Dacia Logan MCV

Stepway SE Summit

dCi 90

Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, dynamic
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, profile
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, front quarter
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, boot
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, rear quarter
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, interior rear
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, controls
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway, interior front

DACIA has had quite an impact on the UK car market since it launched here in January 2013.

It's simple ‘You do the math' message, extolling the cheap and cheerful virtues of the Romanian car maker, quickly gained traction in austerity-era Britain.

So much so that the Renault-owned brand enjoyed the most successful start ever in the domestic market and now, nearly five years later, has shifted more than 100,000 units.

The latest model to join this cut-price crusade is the Logan MCV Stepway - a jacked-up more rugged looking version of the Logan MCV family estate.

Following in the footsteps of the Sandero Stepway hatchback, this newcomer aims to cash-in on the seemingly unquenchable thirst for SUV-styled cars - crossovers as they've become known.

The chunky cladding and elevated ride height are purely for show here though as, unlike some more expensive rivals, the Logan MCV Stepway does not offer a four wheel drive option.

What it does offer is masses of practical family space - the MCV stands for maximum capacity vehicle - in a no-frills package that comes in cheaper than some second-hand hatchbacks.

There is plenty of leg and headroom all round and three adults will be happy enough in the back on all but long-haul trips, with no large transmission tunnel to hinder the one in the middle.

The boot, at 573 litres, is among the the largest in any class and rises to 1,518 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded. A large square opening and low load lip also make life easier when loading bulky or heavy items. A trip to Ikea will hold few fears for this motor.

Power comes from a choice of two economical engines that have widely proved their worth in the Renault range.

A turbocharged three-cylinder, 0.9-litre petrol looks a little light on power on paper to pull a car of this size, especially when fully loaded, but the 1.5-litre diesel in the car I drove is ideal for the job.

Although not the quickest when accelerating, this unit, paired with a five speed manual transmission, offers plenty of mid-range pull and inspires much more confidence that it would cope when that capacious boot is filled.

Both powertrains are accompanied by a gearshift indicator and an eco mode to help the driver eke the most out of full tank, with impressive average fuel economy of 80.7mpg claimed for the diesel, and the set-up is very much focused on easy, unhurried driving.

This laid-back character is reflected in the Logan MCV Stepway's supple suspension, which deals well with the vagaries of UK roads but also means there is some roll evident in corners.

Of course, there have to be some compromises in bargain-basement priced cars and that's often most evident in the interior fixtures and fittings and equipment levels.

Dacias are no exception and there is a lot of scratchy, unyielding plastic on show around the cabin and everything, although solidly put together, has a slightly dated look.

Stepway models, however, are only available in higher grades - Laureate and SE Summit in the Logan MCV's case - and, therefore, avoid the really Spartan feel of entry-level vehicles.

SE Summit trim is exclusive to Stepway models and the brand's Duster 4x4 and uses splashes of colour to lift the interior and extra kit to enhance perceived quality.

The upholstery features burnt orange contrast stitching and embroidered Stepway logos, with the same colour used to pick out the centre console and air vents.

This flagship spec also adds a rear parking camera and front central armrest to the Laureate equipment list, which already includes air con, touchscreen multimedia system with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, electric windows, rear parking sensors and cruise control.

All of which make this a compelling package for families on a tight budget - or those who see a car as just that, rather than a fashion accessory, and would sooner spend their money elsewhere.

FAST FACTS

Dacia Logan MCV Stepway SE Summit dCi 90

Price: £13,895

Mechanical: 90ps, 1,461cc diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual transmission

Max Speed: 106

0-62mph:13.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 80.7

Insurance Group: 9

C02 emissions:100g/km

Bik rating: 22%

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