Dacia Logan MCV Review
Have Dacia achieved the perfect balance between cheap and cheerful with their super-practical estate?
- Incredibly affordable
- Capacious boot
- Surprisingly refined
- Poor kit levels
- Plenty of body roll
- Lots of scratchy plastics
It’s the most affordable estate car available and comes from the fastest growing manufacturer in the UK. The Logan MCV is Dacias answer to pleasant affordability and maximum practicality. The MCV stands for ‘Maximum Capacity Vehicle’ and you’ll understand why later on in this review. So is this super cheap estate enough to sway badge snobs? Read on to find out.
On the Road
There isn’t a ‘hot’ version of the Logan and the best performing engine is actually the 1.5 diesel model, which provides ample performance on the motorway with suitable power for overtaking and merging. The 1.2 and 0.9 petrol units don’t feel out of place on motorway journeys but they don’t offer much encouragement and you’ll certainly feel like you’re putting them through their paces on long runs. If you love blasting it from the lights then you’d be better looking elsewhere. The 1.2 will do 0-60mph in 14.0 seconds, the 0.9 in 10.7 seconds and the 1.5 in 11.4 seconds. While the 1.5 diesel is therefore slower to 60 than the 0.9 petrol, it has 220Nm of torque compared to the 0.9’s 135Nm, and these are the figures that really matter on a daily basis - the diesel has plenty more charge once you’re moving.
It’s not something that will sway buyers but the Logan really isn’t one to be driven hard. There is loads of understeer, especially in the wet, and the nauseating body roll will remind you that you really shouldn’t be driving it like that. Take it easy and the Logan is fine, just fine. The Logan doesn’t feel loose round corners and it holds the road well. While travelling at the speed limit on the motorway you will struggle to tell the difference between the Logan and it’s more expensive competitors. The higher ride height gives a nice floaty feel to the car too and also makes getting in and out a breeze. The Logan isn’t available with big 19” alloys and low-profile tyres. You get 15” wheels and plenty of tyre wall. This is a good thing as it is reflected in the cushioned ride.
Sitting inside the Dacia and you’ll be pleased with the refinement. The 1.5 Diesel is certainly audible at idle but it’s nothing that would put you off buying one and once you’re cruising it smooths itself out.
Wind noise isn’t intrusive from the wing mirrors and there isn’t much in the way of irritating road noises either. Once again, it’s just fine. The only slight quirk is with the 0.9 litre 3 cylinder engine. This petrol unit is more than sufficient for pootling through built up areas but if you find yourself on a motorway, particularly with passengers, then it can make a bit of a racket while getting up to speed.
Build Quality isn’t the best - it has to be said. It’s not terrible, but the plastics can vibrate somewhat and this is amplified in the diesel model. It’s not something that should put off any buyer but it is certainly something worth mentioning.
In the car
Stepping into the driver's seat of the Logan is actually quite refreshing, almost nostalgic, like stepping into a car from the 90’s… but in brand new condition. You only realise how distracting and surplus modern interiors have become when you remove all the fancy things that you barely notice. The dashboard is made entirely of ‘scratchy’ plastics, the centre console works with big, plastic buttons and everything is just simple and basic… As things used to be. We drove the Laureate model which did have a touch screen for the in-car entertainment, but you’re not left navigating menus and submenus trying to get the blowers on - there’s a nice and easy twist-knob for that, like the good old days. That’s the thing about the Logan - it’s all very simple, but it all works. Some will call it basic while some will call it functional. It’s all about gauging your expectations and remembering that these are the most affordable cars on the market.
Some cost-cutting measures do become almost laughable, like the key for example. If it wasn’t attached to a faux-metal ‘Dacia’ keyring, we’d have had no idea what car to look for in the car park. It’s just a blank, plastic key with a lock button and an unlock button, but even those aren’t standard kit. This degree of cost cutting is comical, but that’s the beauty of it.
If you want leather you’re going to have to go and get the seats re-upholstered by a custom workshop, because it’s not even on the options list. Sorry.
As mentioned, the ‘MCV’ stands for Maximum Capacity Vehicle - practicality is where the Logan sets itself apart. The cheapest estate on the market boasts 573 litres of boot space with seats in place - which is a whole 68 litres more than the fabia estate. Fold the seats flat and you’ll get a massive 1,518 litres to play with. For the most boot-demanding of chores, such as trips to the tip, acquiring Swedish furniture, walking the dog and golfing, the Logan MCV is a triumph of practicality. There’s also no awkward loading lip to deadlift your shopping over, which is nice.
For passengers, there will be no complaints. There is a high headline in the car leaving you lofty space for even the tallest of passengers in both the front and rear, and leg-room is also more than adequate for 4 tall adults. The Logan will happily accommodate 3 kids in the back.
Now this is where the Logan shines. Yes the petrol models start at just £6,995 which is exceptionally cheap, but to make savings throughout ownership then we’d certainly recommend the 1.5 diesel model. Here’s why; firstly the 1.5 dci model will offer you up to 80mpg, which is phenomenal. On this you can achieve up to 880 miles per tank. Secondly, this engine only puts out 90g/km of CO2 which means it falls into Band A of the current tax rates - which means £0 Vehicle Excise Duty. And finally this falls into Insurance Group 11 - which is on par with competitors.
For a car this simple and this affordable you would be forgiven for expecting dyre reliability records and horror stories from disgruntled owners, but you’d be wrong. See the thing with the Logan, and most of the Dacia range, is that they are built with components from numerous other vehicles. Yes, there is an abundance of low quality plastics across the interior and the buttons and dials - that’s reflected in the price you’re paying - but the buttons, the steering wheel, centre console, the dials etc. have all been tried and tested on numerous other vehicles before being put on the Logan. The 1.5dCi engine has now featured in countless different models from different manufacturers, including Mercedes!
Put simply, the quality you get is the quality you pay for; but the reliability you get is exceptional.
The NCAP safety rating for the logan isn’t that great, only 3 stars. The Logan scored poorly, 57%, for adult occupant safety, but most worryingly just 38% in the safety assistance category. This is because of the lack of safety tech. Modern cars nowadays come with thing like parking sensors, clever traction control systems, collision detection sensors etc… The Logan has none of this. It has plenty of airbags though and a relatively sturdy front crumple zone.