Dacia Logan MCV review
The Logan MCV is a small estate car with a near unbeatable blend of practicality and affordability, but its interior feels cheap and it’s not fun to drive
What's not so good
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The Dacia Logan MCV is a cheap small estate car that has a huge boot and can be bought with an impressively frugal diesel engine. It’s not the most comfortable family car on sale but it’s hard to argue with its bargain-basement price tag and practical interior.
It’s not a particularly exciting car to look at, inside or out. Swathes of brittle black and grey plastics smother the Logan’s cabin, and although it’s as boring to look at as a braille picture book, its hard materials feel like they’ll withstand even the roughest treatment from kids.
You’ll be better off avoiding entry-level Access models – they don’t even come with a stereo. Mid-range Ambiance models have a few more creature comforts but top-spec Laureate versions are the ones to go for. They sport a few softer trims in the cabin, come with a much more up-to-date seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and voice recognition as standard, and have air-conditioning.
Getting comfortable is a little tricky if you’re anything but average height – only range-topping versions come with height adjustable seats and an adjustable steering wheel. You can’t get the Logan MCV with lumbar support to reduce backache on long drives either, but there’s loads of headroom in the front and space in the back is reasonably generous, too. Three adults will just about fit and there’s plenty of space for kids to get comfortable.
The Logan MCV’s huge boot is what sets it apart from other cars in its price range – no other car that costs this little can carry as much stuff as the Logan MCV can in its practical, square load bay. It’s very nearly as roomy as the capacious Skoda Octavia but costs around £10,000 less.
The Dacia can carry 573 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place – enough space for multiple suitcases. Fold the back seats down in a handy two-way (60:40) split and it grows to a massive 1,518 litres – easily big enough to carry a bike without removing its wheels.
Buying a Dacia Logan MCV is like getting an Ikea wardrobe – it’s boxy, affordable and immensely practical but you can’t shake the feeling that it’s probably cheap for a reason…
You can get the Logan with a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel. Pick the 0.9-litre turbo petrol if you spend most time pootling around town – it’s reasonably perky and will return around 45mpg. The 1.5-litre diesel is a better bet if you’re often on the motorway or regularly carry heavy loads. It has more pulling power than the petrol but will still return around 65mpg.
On rough roads you’ll feel larger bumps through the Logan’s seats and it’s rather noisy at motorway speeds – so it’s not a relaxing car for long trips. Thankfully, its big windows make it pretty easy to park or thread through tight city streets.
Euro NCAP awarded the Logan MCV a three-star safety rating in 2014. It won’t offer quite as much protection in a crash as some more modern cars but all MCV’s come with a selection of electronic systems that help you stay in control in slippery conditions.
That said, the Logan MCV’s so cheap you can easily forgive the fact that it’s not all that well built and isn’t particularly relaxing to drive. It’s one of the few roomy cars you can buy for the money and well worth considering if you prefer practicality to a premium feel.
The Dacia Logan MCV looks after its driver and passengers very well, but what’s most impressive is the huge boot. However, to be as comfortable as possible, avoid the less well equipped basic models
I know these Dacias aren't the highest in quality, but seriously, how do they do it for the money? How can such a big car cost so little?
You might struggle to get comfortable in basic models if you’re very small or tall. Only high-spec Laureate versions come with a height-adjustable driver’s seat as standard (it’s a £50 option on Ambiance cars) and no models come with lumbar support. A height-adjustable steering wheel is reserved for top-spec cars, too. Thankfully, there’s plenty of headroom in the front and the pedals line up nicely with the seat and steering wheel so you won’t feel twisted on long journeys.
There’s an impressive amount of space in the back seats for a small car, too. There’s enough headroom for passengers over six-foot tall to sit reasonably comfortably, although their knees may touch the seats in front.
Things get pretty cosy if you want to carry three adults abreast – the central seat is both thinner and harder than the outer two – but kids will have no trouble getting comfy.
Fitting a child seat in the back is pretty easy. The rear doors open reasonably wide and the Logan’s boxy shape means you won’t have to stoop down too far to locate the hidden Isofix anchor points.
The Logan MCV is one of the biggest cheap cars you can buy, but it isn’t exactly awash with handy storage cubbyholes. The door bins are fairly long but they’re quite thin so they’ll struggle to hold large bottles. The glovebox is a little tight, too, and the cupholders in the centre console are small and worryingly shallow – take a tight corner quickly and you might just spill hot coffee all over your leg, although at least that’ll enliven the rather drab driving experience.
There’s a tray in front of the gear lever that’s big enough for most modern smartphones, but to charge it you’ll have to thread a cable all the way to the 12V socket behind the handbrake – not exactly ideal.
Passengers in the back will have to share a large round storage tray between them. It might look like a cupholder, but it’s too large to hold small cups particularly securely.
The Logan MCV’s trump card is its huge boot. For the money, nothing can touch this commodious estate for outright carrying capacity. With five seats and the parcel shelf in place you’ll be able to carry 573 litres of luggage. That’s more than the spacious 530-litre Skoda Fabia Estate.
The Logan MCV’s square boot opening and almost completely flat boot lip make it a breeze to load a baby buggy and a couple of large soft bags – even a set of golf clubs will fit easily. You can fold the rear seats in a two-way (60:40) split on Ambiance and Laureate models to open up a huge 1,518-litre load bay – handy if you need to carry long items and a rear passenger at the same time.
With the seats folded, the boot’s easily big enough to carry a bike without removing its wheels and the nearly flat floor makes it pretty easy to slide large boxes right up behind the front seats.
If you avoid the optional £100 spare wheel there’s a small amount of underfloor storage, too – perfect for hiding away a few valuables. The one complaint you can level at the Dacia’s boot is that the only way to open it is with the key in the old-fashioned lock – hardly a dealbreaker. Put simply, the Logan MCV is one of the most practical cars you can buy for the money.
The Dacia Logan MCV’s neither fun to drive nor particularly comfortable but it’ll happily cart you and all your stuff around
The Dacia Logan MCV goes about its business like supermarket own-brand washing powder. It does the job, but only just…
You can get the Logan MCV with a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel. All models come with a five-speed manual gearbox – you can’t get an automatic.
Pick a 0.9-litre petrol model if you spend most time driving around town. It might be the smallest engine on offer but, thanks to its turbocharger, it feels pretty nippy and will return around 45mpg. It’s a little loud when you accelerate hard but it feels smoother and less overworked than either the 1.0-litre model or the ageing 1.2-litre version. Unfortunately, the 0.9-litre’s not available on entry-level Access models.
Spend more time on the motorway? Pick the 1.5-litre diesel. It’s louder around town than the petrols but it’ll return around 65mpg when you’re cruising along. It’s just as powerful as the perkiest petrol Logan, too, so it doesn’t feel too sluggish.
The diesel’s also the engine to go for if you want to regularly carry four friends or fill the Dacia’s huge boot with heavy luggage. Unlike the petrols it won’t struggle to pull itself up steep hills if you’ve a full complement of passengers on board.
The Logan’s boxy body not only makes it hugely practical, but it offers great visibility, too. The pillars between the windscreen and the front doors produce a slight blind spot at junctions but there’s so much glass behind your head it’s easy to check for overtaking traffic on a motorway or reverse into tight parking spaces.
Dacia offers a reversing camera as a £200 optional extra on top-spec Laureate models for a little extra peace of mind, too.
The Logan tries its best to be comfortable but it’ll stumble slightly over bumps and rutted roads while large potholes send unpleasant knocks through its cabin. It’s not overly uncomfortable but its body leans in tight corners which can make your passengers feel slightly car sick on long journeys.
All Logan MCVs come fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox that’s designed to keep engine revs down on the motorway rather than allow for rapid acceleration around town. Unfortunately, plenty of wind and tyre noise still makes the Logan far from relaxing on long journeys.
Euro NCAP awarded the Logan MCV a three-star safety rating in 2014. It might not be the safest car on sale, but all models come with stability control which is designed to help stop you losing control on slippery surfaces. Top-spec cars also feature cruise control and a speed limiter as standard.
The Logan MCV’s interior feels solid, but it’s pretty dull and lacks any real creature comforts