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Renault Lodgy Stepway: First Drive

Renault Lodgy Stepway: First Drive

Snapshot: Renault launched Lodgy MPV in 2015 and recieved average sales figures. But now with Lodgy Stepway, the Brand has more added features to offer.

Renault Lodgy MPV was launched in 2015 in India, and has managed to add some decent numbers to its sales figures, whilst the model is sold in huge figures in its European market. It is designed and developed in collaboration with the Renault’s international teams. The latest Renault Lodgy Stepway gets 16 new add-on features, not only on the exterior but its interior as well. And with this new version getting some infused fresh features and details in it, the car feels more upmarket. We drive the Renault Lodgy Stepway on an elicit night drive in Mumbai.

Exterior

Lodgy Stepaway is a nice looking car with quirky appearance, unlike the more butch design of the Kwid and Duster. It seems Renault had something else in its mind while launching the model, considering that this model has some really strong contenders like Maruti Ertiga and Honda Mobilio to pounce with.

The jewel-studded grille along with a redesigned front bumper with a faux skid plate adds a feel of assertiveness and more masculine appearance to the car from the front. Just like the front bumper, the rear bumper too gets silver scuffing plate like treatment. The stylish dark metal finish roof rails give it a crossover look, while the standard variant already had plenty of chrome work over it. The front fender gets a ‘STEPWAY’ decal and the car rides on the 16 inch metal alloy wheels.

Interior

The interior of the Stepway is more or less the same as the standard Lodgy, though the change you will find is the two-tone dashboard with piano black centre and chrome surrounds. It comes in 7 and 8 seat configuration. We are driving the seven seater with captain seats in the middle row. You get a boot capacity of  279 litres with all three rows up. Renault states that you can make multiple combinations of around 56 with these flexible seats (isn’t that cabin really is good in terms of practicality!).

You get AC vents in all three rows with the third row getting decent space for adults to sit, better than the Mobilio as well as Ertiga. You won’t feel claustrophobic as you get good view from the second row seats as they are set lower than the rear. Quality of materials used are good across the cabin and the Lodgy feels like a premium product in that department.

Engine, performance and gearbox

Stepway comes with the same engine option that serves in the Duster - 1.5-litre diesel engine, available in two states of tune - 84bhp and 108bhp. We got our hands on the 110bhp version of the car. The Stepaway impresses as soon as you start it, very quiet. Even after revving the engine the cabin remains calm. This gives the Lodgy an edge over the Honda Mobilio as well as Toyota Innova, where both aren’t that smooth.

While talking about performance the car is brisk, just step on the accelerator and past 2000rpm you can feel the shove of its best power reserve in the 2,000-4,000rpm band. With the combination of its crispy gearbox that gets the best out of this engine if you use it judicially, it goes up with the Mobilio and Ertiga’s unit. It comes paired with a six-speed transmission unit that gets a thumbs-up for flexibility while driving on those long journeys.  

Ride and handling
Stepway goes through bends easily but has body roll, as it is no hot-hatch or a sports car, but definitely Frenchmen do know how to make good dynamics in an MPV. The car gives a good cushioning effect from the worst of roads in the city and the highway as well. While driving it on highway, it is well planted. However, the steering isn’t that adept and has no feel when you push it into the corners (one area where the Mobilio works well). But still it’s steering is pretty accurate and offers good feedback.

Safety and equipment
Speaking of the features you get climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, steering mounted stereo controls, as well as GPS based navigation on the Lodgy  Stepaway. While for safety it comes with multiple airbags as well as ABS for better controlling of the vehicle and to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Summary
The Lodgy Stepway gives a more upmarket feel with its cosmetic updates, ride quality, cabin space and good steering response. It is still a good choice for somebody looking of a seven-seater MPV for their family. It has flexible seating making it ideal for either everyday use, or a long weekend journey carrying people and luggage at the same time.

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