Dacia Logan MCV

Spacious estate that offers cheap basic motoring

7.1
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 11 reviews
  • Incredibly cheap
  • Very spacious
  • Excellent boot space
  • Sparse specification
  • Noisy engines
  • Nasty interior plastics
 

£8,795 - £11,395 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

57 - 80 MPG

Review

The Dacia Logan MCV holds the title for being the cheapest estate car currently on sale in the UK.

By virtue of this it is a lot more affordable than rivals such as the Skoda Fabia estate, SEAT Ibiza ST and Nissan Note. Even so, buy it via carwow and you can still make a useful average saving of £120.

That the Logan is a budget model is immediately evident when you clap eyes on it – with an ungainly shape, plastic hub caps and black plastic wing mirrors, there’s no argument it looks cheap.

On the inside brittle plastics and an uninspiring design tell the same story as the exterior, but to mark it down for this would be to miss the point – no other car in this price range is anywhere near as spacious as the Logan.

As you have probably gathered from this intro, the Logan is designed for people on a budget and the engine range reflects this. Buyers can choose from two petrols and one diesel. All are easy on the wallet, but the diesel’s power makes it the one to choose if you’ll regularly drive the car fully loaded.

Specification is very basic, so the entry level Logan doesn’t even have a stereo fitted as standard. Next-level-up Ambiance models do, though, and also feature a Bluetooth phone connection, central locking and electric front windows. The new Ambience Prime trim level comes with more standard equipment and exclusive paintwork. 

Cheapest to buy: 1.2-litre Access petrol

Cheapest to run: 1.5-litre Laureate diesel

Fastest model: 0.9-litre Laureate petrol

Most popular model: 1.5-litre Ambiance diesel

The Logan MCV’s interior has been taken straight from the Dacia Sandero. It’s not particularly inspiring to look at and is constructed from plastics that are of the hard, brittle and scratchy variety.

Go for basic models and it also looks quite spartan, but Laureate Prime trim remedies this problem to an extent by adding a seven-inch touchscreen that’s displays the car’s sat-nav instructions and adds some much needed colour. You’ll have to be quick, though, because the special edition model goes out of sale in 2015.

Dacia Logan MCV passenger space

Forget about how cheap the Dacia feels and focus on how much car you’re getting for the money and things take a turn for the better. That high roofline means there’s loads of space in the front for adults, although you’ll have to go for the Laureate model to get a height adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel.

There’s also decent rear passenger head and legroom, although passenger storage space is on the low side, and critics have particularly noted the bench-like rear seats which don’t have headrests in the most basic model.

Dacia Logan MCV boot space

There is no denying that the unique selling point for the Dacia Logan MCV is the boot space you get for your money. The load bay is truly enormous at 573 litres – a Skoda Fabia estate (which costs nearly double the price of a Logan) can only offer 530 litres.

If you get behind the wheel of a Dacia Logan MCV expecting to be blown away by the driving experience then you’re set for a disappointment. Testers report the steering to be lifeless, while the handling is perfectly composed and body lean well checked, the car is overall uninspiring. In other words the Logan is easy to drive at a quick pace, but feels happier tottering about at normal speeds.

As Dacia hasn’t put a great emphasis on pin-sharp handling, the suspension is soft enough to offer a decent ride. All models come with 15-inch wheels that are fitted with high-profile tyres that help the suspension smooth out rough roads.

If you need an automatic gearbox then you’ll have took look elsewhere – the Logan can only be had with a five-speed manual gearbox that is smooth to use, with gears that are well-spaced to maintain decent progress.

Out on the motorway the Logan’s budget routes becomes apparent again. Both wind and road noise are more apparent than in rivals, but its a minor complaint and engine noise doesn’t seem to suffer from the lack of a sixth gear.

The Dacia Logan MCV keeps things simple with three engines to choose from, comprising of 0.9 and 1.2-litre petrols and a 1.5-litre diesel.

Dacia Logan MCV petrol engines

Despite being the larger of the two petrol engines, it is the 73hp 1.2-litre version that comes fitted to base models. It is an old-school unit – something that is apparent when you look at the figures. Performance is far from breath taking – 0-62mph takes 14.5 seconds and a top speed of 101mph means it has to work hard at a cruise. Make use of all the interior space the Logan has to offer and the basic engine will struggle with the weight of a full car. That would all be fine if it was super-frugal, but fuel economy of 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 130g/km (for road tax of £140) isn’t going to win any prizes in this class.

The 0.9-litre petrol costs more to buy, but makes for a more competitive proposition. Despite offering a smaller capacity, it is boosted by a turbocharger to produce 90hp and the extra 17hp helps it shave more than three seconds off the cheaper petrol’s 0-62mph time, while a top speed of 109mph means it is a little more muted at a cruise. Yet despite these performance gains, fuel economy rises to 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of just 109g/km means that road tax is just £20 a year.

Dacia Logan MCV diesel engines

The economy king is the diesel model. It can sip fuel at a rate of more than 80mpg and costs nothing to tax. Even if fuel economy isn’t your main priority, the diesel is worth considering. It matches the 0.9-litre petrol model’s power (at 90hp), but offers nearly double the torque (140Ib ft versus 220Ib ft). That becomes most evident when the car is fully loaded, where the diesel engine copes better with the extra weight. With 0-62mph taking 11.9 seconds and a top speed of 109mph, on-paper performance is nearly an exact match for the 0.9-litre petrol model.

Renault's new 0.9-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit is an unusually modern choice for the resolutely old-school Logan MCV, but it does a decent job.

There aren't many reviews just yet, but on paper it does a decent job - 90 horses propel you to 60 in 11.1 seconds while returning 56.5 mpg. On the road, the engine "needs to be worked in a narrow rev band to get decent economy and refinement from it".

That's not to say it feels slow - there's enough performance here for light loads - but if you intend to use your Logan MCV for regular loads then the diesel may be a better bet.

There aren't many reviews of the 1.2 16v engine yet, but it's an engine we're familiar with from the Dacia Sandero - and indeed, to anyone who has driven an early-2000s Renault Clio.

That means it's a little old-tech, but it is of course the cheapest way to get a Logan too. Neither performance nor economy are anything special and while the engine "feels keen enough" it can get a little noisy at higher revs.

It's the least suitable in the range if you intend to carry regular heavy loads. But just think of the price...

If you want to make the already-inexpensive Logan MCV even more affordable, the 1.5 dCi is the engine to do it.

You have to pay a little more up front of course, but from then on it's frugality all the way - zero vehicle tax thanks to 99 g/km CO2 emissions, and 74.3 mpg combined economy. It's also "really refined on the move".

The dCi isn't as sprightly as the turbocharged petrol, and one tester says there "isn't a morsel of torque until 2000 rpm", but if you're out to save money and need your Logan MCV to carry heavier objects, it could be the pick of the range.

These are general, non engine-specific reviews of the Dacia Logan MCV. They give you a good idea of what the car is like without going into detail on one particular engine.

The Dacia Logan MCV comes with electronic stability control, Isofix child-seat fasteners, four airbags, traction control and anti–lock brakes as standard, which isn’t a substantial list, even taking the car’s price tag into consideration.

The safety of the car in a front impact has yet to be assessed under NCAP conditions, however other cars in Dacia’s range have struggled to get awarded five stars.

Dacia assures buyers that there are programmed crumple zones for optimum impact energy absorption, which are designed to also offer the best possible protection for pedestrians in a collision.

There’s no doubting the Logan MCV offers excellent value for money, in fact to get a similar amount of space for the money your only other option would be to examine the used-car market. Even then, second hand rivals are unlikely to offer the Dacia’s three-year warranty.

Dacia Logan MCV Access

With a cheap price comes an extremely basic standard equipment list. Black-plastic door mirrors and door handles, along with steel wheels do nothing to boost the car’s exterior appearance, but at least keep expectations low for the interior. There you get windy front and rear windows, a rev counter and power-steering, but very little else – even a stereo will cost extra.

Dacia Logan MCV Ambiance

Ambiance models get the kind of equipment that is standard fit on most of the Dacia’s rivals. As a result, the front windows are now electrically powered and the locks centrally operated via a remote control. Not only does it get a stereo as standard, but said system also features AUX and USB plugs (so you can play music from an external player) and has Bluetooth for hand-free phone calls.

Dacia Logan MCV Ambience Prime

The Ambience Prime trim level builds on the standard Ambience package with new 15-inch alloy wheels, Chestnut metallic paint and front fog lights fitted as standard. Depending on which engine you choose, this trim level will cost between £8,295 and £10,095.

Dacia Logan MCV Laureate

Laureate may be our trim of choice, barring Laureate Prime special edition models, it is the only one to come fitted with air-conditioning as standard – a welcome boost on scorching summer days and also handy for clearing steamy windows. The interior is more welcoming thanks to a sprinkling of chrome and graphite trim pieces, and height adjustment for both the steering wheel and driver’s seat mean it is easier to get comfortable behind the wheel. On long motorway slogs you’ll also be thankful for the rest afforded to your right foot by the car’s cruise control.

Conclusion

It’s difficult to sum–up the Dacia Logan MCV, because its shockingly low starting price should mean buyers go in with fairly reasonable expectations.

It’s certainly not the best car in the world; perhaps not even the best Dacia.

But if you want to spend as little as possible on a brand new car in order to carry as much as possible, there’s little better.

Pick the higher spec engine and interior, combined with a five-year or 60,000 mile warranty at a cost of just £395, and you are driving away in an amazingly practical, generously equipped car that still undercuts its rivals.

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