OCCASIONALLY, a car is launched at precisely the right time to take the market by storm, but it’s not often an entire brand arrives at the perfect moment.

Dacia, Romania’s national vehicle manufacturer, originally built several Renault cars under licence, but was bought by the French car maker in 1999.

Former Renault chairman, Louis Schweitzer, had spotted a new market opportunity, making affordable new cars for the lower and middle classes in emerging markets, particularly in central Europe.

What he had not foreseen was the global market collapse in 2008 which saw the clamour for competitively-priced cars expand across Europe.

One of those is the Logan MCV (Max Capacity Vehicle), a five-seater estate offering masses of space and a starting price of just under £7,000.

That’s a proper solid meat and two-veg vehicle delivering precisely what it says on the tin.

Renault has managed to keep the price of the Moroccan-built estate low by using parts and equipment from current and previous generation Renault group cars. Cynics might say that it is saving money by using old technology, while Renault argues that the running gear is truly tried and tested.

The Logan MCV is a seriously large estate offering 20 cubic feet of luggage space even with the rear seats in place. Flop them down and a vanlike 53.6 cubic feet of load space opens up Overall, the MCV measures 4.4m and is able to carry items up to 2.7m long with the rear seats flipped and the sill is just 58.9cm above ground level.

The ride is soft, but comfortable enough and handling is tuned for comfort, though road noise intrudes at higher speeds.

Power comes from Renault’s global top-selling 1.5 diesel, in 90 horsepower form, with impressive fuel consumption and 99g/km CO2 emissions which means there is no annual road tax to pay.

Despite the low price tag, even the entry-level model is far from basic with power steering, bodycoloured bumpers, daytime running lights, split/ folding rear seat and roof bars.

The top-of-the-range test model has heightadjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat, electric front windows, remote central locking, 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric windows front and rear, multi-function trip computer, Bluetooth, an aux socket and USB port.

There are just a few options, such as leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, a centre armrest, and a satellite navigation and multimedia system for Lauréate versions alone.

Safety features across the range includes front and side airbags, anti-lock braking, electronic stability control and traction control.

Ironically, the financial woes that hit the world in the late 2000s turned the small Dacia marque into Europe’s fastest growing automotive brand in Europe for eight years in a row. That demand was also the reason why production of right-handdrive models was delayed. If you are looking for a bargain load carrier it was worth the wait.