Two full-frame DSLR kits, three action-camera kits, two tripods, one three-foot slider, a variety of accessories, cables, clamps, suction cups, batteries and then some. All in all, that’s four bags of equipment every video shoot for The Autocar Show requires. Of course, there’s the director of photography, a camera assistant, and a producer to man it all as well. That’s a lot of luggage and people worth of space. It’s really no wonder then that our four-month-old long-termer, Renault’s Lodgy, has unofficially become the video team’s default choice for support and tracking vehicle.
Let’s talk about the support bit first. With the third row of seats folded away, and occasionally left behind in office, the Lodgy offers us a gargantuan amount of space to cram all that equipment in. What also helps is the low loading lip, so we don’t really have to break our backs packing and unpacking our stuff. As for tracking, well, this MPV seems made for that. The absorbent suspension allows us to ride over rough sections of road, and that too at a pace where the cameraman, who’s shooting from the rear, doesn’t get disturbed too much.
I have it quite nice in the driver’s seat too, though I’d have liked a lighter steering. Then again, my daily drive is a Maruti Ritz, so it would be asking for a lot to expect the Lodgy to feel like a small hatchback. However, I do wish the big Renault were more iPod-friendly. Yes, I still use one as a dedicated device for my music, but setting it up in the Lodgy is a slight (though first-world) inconvenience. The aux port lies above the central touchscreen, and that means the cable dangles all the way down until the device, which itself doesn’t slot in to either of the two cup holder-like spaces. From the driving position, reaching out for the device to play that ‘one-song-stuck-in-your-head’ becomes an irritant. That aside, the sound system isn’t all that bad, though the speakers do colour the sound a bit. The automatic speed-sensing volume feature too is quite an engaging aspect of the Lodgy. On a related note, I’ve become quite used to the steering column-mounted audio controls that are hidden from view.
Our shoots often have us drive hundreds of kilometres, so a word of appreciation for the Lodgy’s long-distance abilities as well. The 108.5bhp, 1.5-litre diesel engine delivers power smoothly and is very likeable. With captain chairs for my co-passengers, they don’t have anything to complain about at the end of a long day. However, for me, the rudimentary driver’s seat height adjust was a bit of a let-down.
The big Lodgy has been reliable so far and offers the same sense of dependability like the Duster we had a few years ago. It’s got all that I want to meet my requirements. Well, maybe that’s why, to me, the Lodgy has become the unnamed member of our video team.