14 Mar 2014

2014 Dacia Logan MCV Review

Graham King reviews the cheapest estate you can buy in Britain

2014 Dacia Logan MCV

Hopefully I don't need to explain what Dacia is anymore. What you might not realise is quite how successful Dacia has been since it was launched in the UK last year. In its first 12 months, Dacia racked up over 17,000 sales, a UK record for a new brand. Even more impressively, it picked up 1.4% of the retail (i.e. private buyer) market, outselling the likes of Mazda and Volvo.

So it seems the principle of selling a quite a lot of car for not a lot of money has really struck a chord with British car buyers. Now, already selling the cheapest supermini and SUV in the UK, Dacia has added the Logan MCV to the range, giving it the cheapest estate as well, with prices starting at a paltry £6995.

Dacia markets itself on being no-nonsense. The Logan MCV carries on that tradition, MCV standing for Maximum Capacity Vehicle. And that, really, is want the Logan is all about: selling you a gigantic boot for very small amount of money.

But I'll come back to that, as it's worth going over the rest of the Logan MCV. First off, there's the styling which is as no-nonsense as the name. It with slab sides and a bluff rear, it looks like the wardrobe that will fit in the back.

The interior is very grey, very plasticy and frankly rather boring. But it's clearly laid out and solidly screwed together - I actually hurt myself bashing the dashboard. As for equipment, well, you have to lower your expectations to match the price. The base Access model comes with literally nothing, while the top-spec Laureate gets air-conditioning and electric windows and mirrors. A bit stingy perhaps, but Dacia will tell you don't really need any more than that and they may well have a point.

The Logan MCV shares its chassis (a Renault Clio hand-me-down) with the Sandero hatchback. As such, you might expect the driving experience to be more-or-less the same, but the differences are surprising. The Sandero comes to the UK wearing the same suspension it has in its developing world heartland, where the roads are even worse than they are here. That results in slightly top-heavy handling and a decidely bouncy ride.

By contrast, the Logan feels much more composed and tied-down. Presumably the rear suspension has been beefed up to cope with the extra load capacity which could have something to do with it. Or it could just be a function of the Logan's extra 43cm of length and slight increase in base weight. Whatever the reason, I found myself driving the Logan along a twisting country road quite a lot faster than I assumed would be possible.
2014 Dacia Logan MCV

The speed was helped by the surprisingly sweet drivetrain. I drove both the 900cc turbo 'triple' and the 1.5 diesel. The petrol is an interesting engine with plenty of power, but really this kind of car makes most sense with a diesel, which does mid-40s mpg even when it's being driven by motoring journalists all day. On the downside, the diesel is always there in the background and the gearchange is rubbery.

Now, back to the space, and there really is an enormous quantity of it. Some 573 litres with the rear seats up, and 1518 litres with them folded down. That is considerably more than the estate versions of the Focus, Astra, Auris, etc etc. When you consider that the most you can spend on a Logan MCV is less than £14,000, it starts to looks mighty tempting. (Incidentally, all the extra room is behind the rear seats, so space there is still a bit cramped.)

The Logan MCV sets out to be nothing more than a very cheap estate, and it does that very well. In the process it manages to be very likeable, even oddly compelling. Personally, I would buy a second-hand Focus estate with my own money, but like all Dacias I don't think it really competes with used cars. I suspect people buy them because they want them. And if you want a Dacia the Logan MCV is the one to go for.


Car: Dacia Logan MCV TCe 90 Laureate
Price: £9,795 (£10,775 as tested)
Engine: 898cc, 3-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Power: 90hp
Torque: 135Nm
Weight: 1038kg
0-62mph: 11.1secs
Top speed: 109mph
Fuel consumption: 56.5mpg
Co2 emissions: 116g/km
2014 Dacia Logan MCV

2014 Dacia Logan MCV

2014 Dacia Logan MCV