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First Drive

Dacia Jogger Extreme SE review: the range-topping budget seven-seater

£18,290 when new
810
Published: 25 Mar 2022
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    109bhp

  • 0-62

    11.2s

  • Max Speed

    114Mph

What’s a ‘Dacia Jogger Extreme SE’?

A watershed moment for the Romanian car brand. Long a purveyor of scrupulous budget motoring, Dacia has cast off its financially agreeable shackles and dived headfirst into the only seas it has yet to conquer.

Think about that name carefully; this is literally the most extreme Jogger Dacia has ever built.

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Woah! Have they put a massive V8 up front and given it portal axles?

No.

So what exactly are we looking at here?

This is a Dacia Jogger – Britain’s cheapest seven-seater, don’t forget – replete with heated front seats, new branded floor mats, satellite navigation and a few styling tweaks.

For Dacia then, such extravagance is quite extreme, because it makes this bronzed family chariot the range-topper.

Expensive, too.

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Really?

For Dacia, yes. The Extreme SE starts at £17,395, and TopGear.com’s test car was quite literally LOADED to the GUNWALES with options. Things like metallic paint (£595), and a spare wheel (£300).

Actually it’s just those two things. Because they’re the only options you can get. You can't even get gunwales.

So it's still a bargain by normal margins?

Oh yes. Embrace one of the most remarkable new cars being offered on sale in Britain today. Wild to think that in 2022, a manufacturer offers seven seats, nearly 48mpg, low CO2 and just the right level of technology within a five-door shell for less than a Vauxhall Corsa.

The Extreme SE doesn’t offer anything enormously transformative over the middle-of-the-range ‘Comfort’ spec, likely the one most will gravitate towards, though the additional kit is welcome. Because who doesn’t love a branded floor mat?

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True, it is difficult to deny a well positioned, branded floor mat. Engine the same, then?

Indeed, and it’s not the most effortless powerplant you’ll come across. That 1.0-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine pumps out 108bhp and 147lb ft of torque, and you’ll feel every one of those horsepowers being liberated from the engine. It operates on such a narrow powerband you could blink and miss the torque, and there’s not the greatest linearity in the delivery.

But also, you will absolutely not care about the engine’s linearity and you should studiously avoid anyone who brings it up in the context of a Dacia Jogger Extreme SE.

I’m planning on doing just that.

Before you go then, some more THOUGHTS. Fully loaded, it pulled cleanly enough, and once at a cruise you’d never know you were being powered by the combustion equivalent of Scrappy Doo. The six-speed manual gearbox (your only option, same as the 1.0-litre engine) has a soft, easy-going motion. The clutch too, is light. So’s the steering. In fact, the overwhelming feeling of all the mechanical touchpoints is lightness.

Because it is in fact a very, very light car: believe it or not, the Jogger only weighs 1,205kg which is about as heavy as yer average supermini. Explains how it can comfortably, without any effort whatsoever, crest 48mpg.

The ride’s soft and supple, and it handles cleanly and without fuss; there’s mild entertainment to be found exploring the outer nuances of its handling abilities. But also, you will absolutely not care about the outer nuances of its handling abilities.

While the interior ambience is of a car built a decade or so ago – the seats are good but not the most comfortable – it feels robust. Worth pondering how long the novelty of ‘budget car’ will last. Some of the graphics on the display have an air of My First Infotainment about them too, but again, this might not matter.

Any other thoughts?

There’s not much in the monthly outlay between the base level trim (Essential) and this Extreme edition. Dacia quotes £225 a month for the latter versus £196 for the former and just £215 per month for the Goldilocks ‘Comfort’ spec.

There’s nothing really ‘extreme’ about the Extreme, and its humble passivity is refreshing. Though, a turbo V8 option with portal axles wouldn’t go amiss either.

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