The MPV segment is no longer the small, largely unpopulated section of the Indian car market. The massive success of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga breathed new life into the stagnating MPV segment. This new class of vehicles, dubbed compact MPVs offered the space and comfort of conventional SUVs without the high price tags. As a result, customers swarmed in numbers at the prospect of owning a car that could double up as a family vacation getaway vehicle.
Here in India, the compact MPV segment is currently led by the recently launched Honda Mobilio. The car’s stylish exterior and its revered Japanese background helped displace Maruti Suzuki from the top spot. With the massive success garnered by Honda’s first foray into this segment, French manufacturer Renault has also introduced its own Lodgy MPV from the Indian market. Extremely popular overseas, the Lodgy hopes to loosen the strong foothold held by the Japanese here in India.
Honda offers the Mobilio with an unconventional set of variants. Aside from the regular petrol and diesel models, the Japanese automaker also offers a diesel only RS version that adds tastefully done cosmetic changes. We take a look at what the range topping RS version has to offer in terms of aesthetics.
The Mobilio RS sports projector headlights with LEDs, high end alloy wheels, tailgate spoiler and generous bits of chrome all around. The RS variant massively improves on the MPV’s aesthetics.
The Renault adopts a radically different design philosophy as compared to the Mobilio. While the Mobilio features signature Japanese styling that greatly appeals to the youth, the Lodgy adopts a far more neutral styling approach that is not targeted at any specific . The only defining characteristics of the French MPV are the large Renault Badge and a three strip chrome grille.
Winner: Honda Mobilio RS
The Mobilio’s dashboard is quite minimal. The signature asymmetric layout and analogue dials for the air conditioning may not be to everyone’s liking. However, what the Honda MPV lacks in terms of creature comforts, it more than makes up for in terms of space. The MPV offers more space than any of its competitors by significantly reducing the thickness of each passenger seat’s back support. While this increases interior space, the comfort is sure to have been compromised.
Renault offers a rather premium interior for the Lodgy MPV. Diamond quilted leather seats, adjustable headrests for all passengers, touchscreen infotainment system and arm rests for the front and middle passenger rows add to the upmarket feel of the French MPV. The Lodgy’s beige and chocolate brown color scheme that may not go with every paint job on offer.
Compared to the Honda Mobilio, the Renault Lodgy offers a far more upmarket feel in terms of interiors. The feature loaded center console, symmetric dashboard and thicker backrests are sure to provide a far more comfortable ride experience.
Winner: Renault Lodgy
The Japanese car maker offers the Mobilio is both petrol and diesel versions. Honda has fitted the diesel variant with an engine from its all new i-DTEC series of engines. The 1.5 l diesel mill seen earlier on the Amaze and City produces 99 hp at 3600 RPM and a peak torque of 200 Nm @ 1750 RPM. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5 speed manual gearbox.
The petrol variant is powered by the manufacturer’s 1.5 l i-VTEC engine that produces 117 hp @ 6600 RPM and 145 Nm torque @ 4600 RPM. Honda has also paired the petrol Mobilio with a 5 speed manual ‘box. Sadly however, Honda has not released any news of an automatic variant.
While the Honda Mobilio caters to both the petrol and diesel customer base, Renault has opted to focus only on the diesel MPV market with the Lodgy. All variants of the Lodgy MPV are powered by a 1.5 l dCi unit. However, to allow for a wider price range across its models, the French car manufacturer offers the diesel in two states of tune. Lower variants produce 84 bhp @ 3750 RPM and 200 Nm of torque at 1900 RPM while the more expensive variants produce 108 hp @4000 RPM and a peak torque of 245 Nm at 1750 RPM. The 84 hp variant is paired with a 5 speed manual while the more powerful model is paired with a 6 speed manual.
Honda has always been known for its engineering ingenuity and the Mobilio is no exception. Although the Japanese automaker has created the Mobilio MPV with parts borrowed from other cars in its lineup, the combination works beautifully. Renault’s lack of petrol engine may prove fatal in the long run.
Winner: Honda Mobilio
The face off ends in a draw. The Honda Mobilio and Renault Lodgy complement each other. What one lacks, the other has. While the Lodgy isn’t the most stylish option in this segment, it offers more creature comforts than its Honda counterpart. At the same time, the Lodgy could have used more versatile engine options to service a wider audience.