I feel bad for our trusty long-term Renault Lodgy. Ever since I have known it, it has been covered in mud splatter, mainly because it has been on the road more than any other car in our fleet. Due to its many qualities, documented extensively in our previous long-term reports, it is our permanent support car. On shoots with humdrum hatches and exotic supercars alike, the Lodgy is always present, enabling its peers to shine in the limelight, while it quietly bears the brunt of photographers and videographers, with their abundant equipment.
So I decided to allow the Lodgy to be more than just a support car. A fine Sunday morning, I took her for my monthly bicycle-servicing trip. Usually, this 50km-long trip is a bit of a chore. Even with the front wheel removed, fitting my bicycle into a hatch or a sedan is quite the challenge. I have to try several permutations and combinations of loading angles, pushing it back and forth from all sides, that usually ends up with me driving with the handlebars jutting out from between the front seats, scarily close to my face. This is not only inconvenient, but also dangerous – one bad bump and I can have my face impaled by my own bicycle. The horror!
The Lodgy, it turns out, was perfect for the job. The loading lip was conveniently low, and with the last bench removed and middle-row captain seats folded and flipped, there was no need for harrowing adjustments. To make things even better, the absorbent suspension ensured that at no point of time did the bicycle bounce around too much, or impale me. And there was still so much space! Four bags of groceries fit in easily, with room still available for more.
However, there were a few blemishes in this experience. While the engine was punchy, turbo lag was notably abundant. I don’t remember it being so bad a few months back, but maybe the heavy traffic highlighted the problem a bit more. The clutch was another sore point. It was quite heavy, proving especially cumbersome in traffic conditions. And despite being comfortable and well equipped, the cabin design and quality felt overly utilitarian. It felt too much at home as a carrier of goods.
Even then, I had a purpose in mind for the Lodgy, and it fulfilled that just fine. It is spacious and fairly comfortable. The flexible seat plan works great for those of us who have much to lug around, and the driving experience, leave a few rough edges, is good. It is like a good workhorse – it may not win you a ribbon at the horse show, but when it comes down to brass tacks, it will get the job done.