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First Drive: Dacia Logan LPG

The story:
Dacia has taken the car industry back to the future by becoming the sole manufacturer to offer factory-converted LPG models, with the Logan joined by Bu-Fuel Duster and Sandero versions
Category:Supermini
Key rival:n/a
DACIA LOGAN MCV STEPWAY BI-FUEL SE TWENTY TCE 100
Price:£13,485
MPG:38.2mpg
Emissions:121g/km
On sale:Now

As a fuel, PG was growing in popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, until a Government move to cut the tax benefits effectively killed interest overnight, and manufacturers, burned by making investments in a market swiped aside so quickly, turned away and have never come back. Until now.

Dacia has decided that now is the time for something different to petrol, diesel or various forms of electrification that other companies are bringing through, and LPG fits the brand’s value-for-money status.

First Drive-July 2020-Dacia Logan LPG- Image 6The cars are very similar to petrol or diesel version of the trio of Bi-Fuel LPG models, with the main difference being the spare wheel well undergoing a transformation to house the LPG tank – 42 litres in the Duster and Logan, and 40 litres in the Sandero. The main fuel tanks stay the same, as do the luggage areas on each model. The only other giveaways that the car is LPG are the second fuel nozzle behind the filler cap, and the little button in the cabin to switch seamlessly between the two fuel types, which also has a small gauge with lights to show the level of the LPG fuel tank. It’s a shame that there’s nothing on the dashboard to show which fuel you’re using, with the only indicator being the button that’s either between the front seats or to the right of the steering wheel, depending on model.

Dacia claims there are big local air pollution benefits to using the car on LPG mode, including emitting 11% less CO2 than when running on petrol, but importantly for businesses, the lower price of LPG makes for a more cost-effective package over the long-term. The LPG models, branded Bi-Fuel, cost £400 more than the equivalent petrol model and are at least £1500 cheaper than a diesel Duster or Logan, and versus the petrol model, Dacia is quoting a figure of around 12,000 miles using LPG to break-even point, with everything after that being money saved on fuel. At time of writing, LPG was averaging 64.2p per litre, compared with £1.08 for petrol.

The obvious question is where to refuel LPG cars, though obviously there is the advantage of the petrol tank as well, so there’s no danger of running out of fuel. There are around 1400 filling stations with LPG pumps in the UK, according to the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership figures, which compares with more than 8,000 petrol stations, so there’s a decent chance there will be a site convenient to most drivers.

First Drive-July 2020-Dacia Logan LPG- Image 5Away from the LPG element of the Logan, it’s an otherwise very spacious and cheap car, although there are several giveaways that money has been saved on niceties, including a basic keyfob, a tailgate that requires the key to be inserted to open it and the lack of technology such as auto wipers, even on this top-spec Stepway SE Twenty model.  The ride quality is also on the choppy side, and the gear lever isn’t the tightest of shifts, while the sole USB point in the cabin is above the touchscreen, so hangs down across the cabin when charging a device.

But there’s no denying that switching back to a fuel not many people will even have thought about in recent years will save higher-mileage drivers money, especially if they’re diligent about refuelling the LPG tank as frequently as possible to get past the 12,000 miles using the fuel and then reaping the cost benefits.

paul barker

The verdict

A niche fleet brand offers a niche fuel type, but it could be a canny move for the right businesses, especially around job-need vehicles.