Mahindra KUV100 NXT Test Drive & Expert Review

Mahindra KUV100 Price in India

 

Mahindra launched the KUV100 exactly a year ago in India; the auto manufacturer pitched it as a small SUV and their entry level offering for the Indian market. Basically this is actually a beefed up hatchback and gets both petrol and diesel engine under the hood. Although the KUV100 made a fiery start in terms of sales when it was launched initially but slowly the sales number declined and in the month of December 2016 only 1953 units of the vehicle was sold which is actually its lowest numbers since its launch.

 

Like you all know that the Mahindra KUV100 is definitely not a compact SUV and is also priced lower than most of the other compact SUV offerings. This car now competes directly in the B+ segment hatchbacks and locks horns directly with the recently introduced Maruti Suzuki Ignis which too is actually a beefed up Cross hatchback.

 

EXTERIOR AND LOOKS

 

The Mahindra KUV100 might be marketed as an SUV, but it is essentially a pumped up hatchback; one that will compete against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, the Hyundai Grand i10 and the newly launched Ford Figo. So, it has a monocoque chassis, a transverse mounted engine and front wheel drive. But, because it must be referenced as an SUV, the KUV100 naturally has high ground clearance too; 170mm of it. It isn’t very large though. At 3675mm in length, it is the shortest in its class. And its 2385mm wheelbase is the least as well. But the KUV100 stands tall at 1655mm (with roof rails) making it the tallest.

 

As far as styling goes, the front of this pumped-up hatchback has a sleek front grille, a buff bumper, and large pulled back headlamps with LEDs KUV100 embossing. The side profile looks aggressive thanks to the shallow greenhouse area. It also has its rear door handles integrated into the rear window panel aka Chevrolet Beat. The rear meanwhile is less aggressive, looks palatable and decently modern. The KUV100 is available in seven colours, Pearl White, Aquamarine, Dazzling Silver, Flamboyant Red, Fiery Orange, Designer Grey and Midnight Black.

 

INTERIOR AND SPACE

 

If you don’t already know, your friendly salesperson will go to great lengths to point out that the KUV cabin’s USP is the advantage of six seats, just like on the Datsun Go. This has been made possible by positioning the gear lever and handbrake lever on the centre console, freeing up floor space for the additional seat up front. But what distinguishes the car from the Datsun Go is that the KUV is certified as a six-seater. Though three adults can squeeze in up front, the middle passenger legroom is limited, making it more suitable for a child. Question is, would you want your most precious cargo seated within striking distance of the centre console and gear lever? Also, folding down the middle seat backrest turns it into a large armrest and that is the best way to use (or rather, not use) the sixth perch. However, the flat bench type front seat doesn’t offer the kind of back or side support the standard version’s shapelier individual chairs do.

 

High-set seats and flat floors, front and back, mean getting in and out of the KUV’s cabin is easy. What’s also a relief is that unlike the exteriors, the KUV’s cabin is smart and restrained in design. The ‘bowed’ dashboard that rises towards the middle is the centrepiece and comes finished in nice, textured plastics on the top, though quality lower down is not great. Boring monochrome display for the audio player apart, we didn’t have much else to complain about with the well laid-out centre console. Drivers will also like the three-spoke steering wheel that’s good to hold, though the inconvenient pull-type handbrake is unlikely to find many fans. On our test car, the handbrake lever malfunctioned, making hill starts quite tricky.

 

Those seated on the KUV’s rear seat will be surprised by the space and comfort on offer. There’s generous leg, head and shoulder room, the backrest position is just right and there’s even a foldable centre armrest. And all three rear passengers get adjustable headrests, which enhances their overall comfort levels. The spoiler though is the blanked-out space after the rear windows (there to accommodate the exterior door handle) that cuts outside visibility. Form unfortunately followed function here. .

 

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

 

The Mahindra KUV100 comes with the newly-developed mFalcon range of engines. The petrol engine is a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder G80 unit churning out 82 HP of power at 5500 RPM and 114 Nm of torque from 3500-3600 RPM. The motor is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and it reaches 100 km/hr in third gear. The engine needs to be revved but does go freely to its 6000 RPM redline. After 4500 RPM, it has a tendency to get vocal though. The mid-range isn’t satisfactory and in-gear acceleration isn’t much to talk about either, one needing to downshift to get going. On the whole, it is a refined engine and the KUV100 cruises at 100 km/hr in 5th gear at 3200 RPM. While the vehicle is standing still, the engine doesn’t rev above 4000 RPM. The car maxes out at 150 km/hr when the speed warning buzzes, a feature also present on the XUV500.

 

The diesel engine is also a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder D75 unit belting out 77 HP of power at 3750 RPM and 190 Nm of torque between 1750-2250 RPM. The oil-burner also gets a 5-speed manual transmission. The D75 unit does 100 km/hr in 4th gear and power is delivered in a very linear manner. It redlines at 4750 RPM and touches 100 km/hr in 5th gear at 2750 RPM. The turbo lag is very well-contained and this motor feels much better to drive than the petrol unit which feels underpowered on the highway. Still, one needs to keep the throttle floored to get the vehicle going quick. Vibrations are felt on the console but not much on the pedals in the diesel model while on the petrol, there is some harshness felt at multiple places when nearing the redline.

 

There is also a lot of wind noise creeping inside the car post 100 km/hr, coming from near the A-pillar. The 5-speed gearbox is very smooth and the clutch is also extremely light on both the petrol and diesel models, thus allowing the driver to have a stress-free driving experience. The claimed fuel efficiency for the petrol engine is 18.15 km/l while the diesel engine extracts 25.32 km/l. Mahindra will offer an AMT unit with the KUV100 later this year. There is a MicroHybrid technology on offer just like the Scorpio and XUV500 while Mahindra also offers Power and ECO modes on the diesel, which boosts fuel efficiency by restricting fuel supply and thereby keeping max RPM to around 3500 RPM. The default mode is Power and it is best to drive the KUV in that mode as the 3-pot oil burner needs to be worked to get going quickly. Both the petrol and diesel engines are average at best, they are very refined for three-cylinder motors but lack excitement and aren’t urgent either.

 

RIDE AND HANDLING

 

The levelled surface of the test track was barely any gauge for the KUV100’s ride, but expect it to be comfortable given the soft suspension setup. The KUV100 sits on an all-new platform developed from a clean sheet of paper using a monocoque chassis that offers a car like feel, and those used to driving hatchbacks will feel at home. There’s a fair bit of body roll around corners though thanks to the soft suspension and higher centre of gravity, which takes away some confidence when cornering at speeds. The soft suspension also made for some bit of weaving under hard braking but things were pretty much in control at all times, and KUV100 even felt stable being pushed around the banked corners of the track. Brakes have a progressive feel, though some more bite would be welcome.  

 

BRAKING AND SAFETY

 

Braking system is formed by the ventilated disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear. Other vital braking features inset to support the brakes affixed in front and back comprise of anti-lock-braking system along with electronic brake force distribution, which is standard across all variants.

 

Standard safety features on board are automatic door lock, central door locking, and door open indicator. Other safety features available on the SUV are child safety locks on rear doors, anti-slip clips for driver side door mats, ISOFIX child seat mount on rear seat, engine immobiliser, anti-theft security alarm, and dual airbags are available is available on all the plus variants along with the range topping variant.

 

CONCLUSSION

 

Now we come to the hardest part of any review – the tester’s final impressions of the Mahindra KUV100.

 

The Mahindra KUV100 is a one-of-a-kind hatchback that aspires to be an SUV. If you’re looking to turn heads (in the quirky manner), the KUV100’s design is apt as it incites curiosity and attention. The seat comfort could’ve been better, while rear visibility and boot volume aren’t satisfactory.

 

However what we have here is one of the most refined Mahindras ever built. It’s got an impressive diesel engine, slick gearbox, well-trimmed and spacious interior, and a commanding view over its rivals. The cherry on the top is its competitive pricing, which is slightly lower than the competition.

Mahindra KUV100 Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 4,58,282/- (KUV100 K2 Petrol 6 Seater) to  7,35,632/- (KUV100 K8 Petrol 6 Seater) .Mahindra KUV100 has 11 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Mahindra KUV100 comes in 8 colours, namely Flamboyant Red,Fiery Orange,Dazzling Silver,Midnight Black,Pearl White,Dazzling Silver/Metallic Black,Designer Grey,Flamboyant Red/Metallic Black.

New BMW 1-series review, test drive

BMW 1-series Price in India

 

 

BMW has taken heed to critics of the 1 Series, who grumbled that the looks were challenging and the engine range spiralling. Solution? Its biggest facelift ever, introducing a far sharper nose, a much nicer rear end and some stonking new engines that further its performance and eco credentials over rivals. The BMW 1 Series has never been better.

 

It still comes in three-door and five-door guise, with badges aligned to the BMW 2 Series (so they bear little relation to engine capacity…) and BMW’s simplified the trim line-up. The old one was a top 10 best-seller regular. BMW’s aiming for more of the same with this.

 

EXTERIORS

 

The BMW 1-Series isn’t an attractive looking car and there are no two ways about it. In reality the 1-Series has given birth to the X1 but in India the X1 came first and thus the 1-Series appears to be a X1 turned into a hatchback. The end result is a car which although proudly boasts of the BMW badge on its long hood, doesn’t solicit a second glance on the road. The 116i comes with 16-inch wheels which look a bit puny on this car. The rear is very plain too and overall this vehicle doesn’t make a visual impression. In spite of being in the market for more than 8 months now, the styling fails to grow on you.

 

INTERIORS

 

Every car in the BMW 1 Series range has a standard 6.5in colour screen, mounted on top of the centre console. It’s controlled via the iDrive system, which is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly interfaces around. There is a large rotary control wheel near the gearstick, with simple shortcut buttons for all the major functions. The graphics are slick and the menus only take a moment to get your head around.

 

Bluetooth and audio streaming, a single CD player, a DAB digital radio, multifunction steering wheel and USB connection are also standard across the range, with the option to upgrade to an excellent Harman Kardon stereo, or even a larger display screen and sat-nav with real time traffic information and mobile internet services, plus a 12GB music hard drive, as part of the BMW Professional package. Only the 116d ED Plus model gets sat-nav as standard.

 

Fit and finish in the BMW 1 Series is well above average, although a few pieces of trim – especially the door pockets and the glovebox lid – feel quite hard and scratchy. There’s a nice mixture of brushed metal and gloss black surfaces in higher spec cars, but they can also be fitted as options on entry-level models.

 

All the major controls are solidly built and robust, although the indicator stalks and stereo controls are made from harder, flimsier plastics. In terms of its rivals, the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf feel plusher, but only by a narrow margin.

 

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

 

A pair of four-cylinder engines power this smallest of BMWs, one petrol and one diesel. The 1,995cc ‘N47’ diesel is a familiar one; we’ve already seen it in ‘20d’ guise in the 3-series, 5-series, X1 and X3, as well as in the 525d. However, here, in the 118d, it makes 141bhp and 32.6kgm. These figures still compare favourably with the diesel engines of its closest rivals, the A-class and the V40 Cross Country.

 

A pleasant surprise is that it is quite refined; almost more so than a 3-series. The NVH levels are impressively low, both at idle and on the go, and it gets harsh only near the top of the rev range. This milder state of tune suggests less aggressive turbo-charging, which means less noise.

 

The power delivery is smooth. This engine is incredibly linear for a diesel, and while you enjoy the almost petrol-like journey up the power band, you do miss that characteristic surge of torque that you get in the mid-range with most diesel engines.

So, is the mid-range weak? No – it’s just a bit flatter than you’d expect, and if you’re worried about being able to pull off an overtake on a whim, the gearbox is there to help. The eight-speed ZF automatic, also shared with the bigger Bimmers, works brilliantly in the 1-series. With the ‘Driving Experience Control’ switch set in the default Comfort mode, the shifts are soft and seamless, and the gearbox is still decently quick to react to pedal inputs. In Eco Pro mode, the ’box can’t wait to upshift, and even if you’re cruising at 60-70kph, that’s good enough for eighth gear

 

Put it in Sport or Sport+, however, and you’d better have a clear stretch of road, because the engine responses quicken and the transmission just darts through the gears. Keep your foot in, and it won’t shift up until its 4,800rpm redline. Overall, the power delivery gets in its stride at about 1,500rpm, and builds strongly till about 4,000rpm. The 118d hits 100kph in 9.02sec, just 0.4sec after the V40 and much ahead of the diesel A-class.

 

The petrol is a 1,598cc, direct-injection, turbocharged motor that makes a healthy 134bhp and 24.47kgm of torque on overboost. Like the diesel, it is only available with the ZF automatic and that’s a good thing. Unlike the earlier, naturally aspirated BMW petrols that loved to be revved but had weak mid-ranges, this turbo-petrol has a meaty and wide torque curve. The ZF ’box masks whatever minimal turbo lag there is and the engine will spin happily to 6,500rpm, accompanied by a nice exhaust snarl and a muted turbo whistle.

 

DRIVING DYNAMICS

 

Figures aside, there are four driving modes – one for every mood. The Eco Pro, for the one off occasions when you feel like driving in the economy mode; then there is the comfort mode, again something that will be sparingly used. The Sport+ mode, which automatically switches off the ESP, is sure to bring an ear to ear smile on your face.  The steering feels heavier than in the other modes but continues to remain as precise and responsive which makes it that much more fun to push around corners. The 225/45 R17 tyres make their contribution in ensuring that you feel confident while carrying speed into round a bend. The 1 series not only handles amazingly but is also quite comfortable even on bumpy and rough tarmac. The suspension is well damped and easily absorbs all the undulations that the road throws at it without letting out a single twitch to put your comfort levels in question.

 

SAFETY FEATURES

 

Euro NCAP has recently made its crash tests more stringent, but the 1 Series scored highly in the old tests with a five-star result, and did well in all areas except pedestrian protection.

 

There are six airbags and tyre pressure-monitoring on all models, and run-flat tyres are included on many models. However, the 1 Series doesn’t get emergency automatic braking, adaptive cruise control or collision detection.

 

At least security body Thatcham rates it highly for being difficult to break into, or steal from.

 

CONCLUSSION

 

If you need a reduced and truly lively hatchback that consolidates solid execution with light-footed back wheel-drive taken care of, one and only auto will figure on your shopping rundown: the BMW 1 Series. The BMW 1 Series has earned the full five stars in the NCAP accident tests and gloats an especially great grown-up inhabitant assurance rating of 91%. Early-life unwavering quality is great, however as the miles mount up, it has a notoriety for giving inconvenience.

 

BMW 3 Series Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 36,30,000/- (3 Series 320d Prestige) to  44,40,000/- (3 Series M Sport) .BMW 3 Series has 7 Variants of Diesel are available in India. BMW 3 Series comes in 8 colours, namely Alpine White (non-metallic),Mineral Grey,Glacier Silver,Crimson Red,Deep Sea Blue,Black Sapphire,Valencia Orange,Midnight Blue.

 

 

 

Toyota Camry | In-Depth Model Review

 

 

Toyota Camry Price in India

 

Over the years, Toyota gained immense prominence and has introduced

various high-end vehicles in the Indian auto market. Camry is one of

such vehicles and is demanded for its aristocratic looks, great

performance and comfortable interiors. The sedan was first launched in

2002 and in 2015 it has seen exterior and interior upgrades

 

EXTERIORS

 

The Toyota Camry hybrid was launched for the Indian market in late

2013 and this is a mid-life update for the vehicle rather than an

overall change. The most visible update is on the front fascia where

the heavy chrome from the fog lamps has been moved to a revised front

bumper which now sits in front of a honeycomb grille.

 

The bumper gets a chrome bottom lip while the indicators have now

become vertically stacked units that sit below the headlights with LED

DRLs. Otherwise, all the elements including the “I’m a hybrid car”

blue shading in the Toyota logo, and chrome forehead marks have been

carried over from the previous vehicle.

 

There are no major changes to the side profile of the Camry hybrid

apart from the new vertically stacked indicators and the wheel design.

A change in the latter from a simple spoke design to a more

complicated arrow one has increased the premium feel of the car and

also given it slightly more sporty credentials.

 

Toyota appears to have done some major work on the rear of the Camry

Hybrid. The thick chrome strip that ran above the number plate holder

has now been stretched out and runs across the length of the boot. It

cuts into the tail lamps changing their layout as the reverse lamps

have now moved above the line while the brake lights sit below it. The

rear bumper remains untouched, but now the reflectors have become

larger and have moved to the base of the unit. Toyota has also added

another chrome strip at the base of bumper to bring about uniformity

in the design.

 

In a country where shiny is equated to rich, the addition of a

significant amount of chrome as compared to the older model is a sure

fire way to up the ante when it comes to the premium appeal of the

Camry Hybrid. It was a never a great looking car but stood out and

continues to do so due to its size, rarity and well now, the bling

factor.

 

CABIN

 

Imagine what it’s like sitting on your favourite sofa – that’s how

good the Camry’s rear seat is. The deep seat base makes for excellent

thigh support and the squarish roofline makes for plenty of headroom.

The seat back is perfectly angled and there’s enough place to stretch

out. There are front-seat adjusters placed on the side of the seat, so

the rear-left passenger can easily slide it forward for more legroom.

The seats are also placed at a nice height, so it’s easy to slide in

and out of them. Toyota knows the Camry’s strong point is its rear

seat and so, has left no stone unturned to make sure this new Camry’s

seats are the best. The front seats are equally nice to sit in and

both have eight-way power adjustability.

 

From the driver’s seat, the Camry feels wide and that’s partly because

of the big dashboard. Interior quality is another place where the

Camry has been substantially improved. All the bits that you

experience first – the steering wheel, the gear lever and the controls

– feel rich and proper, and we like the uncluttered layout and

sufficiently big switches. The interior may not have the sheer

solidity of the Skoda Superb’s cabin, but it’s not far behind. The

stitched-leather effect for the top half of the dashboard is nice,

wood finish is quite convincing and the Playstation-like

steering-mounted controls are interesting. We did think the rear

air-con vents were a bit

 

cheap-looking, but that’s the only serious complaint we can level at this cabin.

The Camry’s dash strikes a nice balance between pleasing design and

functionality. We particularly liked the multi-layered dials with the

real-time fuel consumption indicator and a meter that shows you how

economically you are driving.

 

Storage spaces are plenty. The glovebox in particular is huge, and

there’s a big cubbyhole between the front seats. To improve cabin

space, Toyota has used thinner door pads, and this probably explains

why the door pockets are unusually narrow. The boot is much smaller

too – this new Camry gets only 484 litres of space as against the old

car’s 535 litres.

 

It’s pretty well equipped though. Standard features include dual-zone

climate control, keyless entry and go, fully powered front seats,

Bluetooth connectivity, parking sensors, cruise-control and a 2-DIN

touchscreen audio system with aux-in and USB ports. There are some

important features missing though — in addition to quite a few

airbags, this Camry doesn’t get a sunroof or a reverse camera.

 

ENGINE

 

The locally built 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine was a step up

in capacity from the 2.2-litre engine of the preceding model.

 

It featured all-alloy construction and twin camshafts, with Toyota’s

VVTi variable valve timing system on the intake valves, and at its

twin peaks it put out 112kW (150 horsepower) and 218Nm of torque.

 

With 18kW and 31Nm more than the old engine it was a willing and

free-revving workhorse that delivered pretty decent performance, and

better fuel economy.

 

For more performance Toyota offered the 3.0-litre petrol V6, which

upped the peak power and torque to 141kW (189 horsepower) and 279Nm

respectively, giving it more zip and extra smoothness.

 

The gearbox options were a conventional four-speed automatic

transmission and a five-speed manual. Most buyers preferred the

automatic, so there aren’t many cars around with the manual.

 

Both engines were developed to run on 91-octane regular unleaded, and

can also run on E10 ethanol-blend fuel.

 

DRIVING

 

Toyota Camry has the capacity of breaching a speed barrier of 100 kmph

in approx. 7.8 seconds from standstill. Further, it can reach up to a

maximum speed range of 180 to 185 kmph with the help of a six-speed

automatic gearbox. The automatic hybrid variant helps the motor to

reach a speed in the range of 190 kmph to 195 kmph while accelerating

to 100 kmph in just about 9.3 seconds of start.

 

With the help of multi-point fuel injection supply system, the petrol

variant of this sedan delivers a decent mileage of 13 kmpl on highways

and 9.5 kmpl in city. While advanced electronic fuel injection supply

system in automatic hybrid version, the car offers 19.1 kmph on

highways and 16.3 kmpl in city. The electric variable steering wheel

is highly responsive and comes with telescopic adjustment function,

and thus it has a turning radius of 5.3 meters

 

SAFET AND AFTER SALES SERVICE

 

The Toyota Camry is loaded with a host of safety equipment that

includes four airbags (driver, front passenger and front seat sides),

ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), TRC

(Traction Control), Hill Start Assist Control, reverse parking camera

with back monitor and corner sensors, impact sensing fuel cut-off,

speed sensing auto lock and smart key remind warning. The instrument

cluster also shows a visual and audio warning when the driver and

co-driver are not belted up while the car is in motion. The earlier

Camry came with just two airbags while the current one has four. The

market norm is at least six in this segment. Talking about

after-sales, Toyota really rocks in this department. The company has

constantly been recognised for its excellent service, be it anywhere

in India. Toyota parts are also priced reasonably and the vehicles are

known for their bullet-proof reliability. The only downside is the

fact that Toyota service centres are very cramped thanks to the fact

that a huge number of Innovas and Etios are being used as taxis

throughout the country.

 

VERDICT

 

It is difficult to rate the Camry Hybrid. On one side, it does look

quite nice in its new avatar, especially in the color that we have

here but on the other side, it does have an interior that is quite

drab and simple. Where it does offer exemplary ride comfort, it does

falter when it comes to sheer handling prowess. But there is a BIG

positive – the Camry Hybrid is one of those cars that is too far into

the future for a market like India. It does offer some really cutting

edge technology to us today…but at a cost. Just like the Mahindra

e2o then, the Camry Hybrid is certainly a car that deserves much more.

Sadly, until the government does not think straight and starts to

offer huge excise benefits and other concessions to electric and

hybrid cars, cars like the Camry Hybrid will continue to suffer.

 

Toyota Camry Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 28,69,100/- (Camry 2.5 AT) to  37,22,500/- (Camry Hybrid) .Toyota Camry has 2 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Toyota Camry comes in 7 colours, namely Dark Brown Mica Metallic,Silver Metallic,White Pearl Crystal Shine,Grey Metallic,True Blue Mica Metallic,Attitude Black,Greyish Blue Mica Metallic.

Renault Lodgy Stepway: First Drive Review

Renault first tasted success in India with the Duster. This popular

SUV is the sole pillar in the company’s product portfolio on which

Renault’s fortunes in India rest. Now, after three years, the French

company has come up with its next important model — the Lodgy — which

promises to strengthen Renault’s Indian portfolio significantly.  The

Lodgy might be Renault’s first MPV for India, but the French automaker

is no stranger to people movers. In fact, 30 years ago, it invented

the segment with the Espace. But here in India, this sector is already

flocked by popular brands like Maruti and Honda. So do the MPV

innovators have a trick up their sleeve?

 

DESIGN AND STYLING 

Renault has been quite safe when it comes to the styling of their

cars, at least in India. Notice the entire lineup offered here and you

would realise that there’s nothing exciting in their design language,

it’s neutral. Same is the case with the Lodgy. No, it doesn’t mean

that it looks bad, the styling is conventional yet contemporary and

there are certain bits that make it look cool. The front looks

pleasant with a detailed grille having a good dose of chrome and a big

Renault badge sitting proudly. The headlamps are sizeable that makes

the car look big at the front and it gets day time running lights that

are not LEDs. The lower half of the bumper is done in black,

integrating foglamps and some chrome accents as well.

 

The Lodgy is 4498 mm long and has the longest wheelbase in its class

measuring 2810 mm, longer than the Innova’s 2750 mm. This is quite

evident in the side profile with short overhangs. It also looks quite

tall with a huge glass area. There are no violent creases running

across the body and the design is kept simple and neat. The door

mouldings on the lower half of the body get highlighted in chrome

while the 15-inch 5-spoke alloys don’t look much exciting. Despite

having uniquely shaped tail lights and chrome embellishments, the

Lodgy tends to look plain at the rear. The tailgate needs some muscle

for better presence. The thick chrome strip having LODGY etched on it

is a good touch but the keyhole above it looks out of place and ugly.

The overall design looks appealing to all and offending none with

balanced proportions ideal for an MPV. Renault will also offer 47

categories of accessories with 4 accessory packs including chrome

pack, essential pack, sport pack and techno pack to enhance the

exterior appeal.

 

CABIN 

Once you step inside, it comes across as familiar territory. The dash

has many borrowings from Duster including the AC vents, centre

console, switches, gear knob and the steering wheel, which is leather

wrapped. The two tone – light brown and beige colour scheme provides a

classy and airy feel. The piano black centre console looks quite

premium and it houses the Media-Nav, which is a multimedia touchscreen

device with navigation and a reverse camera, though viewing it in

bright sunlight is an issue.

 

The car we drove was a seven-seater, which had captain seats in the

second row. The top end variant of this one gets leather seats. There

are armrests for the driver and second row passengers. The second row

passengers also have access to a foldable tray with a cup/glass

holder, which is a good utility feature. The Lodgy would also be

offered with a eight-seater option, however with fabric seats. The car

has good storage space for water bottles and knick-knacks, two 12v

sockets and roof mounted rear AC vents for the second as well as third

row.

 

The highlight of the Lodgy is space. I was particularly surprised with

the third row seats that can seat two adults or three kids with ease

and comfort. The best part is that the second and third row seats can

double fold, providing multiple luggage carrying options. While

stepping in, the first thing noticed was that the ingress and egress

is a breeze! Getting in and out of the car is easy and very helpful,

especially for the elderly. That applies for the front as well as

rear. Also the boot sill is low enough to allow easy luggage loading /

unloading.

 

The Lodgy feels easy to drive, more like a sedan than an MPV. It was

easy to find a suitable driving position with the steering and seat

height adjustments. Another highlight of the Lodgy is the ride

quality, which is easily the best among MPVs and trumps many sedans in

this department. Broken roads and deep potholes pose no irritation to

the passengers as the Lodgy literally glides over them.

 

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 

Just like in the Duster, the Lodgy is also offered with the same

powertrain and in the same state of tunes. So, like the Duster, the

Lodgy too will be offered with the same, reliable K9K diesel engine in

two power and torque ratings. The 1.5-litre dCi engine will be

available with a peak power of 85PS or 110PS. There are expected to be

three trim variants with both the engine rating options.

 

We only had the 110PS being offered to us for the test drive. The

engine is familiar and its torquey performance straight away feels

like the right match for the Lodgy. Both in city traffic and highway

speeds, there is more than enough juice from the engine to make use

  1. There is a bit of lag, but once the needle passes the

1,400-1500rpm level, dollops of torque kick in. We are not sure, how

responsive the engine would feel in its 85PS avatar, especially if the

Lodgy would be fully loaded with people and luggage.

 

The best part about the powertrain in the Lodgy is the excellent NVH

packaging that the engineers at Renault have done. The cabin is

absolutely quiet all the way to a high 3,500rpm. The engine redline

seems to have been set at about 5,000 rpm. Renault claims that

together with the 6-speed manual gearbox, the engine is capable of

delivering 21.04kmpl and 19.98kmpl of mileage in the two – 85PS and

110PS – variants.

 

RIDE AND HANDLING 

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.

 

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

 

SAFETY 

The Renault Lodgy has got only three star safety rating from Euro

NCAP and that too for the international model having 6 airbags as

standard. Renault will be offering the Lodgy in India with only dual

front airbags, which is a big letdown. It will also get ABS, EBD with

brake assist. Apart from cruise control, the MPV will come with a

speed limiter as well. Renault currently has a network presence of

more than 157 facilities across India. In order to get volumes and

provide better after sales service, the French automaker needs to ramp

up their presence, which they say they are doing through the year and

claim it to be the fastest ramp-up by an automaker in India

 

BOTTOMLINE 

The Renault Lodgy is a great attempt in making an attractive looking

compact MPV. The interior quality is impressive and acceptable. In

terms of comfort, it scores more than others in the competition. The

amazing storage and boot space makes it a practical solution for a

family. It has the underpinnings of Duster, which has already made its

mark in the compact SUV segment. Both the diesel engines are highly

promising and efficient. It gets dual airbags, ABS, EBD with brake

assist and rear parking camera with sensors.