At entry level the Dacia Logan is a decent family workhorse, however the full featured ‘Laureate’ pack makes this shockingly affordable MCV a stand out buy.
What am I looking for in a car, these days? Well, we don’t need to haul around all the kids (plus friends) at the same time anymore. I no longer use the car every day, so I’m not overly concerned about luxuries. I am as tight as ever I was, so it has to be economical with the juice. I value my safety and don’t really feel the need to engage in traffic light race offs with the empty-headed boy racers, so fuel efficiency and reliability is more important than raw horsepower.
You may have noticed we’ve looked at a few Dacia’s over the past year or so and we haven’t found one yet that we would not recommend. So we were looking forward to getting our hands on the Logan.
The Logan has a bold, full-bodied profile. The front end gives the impression that there is a monster engine under the bonnet, which there isn’t but more on that later. I quite like the shape and the look and feel of the car; it is well-styled and needs to be to stand any chance in this very competitive market space. There are some pug ugly hatches and estates on the market at the moment such as the Subaru Outback, Mini Clubman estate and the equally unsightly Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake; the Dacia Logan out-scores all of them on looks, but the final touches give away its budget bracket. The external finishing; the door handles, wing mirrors and boot lock feel decidedly budget – but that's not a bad thing – it is at the core of what a Dacia is, it is a brand that takes away the non-essentials and delivers to you a car that defies price logic. It is unapologetically cheap!
If I have one gripe about the Dacia fleet of cars it would be the lack of choice when it comes to colour palette. Fortunately, the Logan has got a lucky break and the choice of colour – although limited to only six options: Cinder red, Mercury, pearl black, stone, glacier white – is a welcome improvement.
If you are a trim and features fetishist, the cabin of the Logan is unlikely to float your boat; it is sparse and resolutely functional. Like its stable-mates the Sandero and Duster, the Logan has a lot of hard plastic on show in the cabin. It doesn’t do a lot for the visual appeal of the car, but neither does it offend to the extent that you would dismiss it. The bog standard dash console is uninspiring; however, the addition of the built-in SatNav and media system for an extra £300 makes a huge difference.
Of course there’s no compromise on safety, so all versions come with ABS and Electronic Stability Control and four airbags.
The MCV or Maximum Capacity Vehicle is much like the old Ronseal advertising slogan in that “it does what it says on the tin”. It is blessed with plenty of storage space. The boot capacity puts many of its more illustrious rivals to shame with 573 litres of space available with the seats up: Skoda Fabia (530), VW Golf estate (605), SEAT Ibiza estate (430 litres), Honda Civic (624 litres). The boot space expands to a generous 1,518 litres with the rear seats folded down, making transporting large and awkward items less of a head ache. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat and a forward-folding front passenger seat also make for maximum flexibility when driving with rear passengers or transporting longer items.
The 1461cc Renault engine is pretty sluggish with a full load; requiring a bit of a leap of faith when joining fast-moving motorway traffic. That said, once you are in traffic, the Logan runs along very comfortably and with far less cabin noise than you would imagine for a car in this price bracket.
Dacia has been the fastest growing automotive brand in Europe for the past eight years. And given the economic climate throughout the euro zone over that period it is easy to why. What Dacia has done is bring to market cleverly designed cars that focus on utility over cosmetic accoutrements – wrapped in the belief that you should only pay for the things that you value, rather than for those you don’t.
One thing you can be assured of, though, is quality. Dacia, as part of the Renault Group, brings to its cars some of the best engines and technology available. Among them are the new TCe 90 turbocharged three-cylinder petrol – the unit that powers the new Renault Clio (but without the added expense of Stop&Start technology). It joins the tried-and-tested 1.2 16v 75 and Renault’s popular 1.5 diesel, in 90hp form, to offer impressive day-to-day running costs with excellent fuel consumption and low emissions. The 99g/km CO2 emissions from the dCi 90 mean there’s no annual road tax to pay.
There is not a lot to report on the day-to-day handling of this vehicle – that is not a criticism; rather it is a credit to the manufacturer. The Logan is a very solid, dependable run around. The driver has good all round visibility and both the steering and the brakes perform to a standard that breeds confidence even in poor weather conditions.
There is some roll but it is hardly worthy of comment. The gearbox and gear stick do take a bit of getting used to – there is no refinement at all here, in fact you could easily be imagine you are driving in the mid 80s while searching the notchy gearbox for third and fourth gear.
In a word, astonishing! The 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, which we ran around offer impressive day-to-day running costs with excellent fuel consumption of 74.3 mpg, while the 99g/km CO2 emissions from the dCi 90 mean there’s no annual road tax to pay. The diesel engine as well offering superior fuel efficiency is far better suited to an estate car, too, with enough power under the bonnet to deliver a no-fuss journey from A to B – however far that may be!
With £6,995 in your pocket, you could get yourself a very good used car but you'll then have the tangle of uncertainty over reliability, history and warranty. For the same money you'll get a brand new on the road Logan and those concerns cease to be relevant! While the base model is limited and lacking in niceties, its price tag cannot be scoffed at. My drive was the Logan Laureate, the fully kitted range topper that manages to weigh in only a fraction over base price for the Skoda Fabia (£11,135.00).
The full Laureate trim is on the road at £11.290 which includes
- Metallic paint £495*
- Emergency spare wheel £95
- Rear parking sensors £250
- Europe mapping upgrade £90
- Dark carbon leather upholstery £600
- Front central armrest £90
- Extended warranty, 5 yrs/60,000 miles £395, 7 yrs/100,000 miles £850
- MediaNav 7” touchscreen multimedia system including: – Radio with 2x front and 2x rear speakers, – Satellite navigation (GB and Ireland mapping), – USB and AUX connection points, – Bluetooth connectivity for handfree telephony and streaming audio, – Steering column-mounted fingertip controls £300
- Protection Pack – Carpet mats front and rear, Rear parking sensors, boot liner £225
- Touring Pack – Standard towbar 7-pin electric kit, Boot luggage net, Transversal roof bars £395
The press blurb that came with the vehicle was a very standard ‘vanilla’ read that I’ve read hundreds of times before and will do again with cars that follow. However, one line succinctly encapsulated this model without fanfare or trumpets: Dacia Logan MCV. Maximum capacity. Minimal cost.
Indeed, I couldn’t agree more.Last modified: April 24, 2015