Snapshot – In a sense, the Toyota Innova is the grand daddy of MPVs sold in India, not only in terms of the sheer number of the years that the vehicle has been around but also in terms of the enduring success and trust that the brand has garnered, year after year. To date, there hasn’t been a single MPV that has outdone the Innova in terms of sales success, or even perhaps profitability for its maker, considering how Toyota has been constantly upping the price of its best seller, and has managed to get away with it. The Innova might have finally met its true match. The Renault Lodgy is here, and here are five reasons on why this French people mover is better than its Japanese counterpart.
Variant to variant, the Renault Lodgy is priced much lower than the Toyota Innova. For instance, the Lodgy’s base variant dubbed the Ltd, and equipped with a power steering, air conditioning and ABS+EBD is priced at 8.19 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi. This variant is a full 4.35 lakh rupees cheaper than the Toyota Innova’s G (base) variant. Though the Lodgy features a smaller engine (1.5 liter K9K) with lower outputs (84 Bhp-200 Nm), the Renault MPV is much lighter courtesy its monocoque platform, when compared with the ladder frame equipped, much heavier Innova. The lower kerb weight means a better power-to-weight ratio for the Lodgy – 65 Bhp/Ton compared to the Innova’s 60 Bhp/Ton. And we’re not even getting into the features offered as the Lodgy is much better equipped than the Innova. So, in pricing terms, the Renault Lodgy screams value-for-money (VFM), an area in which the Toyota Innova falls far behind. This is pretty much the status quo across Lodgy variants, which wallop those of the Innova in terms of the VFM quotient.
The Lodgy uses the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel in two states of tune, 84 Bhp-200 Nm and 108 Bhp-245 Nm. In power/torque-to-weight terms, both engine tunes of the Lodgy outperform the Toyota Innova, which is sold with a 2.5 liter D-4D turbo diesel motor that makes 100 Bhp-200 Nm. The main reason for the Lodgy being more peppier than the Innova is its power-to-weight ratio. The 85 PS variant of the Renault MPV does about 65 Bhp/Ton, which is nearly 10 % better than the Toyota’s near 60 Bhp/Ton. The 110 PS variant of the Lodgy, which also benefits from a 6 speed manual gearbox, goes further with a power to weight ratio of 83 Bhp/Ton, a figure that the Innova cannot match, even if a tuning box is added to the equation. The Innova’s portly kerb weight of 1675 kilograms, about 375 kilograms more than the Lodgy’s 1,299 kerb weight, is the prime reason for the Toyota MPV losing out on performance.
For maximum fuel efficiency and reduced tail pipe emissions, a front wheel drive layout and a monocoque body construction are two measures that most modern mass market cars resort to. This is the case with the Lodgy as well. However, the Innova is old school, what with its ladder frame chassis and rear wheel drive layout. While this layout is said to be sturdier, it brings more weight into the equation, directly translating into a lower fuel efficiency. The Lodgy’s 85 PS and 110 PS variants get ARAI certified mileage figures of 21.04 Kmpl and 19.93 Kmpl respectively. The Innova can only manage 13.31 Kmpl. Frugal running costs? It’s the Lodgy all the way. The mighty Toyota can only hope to pull things back with its legendary longevity, which result in lower maintenance costs.
A longer wheelbase usually translates into more room for the occupants of a car. The Lodgy, although slightly smaller than the Innova in terms of length, width and height, goes one up on the Toyota in a key attribute – wheelbase. With a 2,810 mm wheelbase, the Renault MPV outdoes the Innova, whose wheelbase measures 2,750 mm, which is a good 60 mm shorter. Like the Innova, the Lodgy offers 7 and 8 seat options. In the people mover segment, luggage usually is confined to the roof of the vehicle in question. So, the Innova’s dimensional advantage in terms of length, width and height doesn’t amount to all that much.
The base variant of the Lodgy is surprisingly loaded when it comes to features. From ABS+EBD and Brake Assist to AC Vents at the rear, to a cigarette lighter to three 12V power outlets, the Lodgy is clearly the better speced MPV. In pricing and warranty terms (5 years/100,000 Kms to 3 years/100,000 Kms) too, the Lodgy outdoes the Innova comprehensively. These factors are likely to weigh big on a MPV buyer’s decision when it comes to loosening purse strings for either of these vehicles. The Innova’s formidable reputation is something Toyota will be banking on. If Renault doesn’t botch up after sales service and quality levels of the Lodgy, then the Innova’s dream run in India might as well see its winter. On paper, the Lodgy wins. Only time can tell how the Renault MPV will fare in the real world.