Make and model: Dacia Jogger
Description: Seven-seat MPV
Price range: from £18,295
Dacia says: “The Dacia Jogger redefines the seven-seat family car with a blend of estate car practicality, MPV spaciousness and SUV styling.”
We say: Setting a new standard for practicality and affordability, the Jogger is an impressive family car that would be a no-brainer if it wan’t for its awful safety rating.
Celebrating ten years since Dacia first entered the UK market, the Jogger is a poster child for Dacia’s simplistic but highly functional model line up. Designed to be an affordable family car, this approach has already proved popular with UK customers. The Jogger is currently the cheapest seven-seater in this class and offers customers the benefit of a three year warranty.
The new model showcases Dacia’s branding refresh and a hybrid engine has been added to the line up. Despite having a marginally higher purchase price, the hybrid contributes to cheaper running costs throughout ownership as the fuel economy is improved.
A major concern with all of Dacia’s current model range has been consistently poor safety ratings in independent Euro NCAP testing. The Jogger has been worst of the lot, with a woeful one-star score.
As of June 2023, media reviews of the Dacia Jogger have earned the car an overall Expert Rating of 72% on The Car Expert’s award-winning Expert Rating Index. The launch of a new hybrid option will likely produce more reviews so this rating could well move up or down a few points.
What is the Dacia Jogger?
The Jogger is really in a league of its own in the UK new car market. It’s more like an estate that’s been stretched up to SUV height to fit two extra passengers in the rear. Whilst it’s an unusual body style for a large people carrier, it actually works remarkably well. The long shape creates more space inside for passengers at the back and the weight feels well distributed across the vehicle.
Dacia doesn’t necessarily win on curb appeal but everything is designed to be practical and it definitely delivers on this brief. The back doors are taller than the front, which increases the opening space to help children into car seats or to give passengers more space to use the third row. At first glance it might not even look like a seven-seater but the Jogger is more than spacious inside.
Value for money is where the Jogger excels, it’s incredibly cheap as far as new cars go, let alone new seven-seaters. It’s a purpose built seven-seater instead of an SUV with an extra row squeezed in the back. There’s some good trim options and the mid-level is attractive and well equipped.
The elephant in the room for Dacia continues to be safety. The Jogger is based on the smaller Sandero model, which scored a two-star safety score when it was tested in 2021. The Jogger’s performance was even worse, with the additional row of seats not well protected. Combined with a lack of latest-generation accident avoidance systems, it was slapped with a one-star score and some sharp criticisms from both Euro NCAP and the UK’s Thatcham Research.
We like: Unassuming seven-seater at a great price
We don’t like: Woeful safety rating
What do you get for your money?
The Dacia range is straightforward, with the Jogger available in three trim levels: Essential, Expression and Extreme. The entry-level model starts from just over £18k, mid-range Expression is from £19.5k and top-spec Extreme starts at £20.5k. All options are well equipped, but Expression is likely to be the most popular pick.
Starting with Essential, the Jogger comes equipped with manual air conditioning, cruise control and speed limiter, rear parking sensors, height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, automatic headlights, electric front windows and an automatic emergency braking system (AEB).
A highlight of the Jogger starts with Expression. This trim gets modular roof rails that can be adjusted to run across the roof or down both sides. This patented design means customers don’t have to purchase additional roof fixtures to fit items such as luggage boxes or bike racks.
The Expression spec also has some styling upgrades such as tinted rear windows, body coloured handles, front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera. It also gets 16-inch wheels, which look like alloy wheels but are actually steel. Inside, the mid-level trim has an eight-inch touchscreen that’s compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The top-of-the-range Extreme spec has copper details throughout, including the door mirrors, highlights on the roof bars and around the front fog lights. It gets topographical patterns on the snorkel and lower doors as well as 16-inch black alloy wheels with copper Dacia logos in the centre.
All versions come with seven seats as standard and a three year, 60,000 mile warranty.
We like: Simple line-up with affordable jumps between trim levels
We don’t like: Lack of additional optional safety equipment
What’s the Dacia Jogger like inside?
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make the central touchscreen very familiar and easy to use. Buttons and dials are used for the climate control and these are straightforward to operate on the move. In the Expression trim we tried, the digital dash display shows the vehicle’s speed, battery capacity and fuel gauge. Dacia’s latest interior upgrade is modern and feels solidly put together.
The rear seats have good access as the central row folds and if the rear seats are not needed they are simple to remove and lightweight to carry out of the vehicle. They also come with storage bags so they don’t get dirty whilst they are not in the car. There’s good headroom in the back seats and unlike other seven seaters, the vehicle shape means rear passengers still have a good view out the front. Each row of seats is stepped up, which means everyone gets a good amount of legroom.
Both outer seats on the second row have Isofix points but these seats have to fold down to allow passengers access the third row so only one child seat could remain in place all the time. This means adults will be relegated to the very back but decent head and legroom shouldn’t make this an uncomfortable experience.
We like: Flexible seating options that are easy to configure
We don’t like: Only one Isofix point usable if you need to carry seven people
What’s under the bonnet?
There’s two engine options in the Jogger, either a 1.0-litre petrol with a six speed manual gearbox or a 1.6-litre hybrid with an automatic gearbox. The hybrid offers good fuel efficiency with figures up to 56 mpg whilst the 1.0-litre can achieve 49 mpg.
They’ve both got a decent amount of power and as a large family car, it won’t be driven like a sporty saloon, so 0-60mph in around ten seconds is more than respectable. Those looking for a large towing capacity will want to choose the 1.0-litre manual as this has a max braked towing capacity of 1,200kg and the hybrid can tow a braked trailer up to 750kg.
Thanks to the way the hybrid was designed, no interior space is sacrificed, meaning the only differences between engines are the gearboxes and improved fuel economy. There’s currently no plans to release an all-electric version of the Jogger. The hybrid engine is only available in the top two trims: Expression from £23k or Extreme at £24k.
What’s the Dacia Jogger like to drive?
The automatic gearbox in the hybrid model does a good job of creating a smooth ride at all speeds. It doesn’t feel like the car is ever jerky or unsettled over imperfections in the road. The driving experience fills you with confidence that passengers won’t be complaining about a bumpy ride. Despite being large enough to fit seven people, it doesn’t feel like a long car and is very easy to park, especially with a reversing camera.
It gets up to motorway speeds with some gentle encouragement and the hybrid engine helps to even out the power delivery. Regenerative braking slows the car down and the steering is quite responsive. The Jogger does what it says on the tin, it would be more than capable enough to lug around several passengers and cause the driver no headaches.
We like: Straightforward driving experience
We don’t like: Rivals have more engaging steering
The Dacia Jogger is an impressive seven-seater and thanks to its extremely low list price it offers great value for money. However, Dacia’s safety ratings are a concern for a family car that will inevitably be used to carry several passengers and children. That also drags the car’s score down quite significantly in our review here.
Other than that, the Jogger fits the bill as a practical car that has flexible seating or with the seats down there’s plenty of space to transport large items. The price is competitive enough to tempt used car buyers to consider a brand new car that comes with a warranty.
If you’re looking at the Dacia Jogger, you might also be interested in these alternatives.
Model tested: Dacia Jogger Expression
Price as tested: £23,645
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol hybrid
Gearbox: Six-speed automatic
Power: 140 hp
Torque: 144 Nm
Top speed: 111 mph
0-62 mph: 10.1 seconds
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