By Mike Torpey on 2018-10-28 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Dacia Logan MCV
Stepway Laureate TCe
GENUINE bargains are few and far between in the world of new cars - with a sprinkling of notable exceptions.
One of them is the Logan MCV, a spacious if pretty bland looking offering from Renault-owned Romanian outfit Dacia.
MCV actually stands for Maximum Capacity Vehicle, so it's no surprise then that the Logan is an estate car - with a cavernous load area at that.
You can snap up a new Logan in entry level Access grade for a cheap as chips £7,295, though that model is basic as basic gets, right down to the wind-up windows and absence of even a radio.
But pay a few grand more and high spec goodies await, as well as what has become one of Dacia's success stories - the Stepway family.
The Logan is the most recent addition and its Stepway style adds the likes of flared wheel arches, roof rails and a raised ground clearance, giving the Logan that slightly more adventurous look of an SUV.
And being based on range-topping trim it means the Stepway also gets some stylish chrome or painted highlights, unique wheels and Stepway badging on the exterior, while the cabin has Stepway stitching on the seats and lettering on the steering wheel.
Also on the standard list are LED daytime running lights, air-con, electric windows, sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control and a speed limiter, though you have to pay an extra £200 for a rear parking camera and £495 for metallic paint.
As for that huge load space, there's not much it can't accommodate, the official measure being a hefty 1,518 litres when you flip fold the rear seats.
Beneath the bonnet is a choice of Renault's proven TCe 90 petrol engine, with low CO2 emissions of 115g/km and fuel economy of a combined 57.6mpg, and the even more frugal dCi 90 diesel - with CO2 down at 100g/km and a fuel return of up to 72.4mpg. Both come with a five-speed manual transmission.
Driving the Logan is a bit like turning the clock back to a simpler pre-digital era when drivers weren't befuddled by rows of buttons and kaleidoscope dashboards.
It's dynamically low key but then pin-sharp handling and flick of the wrist steering isn't important to everyone.
Having notched up 150 miles of motorway driving in addition to the more regular urban journeys, the Logan proved quite a deceptive performer.
Despite only having an 898cc engine in a large, albeit light, vehicle, the Dacia is surprisingly spirited when up to speed, rocking along with plenty of gusto.
In fact only when driving up hill does the three-cylinder unit start to feel breathless.
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway Laureate TCe 90
Mechanical: 90ps, 898cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 12.4 seconds
Combined MPG: 55.4
Insurance Group: 7
C02 emissions: 115g/km
Bik rating: 24%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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