centre console and silver inserts help liven up the ambience. Like before cabin quality and finish is not the strongest suite of the Lodgy Stepway. Although acceptable, bits like the air-con controls feel low-rent, there are quite a few sharp edges around the cabin too and you don’t get soft touch plastics anywhere in the cabin. Being a practical MPV, there are loads of cubbyholes and bottle holders in the cabin. You also get 12V charging sockets for all three rows, which should keep the smartphone addicted generation happy.

The squared out exterior design has definitely helped interior packaging as the Lodgy Stepway feels airy and spacious. Front-seat occupants have plenty of room, thanks to the humongous glass-house. Visibility out is great and the seats offer decent comfort too. Even the middle row is quite spacious with abundance of knee room and headroom on offer. But the fact that the middle row doesn’t slide forward to generate more room for the last row marks it down as far as flexibility is concerned. Our test car had the optional captain seats for the middle-row which are placed quite low, resulting in limited thigh support. Despite the fixed middle-row, the last row offers sufficient head and knee room, but the rear wheel wells eat into the last row width. Like in most MPVs, the high floor results in a knees-up seating position too. With all three rows up there isn’t much room for your luggage. But once the third row is folded, the luggage area is quite big. Renault has cleverly made a provision such that the Logdy’s third row can be entirely removed and when you fold the second row as well, you get a massive 1,861 litres of luggage space.

In terms of kit, the top-of- the-line Lodgy is quite well equipped. The infotainment system comes with a touchscreen interface, sat nav and can play music through USB, aux-in or Bluetooth. Surprisingly, there is no CD player. It also gets air-con vents and 12V charging sockets for each of the three rows.

How does it drive?

The Renault Lodgy Stepway comes with the tried and tested 1.5-litre dCi diesel powerplant in two states of tune – 84bhp and 109bhp. We drove the more powerful version and as before it impresses.

The 1.5-litre diesel motor pulls really well once revs rise beyond 2000rpm and carries on till 4000rpm, after which the power tails off. That said, the motor’s initial turbo lag and the slightly heavy and snappy clutch make driving this Renault in stop-go traffic a little cumbersome. However, off-boost power isn’t too bad, and unless you really want to make quick progress, it won’t warrant many downshifts. When the roads open up, the powerful mid-range means, as long as you are not in sixth gear, it’s easy to overtake cars at typical highway speeds. However, while the final cog doesn’t help you gather pace quickly, it’s a great cruising tool that keeps the engine spinning at just about 2,000rpm at 100kph – great for stretching your driving range.

The Lodgy’s ride and handling prowess is its real highlight. Apart from mild body roll due to the high body, it stays surefooted. The steering is direct and provides loads of feel. But like before, you get a violent kickback from the steering whenever you encounter mid-corner bumps and it feels too light around the centre ahead position too. The well-judged suspension means the worst of roads don’t faze this Renault and you always feel comfortable no matter what the condition and it functions silently too.

 

Should I buy one?

So is the Stepway edition a big enough upgrade? Not quite. Although the Lodgy does look sharper than before, it looks a bit boring and too van like. Even the shortcomings like ordinary fit and finish and low seating in the last two rows remain but these are very few blemishes in what remains an impressive MPV. The combination of a powerful 1.5-litre diesel motor, competitive price, well-equipped cabin, practical and spacious interior and fantastic ride and handling makes the Lodgy a very well-rounded product. As before the Lodgy in the Stepway edition remains a well-engineered MPV, which deserves to do better.

 

Where does it fit in?

The Renault Lodgy Stepway falls right in between compact MPVs like the Maruti Ertiga and the larger ladder frame rivals like the Toyota Innova Crysta. Prices for the Lodgy Stepway start at Rs 9.73 lakh ex-Delhi for the 85ps RxL variant and go all the way up to Rs 11.46 lakh ex-Delhi for the top-of-the-line 110ps RxZ version we have tested in this review. 

Click here for on-road prices

Click here for features list

Click here for specifications

 

 

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Renault Lodgy Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
New Delhi₹ 10.03 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 9.91 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 10.49 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 10.8 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 10.75 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 10.69 Lakhs onwards
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