Dacia Lodgy dCi 110, VW Touran 1.6 TDI BMT, Front view 26 Photos Zoom

Dacia Lodgy vs. VW Touran: Cheap vs. expensive

For the difference in price between the Dacia Lodgy and diesel-engined VW Touran you could buy a second Lodgy with the LPG engine. So that's everything cleared up then? No way!

If your nan were to try to earn the money to buy one by selling her knitting, she would never manage it on her own. Instead she would have to invite all of her friends around, get in a few pieces of cake and ideally something for supper as well. Picture the scene: they all finally arrive, a Best-of CD from the great Engelbert Humperdinck is playing quietly in the background, on repeat. They then all set about furiously knitting, but even then, it would still be quite some time before they had produced enough to cover the 11,810 Euros.

Expensive competitor

71 percent more expensive than the most expensive Dacia Lodgy, at 16,590 Euros, the well equipped dCi 110 Prestige is by no means the most expensive VW Touran. For this you could get a second Lodgy or a basic Sandero with a trailer coupling – plus a second-hand caravan. In the nicely equipped Comfortline version, the Touran 1.6 TDI BMT (its called Bluemotion Technology, but it means Start-Stop system) sits towards the end of the price list that is verging on the obscene – not far off the price of a terraced house.

And this after what is soon to be twelve years, as the Touran was released at some point in March 2003. Since then, they have replastered the external façade twice and refurbished the living room inside. It is based on the PQ 35 platform, on which so many vehicles within the group - the Golf V, Jetta, Beetle, Caddy, Eos, Scirocco and their compact relatives from Audi, Skoda and Seat- cruised around on before the times of the modular transverse matrix platform, which is by no means underestimated by VW in terms of its global importance.

The Dacia Lodgy with luggage capacity of up to 2.6 cubic metres

Such a modern piece of technology is not to be found beneath the self-supporting body of the Dacia. Ever since the days of the Logan I the engineers have been rearranging the chassis architecture of the Clio II from 1998 for the Dacia models. As such the van even receives McPherson axles to the front and a twist-beam rear axle. Now, after a brief warm-up, the 1.5-litre turbo diesel now jostles beneath the bonnet. It originates from the K9K series, has been in business at Renault since 2001. Dampened by insufficient sound insulation, the hammering of the long-stroke engine resounds through the interior – or more like the atrium – of the Dacia Lodgy.

It distributes its considerable space differently to the VW. As such the Dacia Lodgy makes use of its 13.2 centimetre-longer wheelbase and 10.1-centimetre longer external length in order to actually accommodate seven people. If the easily adjustable additional seating bench is installed, for 590 Euros, even seven adults can be accommodated – plus 207 litres of luggage. As a pure five-seater, as is the case for the Lodgy we are evaluating here, you can pack in 827 litres of luggage as well as the five passengers.

If the split rear seat bench, which is supported by simple arresting hooks, were to fold forward in separate parts, it would be easier to switch the configuration to the next size up, which is 2.6 cubic metres. In any case, there is no lack of space in the Dacia Lodgy, although it does lack comfort. As with practically every Dacia test car we have had since 2005, the driver's seat in this one wobbles. All the more annoying given than, on account of the flat seat surface and the smooth upholstery (officially leather, although it doesn't feel like it) there is the constant risk that you will slip off the seat. When adjusting to a suitable sitting position, it is not only the awkward seat adjustment that results in failure, but also the fact that you can only adjust the height of the steering wheel.

The more comfortable VW Touran

In the Touran, on the other hand, you climb in, you quickly slide to the correct position using the sensitive adjustment system, pull the steering wheel towards you and it fits. It feels cosy on the supportive and thickly upholstered seats. In addition, the driver and passenger in the VW have ten centimetres more internal width than in the Dacia Lodgy

VW fits three separate longitudinally sliding, folding tilt-adjustable and removable seats into the back. However, the outside edges press closely to the door and only the Dacia Lodgy has three isofix fittings in the back. Two additional seats for the Touran cost a further 755 Euros, and the test car doesn't have them. Although this is no mistake. Folding stools such as this used to be called mother-in-law seats and were installed in the back of a convertible so that the wind obscure words spoken by your mother-in-law. Travelling on the back-back seat of the VW isn't much more comfortable than it was back in the day, except now the grumbling from back in the ranks does make it at least part, if not the whole way to the front.

And this is on account of the sophisticated noise damping in the VW, against which the refined 1.6-litre turbo diesel only gently rumbles. The common-rail engine drives the Touran, working in friendly collaboration with the precise and appropriately graded six-speed transmission, with a tranquil temperament. But even if the shack on wheels is fully laden, the early torque, even on motorways, provides for sufficient elasticity. You generally feel like you are going a little faster than you actually are.

The Dacia Lodgy is 243 kilos lighter

The Dacia Lodgy sounds faster and is faster, with hearty acceleration in spite of the notchy six-speed gearbox, driving less smoothly but more briskly - and it is ever so slightly more economic. However, the latter is more due to the heavy weight of the VW than the supremacy of the Dacia engine. The VW weighs 243 kilos more – if the Dacia did away with the third row of seats it would be 300.

The pleasing result of the addition weight is evident in the suspension comfort. With optional adaptive dampers (1,015 Euros) the VW also glides over rough surfaces. In contrast, the Dacia technicians designed the chassis of the Lodgy with a focus on heavy loads. As such, it jostles over uneven ground and is also much more stubborn over transverse joints. With a few hundredweights on board, the suspension of the Dacia Lodgy is then much better, reaching the same level as that of the VW.

The VW Touran clearly has the edge

The Dacia Lodgy doesn't manage to gain the advantage with regard to the comfort or the safety equipment– with four airbags, ESP and seat belt height adjustment to the front - according to the price list worth mentioning! - (VW has it front and back) it manages to reach a level befitting of the late 1990s. However, the fact that the years have also passed the Touran by does not go unnoticed, offering just lane keeping, speed limiting and attention aids when it comes to assistance systems. Well, and the parking steering assistant, which gladly guides the Touran into particularly tight spaces by means of a seven or eight point turn. However,when it then wants to drive out of the parking space independently (which it is actually capable of), the display states: "Parking space too small".

This detail is a nice demonstration of what there is to be criticised in the Touran after twelve years: that is, just the finer details. Its processing has reached a solid maturity, its chassis combines comfort and a high level of safety with enjoyable handling.

The Dacia Lodgy with modest handling

With the optional tyres, it turns neutrally into corners and, with a great deal of precision and feedback in the electro-mechanical steering, it slides into the limit range with gentle understeer, which the ESP deals with reasonably. In contrast, the Dacia Lodgy is more cumbersome through corners with its clunky, feedback-lacking hydraulic power steering. If it finally slips into fierce understeer, the ESP does not intervene, but rather attacks, regulating so fiercely that the Dacia can for a brief moment no longer steer.

In the end, there are two arguments in favour of the Dacia Lodgy: size and price. All other arguments scream in favour of the Touran. The Dacia is cheaper, the VW better – there is no risk of getting caught up in contradictions here.


Hans-Dieter Seufert


30 April 2015
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