You often hear us lament about the lack of a truly small, inexpensive truck for sale in the U.S. market except the aging Ford Ranger, and they don't come much tinier or cheaper than the new Renault/Dacia Logan Pickup, which will start at €7,250 ($10,689 USD) when it goes on sale in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey this year before expanding into other markets, though not the U.S. The Logan line already includes a sedan, a wagon and even a van, and the new Pickup gives Dacia a vehicle that will likely appeal to both consumer and commercial tradesmen alike. It can carry 800kg (1,763 lbs.) in its bed, accommodate items up to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in length, and stow 300 liters (10.6 cubic feet) of stuff behind its seats. Engine choices include a 1.6L gas motor making 90 hp and 94 pound feet of torque at 3,000 rpm, as well as two versions of a 1.5L dCi diesel producing either 70 hp and 118 pound feet of torque or 85 hp and 148 pound feet of torque from 1,900 rpm. The cabin, of course, is spartan and looks as if it were hewn from a single giant piece of plastic, but it gets the job done with no frills.
What say you, is there a market for the Logamino in the U.S., or did the return of the Subaru Brat in the form of the Legacy Baja quench our thirst for such vehicles? Don't think too hard about it as it's not going to happen, but we're having fun imagining the shenanigans we could have with this Romanian export.
Dacia launches Logan Pick-up in Romania
Dacia Logan Pick-up is the latest addition to the Logan family, which already includes a saloon, an estate and a van. It is made at the Pitesti plant, in Romania, and addresses the needs of both business users (tradespeople and merchants) and private motorists looking for a practical leisure vehicle. Dacia Logan Pick-up naturally boasts all the hallmark qualities of the Logan family. With a choice of Renault petrol and diesel engines, and a chassis carried over from Logan MCV, Logan Pick-up is eminently modern and robust. And it is superbly practical, with an 800kg payload, a maximum load length of 1.80m and 300 litres of stowage space behind the seats in the cabin.
Dacia Logan Pick-up offers unbeatable value for money. It will be launched on the Romanian market in March 2008 at a starting price of 7250 euros.
1. Logan hallmark virtues
Robust above all
Dacia Logan Pick-up follows the highly successful example set by its stablemates - Logan, Logan MCV and Logan Van- to extol the virtues of straightforward, robust design. Interior materials, for the dashboard, door panels and upholstery, are sturdy and durable, an important consideration for a working vehicle like Dacia Logan Pick-up. Exterior features are as found on the other Logan models: metal panels protected by wax injection of hollow sections, systematic application of sealing mastic for exterior cabin joints, and reinforced anti-chip protection for the substructure. Bodywork corrosion protection on Dacia Logan Pick-up includes a galvanized roof
and door panels, while some versions have wide protective door mouldings. Other protective features carried over on Dacia Logan Pick-up include raised suspension, higher ground clearance, and a protective skidplate under the powertrain. Dacia Logan Pick-up also gets the new dustproofing system for gearbox and transmissions,
introduced on Dacia Logan MCV.
Dacia Logan Pick-up's most salient feature – the pick-up bed itself – is designed to last. It carries a payload of up to 800kg, and comes as standard with a protective surround that prevents damage to the bodywork during loading operations, and easily resists loads up to 100kg. The tailgate is designed with robustness and safety uppermost in mind, and will resist loads up to 300kg when open, a capability usually only found on larger pick-ups. The bed floor, sides and cabin partition are especially corrosion-proofed and there are two ducts at the front to drain out rainwater.
Dacia Logan Pick-up has all the active and passive safety features of Dacia Logan MCV. Like all vehicles in the Logan range, it is built on the B0 platform, derived from the Renault-Nissan Alliance's B platform, as used by Renault Modus, Renault Clio II, Renault Clio III and Nissan Micra. The suspension has been designed for sound, balanced response under all circumstances. The front suspension uses the MacPherson layout featured on Renault Clio II, with wishbone arm and non-damped cradle. As on other B-platform vehicles, the reinforced rear suspension uses a programmed deflection H-type torsion beam, plus coil springs and extended-travel vertical dampers, consistent with the poor road conditions on many of the car's markets. There's a front antiroll bar as standard.
Dacia Logan Pick-up has disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. Versions with ABS use a latest-generation Bosch 8.0 system with electronic brake distribution, as fitted on Renault Mégane II.
Passive safety systems on Dacia Logan Pick-up include a driver's airbag as standard, plus a passenger's airbag on option. The restraint system comprises three-point seatbelts. Dacia Logan Pick-up reaps full benefit from Renault engineering expertise in impact resistance and kinetic energy dissipation. The engine compartment layout is designed so that the content will tend to stack up under frontal impact conditions. The dashboard material has a highly absorbent polypropylene honeycomb structure to minimize the risk of knee injury on impact. Enhanced lower limb protection is afforded by under-foot padding on driver and passenger sides. Meanwhile, in side impacts, the B-post, seats (with enhanced lateral resistance) and door padding combine to provide effective hip protection.
Dacia Logan Pick-up comes with a choice of three engines from the Renault group powertrain bank: one petrol engine (1.6 MPI) and two versions (70hp and 85hp) of the 1.5 dCi diesel unit.
The 1.6 MPI petrol engine develops peak power of 64kW (90hp) at 5,500rpm and peak torque of 128Nm at 3,000rpm. It is rugged and easily serviced, important criteria for a utility vehicle. And it yields very creditable torque from low engine speeds. The first three gear ratios are short, for good pullaway and acceleration at low speeds or when heavily loaded, while the top two speeds are staged for acoustic comfort and fuel economy. On a combined cycle, Dacia Logan Pick-up with the 1.6 MPI consumes a very reasonable 8.1 litres per 100km.
The technologically advanced 1.5 dCi diesel engine enjoys benchmark status in its category, and features a second-generation common-rail direct injection system that combines responsive performance with very low fuel consumption. The 50kW (70hp) 1.5 dCi version produces peak torque of 160Nm at 1,700rpm, with 85% of peak torque available between 1,500 and 3,500rpm. With the 63kW (85hp) version, peak torque is 200Nm from 1,900rpm, with 90% available from 1,500rpm. The five-speed gearbox, lubricated for life, is specially developed with longer ratios to make the most of the 1.5 dCi's torque. Pullaway and acceleration are crisp and sharp, even with a loaded vehicle. Both 1.5 dCi versions are ideally suited to a working vehicle like Dacia Logan Pick-up, and they give very reasonable fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures. With the 85hp 1.5 dCi engine, Dacia Logan Pick-up consumes just 5.2 litres per 100km (combined cycle), with CO2 emissions of 137g/km. Because these figures are very low for a vehicle with such a substantial loading capacity, Dacia Logan Pick-up makes a significant contribution to one of the undertakings of the Renault Commitment 2009, namely to sell a million vehicles that emit less than 140g of CO2 per km by the end of the business plan. With its 50-litre fuel tank, Dacia Logan Pick-up 1.5 dCi 85hp also sets a benchmark for range in this vehicle category, approaching 1,000km.
The petrol and diesel engines powering Dacia Logan Pick-up all benefit from the latest developments in Renault group engine technology, bringing greatly extended service intervals. Owners of the 70hp or 85hp 1.5 dCi diesel versions will need to bring their vehicles in for servicing every 15,000km (or every year) instead of every 10,000km, making six oil changes instead of ten per 100,000km. And the petrol version only needs serving every 20,000km (or yearly) instead of 15,000km. This improvement brings a spectacular reduction in servicing costs, of direct benefit to Dacia customers in general and business users in particular.
2. A practical, comfortable pick-up
The Dacia Logan Pick-up cabin, designed for comfort and convenience, is directly derived from that of Dacia Logan and Dacia Logan MCV: generously sized and more typical of a comfortable C-segment vehicle than a B-segment pick-up. Front and rear visibility is excellent, and Dacia Logan Pick-up has exactly the same driving position and control ergonomics as other Logans. As well as sharing the interior design qualities of the Logan range as a whole, Dacia Logan Pick-up also has its own specific features, such as extensive stowage capacity. In addition to the glovebox, door bins and drink holders under the central console, there's a huge stowage area behind the seats, measuring close to 300 litres, easily accessible by tipping the driver's seat (depending on version) or passenger's seat forward. This in-cabin stowage is ideal for compact or valuable items (such as a toolbox), leaving the bed for heavy and bulky loads. Above this stowage area, near the doors (to avoid impairing visibility), there are two hooks for hanging work clothes. And there's a net for holding small objects in the middle of the partition, behind the seats.
To protect the cabin against load intrusion from the bed, the rear window is fitted as standard with a double-barred partition that can (depending on version) be reinforced with a safety hoop with load restraint. All these devices are, of course, compliant with European standards for light commercial vehicles.
Resourceful, conversion-friendly pick-up
With its pick-up bed offering unlimited loading height, Dacia Logan Pick-up obviously excels in carrying tall loads! In addition, it is sized for optimum utility to demanding trade users and private motorists alike. With a maximum load length of more than 1.80m and a maximum load width of 1.37m, Dacia Logan Pick-up again offers capabilities rarely found in this vehicle category. A sill height of just 64 cm, with the tailgate down, makes for easy loading. And the rear step gives convenient access to the bed. In all, there are 16 anchor points, for safe lashing of any load. There are four fasteners on the bed surround on either side of the vehicle, two hooks on the safety hoop with load restraint, and six rings on the bed floor. Except for the hooks on the optional safety hoop, all anchor points are standard fitting from the entry-level version up.
Because the pick-up format is often used as a base for vehicle conversions, Dacia designed Logan Pick-up from the outset for ready adaptation to applications such as refrigerated, temperature-controlled and large-volume transport. Through forthcoming agreements with conversion specialists, the dealer network will be able to offer quality conversion solutions addressing specific customer needs.
Straightforward vehicle range
Dacia Logan Pick-up will be available in two equipment levels on its various markets. In Romania, the entry-level Logan version, with three-point seatbelts and driver airbag as standard, will come with either a 1.6 MPI petrol or a 70hp 1.5 dCi diesel engine. Then the Pack Confort version, with power steering, electric door locks, tinted windows, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors and protective side mouldings, will be available with a choice of three engines: the 1.6 MPI and the 70hp or 85hp 1.5 dCi diesel.
Options include air conditioning, radio (CD or CD/MP3) and safety pack (ABS plus passenger airbag).
A wide choice of accessories will be offered from initial release, including a fibreglass bed lining, load organizer, matting, tow hook and parking assist. Interior accessories will include a navigation system, special seat covers and a central armrest.
3. Fresh market openings
Dacia Logan Pick-up primarily focuses on tradespeople and merchants needing a straightforward, practical workhorse vehicle, but it also has a broader appeal, as an ideal vehicle for open-air leisure pursuits. In both cases, motorists will be impressed by its versatility, robustness and affordability.
Most carmakers in recent years have tended to disregard the European pick-up market. There are a few large pick-ups, like Nissan's Navara, but, in marked contrast to the situation on other world markets, lightweight pick-ups are very hard to find. Dacia Logan Pick-up will doubtless fill the vacuum, with its remarkable value for money, true to the Logan concept.
Dacia Logan Pick-up will be released in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey in 2008, followed by other markets from 2009.
The fourth Logan made at Pitesti plant
Dacia Logan Pick-up will be made at the Pitesti plant, and share many parts with Logan MCV and Logan Van. Fewer than 100 parts are specific to Dacia Logan Pick-up, which will be made on the same production line as Logan, Logan MCV and Logan Van. In the body shop, an assembly line has been set up to handle portions specific to the pick-up, along with general assembly. The Dacia Logan Pick-up programme has drawn investment totalling €51 million: €22 million on development and €29 million on production plant.
In 2007, €100 million were invested at the Pitesti plant, to increase capacity from 235,000 per year in 2006 to 350,000 in 2008. Following work carried out in August, production rate rose from 42 to 60 vehicles per hour.
Over 230,000 Dacias sold in 2007
Dacia sales reached 230,000 vehicles in 2007, 17.4% up on 2006. This was an important year for Dacia, as development took a major step forward with the launch of Logan MCV in 33 new countries (across Europe, and in Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, etc.) and release of Logan Van in Romania and Bulgaria. Less than a year and a half after the car was first launched in Romania, sales of the Logan MCV estate version had risen to account for a third of Dacia sales overall (81,000 units sold by the end of 2007).
Dacia's expansion will be continuing in 2008, with production startup for Logan Pick-up and Sandero at the Pitesti plant.