MODEL TESTED: Da­cia Lo­gan MCV Step­way 1.5 dci SE Sum­mit PRICE: £13,895 EN­GINE: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 89bhp

Auto Express - - Road Tests -

IN SE Sum­mit trim as tested here, our Da­cia Lo­gan MCV Step­way is the most ex­pen­sive model in the range. It’s still the cheap­est car on our test by far, though, start­ing at £13,895.

DE­SIGN & ENGI­NEER­ING

JUST like the Skoda, the Da­cia Lo­gan MCV has re­cently been facelifted, with a new grille and head­lamps, plus LED run­ning lights for the first time. Our Step­way ver­sion gets a jacked-up look with some ex­tra plas­tic body cladding, roof rails and sil­ver skid plates. It’s not as stylish as the Tipo or Rapid Space­back, but it does have its own rugged charm and wouldn’t look out of place on a farm or even a coun­try es­tate.

The Lo­gan MCV shares a plat­form with the Da­cia San­dero, Bri­tain’s cheap­est new car. It’s clear how the price has been kept low even as you open the doors, with the large plas­tic door han­dles and switchgear sourced from pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Re­nault models, such as the Clio su­per­mini.

In­side, it’s very ba­sic; there are chunky but­tons and di­als for the air-con­di­tion­ing and lots of hard­wear­ing plas­tic sur­faces. You also get a large cen­tral sec­tion in the dash where the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem sits. The unit is made from glossy grey plas­tic in our SE Sum­mit car, which looks a bit odd next to the black plas­tic around the rest of the cabin.

Or­ange high­lights on the seats and vents are a nice touch, but the cost-cut­ting ethos of the Da­cia means its in­te­rior feels sparse next to its ri­vals here.

That’s not to say it isn’t well equipped, how­ever, be­cause it still ben­e­fits from sat-nav, USB and DAB ra­dio, and there’s even a stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era, un­like with the Rapid. But there are no sen­sors, so you’ll need to pay at­ten­tion to the dis­play.

DRIV­ING

WHILE the soft sus­pen­sion means the Da­cia deals with bumps well, it does take longer to set­tle when you hit a large dip in the road than its ri­vals here. The higher driv­ing po­si­tion also means you feel the move­ment in the body of the car more, but aside from there be­ing no space for you to put your foot to the left of the clutch, the Lo­gan Step­way is still a pretty com­fort­able car to sit in.

Body con­trol when cor­ner­ing is well be­hind the Tipo and Rapid, and there’s not a huge amount of grip, ei­ther, so the Lo­gan doesn’t in­spire con­fi­dence on a fast road. The steer­ing is too light and vague as well, so the Lo­gan is at its best on a more re­laxed route.

That was re­flected in its per­for­mance at our test track, be­cause the car is down on power next to its ri­vals here, with 89bhp go­ing up against 113bhp in the Skoda and 118bhp in the Fiat.

Da­cia’s unit is torquey enough, with 220Nm at 1,750rpm, but the Skoda’s 250Nm and the Fiat’s 320Nm meant they were both quicker than the Ro­ma­nian model in our ac­cel­er­a­tion tests.

The 0-60mph sprint took 12.4 sec­onds in the Lo­gan, be­hind the 10.3-sec­ond and 10-sec­ond times for the Rapid and Tipo re­spec­tively. From 30-70mph, the Skoda man­aged 9.6 sec­onds, while the Fiat took 10.1 sec­onds and the Da­cia took 12.4 sec­onds. None of our cars is par­tic­u­larly quick, but on the road they all feel punchy enough to keep up with traf­fic, thanks to torque low in the rev range.

PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

FOLD down all the seats in the Lo­gan MCV and you’ll find 1,518 litres of space, mak­ing it the most spa­cious car here. It’s much more us­able than the 1,381 litres in the Rapid Space­back, too, be­cause the boot it­self is wide and square, so stack­ing things such as suit­cases is eas­ier.

There’s a bit of a lip with the seats folded, but it’s still sim­pler to push items for­ward than in ei­ther ri­val. The Tipo, in par­tic­u­lar, has a big step in the load bay floor, where it’s more of a ramp in the Da­cia.

The Lo­gan MCV Step­way also fea­tures roof rails as stan­dard, and while it’s a lit­tle be­hind on tow­ing ca­pac­ity (a max­i­mum of 1,150kg next to 1, 200kg in the oth­ers), it will be well suited to a fam­ily hol­i­day.

There’s plenty of leg and head­room in the front and back, and the cabin feels more spa­cious and airy than ei­ther the Tipo or Rapid Space­back’s. Our car had the £100 op­tional spare wheel, which came in handy when we picked up a punc­ture.

OWN­ER­SHIP

DA­CIA was in last place in our Driver Power 2017 sur­vey’s man­u­fac­turer rank­ings, and the brand’s fran­chises fin­ished in the same po­si­tion in our dealer poll, too.

But while Da­cia’s garages were be­hind the com­pe­ti­tion, it wasn’t by a huge amount – so there is some peace of mind if you do have a prob­lem.

The Lo­gan was crash-tested in 2014 by Euro NCAP and re­ceived three out of five stars, which is a poor re­sult, be­hind the four-star Tipo and five-star Rapid (al­though the Skoda was as­sessed way back in 2012).

RUN­NING COSTS

SAV­ING money is what Da­cia is about, and the Lo­gan is no ex­cep­tion. The £13,895 start­ing price is £5,315 less than for the Rapid, which works out as 6,300 litres of diesel.

Plus, since the MCV is the light­est car here, and fea­tures an ef­fi­cient 1.5-litre diesel en­gine, it’ll go even fur­ther on all that ex­tra fuel you can buy.

On our mixed test route the Lo­gan re­turned 49.9mpg, in be­tween the Tipo’s 48.8mpg and the Rapid’s 54.1mpg. You should be able to im­prove on that fig­ure us­ing the car’s Eco mode more of­ten.

A 50-litre fuel tank, the same as the Tipo’s and just five litres smaller than that of the Rapid, means you’ll be filling up less of­ten than in the Fiat.

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