It’s been a busy summer full of photoshoots, weekends away and shifting stuff, so the Dacia hasnít stayed still for long. Itís a car that I liked from the outset with its keen pricing, generous equipment levels and spacious interior, as well as a cavernous boot. Itís at this point that it sounds like there is a ëbutí coming ñ but there isnít.
As a no-frills car, the Logan isnít over-endowed with power, but the 1.5-litre engine has a useful 162lb ft of torque, and as a result it’s perky enough. A sixth gear wouldnít go amiss though; not because top gear is too short, but because an extra ratio between first and fifth would be handy. Get stuck in traffic at 45mph and fourth is a bit low, while fifth is that bit too high ñ itís the same lower down the speed scale, with the engine often seeming to labour, but changing down a gear results in the engine then sounding very busy. The gearchange itself is a bit vague, but itís not unpleasant ñ which pretty much sums up most of the Daciaís driving characteristics. The steering is fine, rather than enjoyable, but at least the ride is good; even on broken surfaces the Logan doesnít feel jarring.
When the Logan first arrived, I thought it was pretty quiet, and compared with quite a few small family hatchbacks itís fine, but refinement definitely isnít a strong point, as I discovered on a 400-mile round trip with a friend. I normally travel alone and have some music on; if I have to turn it up a notch or two to overcome any background noise thatís no problem, but sometimes thatís not possible. On this long journey my friend and I were having to raise our voices more than we expected, just to be heard. Since then Iíve become more aware of the road noise, but Iím back to turning up the music by a notch or two, so itís not a big deal for me.
Perhaps the biggest frustration is the fuel gauge, which seems incredibly erratic because itís not linear. Many of the cars Iíve driven over the years have been fitted with a fuel gauge that barely moves then suddenly plummets, but the Dacia takes this to extremes. As well as a countdown which indicates how many miles are left in the tank, thereís an eight-bar digital gauge. On one recent trip I brimmed the tank and after 300 miles the gauge had dropped by just one bar; after 400 miles it had gone down by all of two bars. Yet the realistic range on a full tank is just 550 to 600 miles, so go figure…
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Date arrived 11th July 2018
Fuel economy 72.4mpg (combined) 51.6mpg (on test)
The vivid metallic blue paint looks really good on the Dacia. It’s a £495 option and worth the money, because the only colour available without paying this premium is white.
The fuel gauge is frustratingly erratic. We can get 500 miles to a tank of diesel, but the gauge barely moves for miles, then it suddenly plummets as it nears empty.