Dacia Jogger long-term test: report 1

The Dacia Jogger is one of the cheapest seven-seaters you can buy, but how will it fare as a photographer's apprentice? We're living with one to find out...

Dacia Jogger long-term test car front driving

The car Dacia Jogger 1.0 TCe 110 Extreme SE Run by Max Edleston, senior photographer

Why it’s here To show that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a spacious and practical seven-seater

Needs to be Capable of swallowing all of my luggage, comfortable over long distances and able to function as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 4883 List price £22,595 Target Price £22,595 Price as tested £22,595 Test economy 45.0mpg Official economy 48.7mpg Options None

23 September 2023 – Whistle while I work

When I was a child, I remember watching the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with glee. And if Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy had decided to carpool rather than walk to work (no doubt whistling all the way), I reckon my new Dacia Jogger would have been an ideal choice.

For starters, there’s the simple fact that it has enough seats for all of them. But it’s also an absolute bargain – costing around half as much as the rival Mercedes B-Class or Volkswagen Touran – so they wouldn’t have had to strike it lucky down the mine before they could afford one.

Dacia Jogger long-term test car rear

That value element was key to me choosing a Jogger, too. And once I’d made that decision, speccing the car was refreshingly simple. There are only two engines options – a 109bhp 1.0-litre petrol and a 138bhp 1.6-litre hybrid – and I went for the former, because I spend most of my time on the motorway, where hybrid power isn’t very efficient.

The good news is it’s a decently peppy engine, although it needs a lot more revving to get up to motorway speeds than the punchy 1.5-litre diesel I had in the Renault Kangoo van I ran previously. Choosing the petrol engine over the hybrid did mean I had to forgo having an automatic gearbox, but the six-speed manual that you get has a smooth shift action.

The Jogger’s low purchase price meant I didn’t feel bad about opting for a high trim level. Indeed, my Extreme SE example comes with everything from climate control and an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen to heated seats and keyless entry. But best of all, it brings beefed-up styling that makes this MPV look more like an SUV. Sadly, this trim has since been discontinued, but you do get a similar look with the current range-topping Extreme trim.

Dacia Jogger interior front seats

During our early trips together, I’ve been impressed with the visibility offered by my Jogger. You sit high up and the windows are big – a combination that provides an excellent all-round view. What’s more, changing lanes and manoeuvring are made easier still by the presence of a blindspot warning system, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

The driver’s seat is supportive and comfortable, plus there’s lots of adjustment for both it and the steering wheel, so finding a suitable driving position has been easy.

There are some aspects of the Jogger, though, that remind you it’s been developed to be sold at a bargain price. For example, there’s noticeably more wind and road noise than you’d find in some rivals, and while the materials used inside feel like they should stand up to working life well, they mostly consist of hard plastic.

Dacia Jogger boot open

The Jogger is already scoring big points for practicality, though. Not only does it have a big boot, but the second-row seats also fold down and the third row can be removed altogether. This means I have acres of space for my camera gear yet still get to enjoy the comforts of a car.

My Jogger will mainly be used for carrying me and my kit up and down the country to get to photo shoot locations. However, in between those jobs, I want to use the Jogger’s spacious interior to help me explore more of the UK on weekend camping trips. Only time will tell whether that experience will turn out to be a fairlytale or a nightmare.

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