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Mahindra-Renault Logan 1.5 DLS

14th Sep 2009 7:00 am

It might not be love at first sight with the Logan and you may not impress your neighbours either, but underneath that boxy shape are solid mechanicals that will live up to the Logan’s promise of low-cost motoring

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  • Make : Mahindra - Renault
  • Model : Logan

Overall, the car looks like a box with a few bold styling touches. Mindful of Indian customers’ aversion to boxy-looking and hence assumedly dated cars, Renault has tried hard at improving the dowdy design. For India, the nose of the car is all-new. The Logan now sports a more upmarket grille and chin, with other more minor touches added too.

Despite being only two-and-a-half years old, the design looks dated. The Logan is built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance B-platform. The body structure is extremely stiff for good ride and handling and the use of a current platform also means crash survivability is of the highest order.

The front MacPherson strut suspension comes from the Renault Clio II. Using a wishbone for better wheel location as well as an anti-roll bar, the Logan also uses a hydraulic power steering system. Suspension at the rear is not independent; that would be expensive.

Designed as a basic car, with little attention paid to design, it’s little surprise that the insides lack any flair. The single-piece, square-shaped dashboard is functional at best. The switchgear and circular air-con vents feel quite solid and operate well but the quality of plastics is questionable. The light beige colour works wonders here - it looks much nicer than the dreary grey used on the European Logans and this, along with the overall breadth and length of the car, give the insides a wonderful airy feel.

However, you can’t escape the cost-cutting on the insides. There are no proper door handles and the front seat rails don’t have plastic cladding and are exposed. The absence of a boot release is extremely impractical and annoying too.  The side mirrors are too small and the left-side one is partially obstructed by the A-pillar cladding. The low-placed switches on the centre console, which taper away from the driver, are not within easy line of sight. Reconfiguration to right-hand-drive is minimal with the column stalks, hood release and even the wiper pattern still set for left-hand drive. A number of the switches and controls work the wrong way around, or should we say the other way. Power window switches for the rear passengers are inconveniently placed ahead of the rear middle passengers’ feet and are difficult to reach.

What the Logan is unbeatable for is space and comfort. The front seats are wide and seat travel is good, but the seats are a touch flat. This is true of the rear seats as well. The lack of contours here is presumably to help fit three abreast in comfort, which the Logan manages very well indeed. Seat comfort is brilliant even though the back is a touch too reclined. Legroom is superb and you never find yourself feeling cramped. All three rear passengers also get headrests, to prove the point that three are comfortable at the back. The massive 510-litre boot can swallow huge amounts of luggage.

On its raised suspension and stiff chassis, the Logan rides over our roads like no other in this class. Low-speed ride is mildly stiff and a few low-speeds jiggles raise their head, but once you are at normal cruising speeds these disappear completely. Now the suspension seems to have an almost unlimited ability to take punishment. Poor sections of road seldom cause you to slow down, big craters don’t cause heart-stopping moments and this means peace of mind behind the wheel. You can also load up the car with five passengers and fill it up with luggage without fear of the belly scraping speedbreakers.


Despite the good ride, the suspension isn’t wallowy. Straightline stability is most likely best in class and the Logan sticks to its line with impressive resolve. Bumps rarely put it off line, bodyroll around corners is not a worry and the steering is linear as well. It does not deliver anywhere as much feel as the Fiesta though, and the Ford is much more willing to change direction too, still the Logan rides better than cars like the Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Tata’s Indigo. 


What you do get is a fair bit of road noise. Insulation is not as good as the competition and this means the threshold of noise is always higher. We also found that braking performance, though adequate, tended to fade when repeated stops were carried out.
 

Mahindra-Renault Logan 1.5 DLS
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