When reviewing something as complex as a car, there’s more to it than just the experience. If that’s the kind of review you are looking for, then I’ll refer you to my team-mate’s review.
This one is mostly about the experience.
This June, Renault India and Blogadda got forty bloggers from the country, flew them to Goa, and asked them to join them for a drive, and write about it. Not much to think about there. Rain. Goa. Drive. Blog. It’s the first time I’ve attended such an event, so the excitement is more than usual. After the detailed introduction on Friday, I cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the Renault Lodgy. I drive a Toyota Corolla Altis, and have been on many long drives in the last six years. I hear about the sense of space, the handling, and the gadgetry. Tomorrow is going to be a good day.
Ten brand new Renault Lodgys are waiting in line for the ten teams, four of us in each team. The drive is organised to perfection. Each team has a map of the drive of where we are going. It’s a good 40kms drive from The Leela, at Mobor – Cavelossim (where we are put up) to The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort, at Canacona. 80 kms divided between the four of us. Wait. Make that three; one of our team-mates is too young to drive. Sharing the drive becomes much better. Flagged off!
My team-mate, Tanmay has done this a million times before. He takes the wheel first. We are driving in a convoy format, yet at every turn Renault & Blogadda have arranged for human markers to show us the way. Frankly, we were hoping to get lost, but we stuck to the format. The front passenger seat is comfortable as it can be. We are tinkering with all the knobs an dials; feels just fine. After a few kms, I take up the wheel. I am driving through a hilly section of the route, and the roads curve at their will. At first I drive a bit gingerly, very carefully. I sense this MPV is capable of more than I am allowing it. I start asking more of it. It responds. Very well. The drive is smooth. I start asking more of the Lodgy with every curve. It responds easily to every demand. No complaints. Many curves later, after a lot of questions and answers between the Lodgy and its driver, we hit a straight road. It’s empty. I recall the Friday introduction. Best braking system in its category. One more question for you, Lodgy. I ask my team-mates to hold on, apply the brakes.
It stops long before I expect it to. Sweet!
My team-mate and I look at each other and nod our heads in approval.
Soon, we are close to our destination and we hit a very rough patch. I drive straight through, I ask my team-mates sitting behind. They feel comfortable. That’s nice. Another team car pulls up. We stop for a bit, I get out of the car. My clutch leg feels tense and cramped. I am not very tall, but the seat seems very low and the clutch pedal a bit high. I ask the other team driver. They have had the same experience: great drive, super braking, and comfortable handling. The driver seat is a bit cramped. We are, of course, driving a variant. The top-model has height adjustments for the driver’s seat. Ah. We need to change vehicles on our way back.
We reach the destination and the Renault team shows us the variant.
On our way back, we drove the top model, with the height adjustment on the driver’s seat. It was a bit more comfortable than our previous vehicle. The height adjustment for the seat moves the entire seat towards the top left; what’s really required is under-thigh support, given, this is a long-drive MPV.
During our drive back, Ankit takes over the wheel and I take the rear seat. While the space advantage shines in the Lodgy, the rear seat floor is high up there. I’d think sitting in this position for a long drive could be uncomfortable. Ankit seems quite cramped here. Much better, if the kids sit here.
Yet, given the combinations that you can apply in the Lodgy to create space, you are better off folding this seat, which creates a good space, in the vehicle.
Lovely day in the end, a splendid driving experience and a lovely party to call it a day. As I have said before, one of the best organised events, I have ever attended.
Kudos, Team Renault India and Team Blogadda!