Years after launch, the Lodgy remains a slow seller despite Renault placing it in the sweet spot between the Ertiga and the mighty Innova. So, Renault has decided that an update may perk up sales. It’s called the Stepway, and we were invited to Mumbai, for a night drive to experience it
Looks the part?
The Lodgy was introduced in the Indian market back in 2015. Since then it hasn’t seen any real update. The only thing that has changed is the addition of this new Stepway variant, which is a more rugged looking version of the Lodgy.
Changes include the following: 16″ inch alloys, a new grille which is jewel studded, a new front skid plate which has a chrome finish and new front fog lamp housing. On the side, you now get Stepway decals on the front door. At the top, there is new dark metal finish on the roof rails. At the back, there is no change however.
The Lodgy has always been a spacious vehicle. If you have driven the Duster, you will feel at home inside the Lodgy. The instrument cluster, the steering wheel and the touch screen system have been carried forward from the Duster, which is a good thing.
The touch screen system has navigation, which does make navigating streets easier. Since our drive was in Mumbai, we used the navigation to take us from Gateway of India to our destination in BKC. The route took us through Marine Drive, the Worli sea face and the famous Sea Link.
The MPV gets the same audio controls behind the steering wheel, which may seem a little odd initially, but it is actually pretty easy to use after sometime. On the steering you get the cruise control buttons, which allow you to reset the speed. To put on the cruise control though you need to use the button on the dashboard.
There is a huge storage space on top of the dashboard and the door pockets are also pretty deep. The variant we tested was the 7 seat version which had captain seats in the center row. The middle row is not adjustable in terms of travel, but the incline can be changed courtesy a knob on the top.
Overall, while the plastic quality is just okay, the cabin is a nice place to be in. Like the Duster, the Lodgy too gets an armrest that is attached to the driver’s seat which makes it more comfortable to drive. The Lodgy is actually a very practical vehicle in that respect.
How’s it to drive?
One thing that we always loved about the Lodgy was the way it drove. The Lodgy is powered by the same 1.5 liter K9K engine that you have on the Duster. There is an option of 85 and 110 PS. The vehicle we drove was the top spec 108 Bhp version which has adequate grunt.
It produces 245 Nm of peak torque and is mated to a 6-speed manaul transmission. The torque kicks in at 1750 rpm, below which there is pronounced turbo lag. Keep it above that rpm and you will be rewarded by a strong mid range which will keep you satisfied. Make sure you are in the mid range and you will be facing no issues, even in traffic.
The best thing about the Lodgy is the steering. The steering has adequate heft to it, which makes it very responsive, especially when driving hard. This is down to the fact that the Lodgy uses an electro-hydraulic power steering. While this is a MPV, it feels very car-like to drive.
The Lodgy feels very planted, even at higher speeds, which is a really good thing. One thing that does take getting used to is the brakes on the Lodgy. They aren’t very progressive, which means that they are sharper towards the end of the pedal travel and don’t have much bite initially, and this is something that does take a little getting used to.
The Stepway comes in a few variants. Prices start at Rs 9.73 lakhs for the 85PS RxL and goes on to Rs 11.56 lakhs ex-showroom for the RxZ 7 seater, which was the one we were driving.
Should you get one?
The Lodgy is an understated vehicle. So, it’s for those who want to keep it subdued. It has been placed bang in the middle of the Ertiga and Innova Crysta in terms of pricing, and is much larger than the former. So, if you find the Innova Crysta too pricey and the Ertiga too small, the Lodgy is the right bet.