What Car? says...
The Dacia Jogger seven-seater is a car that looks like it's about to score a winning goal in the MPV class. Why so? Well, while the Jogger has been warming up on the touchline, Dacia's rivals have taken their eyes off the ball as they focus on SUVs instead.
The few star players remaining have become more expensive, leaving the low-cost Jogger facing an undefended net. In fact, it's the cheapest new seven-seater in the UK. To put pricing into perspective, the entry-level Jogger costs around half as much as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the Mercedes B-Class and the VW Touran.
The next cheapest seven-seat MPV available is the van-based Ford Tourneo Connect – and that will still cost you around £10,000 more. The Citroën e-Berlingo, the Peugeot e-Rifter and (as its new name suggests) the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric are all electric now. For families on a budget needing more than 150 miles of real-world range, the Jogger may be the only new option.
Dacia is offering the Jogger with a traditional 1.0-litre petrol engine or a regular hybrid car version (the TCe 140 Hybrid). An LPG Bi-Fuel version is being sold in mainland Europe, and could come to the UK if demand is there.
If you’re thinking that the Jogger is such good value because you have to pay more to get the full seven seats, think again: the car comes with seven seats as standard. The rear-most two can be removed for extra luggage space, and you even get protective bags to store them in.
Over the next few pages of this review, we’ll tell you what the Dacia Jogger is like to drive, what equipment it gets and what the running costs are like. We'll also reveal how it compares with the best MPVs available in terms of performance, seating flexibility, boot capacity and other important factors.
Once you’ve chosen your perfect new car, MPV or SUV, don’t forget to search our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. It could save you thousands off the list price of your chosen make and model, and has plenty of new MPV deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Dacia Jogger engine range starts with the turbocharged 109bhp 1.0-litre petrol. That gives you a 0-62mph time of 11.2sec – much longer than the 8.9sec it will take you in the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol VW Touran. That said, in the real world, the Jogger has more than enough zip to keep up with the flow of traffic. The power delivery is quite abrupt though, with lag at low revs before the turbocharger kicks in and pushes you into your seat, so it's not the smoothest way to travel around. Pressing the Eco button on the dash could be the solution – it softens the engine response to improve fuel economy, and also results in a more relaxed style of driving.
The TCe 110 is our pick of the range because it gives you enough flexibility at a startlingly low price, but if you do mostly urban driving or need an automatic gearbox, the 138bhp 1.6-litre hybrid (badged TCe 140 Hybrid) is well worth considering. It’s punchier than the TCe 110, and there’s a surprising amount of poke off the line. It does take a second or two after you tread hard on the accelerator for the petrol engine to wake up and the automatic gearbox to drop down a gear, but it gets up to motorway speeds quickly enough.
The TCe 140 Hybrid – like many hybrid cars – has regenerative braking and the brakes take some getting used to. They feel a little spongy and less consistent than in other versions, especially the TCe 110.
Suspension and ride comfort
You won’t be fielding any complaints from your passengers about the ride, because all Joggers come shod with sensibly sized 16in wheels, so you get tyres with generous sidewalls to help absorb bumps.
Essential and Expression trim brings steel wheels, while Extreme has alloys, but all versions soak up the worst of speed bumps and potholes around town better than a car in this price bracket has any right to. The Touran is even more supple and isolates you from bumps with less thump, but then you’d expect that given the difference in cost.
The Jogger's raised ride height gives it 200mm of ground clearance, and you might expect it to become a bit floaty at speed. However, it deals with lumpy B-roads well and provides decent body control over undulations on the motorway, so car sickness shouldn’t be an issue.
If you’re expecting the Jogger to lean over like a drunken sailor, don’t worry. For a tall car in the MPV class, it remains on a remarkably even keel. It also grips the road well, enabling you to carry a bit of speed through the bends. If you're looking for a people carrier that’s more enjoyable to hustle around, try the Ford S-Max.
The Jogger’s light steering means it’s easy to pilot around town, but the slightly slow response makes it a little tricky to place when cornering on faster roads. The steering on a Touran is more direct, which makes it less effort to drive.
Noise and vibration
There’s more engine vibration, thrum and turbo whistle from the Jogger's three-cylinder petrol engine than with the entry-level Touran’s smoother four-cylinder 1.5-litre.
The hybrid is more hushed, but when it's running in electric mode you do get a slight whine from the electric motors. When you ask for a burst of acceleration, the 1.6-litre petrol engine becomes quite loud and coarse, and you also get a slight vibration through the pedals.
It settles down into the background when cruising, but passengers will notice quite a lot of wind, suspension and road noise. Thankfully, it’s not loud enough to feel as though you’re in an echo chamber over long journeys.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Most drivers should find it easy to get a comfortable driving position in the Dacia Jogger. As with most MPVs you sit higher up than in a family car.
All versions get seat-height adjustment, but the seats themselves are rather flat and could do with a bit more side bolstering and lumbar support adjustment. They’re not the best if you’re looking to cover long distances. A front armrest is standard; it moves with the seat with Essential trim, and is fixed to the centre console in Expression and Extreme SE models. Electric seat adjustment isn’t an option, but you do get heated seats as standard with the top trim level.
The dashboard layout is highly logical, and the air-con controls are within easy reach. The automatic climate control system fitted to mid-range Expression and above is particularly straightforward to operate. In the TCe 140 Hybrid, you get a 7.0in digital driver’s display that shows similar information to the 3.5in display you get with the TCe 110, but with more information on how the hybrid system and regenerative braking are operating.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
With its higher driving position and relatively narrow windscreen pillars, the Jogger gives you good forward visibility. The over-the-shoulder view isn’t as good, but that’s mitigated by the blind-spot warning system you get on all but the entry-level trim.
Surprisingly for a seven-seater the car doesn’t feel that big, probably because of its small car origins (the Jogger is based on the same underpinnings as the Dacia Sandero and Dacia Sandero Stepway).
When reversing, the large rear windows make it easier to spot obstacles, but the rearmost pillar is quite wide and limits the rear view slightly. The standard-fit rear parking sensors do help mitigate this, though, and mid-range Expression trim adds a camera and front sensors to assist you even further. You get LED headlights as standard.
Sat nav and infotainment
The Jogger's entry-level Essential trim includes Bluetooth, a USB slot and a dashboard cradle for your phone, but for infotainment on this version, you need to install an app on your device and connect it up. Doing so allows you to continue the use of the stalk near the steering wheel to control the stereo volume and radio stations.
Our favoured Expression trim level gives you an 8.0in colour touchscreen system. It includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring so you can use apps from your phone for calls, music and navigation. On Extreme versions, you also get wireless Apple CarPlay and a built-in sat-nav system.
The touchscreen is mounted high up on the dashboard and is tilted towards the driver, with touch-sensitive shortcut buttons down the side. Although we’d prefer physical shortcut buttons, the Dacia operating system is easy to get used to and responds relatively quickly to prods and swipes. There aren’t too many sub-menus and flipping between the radio and sat-nav is a doddle thanks to direct shortcuts to each other. It’s easy to store your favourite stations, with very few processes required.
Judged against the whole MPV class, you’ll find that the Jogger has more in common with van-based models than the Ford Galaxy and VW Touran. That’s all due to the masses of hard plastics used throughout, but given the affordable price of the Jogger, it's to be expected.
The build quality itself is pretty good for the money, and the doors make a decent thud when you close the doors. In the hybrid car we tested, though, there was a rattle noise from behind one of the rear pillars.
In fairness, though, the interior detailing is a lot more pleasant than in the Ford Tourneo Custom, because it has some tasteful cloth trim covering part of the front doors and dash, with satin chrome accents on air vents, door handles and dials. Still, when you compare that with all the soft-touch materials found in the Galaxy and Touran, you’ll be in no doubt that the Jogger is at the value end of the market.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
You won't find yourself yearning for more room in the front of the Dacia Jogger, but it gives you space to stretch out in all directions. Head room is excellent, to the point that you could probably drive in a top hat if the mood took you. In the MPV class, only the Ford Galaxy is broader.
While the VW Touran doesn’t offer any more actual space, it does have more hidden storage areas throughout the interior.
Even so, the Jogger does give you a good-sized glovebox (where you’ll find the tool to unlock the roof bars fitted on Expression trim and above) and some storage within the central armrest. The door bins are also a good size.
Most rear-seat passengers will find that the Jogger seven-seater gives them good head and leg room, making journeys comfortable. Taller occupants, on the other hand, will wish that the middle row of seats could slide backwards, because knee room is limited. You may have to slide the front seat forwards a little to accommodate their longer legs.
Width is good, though, and the rear doors have big storage pockets and the second and third rows each get a 12V outlet plus two cupholders.
Passengers in the second row get extendable picnic trays with the top-spec Extreme trim, and there are moulded armrests and pop-out rear windows for third-row occupants.
Seat folding and flexibility
The second-row seats are split 60/40 and can be made to tumble forwards using pull hoops so passengers can get to the third-row seats. If the driver's seat is slid back fully, the seat back behind it won't fold down all the way, so taller drivers will have to be ready to shuffle forwards to allow good access to the rear-most seats.
The 60/40 split is unfortunately configured with the single seat on the right so that it's by the kerb in countries where you drive on that side of the road. That's not ideal for use in the UK.
The seats don't fold completely flat into the floor because of space taken up by the spare wheel.
With the third row of seats in place, the Jogger has a similar amount of boot space to the Touran, but it doesn't have that car's extra underfloor storage. You can fold up the third row for more space, or remove it to create your own estate car.
If you've got a big load rather than people to carry, you can fold down the second-row seats and remove the two back ones to create a van-like cargo area that’s one metre wide and two metres long up to the front seats. The rear-most chairs weigh about 10kg each and come out fairly easily.
In the Expression and Extreme SE trim levels, the Jogger gets a modular roof-rack system with an 80kg capacity. Dacia will sell you various accessories to make use of it, including a two-person pop-up tent.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
As the least-expensive new seven-seater you can get in the UK, the Dacia Jogger was never going to get anything less than five stars here. Finance costs for the Jogger are temptingly affordable, thanks to the car’s strong predicted resale values. Even if you opt for the hybrid on a PCP deal with a 10% deposit, the monthly cost is far lower than for the base VW Touran on the same loan terms. See our New Car Deals pages for the latest prices.
The Jogger's fuel economy is respectable for the MPV class, with the TCe 140 Hybrid proving particularly efficient around town, with more than 60mpg easily achievable. On average, though, we only managed 44.7mpg on a route that consisted of town, A-road and motorway driving, which is less impressive for a hybrid. We also had a go in the TCe 110, and found the average fuel economy to be not too far behind that of the hybrid.
For company car users, the hybrid is the best option because of its relatively low CO2 emissions and subsequent low tax rates. If you only cover short distances, it's worth considering the all-electric Citroën e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Rifter or Vauxhall Combo Life Electric for even lower tax bills.
Equipment, options and extras
The Jogger's entry-level Essential trim comes with quite a lot of equipment, including 16in steel wheels with wheel trims, keyless entry, cruise control, rear parking sensors, LED headlights, manual air-conditioning and basic infotainment.
Even so, we’d recommend going for Expression trim if you can – it’s still amazing value, but comes with lots of extra toys. They include front and rear parking sensors, heated and electronically-adjusted wing mirrors and automatic windscreen wipers. It also adds an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment, blind-spot monitoring and a helpful reversing camera.
Extreme adds 16in alloy wheels and a copper exterior and interior trim package, heated front seats, second row seat-mounted trays and wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay. If you enjoy outdoor pursuits, the Jogger is also available with the optional ‘Sleep Pack’, which adds a 220-litre storage box that can fold out into a bed.
That places it above all of its direct competitors, with Citroën placing just below in 11th place, Volkswagen down in 22nd and Ford way down in 27th.
The Jogger comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, and that can be extended to six years or 100,000 miles for a reasonable cost. The TCe 140 Hybrid also gets an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the battery.
Safety and security
Now, while everything has been sounding pretty good up to this point, the Jogger scored a very disappointing one star out of five when it was tested for safety by Euro NCAP. It was deducted a star for the lack of a seatbelt reminder for the third row of seats, and did badly for pedestrian protection and safety assistance.
Every Jogger is fitted with tyre-pressure monitoring, six airbags, hill-start assist, Isofix child-seat mounts for the outer two places in the second row, and e-Call emergency assistance. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is included too, but it doesn't recognise pedestrians – another factor in the one-star rating. Mid-range Essential trim adds blind-spot monitoring.
The Ford Galaxy and the Touran have expired NCAP ratings, but if they were tested today, they would probably score poorly compared with newer models.
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No. Despite the raised ride height, chunky roof bars and black plastic body cladding, the Jogger isn't available with the additional traction benefit of four-wheel drive (much like the rest of the MPV class).
Yes. You’ll need to put down an advance payment of around £1500, but you can have either our preferred Expression trim, or a top-of-the-range Extreme SE on the scheme.
Yes. By removing the rearmost seats and folding down the middle row, you can lay out a sleeping bag in the near 2m of space between the tailgate and seats. A four-person tent option you can clip on to the back might be available as an accessory in the future.
|RRP price range||£18,295 - £23,995|
|Number of trims (see all)||3|
|Number of engines (see all)||2|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, hybrid|
|MPG range across all versions||48.7 - 57.7|
|Available doors options||5|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£1,082 / £1,220|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£2,164 / £2,440|