By Patrick James on 2016-05-07 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Dacia Logan MCV
Ambiance dCi 90
WHEN taking delivery of a Dacia, providing you recognise the name, you know the car will be cheap.The surprise is what you get for your money.
Perhaps the most surprising of the Dacia range is the Logan, a decent-sized estate car, with cavernous boot space and decent engines.
MCV means maximum capacity vehicle and everything about it large, except for the price. In this case it is not less is more, you literally get more for less.
It is cheap, but definitely not nasty.
The name may not be that familiar still but Dacia was a Romanian brand and has been owned by Renault since 2004.
The Logan is produced jointly by the French manufacturer whose expertise is apparent everywhere in the car especially with the engines.
It looks OK too, not a cheap and cheerful monstrosity that you might have seen from Eastern Europe over 30 years ago.
Dacia's first model under Renault Group ownership was the Logan saloon, launched in Paris in 2004, priced at â¬5,000 including taxes.
It's perhaps the motoring equivalent of a certain budget airline, only a lot more customer friendly.
Stunning? Maybe not. Practical and cheap to run? Definitely. With a starting price of under £7,000, how can you possibly go wrong?
Not only that, insurance groups are low and the diesel engine in the MCV has a staggering claimed economy of 80mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 90g/km.
Dacia says it doesn't believe in loading up its models with fancy kit that serves little purpose and ends up bumping up the price. The firm describes it "making an enemy of the unnecessary", keeping simple, but without compromising safety or quality.
There are four trim levels, Access, Ambiance, Laureate and Laureate Prime.
The entry level is a basic car, no electric windows and no radio, It is basic, but all models feature heated rear screen, rear wash-wiper, tinted windows, rear door child locks and a 12-volt accessory power socket. For safety there are front and side airbags, ABS with emergency brake-force distribution, electronic stability control with ASR traction control and daytime running lights.
Move up to Ambiance grade as on this car and there's yet more for your money, including remote central locking with an anti-intruder automatic locking system, an ECO mode plus engine stop/start, hill start assist, front foglights, rear parking sensors, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, a boot light and an MP3-compatible radio/CD player with an AUX input and Bluetooth.
The Logan delivers cavernous capacity with the boot offering 573 litres with the rear seats in situ, increasing to a huge 1,518 litres with the seats down.
Inside the cabin there's a further 16 litres with front and rear door bins, cubbies and a storage tray on top of the dashboard. There are also longitudinal roof bars for bikes and camping.
It doesn't feel like a car that is half the price of a similar sized, more mainstream model.
Fixtures and finish are dominated by harsh basic plastics, but the car feels sturdy enough and well put together. The sat nav system also gives a slightly more classy feel to the car.
It may look and drive in an ordinary fashion, but for many that is the attraction. Black out the rear window and fold the rear seats and it it is a cheap van, but for most it is a family-friendly, multi purpose vehicle
The car features three EU6-compliant engines from the Renault-Nissan Alliance including 73bhp 1.2-litre 16-valve 75 petrol engine, a 898cc three-cylinder TCe 90 petrol turbo engine and the excellent 1.5-litre 90bhp turbo diesel, which delivers excellent economy and not that short of pace either.
Ride and comfort is decent enough, but don't expect ultra-sharp handling or steering although road and tyre noise is pretty well suppressed as is wind intrusion.
Dacia Logan MCV Ambiance dCi 90
Mechanical: 90bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels vial 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 107mph
0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 80.7
Insurance Group: 11
C02 emissions: 90g/km
Bik rating: 17%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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