It’s max­i­mum for ca­pac­ity... and value

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORING -

TAKE a good look at this week’s test car… you are go­ing to see a lot of them on our roads. It is the Da­cia Lo­gan MCV (Max­i­mum Ca­pac­ity Ve­hi­cle) and our test ver­sion comes with touch­screen sat-nav, air con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol, eco mode (with up to 80mpg) al­loy wheels, roof bars, day­time run­ning lights, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and a huge load space area… all for un­der £11k.

The stan­dard Lo­gan MCV Lau­re­ate dCi90 is £10,795 on the road and the Lo­gan MCV range starts from only £6,995 for the base Ac­cess model, with the mid-range Am­biance from £7,795. Da­cia say it is the cheap­est es­tate car on sale in the UK.

New for 2015 is a Lau­re­ate Prime ver­sion (£11,295) with spe­cial in­te­rior fin­ishes, al­loy wheels and ex­ter­nal colours plus up­graded ‘live traf­fic’ sat nav and au­dio sys­tem.

Made in Ro­ma­nia un­der the wing of own­ers Re­nault (in some global mar­kets they are sold as a Re­nault) Da­cia has moved into the bar­gain base­ment sec­tor of the new car mar­ket ap­par­ently now aban­doned by man­u­fac­tur­ers like Hyundai and Kia, who have be­gun to see their ve­hi­cles as more ‘as­pi­ra­tional’.

Now it is im­por­tant to say here that, while the MCV is avail­able at a bar­gain price, that does not mean it is cheap in terms of build and qual­ity.

The in­te­rior fin­ishes look very ro­bust and the touch­screen sat-nav and ra­dio is as good as ones in cars many times this price.

A week spent with the es­tate car showed it to be civilised, prac­ti­cal and easy to drive – with the per­for­mance from its (largest op­tion) 90bhp con­ven­tional 1.5-litre diesel en­gine more than ad­e­quate and sur­pris­ingly quiet (in­side the car).

There is also a 75bhp, 1.2-litre petrol unit which gives 49mpg over­all and a TCe 90 898cc turbo petrol en­gine which re­turns up to 65mpg and has 90bhp.

What was also sur­pris­ing was the diesel ver­sion’s econ­omy.

Da­cia claims up to 80.7mpg on a run and 74.3 over­all, but we all know that in real world driv­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers’ econ­omy claims are usu­ally far from re­al­ity.

How­ever, a week of work and back plus a few er­rands and a full load to Her In­doors ‘mega wed­ding fayre of the year’ – which re­ally showed the car’s big car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity – and there was still 500 miles left in the tank.

The trip com­puter showed I had av­er­aged 59.9 mpg with the MCV not even be­ing in eco mode for most of the time – im­pres­sive.

I par­tic­u­larly liked the fact the driver’s seat is height ad­justable and that Da­cia doesn’t ap­pear to have skimped on tyres, with the smart al­loy wheels shod with Con­ti­nen­tals.

That very wel­come carry space (which, let’s face it is why peo­ple buy es­tate cars) is 573 litres with the rear seats up ris­ing to 1,518 litres with the seats down. In other words lots.

The en­try-level Ac­cess spec gets only essen­tials and the ba­sic petrol en­gine looks slow on pa­per so best to pay a lit­tle more and go for the higher spec, diesel ver­sion – still thou­sands of pounds less than other fam­ily-sized es­tate cars.

If you do then you will have a car that has mas­sive car­ry­ing space and rugged looks, is com­fort­able and a de­cent drive for an in­cred­i­ble price.

My only gripes are no 6th gear, only drum brakes on the rear and no DAB on the ra­dio – but then at this price it is hardly sur­pris­ing. And for a few hun­dred pounds more you can get a seven year/100,000-mile war­ranty.

It is fair to say Da­cia with its San­dero, Duster and now Lo­gan mod­els has shaken up the lower end of the do­mes­tic UK car mar­ket with its value-for-money pric­ing. Other man­u­fac­tur­ers should be­ware… look at what has hap­pened in the world of su­per­mar­kets af­ter the cost cut­ters moved in!

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