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MPV and SUV tropes fuse with a compact seven-seater of likeably humble aspect

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The new Dacia Jogger is a seven-seat, C-segment MPV – on the face of it, the kind of car that a great many European car makers once made (think Ford Grand C-Max, Renault Grand Scénic and Vauxhall Zafira) but whose place in the market has lately been usurped by the crossover SUV.

However, this isn’t a classic monocab MPV – and nor is it Dacia’s first MPV, although the UK market never saw either of its predecessors (the Moroccan-built Lodgy and Dokker). From its styling to its platform to its interior layout, the Jogger ploughs a new furrow.

The Jogger trounced a Volkswagen Golf R Estate for appeal to my two kids, who adored folding the middle-row seats forwards and lording it up in the back. There’s a storage cubby next to the nearside seat just large enough for a Nintendo Switch, too.

Mixing crossover and MPV design cues, the Jogger is nothing more or less than Europe's cheapest seven-seat passenger car; but its versatility goes father than even that would imply. Removable second- and third-row seats give the car van-like cargo capacity when needed; while standard roof bars that can be converted to form their own simple take on a roof rack make for even greater carrying potential.

The Jogger comes to the UK market with an entry-level price that doesn’t just make it cheap – something you would expect of a Dacia – but that also gives it a relative pecuniary advantage worth more than £10,000 compared with some seven-seat MPV rivals.

The Dacia Jogger line-up at a glance

There are now two engines, and a couple of transmission options, for the Jogger, and only three equipment levels.

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Entry-level Essential has no infotainment system, although it does have stereo speakers through which your smartphone can play music or digital radio. It also comes with manual air conditioning and manual cruise control, as well as automatic headlights and an AEB crash-avoidance system as standard.

Comfort cars add modular roof rails, automatic wipers, a reversing camera and touchscreen infotainment, while Extreme SE models get factory-fit sat-nav, wireless smartphone mirroring, alloy wheels and heated seats.

1.0 TCe109bhp£16,955
1.6 hybrid (auto)138bhp£22,415


dacia jogger road test 2023 02 panning

At just over 4.5 metres in length, the Jogger is a little shorter at the kerb than a typical C-segment MPV, but that doesn’t prevent it from offering usable passenger accommodation for up to seven.

At just under 1.7 metres tall and with 200mm of ground clearance, it’s also little higher of profile than most typical MPVs and is intended as what we might have called a soft-roader a few years ago: a car to easily tackle uneven tracks and the like.

The upper window line has a kink that isn’t actually matched with a corresponding kink in the roofline, but it does create better head room and visibility in the back rows, and it visually references utility wagons like the Matro Rancho and Skoda Roomster.

Dacia has stopped short of giving the car four-wheel drive, though, or all-season tyres or even an off-road-style traction-control regime.

The car’s platform might have been a restrictive factor in some of those respects, but it certainly isn’t when it comes to delivering the value for money central to the Jogger’s market positioning. It uses Renault-Nissan’s shared CMF-B supermini platform, which also forms the basis of the Dacia Sandero and (in slightly upgraded form) the Renault Clio and Renault Captur.

The car’s mechanical layout is therefore entirely conventional. It has a transverse-mounted engine up front, a manual gearbox in line with the crankshaft and front-wheel drive. Suspension is via steel coil springs, MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion-beam axle at the rear.

Simplicity certainly seems to save weight for this car. At as little as 1205kg unladen in its entry-level form, the Jogger is 200kg lighter than the very lightest Volkswagen Touran that UK customers can currently buy – but it’s still rated to haul more than 600kg of combined cargo and passenger ballast and to tow 1200kg on a braked trailer.

You might not see many Joggers towing bigger caravans, then, but it’s the kind of car that could certainly handle a smaller one, or a trailer tent.

Two engines are offered in the car: firstly Renault’s turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, which makes 109bhp and a healthy 148lb ft of torque and drives through a six-speed manual gearbox. A 1.6-litre full-hybrid petrol-electric option, also currently powering the Renault Clio E-Tech, provides the Jogger’s only two-pedal powertrain option.

The Jogger’s design is likeably functional, from the upright rear window to the kinked upper window line, which makes extra head room for passengers travelling in the rear (and visually references cars like the Matra Rancho).

All versions get wheel-arch cladding, chunky bumpers and stylised roof bars as standard, but on middle and upper-spec cars, those roof bars convert really simply into an elegant lateral roof rack of their own.

Mid-spec Joggers like our test car also feature 16in steel Flex wheels with very alloy-like covers that are intended to be easier and cheaper to replace, when damaged, than real alloys might be.

The car received Dacia's new corporate brand logo on its grille and interior towards the end of 2022.


dacia jogger road test 2023 11 dash

The Jogger’s interior doesn’t make it the most spacious, adult-appropriate seven-seater family car you can buy, but so much could generally be observed about so many compact MPVs; and the Dacia is ingeniously versatile, more than passably pleasant, and well enough appointed and prepared for the practicalities of modern life.

You get a clear sense that this car is supermini-derived from the driving position, which is a little perched. Although it doesn’t offer abundant leg room for taller drivers, our tallest tester (6ft 3in) was still comfortable at the wheel.

The third row of seatshas almost as much leg room as the second row – and more still if you tumble the middle seats forwards, when the Jogger takes on a black-cab vibe.

The driver’s seat feels a little spongy in its cushioning and does without any adjustable lumbar support. It’s the kind of seat that threatens to put your backside to sleep over longer trips, even though it never did so for any of our testers.

Aft of that, the second-row seats are of a reasonable size and accessible height, offering decent head room but slightly limited knee and leg room for full-sized adults and Isofix child seat points on the outer two seats.

These seats are split 60:40, with the smaller, single seat directly behind the driver. Their backrests don’t just fold forwards, either. Rather, the whole seat tumbles forwards about the front edge of the base so that, when folded, two passengers can travel in the Jogger’s third row almost as if in a black cab.

Alternatively, you can lift the third-row chairs out of the car individually (the latches aren’t particularly fiddly and the seats surprisingly light) and open up a deep cargo space with a flat floor that, Dacia claims, is ready to accept more than 1800 litres of luggage. The spare wheel, where optioned, is carried underneath the car.

The Jogger’s interior quality surpasses most reasonable expectations. The cabin materials feel a little plain, hard and coarse in a few places, but the general standard of finish is very acceptable, given the price you’re paying.

It would be better if the passenger doors sounded a little less hollow as you close them; also, if the mouldings in the driver’s footwell were a little better secured, so that you couldn’t inadvertently work them loose with a stray left foot. There are some evident cost-related compromises here but nothing at all unpalatable.

Meanwhile, the car’s secondary features look after the necessities rather well. Oddment storage is very reasonable and there are 12V power sockets in all three rows. There are even proper cupholders, useful storage cubbies and partly opening windows for those in row three.

Dacia Jogger multimedia and sat-nav

There are three infotainment offerings in the Jogger. The base-level car comes with a DAB radio and four-speaker audio system called Media Control, although there’s no central display screen for it. Instead, Dacia provides a dashboard dock for your smartphone, a nearby USB port for connectivity and an app through which you can connect it with the car’s wider systems.

Our mid-spec test car had Dacia’s Media Display system, which includes an 8.0in touchscreen of pretty simplified layout and functionality. There are separate heater controls and no fitted sat-nav. Wired device mirroring for Apple and Android phones is included, although it worked a little sporadically for us.

The system is fairly responsive and easy to use, with clear menu icons that aren’t small or hard to hit with an outstretched hand. DAB radio reception is only average and the audio system power a little meek, but neither is poor enough to annoy. The top spec is called Media Nav and adds factory sat-nav.


dacia jogger road test 2023 23 panning

A 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine sounds like it ought not to be powerful enough for a car with the sheer versatility and work ethic of the Jogger, but in practice it’s up to the job.

It can be a little rough around idle and, unlike some three-cylinder units, it doesn’t like to rev much beyond 5000rpm. But it settles down nicely at a cruise; and it also makes a surprisingly useful amount of mid-range torque, which allows the car to pull its longish upper-intermediate gear ratios pretty stoutly when climbing or accelerating from low revs, and does plenty to engender a clear sense of fuss-free, easy drivability for the Jogger.

Dacia should consider adding a bigger, torquier engine option for tougher hauling duties. This is probably a car that could still sell as a diesel.

The motor has one annoying mannerism: the surge of torque it serves up as its turbo boost arrives just below 3000rpm, which demands a little patience and precision with your right foot if you want to accelerate up through the gears perfectly smoothly.

This lag and surge can be seen pretty clearly in our in-gear acceleration numbers, the car’s opening acceleration increment in each gear often being notably slower than the second and third.

The throttle response is more crisp and the power delivery more linear elsewhere in the rev range. A 0-60mph clocking of 11.0sec need be no embarrassment for the Jogger in normal daily driving, when it has more than enough performance to move with the general cut and thrust and to manage single-carriageway overtaking comfortably enough.

The light but fairly slick and well-defined manual lever makes up for a slightly woolly-feeling clutch action, so shifting is no chore – provided you don’t hurry changes through more quickly than suits the slightly gelatinous feel and the gentle natural syncopation of the whole apparatus.

The brake pedal is progressive and easy to modulate; and it managed to pull the Jogger to a standstill from 70mph in less than 50 metres in slightly damp test conditions, even on modest-sized 16in wheels and 205-section tyres, which is equally respectable.


dacia jogger road test 2023 24 rear cornering

The Jogger’s name may be suggestive of a particular style of motion, but in fact the car doesn’t bound down the road like some long-distance runner, and nor does it loll and lope along in the way others might expect, given the longish-travel suspension.

It feels medium firm in its spring rates; pretty sturdy and steady in its gait; stable, staunch and fairly upright in its cornering aspect; and thus ready to carry a bit of a load when you need it to – just as you’re likely to want it to.

The Jogger’s handling is well matched to its role as a seven-seater with a slightly elevated ride height, so it’s tidy and predictable if you stay within its easily identifiable limits.

It has slowish steering by compact-car standards, with more than three full turns between locks, and it isn’t particularly agile or keen when changing direction. It also has only a modest lateral grip level, so it doesn’t respond particularly encouragingly to being hurried along, although its adhesive limits are easy to gauge and they’re guarded by an effective electronic stability control system.

Unloaded, the Jogger certainly isn’t the kind of car that will easily carry the sort of cornering speeds that would give it body-control problems around tighter bends. At greater speeds on cross-country roads, the primary ride is consistently level, and the car deals with bigger inputs without being flustered or disturbed.

There’s some evidence of a slight crudeness in the damping in the car’s secondary ride, which can become a little wooden and clunky over sharper edges and more sudden lumps and bumps; and these can sometimes filter through into the generally light and muted-feeling steering, too, which exhibits the occasional twitch of torque steer when the car is accelerating hard.

The ESC system is always on but doesn’t intrude, warding off power-on understeer fairly gently but effectively and seldom having cause to deal with much else.

Dacia Jogger comfort and isolation

There are occasions when the Jogger has that telltale ping and clang of the oft-disparaged ‘cheap tin box’, but those moments don’t actually undermine its appeal. More often than not, they’re shrugged off by a car that has pretty decent cruising credentials.

We already covered the slightly rattly thud of its passenger doors, which betrays a certain evident cheapness in the car’s construction. Add to that a level of wind and road noise that’s more noticeable than intrusive (it registered 66dbA on our noise meter at a 50mph cruise, probably a couple of decibels noisier than a typical compact estate car) and we’re assembling a picture of a car that may not be unrefined in a broad sense but is also no more hushed than you would expect a hard-working budget estate to be.

The ride is quieter over smoother surfaces, but sharper inputs and coarser Tarmac bring out a slightly fidgeting shortage of wheel control and some persistent road roar from it respectively.

The motorway ride can be accompanied by the odd buzz of loose cabin trim, some of which can be traced and secured while others are more elusive, but that’s the price you pay for a car with lots of movable, removable fittings. The net effect is pleasant enough, though – and the motorway is also where the engine is at its most refined.

Dacia Jogger assisted driving notes

Dacia fits the Jogger with a standard radar-based autonomous emergency braking system, which works to warn the driver of an impending frontal collision with another car and can apply the brakes if no action is taken.

Because it’s only radar-based, it doesn’t offer pedestrian or cyclist detection and it’s not adjustable for sensitivity. You can deactivate it entirely if you prefer, but it’s not an over-sensitive or intrusive system.

Buy a mid-spec Jogger Comfort, like our test car, and you will also get a reversing camera with obstacle detection as well as rear parking sensors and door mirrors with blindspot warning lights that illuminate when a vehicle is close on your flank.

These don’t add any audible warnings or steering interventions to prevent you from changing lanes into the path of an overtaking car, though, and no active lane keeping system is fitted.

Dacia’s manual cruise control is the same across the range and doesn’t take in radar-based speed adaptation or speed-limit recognition on any trim.


dacia jogger road test 2023 01 tracking front

The Jogger’s faintly astounding entry-level price is £14,995. It’s a car that can also be had on a personal finance term of four years for less than £200 deposit and £200 a month. And anyone wondering what, exactly, comes as standard on a seven-seat family car that costs so little in 2022 might be interested to find out that the answer isn’t nothing.

Entry-level Essential-trim cars are expected to account for less than 15% of the Jogger’s UK sales mix, but they’re not meanly equipped. Body-coloured bumpers, tinted side windows, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, an engine immobiliser, remote central locking, cruise control, six airbags and an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system are all included; and although you do have to use your smartphone for in-car navigation and entertainment, Dacia provides a handy dock for it on the dashboard and integrates its functionality properly through on-board speakers and an app.

Spec advice? Comfort trim is worth the extra £1600 over Essential: it better shrugs off an austerity look with its body-coloured mirrors and door handles and the cabin-equipment level is important. Add a spare wheel for £300.

Our mid-spec Comfort test car, which is the trim level expected to dominate UK sales, adds modular convertible roof bars, a reversing camera, keyless entry, climate control and an 8.0in touchscreen media display with wired smartphone mirroring. If you want factory sat-nav and wireless mirroring, only top-of-the-line Extreme SE trim offers them.

On fuel economy, Jogger owners should expect to beat 50mpg on longer runs if they’re willing to check their hurry a little. Our test car returned 48.5mpg on a windy day at a 70mph cruise, but it did much better at slightly lesser speeds.


dacia jogger road test 2023 27 static dog

Dacia has demonstrated great design, outstanding product positioning judgement and not a little bit of bravery with the new Jogger. A car maker with less of a maverick streak and less intimately in touch with the tastes and needs of its customers might have been dissuaded from launching such a car by current market trends. But this one took inspiration from the platform technology at its disposal and the value that it could add to the budget family car market, and it has really delivered.

The Jogger is a product unlike any rival. An MPV/estate/crossover/SUV that’s both affordable and versatile enough to insert itself into myriad buying conversations and ownership scenarios, it’s brilliantly flexible for passengers and cargo. It’s also comfortable, respectably refined and quite well presented on the inside, and is as pleasant and cheery to drive as it is to behold; as it is, once again, to consider in sheer metal-for-the-money terms.

I have a friend who’s looking to replace a trusty Volvo for mucky household jobs and general dog-carrying. He took one look at the Jogger and just knew it was all the car he needed. Can’t argue with design as direct as that.

There are certain things you don’t expect of a £15,000 family car, of course. The Jogger’s performance is only modest, its spec basic in some ways and its dynamic character simple. But its directness and no-frills simplicity are extremely easy to like, and it deserves success.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Dacia Jogger First drives