- Car Reviews
Cheap, cheerful, practical seven-seater
Lacks bells and whistles families might want, hybrid's pretty coarse
What is it?
We all experienced lockdowns and Covid restrictions very differently, but Renault’s cheap and cheerful brand Dacia spent a good 12 months or so updating its whole range and overhauling its brand image, rolling out a new look that you’ll have begun to see in the likes of the recently updated Duster.
The company colour is now a khaki green rather than dark blue, and its new logo is a minimalist Christmas cracker made up of a stylised D and C mashed together. And why not.
Is there a car?
Oh right, so you’re not interested in a budget carmaker’s lifestyle marketing veneer? Fair enough. Well, since a few cars got discontinued in the last couple of years, turns out there’s a gap in the Dacia range with just enough space for a decent boot and seven seats. Cue the new Jogger, just as the firm makes its concerted push to try and attract younger customers.
So, is it the UK’s cheapest seven-seater?
Well, the lifestyle schtick lasts as long as it takes to wave the price tag under your nose. The headline price is the £17,145 Dacia will ask for the entry-level car, which is less than half the cost of a Land Rover Discovery Sport or under a third of the price of an Audi Q7. Actually, Dacia thought it was putting the car up against the new Citroen Berlingo XL, but they went and made that car electric only and it costs around £32k.
Is it just ancient Renault tech underneath?
For a long time that’s been the Dacia way, hasn’t it – wait until a Renault gets really old, do a post-life facelift and sell it for peanuts. The second-generation Dacia Sandero that went off sale in 2020 was based on a platform originally developed for the Renault Clio in 2002. Phew.
Thankfully the latest Dacias are all based on Renault’s CMF-B platform, although the Duster is a holdout on the antique underpinnings, but it’ll only be around for a little while longer. There’s nothing about the Jogger that makes it feel old-fashioned: it’s certainly been built down to a price, but it doesn’t immediately let you know you’re driving something from another era. In fact it’s pretty decent to drive.
Better yet, there's now a newfangled hybrid version of the Jogger, promising better fuel economy and more power than the standard petrol variant. Cutting edge or what? More on both on the Driving tab.
But the Jogger drives well, yes?
It does drive well – and it’s really thanks to the effort that Dacia has put in to keeping weight down on the car. It tips the scales at a frankly astonishing 1,200kg (the hybrid adds 185 kilos to that figure), which is light by any car’s standard let alone a seven-seat family wagon.
The front end of the Jogger feels proactive and alert on the way into corners because there isn’t so much weight hanging over the front wheels. There’s decent steering feel too, and even a little kick through the gearstick as you come off the clutch. It’s the one aspect of the car that actually does feel old-fashioned, but refreshingly so.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
It could be that we’ve just driven too many electric vehicles recently, with everything driven by wire, but the Jogger has a rather pleasing mechanical feel to proceedings. It’s actually quite fun for a family bus, although given we've only driven it without a full roster of passengers aboard, perhaps we should wait to try it with a full load before giving a definitive judgement.
You may catch yourself looking at the Jogger and thinking of one or two little things that could really make it better. Would it benefit from more stuff? Perhaps not: for this price and with its ruthless attention to detail, the Jogger is great just the way it is.