First impression of the all-new Dacia Jogger 7-seat MPV (by Brian Fahey).
First Impression of All-New Dacia Jogger 7-seat MPV (By Brian Fahey).
Approach the All-New Dacia Jogger from the wrong angle and it is not the most visually appealing new car on the market today, it looks a bit awkward at times, especially from the rear quarter angle. The high, but not high enough roof line, the puzzle of “is it an estate or is it an SUV”, well, looks alone do not answer that question, but give the Jogger a chance and it does set the record straight.
Dacia refers to this car as an SUV in some of their literature, and as an estate at other times, the truth is, it doesn’t really matter which body type it is defined as. It is a tall estate-looking car with 200mm of ground clearance and three rows of seats allowing for seven occupants, call it what you like, it is seriously practical.
And there in lies the reasoning for the high-ish roofline, the three rows of seats. The higher roofline affords the interior the space it requires to accommodate the three rows, which are structured in a Land Rover-esque stadium style tiered seating, and as a result all seven seats can be used by real adults with leg room for those up to 190cm (6’3”) according to Dacia. At 6’1” myself I have been a passenger in each row of seats and can confirm that I did fit into all three, although the third row can get a bit uncomfortable on long runs.
Away from the seating, the rest of the interior is quite good also. My test car was the top spec Extreme SE priced at €27,185 and it came with a surprising array of features, an 8” touchscreen display with rear view camera, front and rear park sensors, wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto, blind spot monitoring and heated front seats.
There are nice cloth materials on the seats, dash and door panels, although there has also been a generous use of black hard plastic throughout the interior, but this car has been made to a budget and the interior trim materials are far less important, to me anyway, than all the extra kit Dacia have managed to offer at this price point.
The Jogger somehow tips the scales at a little over 1,200kg’s which is surprisingly low for a car of this size, and as a result the Nissan / Renault derived 1.0 litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol unit generating 108BHP pulls quite well around town, with the car feeling engaging and even nippy at times. The steering is light and fairly direct given the height and length of this car, but get the Jogger out onto the open road, or full of passengers and the little 3-cylinder does struggle.
Manufacturing a budget price car can only be achieved with a certain level of sacrifice somewhere in the process. Dacia have done so in a number of ways, they have used a tried and tested platform / chassis for this car, used budget friendly materials where possible, and they have kept some of the more modern safety equipment, such as lane departure, additional airbags and pedestrian safety devices off this car.
As a result, the Jogger scored only 1 star in the Euro NCAP crash test. It did perform good and adequate in a number of their tests, but the overall score was brought down by the lack of some of those fancier safety gadgets.
The Jogger surprised me, I expected a miserable interior and a poor driving experience, but I got neither of those. The interior is a nice place to be, it has all the real-world useful extras that I would want, and it drove well around town.
My biggest take away from my time with the Jogger though, is how Dacia can make this car, with all the kit it has and all the seats it has and still be able to sell it for the price they have set for it. The range starts at an unbelievable €23,290 right up to €27,185 for the top spec Extreme SE model. The next most affordable seven seat car on the market right now is a staggering €15,000 more expensive than the Jogger. This is not just a cheap car, it is an economics lesson for every other car manufacturer out there, better value can be achieved, and Dacia have the know-how.
Text by Brian Fahey.
Visit www.dacia.ie for further information.