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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
2:45 PM 19th September 2023
cars

Capacious Family Holdall – Dacia Jogger Hybrid On Test

 
For larger families looking for a roomy car with plenty of seats, the choice can be somewhat limited, especially if funds are tight. A quick trawl through the list of cars on sale in the UK with seven seats reveals that the cheapest are all over £30,000, some by quite a lot!

Never fear, for those clever people at Dacia are selling an affordable family wagon in the UK – the Jogger. Priced from just £18,295, it continues the Renault owned Romanian brand’s value for money concept.

How do they manage to offer so much for so little and is the car any good? Well, it was good enough to be awarded Car of the Year 2022 by the Northern Group of Motoring Writers, of which I was chairman at the time. It got my vote and all bar one of our voting panel placed it in first place. We are a discerning lot too!

I had a week with the mid-spec model last year, fitted with a 109hp 999cc turbocharged engine and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Looking back at my review, I noted that the turbo boost was somewhat abrupt which spoiled the driving experience a tad. Low emissions of just 131g/km CO2 and 46.5mpg were rather more to my liking.

Newly released, and subject to this test, is the Jogger Hybrid, also in mid-range Expression trim. Under the bonnet now sits a normally aspirated 90hp 1.6-litre engine, twin electric motors (50hp engine and a high voltage starter/generator) and a multi-mode automatic transmission, combined with a 1.2kWh (230V) battery.

These components work together to deliver full electric start and instantaneous torque. The drivetrain produces a highly usable 140hp which much improves the Jogger’s acceleration figures. In everyday motoring, admittedly travelling solo, the step off from rest is brisk. Be gentle, and the car will move silently under battery power alone.

Regenerative braking, combined with the high energy recovery of the battery allow the Jogger Hybrid to spend up to 80 per cent of its time on urban roads in full-electric mode, with an appropriate fuel saving.

I took the Jogger on an extensive road trip, firstly down the M6 to the Cotswolds, then on to London for a few days, returning via the A1. I recorded a very creditable 54.1mpg, just shy of Dacia’s stated WLTP combined economy figure. CO2 emissions are just 112g/km too.

Just two trims are offered on the hybrid model – Expression and Extreme. Kit count is high with front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, keyless entry, automatic air conditioning and wipers. The infotainment system works around am 8-inch media display, with DAB radio, smartphone replication, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The top model adds alloy wheels, heated front seats, and integrated navigation. I would save the cash. The only glaring omission, a solitary USB socket is not enough for a seven-seater family car.

The Jogger’s interior, whichever model you buy, is deeply impressive. Not the quality of the trim, still as tad low rent, but more the flexible seating arrangement which allows for seven adults to be accommodated. At around six foot in height, I was able to sit in the rearmost seats in some degree of comfort. Headroom was fine, legroom adequate. Getting in requires a little dexterity, however.

The middle row of seats is wide enough for three adults and the seats upfront proved to be comfortable on the long journeys I undertook.

All seats fold if not in use and it is easy to remove the rear seats and store away when not needed. They are not especially heavy to manoeuvre.

The Jogger is not a car that is likely to thrill the keen driver, as the soft suspension is clearly designed for comfort rather than handling. Expect a little body roll if pushing on. At motorway cruising speeds, there is little in the way of wind or road noise to upset the calm of the cabin.

The new Hybrid model has much improved the whole Jogger experience yet has added just £2,500 to the price. In Expression trim as driven, it is undoubtedly the pick of the range, and it is a car I am very happy to recommend. Nicely specified, cheap to run, it drives well but with a flexible interior that will undoubtedly appeal to growing families.

Fast Facts

Dacia Jogger Hybrid Expression
Price £22,995
Metallic paint add £650
1,598cc engine
Combined power 140hp
0-62mph in 10.1 seconds
Top speed 111mph
Combined economy 56.5mpg
Emissions 112g/km CO2
BIK 27%
VED pricing £200
Insurance rating 15E