BY BRIAN BRYNE
THERE’S a lot of good to say about Dacia’s Jogger, especially that there’s a lot of car for the money. And a lot of seats — the Jogger comes as a 7-seater as standard. So could suit a family on a budget that doesn’t meet the cost of one of the 7-seat crossover options.
The looks are good too — it has some style hints of a crossover, but is in fact a wagon version of the third generation Dacia Logan, which doesn’t sell here but its hatchback version does, as the Sandero and Sandero Stepway.
All of which are built on the latest Renault-Nissan common module family platform for B segment cars, underpinning Clio, Captur, and Juke as well as some Mitsubishis.
For the Dacias, their version of the CMF-B carries a suffix LS, for Low Specification, losing some of the elements of the CMF-B HS version. That’s part of why Renault can build and offer Dacia cars more cheaply. It also means high-end active driver aid systems don’t come with the Dacia package. A company spokesperson is on record as saying their customers ‘don’t chase’ the five Encap safety stars — the Sandero-Jogger loses marks for not having knee and centre airbags and only providing the mandatory automatic emergency braking and a speed-limit warning.
The very decent style of the Jogger makes it a car that enhances a driveway. Smart headlights, chunky roof rails, which on the review car cleverly can be turned into cross-rails to carry bike mounts or luggage boxes. If the family is into field events, the big tailgate makes a useful roof against rain while spectating or picnicking.
Inside, the driver and front passenger space is straight from the Sandero. A pair of analogue dials and, in the base model, a holder for your smartphone to be comms and navigation in the centre dash. In my review top range version there was a centre screen with inbuilt navigation and radio apps as well as Bluetooth linkage to smartphone systems. It’s a lower definition screen than in most modern cars but is adequate.
The middle seats roll forward to make access to the rearmost pair easy enough. Behind the two there’s a small enough cargo area, but they can be tipped forward to extend it. The budget part of this is that they don’t fold flat into the rear floor. But they can be removed, and stored in bags that come for that purpose, making the Jogger a 5-seater with a seriously big boot. Especially for what is designated a B-segment car.
The power for the Jogger is the familiar Renault-Nissan 1.0 3-cylinder 110hp petrol that punches well in its grade. Happy to spin up the revs beyond where the little upshift nagger suggests, it works better by so doing. But that does mean more noise than you might hear from the same unit in Renault and Nissan models ... part of the LS platform cuts being less soundproofing? The review car had the standard 6-speed manual, which fits well, though I found the clutch pedal a tad high for smoothest operation. My long legs are likely more the problem here.
There’s no diesel, but Dacia’s first hybrid will be a Jogger next year with the Renault E-Tech hybrid system. Consumption for the petrol one was around 6.3L/100km. Not a guzzler by any means, though I’d say both economy and relative sprightliness would be impacted by full-load driving.
I used the car on motorways and across mountains, and the Jogger is quite comfortable under any conditions. It feels solid too, and given that the brand’s models are designed for places that generally have rougher driving conditions than ours, it will likely last tough family treatment well.
There are three grades, the lowest one coming with the more spartan specification that makes it a relative bargain for size and capability. Mine was the Extreme top end, and while that brings the specification closer to that in Renault cousins, it also brings the price closer to them.
My own money would be on the automatic hybrid, which I suspect will be a Jogger moving at just the right pace in the right space.
What I liked: Style and space in a budget package.
Price: From €24,590; Review car €27,185.