UK Drive: The Dacia Logan MCV Stepway adds crossover-style looks to a great value estate
What is it?
Dacia is Renault’s value-packed brand. Its limited range of affordable cars are not going to tug at the heartstrings, but buyers are loving the firm’s no-nonsense approach to delivering value for money. This is paying off at the showrooms, with year-on-year sales increasing by 36 per cent in the first six months of 2019 .
A large chunk of that success comes from the Logan MCV – the Romanian manufacturer’s practical estate car, which starts from an outstandingly low price of £8,495.
It’s also available in a crossover-style Stepway guise – adding chunky plastic cladding to give the model a more rugged look. And adding to this is a new Techroad special edition – the car we’re testing here.
While Dacia prides itself on its value-packed models, it’s surprisingly the range-topping versions that prove to be the most popular, so this new flagship equipment grade has been introduced to make the most of that fact.
Sitting above the Comfort model, the limited edition Techroad brings with it some revised styling and more standard equipment.
The interior also benefits from some funky grey and red upholstery that’s unique to the Techroad.
What’s under the bonnet?
On paper and in practise the Logan MCV Stepway’s performance figures are nothing to shout about.
Our test car’s turbocharged 89bhp 0.9-litre petrol engine works in other smaller Dacia and Renault products, but it feels out of its depth in an estate car, with the trek from 0-60mph taking 12.2 seconds.
Yet the engine itself is actually quite a gem – offering a surprising shove of torque at higher revs, it’s also surprisingly refined around town. The same story can’t be said of higher speeds, with the five-speed gearbox meaning that it sits at high revs on motorways.
The alternative 94bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine will be cheaper to run, but the claimed 45.3mpg fuel economy figure and CO2 emissions of 125g/km are more than respectable on this petrol.
What’s it like to drive?
Given the Dacia Logan MCV Stepway’s low starting price, it’s hard to be annoyed that it feels outdated to drive.
The ride itself is comfortable – helped by well-cushioned seats and a soft suspension setup – but out on an open road it’s flawed. It has bizarre-feeling steering that doesn’t self-centre in the same way a normal wheel tends to, while it’s difficult to find any sensation of what the front wheels are doing.
The refinement isn’t the best, either, with the Dacia tending to bobble and bounce along the road and offering a few cabin rattles – it’s certainly not a byword in serene travel.
How does it look?
Choose the Dacia Logan MCV in its standard no-frills form and it’s completely forgettable to look at. But it’s remarkable just how convincing it becomes in rugged ‘Stepway’ form.
Buyers adore these 4×4-like looks, and models like the Stepway are ideal ways for firms to make the most of the crossover buzz. And that’s exactly what Dacia has done through jacking up the suspension by 50mm, strapping on some plastic cladding and fitting some two-tone bumpers, among other minor adjustments.
On top of the Stepway package, we also have the Techroad special edition version here, which is undoubtedly the most stylish trim in the Logan MCV range. It’s offered exclusively in a dark red or metallic grey, with these colours also offering the basis of the contrasting-coloured accents seen elsewhere on the car.
What’s it like inside?
Unsurprisingly the Dacia’s cabin isn’t a byword in luxury, with the interior one of the best places where Dacia can cut its costs. ‘Premium’ soft-touch plastics are yet to reach Dacia factories, so instead you get plenty of cheap materials. But there’s something quite refreshing about this, as these will likely be far more rugged and durable than any faux attempt at luxury.
The interior layout is also a bit sporadic – most notably being seen by the front and rear electric window switches, which are in completely different places. Yet the dials are simple to use, and the seven-inch touchscreen fitted to the Techroad is remarkably responsive – far more so than some of the units fitted to more expensive cars.
But the Logan MCV is all about space on a budget, where it completely excels. The 573-litre boot is huge, flat and easy to unload from, while there is a decent amount of room in the rear seats for adults. Plenty of headroom also gives the cabin a particularly airy feel.
What’s the spec like?
While the Techroad is quite the step up in price next to the entry-level Logan MCV’s £8,495 price, our test car still only came in at £13,555, which remains impressive value for money.
Standard equipment is generous, with features such as a reversing camera, air-conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and smartphone mirroring all being included for the price.
While mid-spec Logans might make the most sense to those looking for the best value, it’s worth considering just how spacious and well-equipped the Techroad is for its sub-£14,000 price. Merely looking at the fact most superminis start from around £16,000 these days is all the reason the Dacia needs to look like one of 2019’s biggest bargains.
There are two ways you can look at the Dacia Logan MCV Stepway Techroad. First, if you’re feeling negative, as an outdated, disappointing car to drive, or, if you’re feeling positive, as a well-rounded family estate car that offers better value for money than just about any other car today. We prefer the latter reasoning.
Sure, if you’re used to your luxuries and refinement, the Dacia Logan MCV probably isn’t a car for you, but as a spacious, versatile and well-equipped tourer, it’s hard to fault at this price.
The Stepway’s rugged looks and the Techroad’s more stylish additions only expand the appeal, meaning this special edition could be the pick of the range.