I had the chance to visit the Renault showroom to have a first look at the newly launched Lodgy MUV. Though its a bit late and all the news websites and magazines have been going gaga over the Lodgy, I still want to mention a few things here that might make sense to read for you if you are wanting to invest on the Lodgy.
From a long time I have been following the Innova, and even have taken lots of trips in the Innova. Though it was a failure model elsewhere like in Indonesia, India was a different ball game for Toyota. They were, are and would be still riding high on the success of Innova simply due to the fact that there were no real contenders to the vehicle till now. As such the vehicle itself was quite practical and served large family needs pretty well.
Maruti tried hard with the Ertiga which just passed off as a 5 seater with more luggage space rather than a seven seater, and the Honda mobilio is something I have already written about. They came close to being an Innova, but never really got there.
The only choices for space were the Xylo and the XUV500 and the former of the two is a real 7 seater. But then its not stylish, it has way too much body roll and its not really upmarket while on the road. Of course Tata has the safari and the Aria, but the Aria never really kicked off well even though it was a no nonsense vehicle in terms of practicality.
This is where Renault had a chance and they brought in the Lodgy. And they have taken time to address the basics first. SPACE. You know this word deserves capital letters for the Lodgy. I really mean it. Almost a decade of thinking about it by all other manufacturers and no one ever bothered to get it right. Renault did. And its evident in the reviews. Every single review never misses out mentioning the space. And I saw it for myself. First hand. The car can easily accomodate upto 7 adults and 1 kid. Or even 8 medium sized adults. Without the jostle for the space.
Now the rear bench always will be placed higher and is not a place to spend a 1000km worth of ride in. But then when you need to move people these things are expected. And these people would be more comfortable in a Lodgy as compared to a Mobilio is what I am trying to say. Its a genuine effort by Renault in creating the space that people look for with that kind of pricing (13-14.5 lacs OTR Bangalore) and they have nailed whats needed.
Now having said so much about space, when I pay upto 15 lacs for a car, I expect all the creature comforts it can ever offer. And the Renault does that in style. Except for climate control which is still a sore point but manageable. It has speed limiter, cruise control, height adjuster (basic version with three levels only), tilt steering, complete navigation based stereo system, 15” Alloy wheels, airbags, abs, leather seats, rear wiper, defogger, and whatever else matters most. Truly for this price, it is a complete package in all respects and leaves nothing much to complain. The difference in ground clearance between Renault Lodgy and Innova is just about 2 mm which should not be so much of a bother. Arguably the Innova surely looks more upmarket on the inside, but a full 4 lacs of money for just the engine of about 1000cc more, especially when both the engines provide similar power and torque figures is somewhat expensive in my opinion.
What is really good about the Lodgy is the accessibility to the rear seat. So many manufacturers have just made vehicles for the heck of it (the Ertiga being a case in point) but on one worked for the end customer but rather for their own profits. Even old people can easily get into the last seat in the Lodgy and thats why I adore this vehicle so much. With the rear bench being completely detachable, you can even put a bicycle into the Lodgy easily.
The overall look and feel inside the dashboard is not extremely great, but does not make you feel sorry for the time you sit in the car to drive it. I have not got a chance to test drive this car, but owning a Nissan Sunny and knowing that its the same engine in the Lodgy, its not hard for me to imagine what the ride would be like. Renault’s engines are one of the best in the world and you can only expect a ready for race engine when you buy one of their cars.
The windows of the Lodgy are really wide and make the cabin feel airy. Added to this there are rain sensing wipers, and auto sensing airconditioner which I presume will switch on if there are people in a row else not. Small innovation but big fuel saving. The seating height also is pretty good on this car and its almost at Innova levels which makes it easy to drive on the road. It is pretty long, longer than the Sunny too, so you may need to have a good amount of parking space in the house for this car.
All said and done, for the features it offers, and the price it commands, the Renault Lodgy is no doubt the LODGYCAL choice! Autocar magazine agreed with me 🙂