By on June 6, 2010

One of the reasons I jumped at the chance when invited to write for this site was that I thought there would be a lot of chances to discuss the many fundamental differences between driving in the Southern hemisphere of this world and the Northern one. One big difference is that our cars are small. Why? Taxes. Why? Only Brazilians are passive enough to take this lying down. Although continental in size, Brazil limits itself to driving puny 1.0L engines (almost 50 percent of our market). You might as well think that doesn’t work. Well, it’s time to find out.

The recently launched Renault Logan is a good example of this. Its mini-me engine must struggle to make this relatively big car (its wheelbase of 2.63 m is bigger than the Corolla’s, the Astra’s and the Focuses’) move. The little-engine-that-should produces all of 76 hp when drinking dino-juice and 77 hp when using up the gift of sugarcane, ethanol. Being that the car weighs in at 1,080 kg, and that all the torque the engine can muster is 9.9 or 10.1 m.kgf (71/ 73 lb-ft, gas/ethanol) and that maximum pulling power is reached at a lofty 4,250 rpm, you can see it struggles to keep up speed. But more on that later. The new face-lifted car is mechanically identical to the departing one according to the enthusiasts over at bestcars.com.br (all numbers, head bow to them).

If Renault skimped on the mechanical side, it wasted, err, spent whatever budget it had inside. The Logan takes a page from its hatchback brother the Sandero, and takes its door handle, instrument gauge and steering wheel, while it’s at it. The result is a little more fake-plastic-chrome inside (good for a tropical sun when it’s glaring down in all its anger). Also purloined from the Sandero is the (poor) fabric found on the seats. The big news is that the door now harbors the power window buttons. Striving to correct an ergonomic mishap (the buttons were placed on the dash before), Renault created another one. Since said buttons are placed not on the door handle itself, but rather in an extension that comes from the door map holders, it’s now more difficult to access the deep recesses of the map holders and the door opener. Such genius.

Renault has always sold the Logan as the medium-sized (for Brazil) car with a compact car (again, for Brazil) pricing. So, taking whatever money was left over from the “huge” changes inside, outside the car is longer by 4 cm, you know, to give you more bang for your buck. This is due to new bumpers (according to the largest Brazilian’s newspaper O Globo’s news portal).

The face has also changed. The headlights are bigger and they changed the shape of the grill and didn’t paint it and changed the fog lights’ housing (and didn’t paint that, either). The portion of the bumper that is open to allow air to flow in was turned upside down. In the back, the bumpers are also changed. They copied the copy Fiat made of Volkswagen’s original design. They also borrowed a page from VeeDub’s book and tried integrating a spoiler on the lid of the trunk (if you squint your eyes you can see). And boy what a trunk! It holds a total of 510 liters, making it the biggest in Brazil (Lincoln, bite yourself) and is a strong selling point. Its usefulness though is hampered by the fact that the back seat doesn’t fold, like it does in all of its competitors.

Did I mention you now also have a strip of “chrome” on the front hood and out in the back, too? Yummy.

But how does it drive? you ask.

To sum up, well, sort of. No, it’s ok. Ok, it’s good. If you drive it like it’s intended to be driven (sedate, economic family sedan). If you drive it like you are Alain Prost, you’ll be frustrated fast

As noted by our own Martin Schwoerer, when he reviewed the 2008 Dacia Logan SW/minivan for TTAC, you might end up having some fun. It does go down the highway with that Gallic aplomb many find inspiring. Note I said, “when going down the road. When going up the road, you’ll have to row through the gears in earnest to keep up speed (gain speed? No, just maintaining speed.) There’ll come a point you’ll just have to scoot over to the right lane and join the other grannies and slowpokes driving their 1.0’s. Then you’ll get frustrated because they’re going so slow. You, being an accomplished driver, could eventually prod it to go faster. You just have to try real hard!

This car is long and wide. Not to mention tall. The suspension of the Logan is very well sorted out. It does not wiggle uncomfortably or lean over too much when thrown at curves of varying angles. There are limits, though. Remember physics? The Logan takes most curves with a sang-froid (not to mention grip) its smaller competitors just can’t pull off as well, damn their shorter wheelbase.  Steering is great. Light, though never isolating. Just point it and go. It provides the right amount of feedback. Due to its (boxy) design, you can see the hood out front. There’s something to be said for that.

There you are then, enjoying the road. You’ll notice that top speed is not great. In this version I only managed to get it up to 155km/h (on the odometer, probably more like 147 or so in real life) for short bursts. At that point, it’s screaming. You can hear by all the wind noise that it is literally fighting the wind (and losing). It will cruise happily all day at 120 km/h (75 mph). Even at that speed the RPMs are going at 4,000. So you have to shout a little. Using my unscientific measures I recorded a best run from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.5 mph) in a bit over 16 seconds. In this market, about average.

Since you’re going slowly, you have a chance to take in your surroundings. You will be sitting comfortably as you can easily find a good position to sit as there are all the adjustments. Just don’t expect them to be electronic. The seats themselves are on the smallish side, and could use more bolstering in the cushion. I can imagine many a corn-fed American having gripes about it. Though I’m a big fellow myself, I felt comfortable.

Visibility is very good. The windows are big (no gun slits here, thank God). The only problem is the back side view as the C columns are massive. The side mirrors though are bigger for this model year (another inheritance from the Sandero). The radio is just ok though it does have a satellite control unit hanging behind the spokes of the steering wheel for your pleasure. As it’s a dealer accessory, your quality may vary.

The most important part (or one of the most) for a consumer of this kind of car? Though the car I test drove was spanking brand new, I have lots of experience with this car as (time for disclaimer) I own a very similar 2008/2009 Logan (as mentioned earlier, mechanically identical to this new car). Drawing from my vast experience, I can tell you it depends extraordinarily on your right foot. Drive it like you stole it, and you’ll get robbed at the pumps a lot. Drive it like a nanny, and you’ll see the gas stations going broke. Realistically, you can expect 6.5 km/l with ethanol or about 8 km/l with gasoline in heavy stop and go traffic (A/C on at all times) and as much as 13km/l on ethanol in (flat) freeway driving and up to 17.5km/l on gas. In the real world though, A/C on and some traffic and uphills and downhills as well as legal speed limits, you can get 10km/l on ethanol and about 13km/l on gasoline.

This is a good car. It’s an engineer’s car. Not a designer’s. It’s honest. It serves a need. Of say, a family with 2 teens and a kid. It’ll hold their luggage and move them around in (relative) comfort, though slowly. If you need more power, you can always ante up for the 1.6 version, though I’d avoid this version for now since its rumored to receive some upgrades in terms of power soon (according to Brazilian car rag Auto Esporte’s February 2010 print issue). The Logan is bigger than any of its (smaller) direct competitors, cheaper than some, insurance is cheaper, the Logan is  more economic (especially in the city) than most of them.

It is, however uglier (to most, though I’ve always like boxy cars), parts are more expensive and harder to come by. Then again it’s the class leader with 3 years guarantee. However, to some Brazilians this is not a tranquilizer, as they worry about the cost of regular maintenance. All I know is that it should sell better than it does. Would I buy another one? Only if bought the 1.6L version.

This car was provided to the reviewer by his father-in-law with no gas and a stern warning, “Don’t f… up the car”.

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79 Comments on “Review: 2010/2011 Renault Logan Expression 1.0 16v (Brazilian)...”


  • avatar
    kaka777

    Well written review Mr.Vasconcellos, but the south American auto market has almost no relevance to most of us here in the U.S.
    India and China are both exciting considering how auto companies are trying to capitalize on the huge market to varying degrees of success.

    To me the South American Market is just not interesting enough to warrant articles on it often.
    Just my 2 cents.

    • 0 avatar
      UnclePete

      I enjoy reading about cars in other parts of the world.

      (With the way things have been going, someday all we may have in the US are 1L econocars!)

    • 0 avatar
      kaka777

      @UnclePete

      LOL, I hope that day never comes!

    • 0 avatar

      Ever heard of BRIC?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      +1 to UnclePete — I enjoy reading stories and reviews worldwide. The world does not end at the US borders, even if the US is the second-largest market in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      brush

      +1 to UnclePete as well. The NA/Chinese markets are important, but so is the rest of the automotive world. We are car enthusiasts. Some of us see that every country that has a car design or manufacturing base has influences and is influenced by everybody else. What happens in South America may influence Renault’s operations in Australia to some extent. Who to say what is developed in India has no bearing on the rest of the world. Tell that to Suzuki and Tata.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    “Due to its (boxy) design, you can see the hood out front. There’s something to be said for that.”

    Yes there is something to be said for that. Can you actually see all four corners of the vehicles sheet-metal from the drivers seat without too much gymnastics? The last car I can easily remember doing that on was my 1997 Escort Wagon although the easiest was my 1982 Chevy Celebrity (it’s only redeeming quality.) You see we Americans have forgotten what it feels like to be able to see the corners of a car. No wonder the younger generation can’t parallel park.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, actually you can see both front corners, but not the back ones. In the case of the car reviewed and also my own, this greatly ameliorated by parking sensors. Otherwise it’s very difficult because the trunk lid is very high (so as to make room for all those 510L).

      The comment for the hood was that it actually remids me of my departed but beloved 2000 Ranger. Pointing that hood out into the limitless horizon…The advantage in the Logan would be that you could travel many more miles for the same money. Although at a slower pace.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    For the metric impaired, that works out to 30 mpg overall, 41 mpg on a flat highway. About the same as a 2600 pound Mini Cooper with a 1.6 liter engine. Of course, the Mini’s engine is probably much more advanced…and expensive.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the engine struggles. On a highway the top version’s 1.6 could do about the same. The big difference is in heavy city driving. The 1.0 can’t be beaten then (not even by the Mini).
      And don’t forget we are talking about Brazilian gasoline. Which contains anything between 20 and 27% ethanol in its composition. Then, if it ran on real gasoline, that number could be some 20 to 30% better.So then it could be like 48 to 52 mpg on the flat highway. That, the Mini can’t beat.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC

      … and a 18 cu. ft. trunk (wow!), 103.5″ wheelbase, and 2,380 lb curb weight.

      For some reason I am fascinated by ordinary automobiles that are available only in other countries. Thank you for an interesting article, Sr. Vasconcellos.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I enjoy hearing about other car markets, and cars that I’ll never see here in the US.

    Like most Americans, I am metric impaired, so using both metric and US measures would be helpful.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks! Those are exactly my feelings. Love reading about big bad gazzling yank tanks. though they’ll never find a (large) place here.

      And I’ll take your suggestion and will include miles in my next article. Actually I’ll send Bertel an e-mail to see if we can ammend this.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Marco, disregard such comments as the first poster. There are other markets out there besides the USA (or China and India, for that matter). Please keep your postings coming. I truly enjoy seeing the automotive world through other people’s eyes, especially when it comes to countries that don’t demand 18 liter behemoths that get 1 mile to the gallon (ok, so that was an exaggeration…but not by too much).

    As for the Logan, it reminds me in a way of the 1997 Toyota Tercel that still sits proudly in my garage. Simple, to the point transportation. It’s nice to see that some countries still value such vehicles.

    Keep up the good work…looking forward to reading more on your world on the other side of the equator!

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the support. That kind of comment doesn’t really bother me though. Nobody is forcing anybody to read what they don’t want to. I love cars so much I love to read about them in any context. For example, it always amazes me some people take a vacation in another country and then rent a car they’re comfortable from their home country. If I were to rent a car in Russia, I’d rent a Lada. In India, a Tata. And on to the food and drink. I would like to experience everything there is in this wide wide world.

      But, to each his own.

  • avatar
    virages

    I definitely have a soft spot for the Logan. With luxury cars out there that implore us to dump a year’s salary on them, this thing is just the antidote. I do love cars, but there are so many other things and interests that I’ll spend my meager salary on. This simple, no-nonsense transportation and I’m glad it’s available.

    Sure if one day my ship comes in, I’ll go all Jack Baruth on the racetrack, and Phaeton it down to the Mediterranean, but for now I’ll go for simple, reliable no-frills transportation.

    Disclaimer: our family hauler is an used Audi A2: frugal, but not no-frills.

    • 0 avatar

      I, too have a love for the simple, honest cars of this world. Living down here though, A/C is a must! I’d like to imagine that if I’d ever hit it big I’d always keep a little bugger like this to keep me real. Nuch like some millionaires keep old Beetles and such. I know I guy. He loves cars. He has 10 of them. Everything from one of those brand new Mercedes Gullwings (SLK??) to a Fiat Palio. And he lives in the country so safety is not the corcern. He once told me it’s just because he loves cars of all shapes and sizes. I’d definetely love to emulate him some day.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    What equivalent vehicle is available in the US?

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Nissan Versa. Same platform.

    • 0 avatar

      Right on, Mirko. I find it amazing so many Americans are now driving a French car and don’t realize it. And not only is the platform French, so is the 1.6L 16v engine. Très jolly!

      And now as Edward’s chart has proved the Versa is America’s number one selling compact, I’ll ask, so America, how do you like your Renault Clio in Japanese drag?

      Maybe if they knew about it, it wouldn’t sell. And that’d be a shame. If you don’t know it, try it. I know you all think the Versa sells only on price. Well, that may be true, but that engine is sweet.

      And wow! It just hit me. Thanks to the best and brightest we have a found a car that is relevant both in North and South America. The Renault/Nissan Clio/Versa.

    • 0 avatar
      Autobraz

      I am not a fan of the Clio but that 1.6 16v is indeed great. Pocket rocket after 3500 rpm.

    • 0 avatar

      Por quê Autobraz? Why Autobraz? The engine is great, the suspension is very good, the space so-so, the gearbox meh, the handling great. Seriuosly, what’s not to love in this category?

  • avatar
    Monty

    Marcelo:

    Thank-you for the review. It’s always interesting to hear from other countries and continents. Please ignore the first poster; I think most of the posters on TTAC enjoy your perspective on the automotive world.

    I would also like to commend you on your style; it’s a refreshing take on a mundane task.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    1000cc is a motorcycle engine in the USA…For a car, I would think the minimum should be like 1500cc, at least.

    • 0 avatar

      Hello lilpondexter.

      FWIW I don’t have the exact numbers, but I’d say at least 70% of the market down here is made of motorcycles w/ 150cc. And they’re much more of a work tool than a toy. They’re used from office boys and for pizza delivery in the cities to herding and as beasts of burden in the countryside (it’s been well documented how abandoned donkeys are becoming a problem in the poorest region of Brazil, the Northeast, as their owners are letting them loose as they change them for motorbycicles). performance ain’t much, but the economy must be wonderful.

      And may I ask you a question? Whenever a Euro car or something comes up at TTAC and has a small engine or is small, you’re quick to point out how ridiculous said car would be in America. Yet you use a peugeot 206 next to your name. Are you being ironic in some way? And this is in no way intended as a personal criticism. I’m just curious.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      I’ve owned a few sub-1500cc cars out here without a turbo or a battery motor (hybrid). Other than the need to plan for steep highway inclines they usually more than get the job done.

      The trick is to make them spacious enough to handle a family. The Logan/Versa is among the best anywhere. In fact I chose it as my ‘one car / one lifetime’ vehicle not too long ago.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/hammer-time-one-car-one-lifetime/

    • 0 avatar

      They do, don’t they. And thanks for your comment Mr. Lang! I’m an admirer of your work as you may have noticed if you’ve read any of my previous articles: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/carnaval-time-at-brazilian-fiat-dealers/. Do keep up the great work!

    • 0 avatar

      To Steven Lang:

      If you don’t see it at the Uno article, I hope you see it here:

      So glad you saw my article. When I say you’re an inspiration to many, believe it! You changed the way I see cars. And use them. And I’ll save a bunch of money because of it. Plus I’ll get to enjoy my babies as they age. Priceless. Thanks Steven.

      And if you find you’re way to Brazil, pls do give me a ring. We’ll set something up.

      And thanks for that most generous offer! The price of bringing one of those beauties down to Braziljust doesn’t justify the hassle. But I’m touched and honored by your offer.

      Thanks for (really) making my life better.

      And to add one more thing, your comparison of a sneaker vs. a car is what got me. You’re a wordsmith sir!

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Good article and welcome. A clean decent car for the masses.

    The USA has the 35 mpg mandate kicking in soon. Thats corporate wide CAFE, i.e. average.

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm

    I’m thinking small engines are wave of future.

    I think that the EA reg may be met with grossly obese vehicles, with electric drive, and lying about the cleanliness of electric source, unless we go with wind and nuclear.

    Or the republicans will win an election and cancel the rule.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    Enjoyable article, I like your sense of humor and your enthusiasm is very apparent on the writing. I’ve ridden in a vw polo while i stayed in brazil and it seemed to have plenty of go, even with two fat guys and one skinny. Doesn’t sound like this car has quite the oomph. Keep up the reviews!

  • avatar
    dwford

    I would be curious to read about American designs sold in Brazil and how they are perceived. I know that the Ford Fusion sedan and Ford Edge are sold there, what other familiar models are for sale down there?

    • 0 avatar

      Hello dwford. Thanks for the interest!

      I’ll try to answer as best I can from memmory. How are American cars received? Well they have a hurdle to overcome. Any and all reviews you read of cars officially sold here like the Fusion and Malibu come with the warning, this is not your granddad’s American car. And what they mean to say it’s not a floaty thing anymore and acrually have good handling. So that’s a perception that’s very prevalent, but outmoded (see, we have prejudices against you guys, too).

      They are also perceived as gas guzzling, wasteful and excessive in general. But that’s good for them (except the lefty loonies)! In general they are dream cars. And thought of as impossible to buy for the common guy.

      Again, from memory, Ford imports the Fusion (leader in its class and drooled over by everybody, be it in 2.3 or V6 form) and Edge (way too expensive but everybody who knows it loves it), Chevy imports Malibu (just starting out here, but I’d bet my house it’ll get the same good impressions as the Fusion), Captiva (its built in Mexico, but don’t know what it is in America, but is dream car), Omega (Holden from Australia enthsiasm for it has waned as it’s long in the tooth), Dodge Ram (dream car for urban cowboys, not much by people who work their trucks), PT Cruiser (well thought of, would sell more if less expensive), 300c (absolute dream car), Jeep (Grand Cherokee amd Liberty – dream cars), Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Journey (dream of entusiast mom and dads with big broods). Also, Mustangs and Challengers and Camaros and Corvettes are imported by independent shops and are considered almost in the same league as Euro exotics.

      So, to sum up. They’re much loved, but admired from afar (except for Fusiona nd Captiva that have managed some market penetration) because of price and preconceptions that they’ll brake you at the pump.

      But don’t worry, we love you. We just can’t have you.

    • 0 avatar
      Autobraz

      My father bought a Dodge Caravan for the family back when the Real was worth a lot against the dollar (199something). It was nice but we liked the Mazda MPV we had before it a lot better. Now he has to make do with a Zafira…

    • 0 avatar

      Bons tempos Autobraz. Good times.

      Why doesn’t he try one of the French? Picasso, Scènic. Unless he needs seating for 7. But then I’d prefer the Fiat Doblò.

    • 0 avatar
      Autobraz

      Seat for 7 required!

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Marcelo,
    Great review! I have a soft spot for the Logan — a true world car designed from the start to cost half what others do.

  • avatar

    Edit: This post was meant as a reply to SherbornSean.

    Me, too. I was excited and kept a close eye on this car ever since they started talking about it. Was very happy when it came to Brazil. So much so I bought one, and as said in article, would buy another.

    This car has multiplied all over the world in various guises. In renault/Dacia/Nissan forms. It underlies Sanderos, Tiidas and Versas (hatch and sedan), Clios and Nissan Livinas. It’s a true world car, but not a badge job with unique sheetmetal and engines to provide solutions for those who want no nonsense motoring the world over.

    Kudos Renault.

  • avatar
    StevenJJ

    I’ll stick my neck out and proffer that the French are #1 in rust protection too so these things will go and go.

    I managed to get myself into all kinds of trouble with seventy-something bhp in a GM Europe product at the start of my driving days; they will buzz along if you keep your foot in it.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know if they’re world leaders, but never had problems with rust in our Renaults. And believe me rust they will in our hot and humid tropical climate (though no salt on roads). And in our Renaults (I mean me and my extended family) it has never been a problem. Among us we’ve owned 2 Clios RT 1.6L 16v, 1 Scènic RT 1.6 16v, 1 Sandero Privilège 1.6 16v (mom’s car) and 4 Logans Expression 1.0 16v (wife’s, brother’s, and two my father-in-law had and has). Wow! 8 Renaults already and counting.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    Thanks for the review, I really enjoyed it.

    I see nothing wrong with 1L engines in lightweight cars. Their reception here in the States, of course, correlates directly with the cost of fuel.

  • avatar
    djn

    I can’t wait to see the Gordini version, or may a Logan based Interlagos. ;-)

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I’m always perplexed by (North) Americans’ assertion that we have a need for more power in our cars than the rest of the world. I contend that our culture is simply more gluttonous.

    Speed limit in most of the US: 65 MPH. Europe: Switzerland is 100-120 km/h (~60-75 MPH), Germany and France: 130 km/h (~80 MPH), though I’ve cruised past a speed trap at 150 km/h (95 MPH) without a batted eye.

    Topography in the US: mostly flat, with notable exceptions. Europe? You’ve got the Alps, for one. There’s simply no factors in America that require more power than the driving conditions in Europe.

    I’ve driven up Alpine passes in a 75 hp (when new) Triumph Spitfire, and had a blast. I ferried a full 8 passenger Renault Master van with a <2.5L diesel engine up same, and had no trouble hitting the posted speed limits.

    Though I don't doubt that a 1.0L engine is underpowered for a family car, you definitely don't need more than a 2.0 to get around very handily. When I had my 100 hp, 1.8L Jetta, I was still one of the fastest cars in Montreal traffic, and had a top end of 120 MPH (indicated).

    I think that the problem in North America is that we think we're breaking our engines if we rev them quickly enough to actually hear them, and up until recently we've had the means to overpower our cars to ridiculous levels. 268 hp Camrys to sit in stop-go traffic and cruise at 75 MPH just make no sense at all.

    Full disclosure: my motorcycle actually does have a 1.0L engine and makes 60% more power than the car reviewed here. Just because I think it's stupid, doesn't mean I don't see the fun ;)

    But we're fooling ourselves if we claim we *need* it more than the Europeans (or the Brazilians)do.

    • 0 avatar

      Though I’m sure you’re right, I don’t want to get into a fight here with other posters regarding wants x needs. That’s been covered already in an editorial by TTAC commentator Ingvar (check it up!).

      But, I at first despised these little engines when they came out. But (and it is fact that they are much more capable now than when they first came out – oh! – 15 years agom the problem is people can’t drive).

      I have at least stories to illustrate the point:

      1) Way back then, in a Chevy Corsa, 4 people plus luggage in car, all except driver underage. He was in fact Dad’s choffeur at his job at the time. Man, the guy just kept that Corsa at speeds of above 80km/h whenever the road allowed (a simple 2 lane country road), and didn’t vary much from there. I at the time already had and drove a car (in city, well mostly), a Fiat Uno, also 1.0 and was amazed at his technique and how he kept the car going.
      2) Rather more recently, driving in my present car (Fiat Palio) and in an age where there are speed cameras everywherem I was giving a female co-worker a ride. Naturally, talk turned to cars and she mentioned she was buying a brand new Fiat Palio 1.4 and was asking for my input as I’m the car guy at the office. She was trading in an older Palio1.0 and was paying through the nose (I actually saved her a couple thousand reais telling her not to pay what they were demanding, and of course the dealer caved – I know my pricing, too.). I asked her why she was trafing the old one in and she said she was tired of its performance (or lack thereof). She said these words, “I’m getting a car like yours, that actually moves”. Much to her surprise I said my car was a 1.0. She said her car didn’t perform like mine. I mentioned but didn’t rub it in that it depends on the driver. I bet I could be said colleague in mhy 1.0 against her 1.4! Showed me what a 1.0 could do in the right hands (yet again).
      3) I read many of respected Brazilian journalist Bob Sharp’s work and lo and behold, I got more than a few of his articles saying rev the thing! And he lived by his words driving a Chevy Celta 1.0. And got enjoyment out of it. And kept the car for years. And explained in technical and non-technical language how to drive. Well, I think they’re word to live by. I can keep up and generally go faster than most traffic in Brazil. And do so in my puny 1.0. But I rev it, and use its best qualities. And have no qualms asto long term durability as I’m following what the experts say. My car now, with 50 000km, is faster and more economic than when new. And I expect it to be just the same at 100k, 150k and beyond. Sometimes I get behind the wheel of some friends 1.0 and they are slow. But it’s because they’ve never taught the engine how to go (you know, w/ all electronic controls these little buggers adapt to your style). Though I still think a 1.6L engine is ideal for these cars, the fact is the bigger engines just covers up better for your lack of skill.
      Well forgive the wordiness but people should just learn how to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      Marcelo, we could use more Bob Sharps in the USA. My Mazda was a big disappointment until I realized it came alive above 4000 rpm. Now I always drive it in a spirited fashion and the engine runs like new regardless.

      Keep up the good work.

  • avatar
    SLLTTAC

    Obrigado, Marcelo ! In 2007, I rented a Fiat in Rio. What a piece of junk! It broke down and Hertz replaced it with a VW Polo, which seemed so nice. What I missed in Brasil was the protection that cars in North America have. In Brasil, no airbags, no this, not that, not to mention that the cars seemed to flimsy. My 2007 Subaru Legacy seemed so luxurious and powerful in contrast to the three Hertz cars we rented. (Minha esposa é uma carioca.)

  • avatar

    Very good review. You know what? This car is actually very honest. It doesn’t intend to be more than it is – a cheap, reliable, spacious for the price, economic, mode of transportation, for city use. If you live in a big city, don’t mind the design and you have another car to travel, then it’s the car for you.

  • avatar

    I enjoy the perspective of another market.

    Never in a million years would I think of the PT Cruiser as a premium aspirational vehicle. Here in the USDM it has become a blue light special fleet queen on life support.

  • avatar
    George B

    Marcelo, if I understand correctly from the article, engine displacement is taxed in Brazil. Is this a one-time thing or every year throughout the car’s life? Do people do engine swaps or aftermarket forced induction to get around this?

    • 0 avatar
      Autobraz

      The sales tax varies with displacement. It is lowest for 1.0 and lower sizes, highest for above 2.4 liters (if I recall correctly). Volkswagen actually did a very nice experiment, selling 1.0 Turbo engines but I am not sure why they stopped it – probably too expensive. Ford also did a supercharged 1.0 engine to fight VW.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    Great review Marcelo, the Dacia Logan (as it is known over here) has earned a reputation of being totally reliable which is kind of a surprise for a French designed car. It is so in Brazil too?
    BTW, you being a Brazilian, come Friday I guess we will not see you much on TTAC for a month or so? ;)

    • 0 avatar

      Well, my time will be even shorter now that’s for sure.

      As to reliability, Renault has had a relatively mixed track record. Some cars never break, others are so-so and still others are like trash. However, they have a better reputation than Peugeot or Citroën. Their prblem in our market are that they are fanous for replacement parts being more expensiv than the competiiton.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Yes, my car has 1.5 liters. It likes to rev, It does just fine. And this is the US, people think 1.5L is too small, and they’re wrong.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Another vote from someone who enjoys reviews of cars from other parts of the world! Perhaps because I am from one of those ‘other’ parts of the world. I don’t see anywhere in TTAC that says the site is for “Americans and Americans only” (which would include Brazil if we’re talking about continents…)

    Anyway, it’s interesting that you said taxes only dictated the size of cars in Brazil. How about environmental reasons, such as narrow streets and stuff? I’ve never been to Brazil or to any South American country, so please enlighten us. In my country, Indonesia, cars tend to be small because of taxes (for engine size), sure, but also because we have many (very) narrow streets, and the streets are extremely crowded and in perpetual traffic jams, and drivers ignore the ‘suggested’ number of lanes. Which means a two lane street would have three, four, five cars abreast, whatever fits in the street. So big cars are difficult to drive. Plus despite having fuel prices about on par with those of the U.S. (considered pretty cheap elsewhere in the world), people still think it’s too expensive, and they want cars with as much fuel economy as possible. Big-engined cars tend to be unpopular. They also want their cars to carry as many people as possible, though, which runs somewhat contrary to the small size and good fuel economy need.

    Maybe you could write a story about the general car market and traffic situation in Brazil, what the conditions are like, what cars are most popular, and so on. And I for one would like to hear about those unique Brazilian cars not available anywhere else (VW Gol and the like)!

    • 0 avatar

      Aparently Brazilinas and Indonesians demand “almost” too from their little cars. Here in spite of gas being more expensive than in th US I have the feeling there are a number of people who would buy bigger cars if they had the werewithal. Though I’m sure that there are those that have been convinced by the practicalities of a smaller car.

      Good ideas. Hope to get to some of them soon. Keep an eye on the site!

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    Thank you for an interesting read. I am always interested to see how the rest of the world handles their transportation needs. We WILL be driving this type of car in the US at some point in the future. We just don’t realize it yet. The tragedy in the gulf is going to seriously curtail where we can drill to feed our need for gas.

  • avatar

    Very interesting review.
    BTW: In Germany there won’t be a Logan Nuovo. Renault/Dacia has dropped the sedan, as people here prefer the hatched Sandero. The station wagon version still is in the market and selling good, although mostly as Diesels. No Diesels in Brazil?

    @JuniperBug: Still no general speed limit on the Autobahn in Germany.
    “268 hp Camrys to sit in stop-go traffic and cruise at 75 MPH just make no sense at all.” And is no fun.
    “…we think we’re breaking our engines if we rev them quickly enough to actually hear them…”
    Google for NSU 1000 TTS, if you are interested. That car (a kind of Volks-Corvair) really gave your ears something to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Autobraz

      herb, by law diesel engines can only be used for commercial vehicles – medium sized (for Brazil – think Ford Ranger size) pick-ups and trucks.

    • 0 avatar

      As to the diesel question, Autobraz answered for me. Now, as to small sedans like these in Europe they are a tough sell. People have smaller families and went they want to start their own families they have many other more practical car shapes (not to mention financial capacity) to buy bigger sedans. So these cars are perennial slow sellers in Europe. Does the Polo exist in sedan form in Western Europe? But as somebody pointe out there is a place for the in EasT Europe andother emerging markets. Why? They have big trunks and can take the familoy better than a small hatchback.

      Also, in Brazil at elast, these small sedans confer on the driver more prestige than their hatch progenitors. Contrary to US situation where Versa sedan is cheaper than hatch, in Brazil only with the Sandero/Logan this happens. The only other country that loves small sedans more than Brazil is Argentina. There, Fiat kept producing not onl the old Uno, but also the Uno sedan (in Brazil Premio; in Argentina Duna) as there was more demand for it than for the hatch. Argentines also proportionally buy more Sienas in relation to Palio than Brazilians.

  • avatar

    Hi Marcello Bom dia!

    Here the Logan is being sold as Renault Scala, Renault in Mexico just made changes to their vehicle offer, however just for a variance, the specs are different.
    The engine is 1.6-110Hp @ 6000
    and they have 4 variants of the 5 door sedan, the Expression (or plain) with automatic transmission or Manual as well as the Dynamique with both transmissions.
    Price?…really want to know?
    http://www.renault.com.mx/web/gama/scala/precios/index.php
    As for “Le Nissan” don’t tell our neighbors about the origin of it, they may ban these too…even if it passes every test on emissions and safety.

    Why in Mexico we have bigger engines than the same versions on Brazil?
    I wonder if it is because of the proximity to the US and its influence.
    Even the Opel Corsa B restyled as Chevy C3 has a pretty decent 1.6 -100Hp @5600 Rpm engine.

    About the first post, TTAC has readers from all over the world and as I can see writers as well, to just focus on the USA (America is all the continent) would be very narrow, I would like to see reviews from many countries also, The Truth About Cars should be found in all markets.

    Saludos!

    • 0 avatar

      Saludos!

      Bueno, I won’t look at the prices tonight. Don’t want to get depressed!

      I think Mexicans getbigger engines because gas is cheaper there than here. Here it is about US$1.33 per liter. And in Mexico?

      And as to levels, the Expression here is intermediate. The low level is Authentique. Above Expression there was Privilège (but not anymore for Logan). And in Mégane line there is also e trim level above Privilege which is Dynamique.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Here in Venezuela we got the 1.6lt engine too. We don’t have engine-displacement related taxes, and gas is ultra cheap.

      So, thanks God, no puny 1.0 lt engines here.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Hey Marcelo

    Do these bi-fuel cars have catalysts?
    Are there smog-check procedures in place by the government?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes they do have catlysts.
      And there is a Program for the Control of Vehicle Emissions (Proconve). It has just entered a new phase this year, which forced all makers to change their engines. Fiat did it with the new Uno and will substitute all the line, VW is updating there’s, GM will change theirs and so on. Renaults have been compliant even before itwas mandatory. It follows in the footsteps of the European program and is always a step or two or three behind the European one.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Marcelo,

    I just wanted to drop off a note saying thanks for the article. Your writing has improved dramatically since your first forays, and your style is starting to mesh well with the rest of the site. Well done!

    My only suggestion would be to give a bit more background for the non-Brazilians among us. For example, you say that cars are expensive due to taxes, but don’t mention what the tax rates are, or how small the cars are because of it (aside from engine displacement). Taxes are pretty horrible in, say, the Netherlands, too, so at least you’re not the only only country to take it lying down…

    Having tried to do business in Brazil myself, I’ve found import taxes to be the bane of my existence. I build racing simulators, so we get tons of inquiries – but thus far no sales due to 100%+ import taxes. A few people have said they can find a way around them to import… and then disappear. Too bad!

    • 0 avatar

      Beware of these people! And thanks for the compliment. Bertel is a great help. And I appreciate your feedbak. I tried to give an idea of its size when I compared its wheelbase to that of well known models in US such as Corolla and Focus. Maybe make it more clear

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    Americans are way too obsessed with power. I’m a retired farmer, and I used to use minivans instead of pickups because most of the time they were better. My first ones, 1984 Dodge Caravans with the 2.2 liter, had about the same acceleration as this Logan: 0-60 in 16 seconds. Maybe half a dozen times a year I wished I had more power, and that’s driving mostly on two-lane roads and hauling 1,400 pound loads (grossly overloaded — don’t try this at home. I finally bent the axle on my first van at 300,000 miles from the continual overloading.)

  • avatar
    SV

    Great article. I’ve been interested in the Logan and other cheap (but modern) cars since it came out in 2004 but haven’t been able to get much info about it (not in English, anyway). Another car I’d like to hear about is the VW Novo Gol; if you could write a review of that car sometime that would be awesome.

  • avatar
    djn

    Oi Marcelo,
    Historically, Brazilians did not buy 4 door sedans, unless you needed a taxi (Ze de Caixao). When did that preference change and why?
    []’s
    David

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry to be answering so late, but just now I saw your post. Brazilians changed their perception in the 80s. Fiat took the pplunge and started offering “luxury” items in their small cars. Things like A/C, power windows, mettallic paint. Not to mention 4 doors. By then the market had been turning slowly toward 4 doors. Brazilians had shunned 4 doors because like you said, they didn’t want their private cars to be confused for taxis (also taxis were also obliged to be all the same color or other whit in São Paullo and Belo Horizonte, yellow in Rio. THis is actually bad as I would love to buy a white car, but can’t in my city as I’d never be able to sell it – nobody wants to buy an ex taxi) and a certain prtense of sportiness, or belief that said sportiness could lnly be given by a 2 door car.

      Slowly but surely, bigger cars started becoming more common in 4 doors. But again, Fiat changed all that offering 4 doors in small cars. And they gained market quickly because of that. So the other makers followed. VW again, stupidly, resisted the trend. And lost a lot of market because of it. I don’t knoew why, they are always the slowest to copy what other makers invent and are successful at. Often times losing market because of it and pretending they don’t care. Sorry, but it must have something to do w/culture. But eventually even they now accept this market preference. To wit, when they launched the new Gol a year ago, the 4 door version came out first (the 2 door version supposedly comes out at some point this year, again they’re dragging their feet). Fiat launched the new Uno in 4 doors first and only now is launching the 2 doors. So the market has definetely changed.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Buen Día Marcelo

    Here in Venezuela we also got the Logan, up to 2008 and a part of 2009 due to import restrictions and the catfight Mr. Ch has with Mr. U.

    Two of my co-workers have one, one of them I think it’s 2007 (the one with the rear fog lamp still present) and the other 2008. I have ridden in it. Ride is nice, trunk is HUGE, internally is very comfortable, felt reasonably powerful.

    The door panels on those have the pulling handles molded in and the window switches were in the dash.

    The car is fugly, but comfortable and honest.

    On the 70HP engine (or a small one for that matter). Here we produce a car with 63HP, and I have been able to keep and gain a bit more speed in uphills. The secret (with this car) is to not lose momentum and downshift early to 4th to keep the squirrel in the cage running hard (it’s funny to beat the hell out of that biatch). I have been able to hold 120 km/h, but not much more than that. Also I took advantage of the downhill to reach 180 (dangerous since suspension is very soft) when it normally wouldn’t go further than 160. Beating badly that car returned me 14 km/lt, which is not bad (and I tried to further take it down :D). If you want to see it, I can send pics to you. Also review with pics.

    When I drove mom’s Siena (98, 1.3 EDX) long time ago, I used to keep the engine on 4K RPM while moving on traffic. This gives you good acceleration.

    Driving a car “fast” with a weak engine is fun because you have to downshift a lot, keep revs up and beat the hell out of it.

    In contrast, my 130HP Isuzu (with non stock looooong FRD) just need that I tip the throttle to keep it at 80MPH, and still get 12-13 km/lt.

  • avatar

    Oi again Marcello

    As for the Mexican fuel prices are as follow:

    87 Octane Magna 8.4 MXP Liter = USD$ 0.65 = USD$2.4 per US Gallon.
    92 Octane Premium 9.82 MXP Liter = USD$ 0.756 = USD$ 2.8 US Gallon
    Taking an exchange rate of MXP12.98 per US Dollar, and this varies daily.
    Also the fuel price sildes…UP as usual.. something like 4 Mx cents by month.

    Yes actually cheaper than Brazil, but we don’t have Alcool (E 76 Ethanol) and almost no Diesel cars but a few PUG Partners, VAG Boras TDi’s and Beetles TDi, but very few.

    Also we have to pay a very high “tenencia” tax (Ownership Tax) which is yearly paid and is calculated based on the price of the vehicle as well as the depreciation value, for ex, our 2005 Voyager LX (Caravan SWB in the US) paid this year MXP 4,600 that’s around USD 354.
    Not to mention the New Car Tax (ISAN) which you pay once when buy a new unit.

    Saludos

  • avatar

    Saludos,

    So here in Brazil almost triple. Reason enough for a higher demand for small engines. That explains it.

    And I also believe, that the 1.0 engine has gotten to be part of the culture. Even if everybody became richer over night or gas prices went down by a half. I still think they’d hold on to some 30% of the market. Some people love to save. Some people drive long distances. And w/ all the cameras and heavy traffic (and these 2 are not going away anytime soon), a lot of people have figured out they don’t need more than a 1.0 to move them (especially when driving alone most of the time in the city). So, it’s here to stay.

    Here we also pay IPVA which is tax on automotive property. It amounts to 4% of the value of the car. You pay it every year you have the car. Very expensive. And very crazy as the people who compilate said prices (Fipe.com.br) I think have a private deal w/ the gov, as it’s the gov’s interest to tax the shit out of us. SO my car officially has a value of 17 000 reais (give or take) so I paid about 700 reais (not to mention other fees like mandatory insurance and expedition fees, which means I paid more like 900 reais, and these don’t go down over time, only up). So for a property valued at alleged almost 95oo dollars I paid almost 400 dollars for the privilege. Of driving it for a year. Next year there will be more. Not to mention mandatory smog controls and mechanical evaluation, which still doesn’t exist, but are coming and I’m sure I’ll have the privilege of paying at least another 100 dollars for. And the price of sale is included in the car’s price when brand new. So I paid as much tax as you, but your car is like 2 times bigger.

    Ayayayayayaya canta y no llores!!

  • avatar
    El Santo

    In Mexico the Renault Logan is sold as the Nissan Aprio and comes with either a 90 hp single cam 1600 motor or the 103 hp twin cam from the previous generation Renault Clio. Its never been a sales hit here, partly because of its looks, but more importantly, because it is overpriced.

    In a sense, the Aprio was supposed to replace the Mexico’s top-selling car – the ancient (but reliable) Nissan Tsuru (1992 Nissan Sentra), and the Nissan Platina (a Renault Clio with a trunk). The Aprio’s problem is price. Its much to expensive for what it offers.

    The cheapest Aprio with the 90 hp engine costs about 109,000 pesos. It really isn’t much of a choice in Mexico City as the altitude (7,200 feet above sea level) saps too much power. In addition, that model is stripped of features beyond acceptable levels. No power steering, no rear window defogger and, of course, no radio. To get power steering on the stripper Aprio you have to buy air-conditioning, and that pushes the price up to 123,100 pesos. In addition the power-steering and air-conditioning package doesn’t bring you any more equipment.

    Shoot for the Aprio Base model with the 103 hp twin-cam and you now get power steering, air and the rear-window defroster for 134,900 pesos.

    The problem? For for about $120 US dollars more (136,400 pesos) you can get a bottom-line Nissan Versa sedan (called the Nissan Tiida in Mexico) which is much more car. Although it lacks air-conditioning, it comes standard with power steering and a rear-window defroster as well as a lot more goodies including a better-quality interior and a flip-down back seat and the 1800 cc engine good for 128 hp.

    The Aprio also has other marketing problems in Mexico. Its a Renault (via Dacia of Romania) and selling it as a Nissan hurts the Nissan brand. In addition, the engine used in Mexico – the Renault twin-cam 1600 has had a history of problems in the Renault Clio and Nissan Platina – particularly with its coils (one per cylinder) that fail frequently and are expensive to replace and its plastic timing belt. Parts availability is also a problem along with the parts themselves.

    There’s a reason the Nissan Tsuru is Mexico’s top-selling car for more than a decade. Its priced similarly to the Aprio at 113,800 – 125,600 pesos, has similar equipment at the various price levels, is incredibly rugged, has a proven history of reliability and new and used parts are readily available.

    To make the Aprio competitive in Mexico, it really needs to have its price slashed by 10-20 percent.


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Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States