2015 Renault Lodgy Review : Lodgycal Attempt

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2015 Renault Lodgy Review

2015 Renault Lodgy (3)

“Supaar Car” – exclaims one of the locals after a thorough inspection of the Renault Lodgy when we were shooting in the woods. Heartbroken at his decision to have already booked the Toyota Innova, he trudged back to his Hyundai Verna and drove off towards his farm; or whatever he was up to. This is the kind of reaction the Lodgy has been garnering with the potential clientele. Is it really that good? Does the Innova finally have a worthy foe? We find out.

The Lodgy comes from the makers who claim to have coined the MPV term. Back in 1984, the Renault Espace purportedly redefined family travel with its amazing mix of practicality, space and comfort.

The Lodgy comes to India fairly late, we believe, since it already carts around people in Romania dressed up as a Dacia, Renault’s sister brand. Anyways, better late than never, and here we are.

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The Lodgy is a full size MPV, and looks like one. In fact, when parked next to the Innova, both the cars measure up quite equally. It may be a French car, but definitely doesn’t look like one, and the Lodgy might come across a little stodgy to some; strictly visually speaking.

 Unlike the Honda Mobilio, which tries to push the boundaries of people carrier design, the Lodgy stays true to its people hauling credentials, coming across a friendly style statement.

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The front carries a grille that looks pleasing to say the least. Full of chrome, the dual slats also have a swath of black running across. Topped off with a thick chrome lip, the grille cradles the brand’s logo in its midst. The head lamps look friendly and pretty ho-hum – no projector illumination or fancy LED DRLs here.

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The front bumper is festooned with a wide, chrome lipped air dam which is flanked with round fog lamps; both ringed with chrome. The chin protrudes mildly, to add a hint of dynamism to the otherwise conservative front end styling.

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Going around the sides is a small walk in itself, considering the 4498 mm length, but there’s nothing here to titillate your aesthetic senses either. The window line is mildly upswept, a couple of mild creases emanate from the head and tail lamps – and that’s all the character lines you get in profile.  The slab sidedness is broken by the chrome strip running across the bottom of both the doors. Roof rails, which are meant more to enhance the car’s aesthetics than serve any purpose make their way across the ribbed roof.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Wheel

The 2810mm wheelbase is actually the longest in its class, and the Lodgy rides on 185/65 JK Vectra tires wrapped around a set of 5-spoke, 15 inch alloy wheels; the design of which is a soft nod to the now late Honda Civic.

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The flat rear has just one interesting detail – the tail lamps. Designed to reflect an “arrow in motion”, the tail lamps vaguely mimic the head on an arrow sideways. That one detail apart, there’s nothing interesting going around here; apart from a couple of lashes of chrome – one is the number plate header; which also bears a LODGY inscribe, while another lash can be found at the bottom of the tail gate. The lower half of the rear bumper packs a couple of reflectors and parking sensors. The button to open the tail gate reminds you of cars from the 60’s – and not in a positive way.

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But apart from the jejune styling, the vehicle has a confident stance; and sits on the ground with authority. The dimensions also put it square in Innova territory, which makes it bigger than the Honda Mobilo and the Maruti Ertiga, two of its arch rivals after the formidable Toyota.

>>Next page for Interiors, Features and Space>>

Interiors, Features and Space

2015 Renault Lodgy - View from Third Row

Step inside, and the Lodgy is all about the cavernous space. The driving position is high set and commanding, giving a clear view of the outdoors, helped by the large windows all around. The dashboard and the rest of the interior is sprinkled with bits from the Duster, and evokes a sense of familiarity. The chrome trimmed, piano black insert on the center console makes it look a bit up market, but the chromed door pulls are a bit of letdown in terms of feel, finish and quality.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Dashboard

Duster sourced parts include the gear lever, HVAC vents, ORVMs and a host of other buttons. The instrument cluster incorporates a three pod setup, with chrome ringed dials that are clear and legible. While the speedometer takes center stage, it is flanked by the tachometer to the left and the digital fuel meter to the right, which also has a distance to empty readout.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Steering Wheel (2)

The Lodgy’s dashboard has been styled with strict utilitarian intents. But, like the Duster, it also has an acre of beige running across the surface. As far as dashboard storage goes, there’s a lockable bin on top of the center console and an open cubby hole above the regular glove-box.

2015 Renault Lodgy -Front Seat

The front seats are comfortable and offer great lumbar support, while also being upholstered with Alpaga quilted leather with diamond pattern stitching on the top variant. The second row gives you the choice of opting either for a conventional bench seat, or a pair of individual captain seats with dedicated arm rests (in 7 seat configuration). With the captain’s seats option ticked, one also gets foldable tray tables affixed to the front seat backs. Obviously, the bench seat isn’t a patch on the lush captain’s seats as far as comfort goes, but the former is also fairly comfortable, with good lumbar support.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Second Row Captain Seat (2)

Second row room isn’t palatial, but more than adequate in all possible dimensions. Also, the FWD architecture ensures a flat floor, leaving room to move your feet around. But jumping into the Innova just after spending time inside the Lodgy’s cabin made us feel that Toyota might just be a smidgen roomier. The middle row bench also offers a built-in, foldable arm rest with a couple of integrated cup-holders.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Third Row Bench Seat

The third row is a bit cramped compared to the Innova’s, the legroom is a bit more compromised here, but upwards of it everything is a little more airy thanks to the longer rear windows. Third row seats come equipped with adjustable headrests, dedicated air vents and side armrests with twin cup-holders on each side for enhanced comfort and convenience. Access to the third row is by tumbling the second row down. The third row bench seat is comfortable enough for its class, but be prepared for a little knee-touching-chin experience.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Boot Space

Boot space stands at 207 liters with all three rows upright..

2015 Renault Lodgy - Boot Space with Third Row Tumbled

..589 liters with just the third row tumbled

2015 Renault Lodgy - Boot Space with Third Row removed

..and 759 liters with the third row removed

2015 Renault Lodgy - Second Row Tumbled (2)

The Second Row can also be tumbled, but cannot be slid back and forth.

Being an MPV, the Lodgy has the flexibility to offer the occupants the freedom to play with the seating to maximize space for passengers or luggage. The 50:50 third row can either be tumbled or completely removed, while the 60:40 split second row can be completely tumbled. Boot space stands at 207 liters with all three rows upright; 589 liters with just the third row tumbled; 759 liters with the third row removed and a humongous 1861 liters with the second row tumbled and third row removed. Renault says that this modularity allows 56 different seat configurations.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Roof Mounted AC vents (2)

Head room is more than adequate all around, and is helped with the recesses in the headliner, which is present in every row. The dual air-conditioning system is powerful, and chills the big insides in a matter of seconds. Dedicated, roof mounted vents over the second and third rows cool effectively, while the second and third row occupants can control the fan speed individually via roof mounted knobs.

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Back to the dashboard, the piano black trimmed center console is dominated by a fairly large 7” multicolor touch-screen for multimedia and navigation. It also includes USB, Bluetooth and aux-in connectivity. The navigation features a 2D/Bird view display, alternative routes, points of interest, and is available with 3 years of free map updates. However, during our drive, it didn’t seem too well versed with its surroundings, as it failed to identify and lead us to our hotel, which happens to be among the eminent places in Bangalore.

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The leather wrapped steering feels nice to hold, and has brushed aluminum accents in the middle. It also hosts controls for the first-in-class cruise control feature*, with speed limiter functionality, which can be enabled from as low as 30 kmph – works pretty well.

*Renault was the first to introduce Radar Adaptive Cruise Control in an MPV.

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Safety features include ABS, EBD with brake assist, driver & passenger airbags, height adjustable seatbelts, door ajar warning, speed sensitive auto door lock, impact sensing auto door lock, rear wiper and defogger, rear parking sensors with rear parking camera, which outputs its footage on the 7” screen on the center console. Other features include steering mounted phone and audio controls, headlight on reminder, and 12v charging sockets on each row.

>>Next page for Interiors in Detail>>

2015 Renault Lodgy - Tray Table

The second row captain’s seats gets fold-able tray tables affixed to the front seat backs.

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Two-tone front seats with height adjustability and lumbar support for the driver. The seats offer good lateral support too.

Renault Lodgy India second row seats

If you want to seat 8 in your Lodgy, Renault India will give you a middle row bench seat.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Second Row Arm rest

The middle row bench also offers a built-in, foldable arm rest with a couple of integrated cup-holders.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Third Row Seating

Third row is roomy enough for its class..

2015 Renault Lodgy - Third Row Headrest

..and airy as well.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Instrument Console

Clear, legible instrumentation.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Fan Speed Knob for Second Row

Roof mounted fan speed control knob for the second row occupants.

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A small bin makes its way on top of the dashboard.

2015 Renault Lodgy -Carpet

“Lodgy” branded carpeting.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Gear Lever

Gear lever is Duster sourced.

2015 Renault Lodgy - HVAC Controls

Manual A/C – no climate control.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Glovebox

Glove-box is accommodating enough..

2015 Renault Lodgy - Front Door Pocket

..and so are the door bins.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Door Pulls

Chromed door pulls are of an inferior quality.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Rear Parking Sensors

Rear parking sensors with rear parking camera (above), which outputs its footage on the 7” screen on the center console (below).

2015 Renault Lodgy - Reverse Camera Footage

>>Next page for Engine and Performance/Ride and Handling>>

Engine and performance

The Lodgy derives power from the familiar K9K, turbocharged, diesel motor found in the Duster. Displacing 1.46 liters, the dCi (common rail direct injection) engine makes a maximum power of 110 PS @ 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 245 Nm @ 1750 rpm. An 85 PS version is also going to be available at the time of the launch, but we got to sample only the most powerful version.

2015 Renault Lodgy - Engine Bay (1)

A small engine crammed in a small engine bay.

Let go of the reasonably light clutch and you’re greeted with a rather pronounced turbo lag which possesses the motor till about 1800 revs; post which the going gets pretty brisk as 245 Nm of twist makes for some spirited shove. Renault India is making a big deal about the Lodgy being the most powerful vehicle in its class, and we give them that. Like the Duster, the Lodgy is long legged and can reach 170 kmph+ without breaking a sweat, which makes it a pretty competent commodity for the long haul – admittedly, highways are where it’ll be spending most of its time on.  Overtaking is a breeze, and most of the time, no downshifting is required, because of the even torque spread in the upper part of the rev range. The engine isn’t too eager to rev though, and the tachometer needle drops anchors at a 5000 rpm redline.

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However, with the lag, drivability in town becomes a bit of a chore. Forget darting away from speed breakers in second gear, as the drive-train baulks in protest.

The 110 PS version does the 0-100 km/hr sprint in 12 seconds with an official top speed of 170 km/hr, while the 85 PS variant does it in 13.3 seconds with a top whack of 163 km/hr. The French automaker claims that the Lodgy has the best acceleration and top speed in its category. The ARAI fuel efficiency figures for the 110 PS and 85 PS Lodgy are 19.98 km/l and 21.04 km/l respectively.

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The 6 speed gearbox is most definitely not the best out there. Unlike the slick shifting ‘boxes we are spoilt rotten with in the hatchback category, the Lodgy’s shift action feels somewhat rough. It takes a moment before you could find the gate and slot the stick in. It’s not annoying by any measure, but it isn’t an enjoyable, smooth gearbox either.  The ratios are evenly spaced. NVH levels are well contained, with thick sound deadening insulation under the hood. Road and wind noise barely creep in, but the engine emanates a mildly sonorous drone that might be a little intrusive – nothing worth a worry for the class though.

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The brakes are worth a mention for all the wrong reasons. Even though stopping power is more than adequate, the pedal has a lot of unwanted play and it lacks linearity. Modulating the brakes takes some getting used to, and their grabby character can make your fellow passengers question your driving skills when their coffee suddenly burns other things instead of the insides of a cup.

Ride and Handling

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Renault chose smooth and straight highways for the media drive, so we can’t really draw an opinion about the Lodgy’s corner carving abilities. But that’s not what it’s built to do in the first place. Steering feel though is mildly disappointing, with very little feedback.  High speed stability is stellar, with not a twitch, even at the highest speeds this eight-seater is capable of. The monocoque construction ensures that it stays pliant on long, sweeping curves and tracks with confidence. Body roll is also well contained, unless pushed too hard. In the city though, piloting the Lodgy was effortless, and it feels like all that mass has actually shrunk up on you, except, of course, for the turbo lag.

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Suspension consists of independent McPherson struts with coil springs & an anti roll bar up front, along with a torsion beam axle with coils springs, shock absorbers & an anti roll bar at the rear. Ride is a bit on the firmer side, especially with an empty car, though things better up as speeds increase. Undulations on the road are soaked up well with minimal thuds and bangs from the well engineered suspension. We also believe that the ride quality should soften up further as you load up the vehicle with more occupants.

>>Next page for Verdict and Image Gallery>>

Summing up the Lodgy

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The Renault Lodgy has a lot of things going for it, and that includes the commendable highway performance, the myriad versatility of the spacious interior, great refinement and good fuel efficiency. The styling might not win many hearts, but we believe it looks positively inoffensive.

 Is it better than the Innova?

2015 Renault Lodgy & Toyota Innova (2)

Space: The Innova feels roomier on the inside for sure, but just by a whisker. However, when it comes to interior versatility, the Lodgy trumps it by better, more intelligent space utilization.

Performance:  At 2.5 liters, the Innova has a bigger engine, but the lighter Lodgy (1368 Kgs*) makes more power – 110 PS, as compared to the Innova’s 102 PS, and more torque as well – 250Nm, while the heavier Innova (1700 Kgs* for the top-end Z variant) has to do with just 200 Nm.  So how does it reflect in the drivability? While the Innova is more tractable throughout the rev range, the Lodgy’s K9K motor, at least in the 110PS guise suffers from inherent turbo lag, especially felt in urban confines. However, while the Innova runs out of breath on the highway when the going gets really brisk; the Lodgy can stretch it legs with ease till at least the officially claimed speed of 170km/h.

2015 Renault Lodgy & Toyota Innova (1)

Comfort: The Lodgy’s ride is slightly on the firmer side as compared to the Innova’s, but in terms of seating comfort, both are pretty evenly matched, although the captain seats on the innova are bigger and more accommodating.

Fuel efficiency: At 19.98 km/l (ARAI certified) for the 110 PS version, the Lodgy will definitely be substantially lighter on the wallet than the Innova.

The definitive factor we believe will be the pricing of the Renault Lodgy. The Toyota Innova is available in the price range of Rs. 10.5 lakh and Rs. 15.8 lakh Ex-showroom Delhi (post increased excise duty), so expect the Lodgy to undercut it by a fair margin to make some decent headway into the MPV market. But the Toyota already commands an authority over the segment, in the eyes of fleet taxi operators and private owners alike. To the plate of Renualt India’s worries, add a great resale values for the Innova and thrifty Toyota service to the equation.

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We’ll get back to you with the final verdict once the prices are announced.

Renault currently has a network presence of more than 157 facilities across India. In order to get volumes and provide better after sales service, the French automaker needs pull up their socks, which they say they are doing through the year and claim it to be the fastest ramp-up by an automaker in India. Renault will be offering 2 years/50,000 km warranty with 2 years Road Side Assistance and extended warranty options of 3 years/60,000 kms and 4 years/80,000 kms.

*kerb weight

2015 Renault Lodgy Technical Specifications

  •  Engine: 1461cc, 8V, dCi, 4-cylinder in-line
  •  Power: 85 PS @ 3750 RPM (85 PS); 110 PS @ 4000 RPM (110 PS)
  •  Torque: 200 Nm @ 1900 RPM (85 PS); 245 Nm @ 1750 RPM (110 PS)
  •  Transmission: 5-speed manual (85 PS); 6-speed manual (110 PS)
  •  0-100 km/hr: 13.3 seconds (85 PS); 12 seconds (110 PS)
  •  Fuel Consumption: 19.98 km/l (85 PS), 21.04 km/l (110 PS)
  •  Fuel Type: Diesel
  •  Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
  •  Tyres: 185/65/15 Alloy Wheels
  •  Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS
  •  Safety: ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Dual Front Airbags

2015 Renault Lodgy Dimensions

  •  Overall length x width x height: 4498 mm X 1751 mm X 1697 mm
  •  Wheelbase: 2810 mm
  •  Boot Volume: 207 litres/589 litres/ 759 litres/1861 litres
  •  Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
  •  Kerb Weight: 1368 kgs
  •  Ground Clearance: 174 mm
  •  Turning Radius: 5.55 m
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