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