Dacia Logan MCV review
It may not be brilliant to drive or look at but the Dacia Logan MCV is the cheapest estate car on sale in the UK
Building on the success story that was the first Dacia Logan, the second generation estate version - the Dacia Logan MCV - arrived on British shores in 2012. It was the year that the Renault owned Dacia brand made its debut in the UK and comprehensively shook-up the lower end of the domestic car market.
The first generation Dacia Logan never went on sale in the UK as a result of a limited demand for small saloons. Dacia is hoping that the Logan MCV, which has much in common with the big-selling Sandero hatch, will make more of an impact and help write the next chapter in the brand's British success story.
The Logan MCV falls in line with the Dacia principle of selling simple but effective cars at value for money prices. With a starting price of under £7,000 for the entry-level Access model (pictured), the Logan MCV is certainly the most affordable estate car on the market.
The downside of the headline-grabbing price is that you'll have to go without basic features such as electric windows, a radio and rear headrests unless you decide to choose them as options. Mid-range Ambience models start at just under £8,000 and have more kit, while the range-topping model in the Dacia Logan MCV line-up, the Laureate, weighs in at around £9,000 and feels a lot more like a small estate car from a mainstream brand.
Despite the bargain basement price, the Dacia Logan MCV is similar to the other models in the Dacia range, in that it's far from unpleasant to drive. It rides comfortably, and the controls are nice and consistent.
In addition to its knockdown price, the other attraction of the Dacia Logan MCV is its practicality. It boasts a 573-litre boot and if you were in the market for that kind of practicality in the past, you'd have to consider vastly more expensive rivals like the Volkswagen Golf Estate or Ford Focus Estate.
Engines, performance and drive
The engineers at Dacia set-up their cars for developing markets and it's a credit to them that the Logan MCV doesn't feel cheap to drive. Its suspension is set up relatively well, so it doesn't crash over poor surfaces, and nor does it transmit every single small bump into the cabin.
While the Dacia Logan MCV tackles smooth surfaces and rough city streets just fine, at higher speeds on country roads, the utilitarian nature of the suspension becomes apparent. The car starts to feel very bouncy an unsettled - a trait that's compounded by heavy rear loads making the front end feel light. On the plus side, though, lateral body roll is more tightly controlled than in the Skoda Fabia Estate.
There are three engines available on the Dacia Logan - two petrols (a 1.2-litre and a 0.9-litre) and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel, all of which have been sourced from parent company Renault. We'd recommend the 0.9-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel as they combine punchy performance with reasonable running costs. The 1.2-litre petrol is alright as a budget choice but it's slow and inefficient.
In terms of refinement, the Logan MCV isn't bad at all. With the 1.5-litre dCi engine under the hood, there's a some rattle at idle, but it's generally quite quiet and smoothes out around the mid-point in the rev range - this is absolutely fine as there's no point in working the engine hard beyond 3,000rpm. It's worth noting though, that when loaded up with passengers and luggage, the Logan MCV feels pretty sluggish, even with its most powerful engines on board.
The five-speed manual gearbox has a slightly notchy action but a short throw. The brakes (discs at the front, drums at the rear), meanwhile, get a bit spongy with hard use.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
Dacia prides itself on its frugal ethos, so it's important that the Logan MCV scores well here.
There are three engines in the line-up, and the 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol kicks things off. In addition to offering mediocre performance, its 48.7mpg and 135g/km of CO2 mean it's particularly inefficient. This engine however, is only available on the entry-level Access model and we’d advise giving it a miss.
The other two engines, the 0.9-litre TCe petrol and the 1.5-litre diesel are a much better bet. The 0.9-litre unit returns 56.6mpg with 116g/km of CO2, while the diesel achieves a respectable 74.3mpg with 99g/km of CO2.
Partly because the Dacia Logan MCV is cheap to buy, it's affected by poor residuals. What's more, Dacia dealers don't tend to haggle, so the sticker price is genuinely what you pay.
However, Dacia does have a range of finance deals to make the car even more affordable. Spare parts are also cheap, and necessary maintenance can also be carried out in any Renault dealership.
Interior, design and technology
Like the other cars in the Dacia line-up, the Logan MCV looks basic but its humble utilitarian appearance gives it a certain charm.
While the entry-level Access lives up to its affordable credentials with its steel wheels, black door handles and black door mirrors, the top-spec Laureate doesn't appear overly low-rent thanks to colour-coded bumpers, door handles and mirrors. Satin roof bars are also a nice touch.
Overall, don't go thinking the Dacia Logan MCV is an estate with Volvo levels of style - the long rear overhang is ungainly, and the brittle exterior plastics mark it out as a bargain basement special.
Get behind the wheel of the Dacia Logan MCV, and it won't be a surprise that the interior is pretty basic and plain. Consider its price though, and the cabin exceeds expectations, despite using switchgear from parent company Renault - the car’s simple layout is easy to get on with, and everything feels well bolted together.
Dacia fits top-spec Laureate models of the Logan MCV with electric windows front and rear, as well as Bluetooth phone connectivity, chrome air vent surrounds and some exterior satin trim.
On the Laureate version, Dacia also offers an optional touchscreen navigation/sound system for around £250. It's a nice surprise to find that it’s better that the ones you'll find in some far more expensive rivals. Overall, the Dacia Logan MCV feels cheap, but not unpleasantly so.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
There's no car currently on sale in the UK that offers so much space for so little money as the Dacia Logan MCV.
With the rear seats in place, the 573 litre boot in the Dacia Logan MCV is 68-litres bigger than that in the Skoda Fabia, and only 32-litres short of that found on the Volkswagen Golf Estate. With the rear seats folded and the car loaded to the roofline, the boot capacity expands to 1,518 litres.
The top-spec Laureate model gets a boot light and a luggage cover that incorporates a shallow stowage shelf behind the rear seats. Rear seat passengers don’t fare badly when it comes to head or legroom, either. The Logan MCV Laureate also gets three rear headrests, grab handles and map pockets. Air-conditioning is standard, too, but not on the cheaper Access and Ambiance cars.
The entry-level Dacia Logan MCV Access also does without the rear headrests and luggage cover.
Reliability and Safety
Despite having only been on sale in the UK since 2012, all Dacia models are underpinned by tried and tested Renault mechanicals.
The 1.5-litre diesel in the Logan MCV is shared with the Clio, as is the five-speed manual gearbox. Dacia says 90 per cent of its customers are first-time new car buyers, and the durability of the Logan MCV is likely to be a vast improvement over any second-hand alternative.
Should there be any dramas, the Dacia Logan MCV comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which can be extended to five years/60,000 miles for around £400 or seven years/100,000 miles for about £850.
Dacia also provides three years’ breakdown recovery, and Laureate spec cars come with a respectable level of safety kit, including four airbags, Isofix and stability control as standard.
Tyre-sealant foam is also standard across the Logan MCV model-range, while a space-saver spare wheel is an optional extra. On higher-end models, parking sensors can also be specified.