Mahindra’s (not so straight) middle class dream:


Capt Cmonman: So tell me sergeant who killed lady Indigo: what is his name?

Sergeant M’nM: His name is Logan sir…. The brave Mr. Logan…

Capt: So well tell me more about this Logan fella?

Sergeant M’nM: We hear he was trained in Romania, Iran, USSR, Colombia…. But beware Capt… Once you see him you can never tell him he is from the European continent….he is just like one among us… sly little son of a bitch! His father is a war veteran from France and his mother is from Romania- daughter of a powerful communist leader who defied communism- bravest lady of Romania.

Capt: Well but its rather surprising…. Where did all the iDEAs and luminescence from Italy go? They were supposed to protect lady Indigo?

Sergeant M’nM: I suppose they are no longer in love with the lady Indigo! BTW …. I have news for you Capt- I am already married to Mr. Logan!

Capt: Sergeant what kind of ludicrous crap you are uttering? Oh…no you f@#$ a@# h*&% ….. Now I will have to start loving you both…. To be contd.

What happens when French tries to sell red wine to masses? Will it taste like water…. Hmm I don’t know but I know one thing for sure- if they sell cars for the masses it is bland. Their artistry in sheet metals and exotic award winning designs are in the back burner so is their Clio (Clio= Latin: Fame)!

So fun apart who is Logan, why is he coming to India? Logan is the new Baby from Mahindra- the company known for their macho off roaders and tractors. For the ignorant bunches who spend their majority of life time in deep dungeons: its neither a SUV nor a tractor… it’s a well err.. “Cheap family sedan”.

Logan was born as part of the ambitious French plan to capture the world market by storm. It’s a cheap yet quiet capable car. The looks mean business- bland just like the home brewed coffee that you had this morning! There is nothing to brag about in the design except for the thoughtful cost cutting measures by Renault (will explain that a little later). The technical specifications are meant to redefine the Value for Money proposition rather than breaking the record for the number of ticks in the spec sheet (oh forget it this is not the car that can park by itself)!

Coming to vital statistix of Logan:

Wheel Base

2630mm

Overall Length

4250mm

Overall Height

1525mm

Ground Clearance

155mm

Front Elbow Room

1418mm

Rear Elbow Room

1428mm

Front Shoulder Room

1390mm

Rear Shoulder Room

1420mm

Front Head Room(14deg)

906mm

Rear Head Room (14deg)

873mm

Boot Volume

510L

NCAP Star Rating

3 Stars

Kerb weight

980Kg

These are based on the European Logan. Expect some mild changes like increased ground clearance due to the poor road conditions in India.

The Logan may have at least two different power trains, one a 1.5L common rail diesel that develops a healthy 68bhp@4000rpm and 160 Nm @1700rpm torque adequate enough to propel the car to a top speed of around 158Kmph. The second power train that might make its way to India will be a 1.4L SOHC either in its 70bhp incarnation or in the just sub 90bhp incarnation. If Mahindra is adventurous enough we might see a 105bhp@5750rpm and 148 Nm @3750rpm power train also (at least I am not expecting this DOHC 1.6L power train to be present during the launch party). All Renault Dacia Logan’s power plants confirm to EURO IV emission norms.

The Logan is designed to be a low cost car and the Renault Dacia alliance that developed the car did this not by miraculously turning water into plastic and sheet metal but rather introducing effective cost cutting measures. There is significantly less amount of insulation than the rest of the super minis available in European continent. This means the car will not be a spooky leather mansion. This in no way translates to be a noisier car. I expect the 1.5Dci common rail diesel to be the noisier of the power train options available, but significantly less of an audible nuisance than the truck inspired Indigo noises that we are trained to bear with.

The transmission available will be a five speed one and we might also see an option of ABS in certain models. Airbags won’t make it to Indian shore unless Mahindra wants to really change the whole perception of Indian car manufacturers by providing a much safer alternative to customers at a relatively reduced entry level price. The Renault Dacia will be a breeze to park in tight situations with its relatively low turning radius of 3.2m (with power steering)

The car will have stiffened suspension components and a slightly revised spring settings to counter harsh Indian conditions. This overall will contribute to a better handling car than the rest of the competition. The ride is not expected to be plushier than the Indigo because of the difference in the suspension employed especially at the rear end.

The Renault Dacia design features a set of relatively plain body panels with minimal tinkering of sheet metal. This is in line with the philosophy of providing enhanced value for money for the customers. The wind screen is less curved than the usual wind screens in other cars making it easier to produce. Another quirky design element meant to reduce the cost of production is the distinctive lack of the front and the rear window quarter glass. The left and the right side mirrors are symmetrical so that they can be interchanged, thus reducing the inventory and cost of spares. The dash board of the car is born out of a single injection mold piece. The air con vents on the Renault Dacia Logan is innovative and functional reminiscent of the blow vents on air crafts. The accentuated aluminum central fascia lightens up the otherwise bland interior. The odometer, trip meter and the rev counter are neatly placed behind the steering wheel. The dials are very functional and readable too.

The controls are neatly placed with very few switches in the central fascia. The integrated stereo goes well with the design theme. The plastics may not be of topnotch quality but expect some improvement in this segment. To give an overall better looks the steering wheel has been borrowed from the Renault Clio. The seats in European Logan have pelvic support and there will be three point adjustable tension seat belts with height adjustments. The seat belts will be available for all the five passengers. The Logan can comfortably accommodate five adults with adequate cabin space due to tall body design and a longer wheelbase. Another functional feature of the Renault Dacia Logan is the spacious boot capable of devouring 510L of pure luggage (In the boot space compartment Logan can leave several costlier sedans covered in a mount of shame). Expect a relatively good level of fit and finish since Renault has tied up with Mahindra to produce the Logan in India.


The Logan shares the same B platform with other Renault cars like Modus and the 3rd Generation Clio. But the comparison between these cars and Logan ends there. Logan has 50% less parts than the comparable super minis from Renault stable making it once again cheaper to produce. The amount of electronic components in the Renault Dacia Logan is also minimal further adding to the cost reduction in producing the car. From the customer stand point besides having to pay a lesser entry level price for a relatively capable and spacious car its also cheaper to maintain and spares are cheaper to acquire.

The direct competition for the Logan in Indian market is the Tata Indigo which plays the game of goodies and irrelevant features packed into a sub mediocre package. The Tata’s have played a game of ticks in the spec boxes rather than improving the basic built and finish of the product. The power train of the Indigo- especially the diesel power train is unreliable, noisy and a night mare to drive. The Tata’s lack of proper design experience in the passenger car market has rendered a product that is extremely unreliable and the development program dedicated to changing these “minor niggles” is painfully slow. The entry of the Mahindra Renault into the lower end of the C segment means things are bound to change.

Expect a better refinement, reliability, fit, finish and drivability from the Logan package than the Indigo. Logan will be available at almost the same price range as that of the Indigo if Mahindra gets the pricing right.

The cars from Mahindra Renault that will hit the market are supposed to be a better and compelling option to consider if the cars will be priced right and the overall package holds itself to the hype. Expect an initial localization level of around 65% which might later go up to the higher side of 90’s as the product matures. The price point which the Mahindra Renault Logan will be pegged at is likely to be 4.5 -5.5 lacs. The car at this price point will be placed in direct competition against the Indigo from the Tata stable. The diesel Logan may also displace the diesel Ford Fiesta from the mileage king throne. If in future Mahindra can bring down the cost to around 3.5lacs the Logan will be a clean sweep in the market removing cars like Indica from their present position.

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