The Renault Lodgy is still among one of the rarest of sights on Indian roads. As an idea, the Lodgy seems like a perfect fit for the Indian market. In fact, the Lodgy was supposed to fill in the gap left behind the Innova which moved towards the more premium-priced pastured over the years. As a product, the Lodgy offered a solid package as well, based on the Duster’s proven platform, the people carrier offered enormous cabin and luggage space while the proven engines offered good performance and efficiency as well. However, Indian customers have known to be a tough psychology to crack and even after all the positives that the Lodgy possessed, it never really caught attention from our market. Surprisingly, the long haul taxi market to doesn’t seem to have taken up to the liking for this product. The major grouse of most has been how the standard Lodgy looks so much like a van and lack that required desirability to attract customers to it. Renault understood it and brought in a more powerful and premium looking up spec Stepway Lodgy version to our market.
A fine looking front grill that has a jewel-studded look to it greets you and looks impressive from any angle. Renault added more brawl with a faux skid plate on the front fender, lending a tough yet premium look to the Lodgy Stepway’s front. Being an authentic MPV, the Lodgy’s die profile has a vast expanse. However, with a subtle roundness to the whole design, it does not look ungainly much. Big 16 inch alloys do help with camouflaging the bulk, especially with their gunmetal finish. Towards the rear, another faux skid plate compliments the one in front to lend purpose and sharpness to the MPV’s tail.
The wheel arch claddings also make the Lodgy Stepway look rough, tough and premium, all at the same time. All in all the Renault Lodgy Stepway comes out as a fine design interpretation of the standard MPV design. However, its ‘van’ gene pool is still evident and maybe that’s what keep most Indian buyers away from it, even though it comes out as a pretty fine looking example of this Van design.
Where the Renault Lodgy excels is in the way it offers room to its occupants. This is where the ‘van’ like design shows off its value by providing a vastness that an MPV should have. AT the front, the low seats that are large, supportive and comfortable offer a great clear view of the outside. The huge glass area provides airy feel to the cabin while also aiding with a comfortable drive. The dash too is set low and happened to be a fairly simple yet functional design. That said, use of silver accents on a glossy black shade on the center console does lend a premium touch to the MPV’s cabin. That said, where most of Renault products, including the Duster have mostly lacked is how the internal material seems to be less than perfect. The air-con control plastic could have been of better quality and the designers could have given a second look to the rough sharp edges in the cabin. Renault could use a bit of soft-touch plastic to aid with the whole comfort thing, it is an MPV after all. But, the things aren’t that bad, the material feels sturdy and should last longer. You get a large number of practical storage solutions inside the cabin, you get a lot of cubbyholes and there is enough space to hold water bottles as well. All three rows of passengers get access to 12V charging sockets. The middle arrow passengers get ample knee, shoulder and head space to claim personal space. The glass house is big all around, which means most will not feel claustrophobic inside the cabin. Sadly though, Renault missed out on the opportunity to make the middle row slid forward and back. This would have left more space for passengers at the last row. The seats, however, are great all around. However, with all three rows up and the high floor offering itself as a deterrent, the Lodgy is left with little room for luggage. But if you travel with five people generally then you can remove the rear seats completely to create a pretty big luggage space. You can fold the second row of the Lodgy providing you with a humongous 1,861 liters capacity for your luggage. Coming back to the front of the cabin, the Renault Lodgy Stepway offers all top shelf features you expect at this price point. There is a touchscreen interface for the infotainment system. It also offers satellite navigation while helping you play music through an aux cable, a USB drive or just through Bluetooth.
The powerplant on the Renault Lodgy is the same unit that does duty on the Duster. It is a proven engine that is capable of providing the right mix of power, driveability, and efficiency. The offered 1.5-litre dCi diesel unit can be had in two power outputs, the lower spec 84bhp unit that offers 200Nm of peak torque and a much powerful 110bhp unit that is complimented by 245Nm of peak torque. Both engines make their peak torque before 2000rpm proving to be a perfect suit for an MPV application. The clutch action a bit heavy and could be slightly uncomfortable in a dense traffic situation. The gearbox though is smooth enough. Where the Renault Lodgy excels is in its ride quality that offers a class-leading comfort to the occupants. It has a handling that gives you confidence, however, one should not forget that it is still a high car, so body roll is evident, it never is disconcerting though. The steering offers good feedback and you always know what is happening under you at all times. The suspension remains pliant on almost all road conditions and in that Renault has managed to tune in the Lodgy perfectly in the Indian context. The premium air is also further accentuated by the Lodgy being among the more silent cars in the segment.
The biggest hurdle for the Renault Lodgy, apart for generating interest from the crowds is going to be the recently launched Mahindra Marazzo that fights for every inch of this exact segment. Then there is the Maruti Ertiga that comes with the Maruti tag on it and gets most love by default. Renault offers the Lodgy in a total of 7 variants where 5 are in the lower power spec 84bhp/200Nm form and the rest two are the more powerful 110bhp/245Nm diesel motor powered one. The prices start from INR 8.50 Lakhs for the base model and go up to INR 12 Lakhs for all bells and whistles top end spec.
Well engineered. Solid Build Great ride quality Powerful Engine. Competitive Price. Good handling.
Van looks don’t inspire desire from the Indian market. Fit and finish could be better.