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The Top Gear car review:Dacia Logan MCV
For:Ginormous boot, pleasing simplicity and honesty
Against:Fun and luxury are in short supply
What is it?
It’s the cheapest estate car you can buy new. This is the Dacia Logan MCV, a curious name for what’s essentially a Sandero with a corridor affixed to its hindquarters.
Prices start at £8,495, meaning you’ll pay £1,500 more for one of these than an identically specced Sandero. Quite a healthy rise, but these things are all relative: it still works out at only a whisker over £100 a month for a car with boot space similar to a Ford Mondeo Estate’s. Those start at over 20 grand, for reference.
It’s a staggering bargain the likes of which only Dacia seems capable of, but in truth it’s the base version that pulls people into showrooms, before they leave with a bigger engine, fancier trim or the Logan MCV Stepway, which is basically a Smartprice Audi Allroad. Come for the bargains, stay for the ‘price walks’…
Mind, it’s not a total prison-cell-on-wheels at the base of its range. The Logan Access gets a 75bhp 1.0-litre engine that probably won’t be dragging around too much stuff without heavy breathing, but at least a bit of weight has been saved by ditching electric controls for the windows and mirrors. Good way of pumping your arms up ready for all the ginormous things you’ll be shoving in the boot. You do get ABS and power steering, though, and happily you won’t have to suffer the ‘look how tight I am!’ black rubber bumpers thrust upon a Sandero Access.
Spend another grand and you’ll get all the mod cons thrust upon mid-range hatchbacks in the late Nineties – electric front windows, remote central locking, actual air conditioning – while a further £1,000 brings more of a Noughties feel via cruise control, parking sensors and a touchscreen system that’ll link up to your smartphone. Sold as a few extra quid each month, it’s easy to see how you’d go to your dealer (or the configurator) adamant you’re buying a back-to-basics special before walking out with something approaching Normal Car money.
More powerful engines arrive with Essential or Comfort trim levels, or by choosing the rufty tufty Stepway, with a 90bhp 0.9-litre petrol turbo and a 95bhp 1.5-litre diesel proving the extra oomph you’ll probably want if you’re using this daily rather than occasionally. All three drive the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
Oh, and wondering what MCV stands for? Brace yourselves, because it’s Maximum Capacity Vehicle. As if we couldn’t be more enamoured by Dacia’s glorious prosaicness.