Dacia Day 2017 - Sampling The Simply Affordable Range
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
August Bank Holiday Sunday saw Dacia owners from all over the UK converge on Broughton Hall, a stunning privately owned country estate just outside Skipton. The reason - an exclusive event showcasing all things Dacia.
Around 800 visitors were expected to attend and although numbers were a little down, those who made the journey looked to have a good time.
Showcasing the new range launched at the start of 2017, test drives were available for those looking to upgrade.
I chose to try the latest Duster on a specially created off-road course and it came as no surprise that the plucky Romanian-built 4x4 romped round the grassy course. I suspect for many it was their first off-road driving experience, but they were in safe hands with knowledgeable instructors in the passenger seats.
Away from the Dacia-themed events, a chance to look around the house and gardens was not to be missed.
To get me in the mood for the event, Dacia kindly loaned me a Logan MCV Stepway, a new addition to the range.
The capacious Logan can be bought for as little as £7,295 and as an affordable load-lugger it has no equal. With the rear seats folded up to 1,500 litres of luggage can be accommodated.
Stepway adds a little extra ride height, chrome skid plates and plastic wheelarches for a more rugged off-road look. Think Skoda Octavia Scout or Volvo V90 Cross Country, but without the price tag of course! Don't venture too far off the beaten track though as the Dacia is front-wheel drive only.
The Logan Stepway is only available with a high spec and my Laureate model wanted for little in creature comforts. Satellite navigation, cruise control, air conditioning and digital radio are all present and correct.
Two engines are offered - a 1,461cc diesel which promises up to 80.7mpg, combined with a 0-62mph sprint time of 11.8 seconds (price £13,095).
My Logan Stepway came with the petrol option.
Under the bonnet sat a three-cylinder 898cc engine producing a heady 90hp and capable of motoring to 62mph from rest in a leisurely 12.4 seconds.
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However, I found the petrol-powered Logan rather underwhelming if I'm honest. A sharp clutch and lack of low down grunt meant that moving away from rest could be a rather abrupt and leisurely affair. Once underway things did improve and keeping up with fast moving traffic was not a problem.
Whilst raising the Logan's ride height has perhaps given the car more visual appeal, it hasn't improved the ride or handling. Safe and secure is the order of the day. Keen drivers need not apply.
The interior offers comfortable seating for four large adults and since I last piloted a Dacia, there has been a shift upmarket. The plastics, whilst as robust as ever, seemed a little softer to the touch and a little less utilitarian.
With the Logan MCV Stepway now gone and having had time to reflect, there is much to commend the purchase of any Dacia. The company's pricing policy makes most of the competitors' offerings look expensive.
That said, I believe that if you buy into the Dacia philosophy, then keep it simple and to that end I would recommend a simple Logan MCV in mid-spec Ambiance trim, on your driveway for £9,295 with the petrol engine.
But what do I know? Dacia PR folk suggest that most buyers choose the top models.
That being the case, I would splash the cash and select the diesel engine, not only for its vastly superior fuel economy but also for the increased drivability it offers.
Fast Facts (as tested)
Dacia Logan MCV Stepway Laureate TCe 90
Metallic Azurite Blue paint, add £495
Rear parking camera, add £200
898cc 3-cylinder engine (90hp)
0-62mph in 12.4 seconds
Top speed 106mph
Combined fuel economy 55.4mpg
Emissions 115g/km CO2
VED Pricing (Year 1) £160
Insurance Group 7E
Dacia Day 2017 - Sampling The Simply Affordable Range, 30th August 2017, 9:19 AM