Face Off: Honda Mobilio vs Renault Lodgy

2015 Renault Lodgy front

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.

Design:

Honda Mobilio:

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.

2014 honda mobilio rs
The Honda Mobilio in its RS trim is one of the most stylish MPVs currently in the Indian market

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.

Renault Lodgy:

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.

2015 Renault Lodgy front
The Renault Lodgy could have used better styling

Winner: Honda Mobilio RS

Interior:

Honda Mobilio:

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.

honda mobilio interior
The Honda Mobilio offers oodles of interior space

Renault Lodgy:

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.

2015 Renault Lodgy cabin
Renault has endowed the Lodgy MPV with upmarket interiors

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

 

Engine:

Honda Mobilio:

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.

Renault Lodgy:

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

Verdict:

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.

Face Off: Volkswagen Vento vs Ford Fiesta

Volkswagen vento rear

Ford is back with an all new generation of the Ford Fiesta. Packed to the brim with features, the next generation Fiesta is all set to take on established rivals such as the Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai Verna, Honda City and the Skoda Rapid. Although Ford has had a long standing good reputation with the Indian consumer, its absence from the car market has left a serious impact on the company’s brand image.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift
The 2014 Ford Fiesta

Volkswagen on the other hand, is fast gaining momentum as a brand that produces quality cars with a Teutonic attention to safety. While the German car maker does have upmarket cars such as the Jetta and Passat in the more premium segments, the Vento and Polo are the company’s main bread winners. We take a look at the popular Vento and see what Ford’s latest offering is up against.

Volkswagen vento
The VW Vento

Design:

Volkswagen Vento:

As with all the latest VW’s of this generation, the German car maker has abandoned its organic design approach for a cleaner, more angular styling. As with the Jetta, the Vento maybe a good looking car, but it lacks a certain something that makes it stand out from the crowd. Nevertheless, the Vento looks far more upmarket than most of its rivals, a trait many buyers look for in a car.

Volkswagen vento side view
The Vento Follows a Simple Design Philosophy

The neatly sculpted bonnet and the sharp, straight creases that run along the sides of the car endow the Vento with an understated elegance about it. VW has revamped the rear profile rather than sticking to the Polo’s design to better improve the overall design of its sedan counterpart. The boot’s proportions and layout are perfect. So much so that one may be hard-pressed to guess which one may be the derivative.

Ford Fiesta:

Ford has taken what could be called the polar opposite to VW’s design philosophy. Instead of subtle framework and the use of an understated design language, the new Fiesta is a much bolder presence on roads than the outgoing model or the Vento. Dubbed Kinetic Design 2.0, the new design philosophy bears many similarities to Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift front
The Ford Fiesta’s Aggressive Grille Gives The Sedan A Much Stronger Road Presence

The raised bonnet and aggressively styled front headlights add an element of sportiness lacking in the Vento. The retracted fog lamp enclosures, large chrome grille and a sloping roof line all hint at what the Fiesta really is: a fun car. Sadly the rear end of the Fiesta remains the same. The awkwardly styled tail lamps and stubby trunk give the Fiesta a disproportionate body.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift rear prodile
Rear View of the 2014 Ford Fiesta

While Vento’s design may play to the logical side of you, the Fiesta wildly impresses the child inside us all. From the get go itself, we see that though these two cars may be in the same price bracket and fall under the same segment, the Fiesta and Vento cannot be any more different. The Vento and Fiesta follow very different schools of design and appeal to very different segments of the Indian audience. While one appeals to businessmen, the other is targeted at a younger generation.

Round 1 Winner: Draw!

Interiors:

VW Vento:

The clinical precision carries over to the Vento’s interiors as well. Although the Vento’s cabin is quite upmarket, the car has seen little to no changes over the course of its lifetime and it has begun to show. The stereo system is outdated and the steering mounted controls do not offer the same level of accessibility as the Verna let alone the Fiesta. The beige interiors add to the airy feel of the sedan’s cabin. The Vento’s center console features a functional infotainment system with conventional connectivity options such as Bluetooth, AUX in, USB and iPod connectivity. Dashboard plastics are typical of a premium German sedan.

Volkswagen vento interiors
The No Nonsense Approach of VW Carries Over to The Vento’s Interiors As Well

Ford Fiesta:

The Fiesta’s zesty nature continues inside as well. Ford has adopted the very same design found on the previous model and the current gen EcoSport. The new infotainment system comes with the recently launched AppLink system that allows independent developers to create apps for the Fiesta. Definitely a step in the right direction by the American car maker. Apart from Ford’s AppLink system, the car maker’s voice recognition software is also included along with conventional options such as Bluetooth, iPod, USB connectivity and Aux In.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift push start
The Fiesta Offers Features Such as Push Start/Stop

Although the sloping roofline adds to the car’s sporty appeal, the rear headroom suffers and as a result, tall passengers may not be able to sit comfortably at the back. However, besides that, the Fiesta’s updated interiors are modern and offer much better functionality than the Vento’s.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift interiors
Interiors of the new Fiesta

Round 2 Winner: Ford Fiesta!

Engine:

VW Vento:

Volkswagen offers both petrol and diesel options for the Vento. The German car maker offers two petrol engines and one diesel unit for the Indian market. The diesel mill powering the Vento is a turbocharged 1.6 L engine that produces 103 HP @ 4400 RPM and 250 Nm of torque at 1500 RPM.

The 1.6 L petrol engine churns out 103 HP at 5250 RPM and 153 Nm of torque @ 3800 RPM. Petrol fans also have the choice of the more economical 1.2 L turbocharged unit. While both engine’s produce the same power at approximately the same revs, the 1.2 L turbo petrol puts out 175 Nm of torque at a much lower 1500 RPM. While the diesel and 1.6 L petrol variants come equipped with 5 speed manual gearboxes, the TSI variant sports the German car maker’s popular 7 speed DSG gearbox.

Ford Fiesta:

With the massive popularity of oil burners and the ever increasing petrol prices, Ford has dropped the petrol engine for the new Fiesta. While many may criticize Ford’s latest move, the diesel engine is quite capable and is quite refined. The tried and tested 1.5 L TDCi engine produces 90 HP and 203 Nm of torque. 

Round 3 Winner: VW Vento!

The Drive:

VW Vento:

Volkswagen has always focused on a car’s driving dynamics. While the Vento is equipped with electric steering, the feedback is quite adequate yet light enough for city traffic. Brakes are incredibly responsive and perform well when pushed to the limit. However, the car could’ve done with a rear parking camera as parking a sedan in the city has now become a monumental task.

Volkswagen vento rear
The Vento Is a Briliiantly Engineered Car; However, the sedan could with a few extra features

Although some may be happy with the 100 odd horsepower engine, the Vento could do with a more powerful unit. The size of the Vento requires a little more grunt under the hood to keep the car entertaining. Hopefully we may see a new engine option on the next gen Vento.

Ford Fiesta:

The Fiesta is renowned for its driver centric design. Sadly, with the discontinuation of the petrol variants from the new lineup, Ford maybe be letting go of its signature characteristics. However, the sedan’s diesel engine is far more refined than most engines and the car’s small size means that the 1.5 L TDCi engine is more than sufficient.

ford fiesta front
The Fiesta’s Design Has Been Targeted At A Much Younger Audience

Round 4 Winner: VW Vento!

Verdict:

While the VolkswagenVento may be the clear winner on paper, the all new Ford Fiesta is a car that tugs at your heart. Both cars may be in the same segment, but their primary purpose is completely different. The eternal case of apples and oranges, a clear winner can never be determined.

For a customer who just wants the job done with no regard for extra features or zing, the Vento is ideal. However, for the playful ones, the Fiesta is the better bet. With its aggressive front fascia and futuristic interior design, the Fiesta is easily one of the zestier cars available in the market right now.

Image Source: Ford India VW India