Why bother with an MPV?
Most people don’t think they want or need an MPV. They think it’ll be a large box that’s difficult to drive and worse to park. They think it won’t be fun, refined and is best used as a taxi if you want to be uncomfortable while travelling long distances by road. That may have been true over a decade ago, but of late, this segment has received many upgrades. MPVs have become practical, reliable, comfortable and easy to drive which makes managing their bulk, a lot easier. Maybe that’s why this segment has become packed with options. Despite the fact that they’re all people carriers, they are a varied bunch of vehicles and each brings something unique to the mix. MPVs are also being considered good family vehicles today because they have a massive amount of space, and aren’t as expensive as SUVs. As Indians, we do like to carry our world with us. On Indian roads, where the size of your vehicle determines how you are treated by others on the road, the MPV has become a practical choice. It looks like manufacturers have noticed this and today, you get MPVs across the price and size range. Now, though, there’s a new kid on the block. One that cannot be dismissed as just another option. This one comes from the very people who invented the MPV segment about 30 years ago, Renault. And it is based on their last big ticket product — the Duster. But can it repeat the Duster’s success? Let’s take a detailed look at this newcomer, the Renault Lodgy, because on all counts, it looks like a serious contender. Let’s find out more.
117 years of automobile revolution
Yes, Renault did invent the MPV segment. But that’s not the only way it revolutionised the automobile industry. It did so by delivering comfortable, stylish and efficient cars. And of course, there are its inventions, like the gearbox, the turbocharger, the sedan and the hatchback. Renault has literally changed the way the world looks at automobiles. It has even seen fantastic success in the crucible of motorsport. Including the arena considered the pinnacle of motorsport technology, Formula One.
It’s got the looks
One look at the Renault Lodgy and you know that this was designed to maximise space and practicality. It has a typical MPV profile — a short, sharply raked nose, large windscreen and a massive body. Other details about it are also interesting. It has a purposeful stance thanks to the flared wheel arches, the smart, large chrome grill gives it a solid presence and the teardrop shaped headlamps look very attractive.
On the size front, the Lodgy is actually the second longest in its class. It manages this without actually looking that big. Unlike traditional MPVs, the Renault Lodgy has a very modern monocoque construction. This allows it to sit much lower than a lot of its rivals. It does this without compromising on that very essential 174mm ground clearance required on Indian roads. An interesting outcome of this is that getting into the Lodgy is actually as simple as walking into it. This intelligent design will make life extremely easy for the senior citizens in the family.
As it turns out, the Renault Lodgy is among the heaviest of the monocoque MPVs. To manage all that bulk, the Renault Lodgy has an engine with class-leading power.
The 1.5 litre dCi engine delivers a class-leading 110 PS of power and 245 Nm of torque at 1750 RPM. This powerful engine comes mated with a first-in-segment six-speed transmission that delivers a superb fuel efficiency of 19.98 kpl.
The Lodgy also comes with a 1.5 litre dCi diesel engine which offers 85 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque at 1900 RPM. This practical engine is linked to a five-speed manual transmission that delivers brilliant fuel efficiency of 21.04 kpl.
Pulling its weight
All that weight and power means it’s going to need a strong set of legs to keep it going. Its monocoque body provides torsional rigidity and improves ride and handling no matter what condition the road is in. Combine that with its stable adaptive suspension tuned to reduce body tilt and absorb every bump with an anti-roll bar and you get a smooth ride, improved handling and enhanced safety.
When all these features are put together, you receive perfection in driving. It is when the power of the Lodgy is combined with effortless handling and performance. Or as Renault calls it, Ergo Drive.
Elegance meets functionality
The Renault Lodgy delivers class-defining comfort. Everything needed is laid out in such an intuitive manner; you will probably feel like it was custom-made for you.
Stepping inside the Renault Lodgy is an experience. Elegant, chic and thoughtful — these are the words that spring to mind when you’re nestled comfortably in any of the three rows.
It is as dynamic on the inside as it is on the outside. The flexible and dynamic seating allows for seven or even eight passengers with captain seats for a little exclusivity and a roomy bench that can comfortably accommodate three abreast. Additionally, the elegant, premium two-tone Gris Fume & Beige Alpaga quilted leather upholstery give the interiors a feel of timeless luxury. The premium two-tone treatment also extends to the doors, centre console and the dashboard. A leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob along with chrome-finished parking brake lever ensures that you’re not left out of the luxurious experience even when you’re behind the wheel.
Luxury and power are meaningless without safety. And the Lodgy is built to keep families safe. Simple thoughtful features like central locking, open door warning, keyless entry and active features like rear parking sensors and a rear camera go a long way to making life easier. But it doesn’t stop there. Dual front airbags keep you safe in the event of a collision. But keeping you away from collisions as far as is possible are the ABS, EBD with brake assist systems.
And then there are the practical touches like the convenient storage niche above the glove compartment so you can use the space which would otherwise be wasted. Keep your favourite beverage from spilling with the cup holders on all three rows. There’s even a handy folding flight tray for that extra convenience when you want to have a quick bite on the go. The list of features on the Renault Lodgy goes on and on. Why don’t you just turn the page so we can show them all to you.
Mr Shyju Vellachira
Shyju has always been an MPV fan. He likes the flexibility and the space they provide. Taking his entire family along is easier in an MPV. There’s enough room for everyone and their luggage. That’s what made the Renault Lodgy an attractive proposition to begin with. He is also very impressed with the long list of features in the Lodgy. Most useful for him is the rear camera, the media and navigation system and topping the list is the multi information display that helps him plan his drive everyday. Another area where he feels the Lodgy scored above its rivals was the price. Mr Shyju was the first person the local dealership delivered the Lodgy to. And in the fortnight he’s had it, he has clocked 1,000km on it. That’s mostly because he has a 55km commute to work. That’s 110km each day. For this commute he was looking for something that was really comfortable. The Renault Lodgy RxZ has proved to be the right choice. He says the seat is really comfortable, it adjusts easily to find a good driving position and there’s adequate back support. He also says that the Lodgy is really smooth and easy to manoeuvre. He feels the 85 PS engine has enough power for his requirements. Also very useful on his long daily commute is the audio system which he uses extensively. What he finds very convenient and something he totally needed is the hands-free phone feature on which every call is crystal clear. He does make sure to pull over when he’s on a call though. Because the Lodgy sits closer to the ground, his parents also find getting in and out of the car, an easy affair. And when he has luggage, he says tumbling the seats over is extremely easy and requires very little effort. He plans a driving holiday with his Lodgy someday very soon.
Dr Ravindra D Hodarkar
After driving the same UV for thirteen years, Ravindra Hodarkar was looking for a vehicle that exhibited the same characteristics as his old faithful. After extensive research, he decided that the Renault Lodgy was it. The Renault Lodgy met every one of his requirements. He says it looks sleek, performs beautifully, has a good, efficient engine and the best part is that it isn’t as big and bulky as some of its popular competitors. He believes the Lodgy is built to last. Even his family is happy with his choice of car. Dr Ravindra says that he is also extremely satisfied with the comfort levels of the car. Also the large windows and windscreen give him a clear view of the road ahead while the suspension keeps the ride smooth. As a doctor, his profession requires him to travel daily with the endoscopy equipment that he uses. And the space inside the Lodgy, for him and all his equipment, has made him a fan. It’s good to note that Dr Ravindra mainly drives the car on city streets and this means that despite its formidable size, the car handles well in city traffic and city lanes. Occasionally though, he takes to the highway as well. And his experiences have left him itching for a nice, long drive and now he plans to take his entire family along on a proper driving holiday.