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Long-term review

Dacia Jogger - long term review

£18,745 / £19,640 as tested
Published: 15 Jul 2022
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Life with the extremely cheap and HUGE Dacia Jogger starts here!

A Dacia Jogger has jogged gently onto the TG fleet, and I am giddy with excitement. 

Which I realise could read a little… sarcastic – after all, it’s a big budget MPV, not a thousand horsepower mid-engined firestorm with butterfly doors – but it’s really not. I am genuinely, totally pumped for this reddish-brown Romanian people-carrier.

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Because, yes, of course there’s great joy to be found in a car that’ll hit 60 in the time it takes you to say ‘plummeting residual values’, but there’s also great joy to be found in a car that’s utterly fit for purpose. A machine that does exactly what you need of it, and no more.

And, at this stage in my (admittedly quite boring) life, what I really need from a car is (a) to ferry my kids and their great array of mucky stuff around the country uncomplainingly and (b) that’s basically it. 

Doesn’t need to be luxurious, because that’s just more stuff to get mucky. Doesn’t need a rorty V8 under the bonnet, because attempting to deploy a rorty V8 will simply lead to a rorty spell of vomiting from my three-year-old. I want it big, I want it straightforward, I want value for cash.

I suspect I’m not alone here. When we revealed the Jogger on TopGear.com last year, the comments and feedback were far more numerous – and positive – than for the reveal of yer average new supercar. Seems there are quite of few of us out there, browsing the classifieds in mild terror, looking at six-year-old VW Tourans with 70,000 miles on the clock for £16,000, thinking, “Surely there’s another way here?”

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Here is that other way. A seven(ish) seat MPV that starts at £16,645. If, like me, you are struggling to acclimatise to how insanely expensive new cars have got recently, that entry price might not sound especially impressive. But in a world where, for example, the Peugeot 5008 kicks off at £30k, it’s a serious hunk of new car value-for-money. (Not to mention £100k less than Mr Barlow’s BMW iX, and with a prettier face to boot.)

Even the basest Jogger comes with everything you need (steering wheel, brakes, seats), but we’ve got the range-topping Extreme SE version, which adds such niceties as alloys, an infotainment screen and some slightly ambitious black decals. Our test is car is also fitted, so far as I can, with literally every available optional extra, compromising: metallic paint (£595) and a spare wheel (£300). That’s your lot. All in, our Jogger tips the scales at just under twenty grand.

Performance? Jogger by name, jogger by nature. Until a petrol-electric hybrid arrives down the line, there’s just one powertrain choice in the range: a 1.0-litre turbo triple driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. It makes just over 100 horsepower, and jogs the Jogger to 60mph in around 11 seconds. Not fast then, but hey, there’s enough power, just, to haul a whole load of stuff and humans up a big hill, and frankly that’s all that really matters here.

Because my word, the Jogger can haul a whole load of stuff and humans. The two (surprisingly slimline) seats in the rear roll forward to reveal a boot of shipping-container proportions. Drop all the seats, I’m pretty sure you could squeeze a Smart ForTwo back there.

On the inside – well, I’d love to say it’s tough to spot any signs of penny pinching, but I won’t, because it isn’t. But griping that a Jogger’s not as ritzy as a Rolls Phantom (or indeed a Skoda Fabia) is to miss the point. This is a people carrier that legitimately asks: if you want loads of seats and a sensible sticker price, on what are you prepared to compromise? 

Do you, as a budget seven-seat MPV buyer, really need a massage-function ventilated clutch pedal? Or auto-fold wing mirrors? Or a five-star NCAP rating? All these questions, and more, to be answered over the next six months…

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