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.

Honda Mobilio – a Pre-launch expert review

WOW factors about Honda Mobilio:

Reliability, Fuel efficiency of Diesel engine, Wide network of dealers, Low maintenance cost, Performance of petrol engine, spacious cabin & yes the name “HONDA” !

Factors against Honda Mobilio:

Noisy diesel engine which lacks refinement and low ground clearance — with respect to other models.

People’s love for MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle):

Mpv’s are also known as minivan’s in North America. In one way, mpv’s are a symbol of parenthood, the reason being, most of the people wouldn’t drive it if they don’t have children. Kids love the space in mpv’s whereas sedan, hatchback restrict their movements and MPV’s are great people movers. Mpv’s offer extra large space coupled with the ability to fold down all the seats. The Indian market has already has a few mpv’s  like Maruti Ertiga (though it’s called as muv  ie. Multi-Utility vehicle), Chevrolet Enjoy, Nissan Evalia etc. The latest one that will join this group in near future is Honda Mobilio after its runaway success in Indonesia.

Looks:

Honda Mobilio is a 7 seater mpv, which was produced in 2001 but not launched in the Indian market at that time. Honda will launch its second generation mpv soon in India. Honda India has also made an official announcement of this news on its website. The platform of Honda mobilio is same as that of Honda Amaze and the Honda Brio. This gives the flexibility to Honda for sharing the parts. Honda mobilio has the same strong bold lines found in its earlier models which looks better than the other mpv’s of this segment. The front carries the sharp grille and looks sporty. The rear comes with integrated roof spoiler, tail lamps which are typical to Honda design.

Honda Mobilio MPV

Interior:

Honda mobilio will have three rows of seats. The mid rows of seats can be folded to make space and access to the 3rd row seats. Mid rows of seats in Honda Mobilio comes with a 60:40 split. The same way 3rd of seats can be folded to get huge space for loading bay. This should also provide a better leg room. Honda has increased wheelbase in Honda Mobilio than Honda Amaze and Honda Brio. Honda mobilio launched in Indonesia lacks steering mounted audio controls and chrome trim, not sure if Honda will include this in the Indian version.

Under the Hood:

Honda mobilio will be powered by the same 1.5litre diesel engine employed in Honda Amaze and latest generation Honda City. This will be a four cylinder engine which produces 100ps @ 3600rpm and a torque of [email protected] 1750rpm. Honda mobilio will also have the time tested petrol offering, which will produce 119ps of power @6600rpm and torque of 145nm @4600. Honda mobilio has already received car of the year award by the iotomotif online magazine.

Bottom-line: The runaway success of Honda Amaze and Honda city with its diesel offering has set the path which should be an advantage for Honda Mobilio.

Curious Questions of Motor heads:

1. Honda Mobilio Launch date?

Expected in July 2014.

2. Honda Mobilio expected Price?

6 – 8.5 Lakhs