Dacia Logan Stepway

Comfort TCe 90

Dacia Logan Stepway, front static
Dacia Logan Stepway, side static
Dacia Logan Stepway, front static 2
Dacia Logan Stepway, rear static
Dacia Logan Stepway, dashboard
Dacia Logan Stepway, boot 2
Dacia Logan Stepway, rear seats
Dacia Logan Stepway, front seats
Dacia Logan Stepway, boot 1

THE Romanians must have a problem with people stealing petrol from their cars - and not be bothered if their make up needs a running repair.

Or Romanian women, at least. For the very generously equipped and bargain priced Dacia Logan Stepway doesn't have a mirror on the driver's side sun visor, but only for the front seat passenger.

But it does keep your fuel very secure, needing the pull of a release lever inside the car to spring the exterior flap and then the use of the ignition key to remove the filler cap.

Both points stand out because this Romanian-built estate is otherwise so well and sensibly specified despite being one of the cheapest ways of getting around in a new car you'll find at the moment.

And even for its sub £13,000 list price, there's not much you might care to add to the spec, which already includes sat nav, air con, cruise control, electric windows front all round, rear parking sensors and DAB radio.

There are savings on the wheels which look like alloys but are cheaper steel instead, for which Dacia needs a pat on the corporate back for its sense at this end of the car market.

Find a generously small £225 and you can add a rear parking camera and there's an emergency spare wheel for a well spent £175.

So, the Logan won't cost the earth to buy. It also won't cost the earth to run, with a decent 47.5mpg recorded over a busy 500 mile test week.

Better still, those miles were passed in a car that most of the time felt more expensive than the bottom line figure, with its Renault derived and willingly enthusiastic three-cylinder engine thrumming its little heart out.

Progress never felt less than perfectly adequate, even if the ride sometimes showed where the Romanian leus (thank you Google) had been saved in development.

You'll spot the savings too in the quality of things like the carpets and the large amounts of hard plastics scattered around the cabin, but then you remember how little it's all costing.

Then look at the space on offer for that modest bottom line; with 573 litres of luggage room when the rear seats are in use and 1,518 litres with them folded flat. Both figures are within a whisker of what you'll find in the cheapest Ford Focus estate, costing nearly £7,000 more.

That car feels much more sophisticated and drives with more panache than the Dacia, of course, but you do pay for the privilege.

It also scores a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings against the middling three of the Dacia, so again a more modern design and higher development budget wins out.

Even so, it's no surprise to see so many Dacias on the road as canny buyers recognise that budget motoring doesn't mean accepting something less than satisfactory.

FAST FACTS

Dacia Logan Stepway Comfort TCe 90

Price: £12,695

Mechanical: 89bhp, 898cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 104mph

0-62mph: 12.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group:7

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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