In 1999, Renault proclaimed the Logan was the final product from the ProjectX90, after the French auto giant purchased the Romanian auto manufacturer Dacia in 1998. The Renault Logan was designed with the view of selling an affordable car and some simple features reduced the cost. The Logan made its way to India in June 2007, in collaboration with Mahindra & Mahindra which helped them reduce production costs. This was the first right-hand drive Logan to go into production. The Mahindra Renault Logan has undergone a few cosmetic changes that give it a sporty look and has been rebadged the Logan Play.
The Mahindra Logan is a three-box sedan with a highly simplified design. The façade sports the sculptured bonnet with a medium-sized chrome diamond logo which separates the two horizontal chrome slates on the front grille; circular fog lamps and a honeycomb mesh grille for air intake. The simple design flows to the side with flared wheel arches and large greenhouse, with the Logan Play sporting graphics on its side and red alloys, with the suitability of these add-ons being debatable. The wheels are also available in silver. The rear end of the Logan looks bland with tall rear lamp clusters, and the Logan Play features a body integrated rear spoiler.
The Renault Logan was designed for European families that own just a single car, and the idea was to build a compact but spacious sedan. Get inside the Mahindra Logan and you won’t be disappointed with the exceptional space it offers and it can comfortably seat five large adults. The interiors are designed ergonomically but the fit and finish of the beige interiors could have been a lot better.
The orange-backlit instrument cluster of the Logan consists of two dials with a display in between the two. This shows information such as the odometer and tripmeter reading, time, fuel and temperature levels. Oddly enough, the distance-to-empty gauge doesn't work when the fuel level drops into reserve, which is the one time a driver will really need the readout. The centre console of the Logan has circular air-conditioning vents above the single-CD audio system with remote and commonly found three-knob controls for the air conditioner.
The driver’s seat is comfortable but the lack of steering wheel adjustment would have gone a long way in making a driver more comfortable. The large windshield area increases the front visibility; however, the right outside rear-view mirror doesn’t go far enough outward for some drivers – the inner edge of the mirror shows the car’s flank.
Climb into the rear seats of Mahindra Logan and you won’t be let down when it comes to space. The seats are inclined at a good angle and feel comfortable. The Logan has 510 litres of boot space with easy access to the boot. Talking about safety, the Logan has a single SRP airbag for the driver.
The Renault Logan is available with petrol and diesel motor options which power the front wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission. The petrol engine is Renault’s K7J engine, an 8-valve 1.4-litre engine that produces a power of 75bhp@5500rpm and a maximum torque of 110Nm@3000rpm. The diesel powerplant is a 8-valve 1.5-litre dCi engine (code name K9K) and is Renault’s top selling engine with almost 900,000 units manufactured in 2008 (only in Spain and Turkey) and this engine is available with several power ratings (65bhp to 110bhp) in other markets. Renault claims the engine design to be simple, low friction and have a superior cost-to-performance ratio. The Logan dCi engine powering the Mahindra Renault churns out 65bhp and a torque of 160Nm@2000rpm.
The 5-speed gearbox on the Logan is a part of Renault’s JH transmission series. The gear ratios are well-matched for city and highway driving and unlike some other turbocharged diesels we’ve driven recently, the Logan never feels completely dead below the 2000rpm mark. The gear knob on the Logan is short and easy to engage.
The Logan diesel is highly efficient and returns a fuel efficiency of 14.8kpl. During our fuel efficiency test, which is mostly pedal-to-metal mode of driving, the Logan returned an efficiency of 12.4kpl.
The goal of the Renault engineers was to make the X90 an affordable sedan, so the design of the car was simple; however, no compromise was made on the ride and handling of the car. The ride compliance of the Logan is adequate at low and high speeds.
The French engineers have tweaked the suspension set-up to make Logan a well handling sedan. The car feels planted and inspires confidence in the driver on straight or winding roads. Our team had loads of fun in the Logan on hilly sections. The Renault car is always on the go and not much sign of body roll thanks to the stiffened springs and the front anti-roll bars.
The steering is accurate at low to medium speeds. However, at higher speeds it feels that the steering overdoes the input command and requires some correction. Once used to it, the steering feels precise even at higher speeds and responsive.
The Logan is undeniably a lot of car for the price. The red wheels might be too loud for some people, but they manage to look good on the white car. Mahindra has moved upmarket by adding a music system, fog lamps and graphics on the Logan Play. However, they might find it a little hard to shake off the ‘taxi’ image which the Logan has garnered since its launch.