Maruti Suzuki XL6 2019 - First Drive Review
- Aug 25, 2019
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Personally, I love MPVs. Imagine packing the parents, the wife, the kids and even the dog into one car and driving into the sunset. Alternatively, I could call a couple of cabs, split the family, and lose the family bonding forever. Okay, the last bit was a bit extreme, but who doesn't want their family to travel together? There is another option, of course - the sub Rs 15 lakh, seven seater SUV. But, then these, even though rugged and high on road presence, are all ladder-frame based. Meaning these are heavy, lack car-like comfort and aren't very fuel efficient.
The need of the hour then is a spacious, genuine seven seater, car-like MPV that's also high on style... you know just to keep the wife happy. So far, we have had the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Honda Mobilio. And though these MPV tick a few boxes, they don't tick them all. The new Renault Lodgy though, promises to do just that.
Exterior Styling / Design: rating_3.5_rating
Well, it certainly doesn't get my vote for the way it looks, but some ZigWheels team members thought the Renault Lodgy was in fact handsome! I guess, styling truly is a very personal thing. To me, the Lodgy just doesn't have enough visual appeal or presence to draw a second glance. It looks more utilitarian. And MPVs like the Mobilio clearly are better looking.
It does have some nice touches, I will give it that. The chrome on the grille, the doors and on the tail gate does help the Lodgy look upmarket. I also thought the head lamp design was palatable and the soft creases on the bonnet gave it a friendly appearance. The tail lamps though look odd and the overall presence is still that of a slightly boxy car.
Interior & space: rating_4.0_rating
Now this is where the Renault Lodgy really comes into its own. It is nearly 4.5 metres in length, it has a reasonably high roof, and it isn't exactly short on width like the Honda Mobilio or the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. So interior room on the Lodgy is fantastic. Be it leg or elbow room at the front; knee, shoulder and head room in the second row; or even the knee and shoulder room in the third row; the Lodgy has enough and more all round. This one is a proper seven seater even when you consider adults.
But this is true only for the version that gets a bench in the second row; officially classified as an eight seater. Renault says the Lodgy can seat three in the last row, and so we tried. But unless all three are size zero adults, it's an uncomfortable squeeze. For two, it's great. Flexibility to haul luggage though is just as Renault claims. With all seats in place, there's enough space for small sized suitcases (over 200 litres). With the last row folded, the Lodgy can easily gobble up weekend luggage for five. And when you throw out the last row and fold the second, you can literally move houses with this car.
Now, this is the top of the line RxZ trim. The Lodgy will also be available in the mid level RxL and the entry level RxE trims, the detailed feature list for which will only be revealed later. For the RxZ, its interiors might look different from the one on the Duster, but there's still a lot of parts sharing here. The steering wheel, the front aircon vents, the gear shifter as well as buttons and knobs be it for the aircon or the power windows or even the ORVMs, are all from the Duster.
The touchscreen multimedia system is taken from the Duster as well. So, the overall quality levels though not all that great, still suffice. But not having climate control or ORVMs with turn indicators is a miss. The Renault Lodgy in the RxZ trim also gets steering column mounted audio controls, Satnav, and aircon vents for all three rows besides ABS and front two airbags on the safety front.
Engine & Performance: rating_3.5_rating
As we mentioned earlier, the Renault Lodgy is based on the same platform as the Duster and not surprisingly, it gets the same engines as the SUV too. What’s odd though, especially with petrols gaining popularity again, is the lack of a petrol engine altogether in the line up. There are two diesels to choose from nonetheless. There's the 85PS version with a fixed geometry turbocharger and this - the top of the line 110PS engine with a variable geometry turbocharger. The 110PS version of this 1.5-litre diesel is mated to a slick shifting 6-speed gearbox. The clutch is still a little heavy to use but this drivetrain option works really well on the highway. The 85PS engine meanwhile comes mated to a 5-speed manual.
Between the two, we'd pick the 110PS version for its power delivery, its throttle response and its pulling ability. Get past 2000rpm and the engine really comes into its own. One can either rev it all the way close to its 5000rpm redline, or short shift, and the Lodgy doesn't feel short on pulling power whatsoever. It makes for effortless overtakes and an easy three digit cruise. There's some turbo lag to contend with, surely, but it isn't bothersome.
Ride & Ease of Driving: rating_4.0_rating
When seated inside, the first thing that strikes you is the Renault Lodgy's seating position. It is exactly the same as the Duster which gives you a commanding view of the road ahead. But, because the dash design as well as the windshield angle is different, the visibility offered by the Lodgy is better. It's also not too heavy to drive. The clutch still needs some effort and the steering isn't as light as on the Maruti or the Honda. But, it won't leave you with aching arms or limbs even after long hours of commute. Ride, as with the Duster, is sorted on most surfaces. It's slightly firm. This helps over poor roads and undulations, giving the Lodgy a composed, big car like pliancy.
Handling & Braking: rating_3.5_rating
It's the same story when driven fast in a straight line. There's hardly any lift, weave or nervousness no matter how hard you push it. Handling wise, sure, it's no hatchback. However, around long, fast corners it tracks with confidence. The steering has reasonably good feedback and unless one chucks the Lodgy hard into corners, the extra length doesn't make its presence felt either. We also found the cabin to be well insulated. So there isn't a lot of noise seeping in, especially from the engine. Overall, this should make for a fine long distance companion.
Price & Fuel Efficiency: rating_4.0_rating
On the pricing front, all Renault is saying that the Lodgy will be priced well. Given there's no petrol on offer, the lowest we believe this MPV can retail for will be Rs 8 lakh. This will be for the base RxE 85PS engine. The 110PS engine will only be available in the RxL and RxZ trims with the latter coming with a list price of around Rs 12 lakh. If Renault can price the Lodgy lower than this estimate, it will have everyone from Maruti to Honda to even Toyota seriously worried. Add this pricing to the claimed ARAI fuel economy for both the models of nearly 20kmpl for the 110PS and over 24kmpl for the 85PS, and Renault clearly has another winner on its hands.
The Lodgy isn't perfect. It's not that good looking, the quality of interior plastics could be better and the seats could have been designed to be more supportive and comfortable, particularly in the last row. But as an MPV, the Lodgy ticks all the relevant boxes. It is a true seven seater, and a seven seater for adults; it has a passenger friendly cabin with enough and more cubby holes and cup and bottle holders; it offers a quiet and comfortable ride; and if you want to use it to carry loads of luggage, it's flexible enough to do that too. Then there's that 1.5-litre engine. It might not be the quietest diesel around but when it comes to driveability and fuel economy, it is right up there with the best. As an MPV then, the Renault Lodgy's fitness for purpose is unquestionable. It certainly gets our vote.Recommended Variant : Lodgy Stepway 110PS RXZ 7S
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