Dacia Jogger 2022 long-term test

Dacia Jogger 2022 long-term test



Value-brand, genre-defying seven-seater arrives to carve its own cut-price niche

*Why we’re running it: *To see if this humble but capable, seven-seater Dacia Jogger is slick enough in day-to-day use 

-Month 3 - Month 2 - Month 1 - Specs-


-Life with a Dacia Jogger: Month 3-

*The Jogger's touchscreen could be better - 26 October*

Some touchscreens look neater than the Jogger’s. The one in the Porsche Taycan I drove recently sat lower, where it was easier to reach, but that left it farther from my natural line of sight, and I’d rather have arm ache than an accident. I use Apple CarPlay rather than Dacia’s software; the connection is mostly stable but crashes about once a month. 

*Back to the top*

*Another trip into the great outdoors strengthens some opinions, good and bad - 19 October*

The Jogger had its second touring trip recently when my girlfriend and I took it for a busy weekend in Pembrokeshire. It wasn’t quite as long a trip as the one I wrote about last time, to the Verdon in France. But it did involve a boot-load of camping gear, climbing kit and surfboards – and it gave more proof of this car’s excellent suitability for those with active lifestyles, who like to get out and about in beautiful open spaces.

My dream vehicle for these kinds of trips will always be a van: something you can just throw gear into and then convert for sleeping inside with the minimum of hassle. But I would say that, considering what it is and how little it costs, the Jogger did a great job of accommodating our needs.

It’s actually big enough in the boot that I haven’t yet had to explore the capabilities of the convertible roof storage system. Our tents, boards and bags went in with space to spare, and when the weather is warm and the stars are out, few of us really object to sleeping under canvas, do we?

We found an idyllic spot to camp close to the sea (this was a few weeks ago, before the weather turned cold, I hasten to add) and had a great time.

The area we visited is pretty easy to reach from home in Bristol, so no long days at the wheel were required this time. That was a bit of a relief because I don’t find the Jogger ideal for extended driving stints.

I’m still finding the driving position wanting for that last bit of adjustment in the steering column and headrest. In order to be close enough to the wheel, I need my seat backrest inclined quite steeply, and that tends to push my head further forwards than I find comfortable.

I’m tall, so I would’ve appreciated a seat cushion extension to support my legs on longer trips too, although some things aren’t expected on £18,000 budget cars. But I don’t see why even a pretty basic driver’s seat design couldn’t be more adjustable than this. To begin with, it didn’t bother me so much, but as time goes on, I’m finding it harder to forgive.

After we got back, normal life resumed for me and the car – which consists of a lot of motorway miles back and forth to jobs and not very much transportation of people in between, which I expect most Joggers would be more likely to do. On the one hand, I guess that’s allowing parts of the car a fairly easy time, with no kids to scuff the mouldings with their feet, to wear out the back seat cushions or to fill the rear storage areas with empty drinks containers, apple cores and crisp dust.

But my camera bags aren’t such a bad substitute for passengers in some ways, belted in the back, where I can more easily access them than I would if they were buried in the boot. The one exception came the other day, when we picked up one of my girlfriend’s friends. She’s not a car lover by any means, but people like that are so often the best judge of cars, because they come with so few preconceptions.

The Jogger made a good first impression on her, suffice to say. She wouldn’t have recognised it, or the Dacia badge on the bonnet, which probably wouldn’t have meant much to her even if she had. But she just hopped in the front and was kind enough to say what a nice, neat car we had, with all the features you would want on one.

The Jogger is a pretty ordinary car when you really get to know it: versatile, of course, and surprisingly likeable and engaging to drive, too – but, with a few exceptions, it’s not the kind of car that tends to win compliments from too many of the motoring journalists that my working life keeps me in touch with.

On that day, though, it wasn’t so ordinary that it failed to make an impression on an ordinary person who had just got in from the street. Our Jogger was a pleasant surprise, not some instantly cheap-looking austerity special – and I think that says good things about it.

*Love it*

*Manual gearbox*

As we’re driving more and more electric cars, a decent manual shift and a keen-revving petrol engine is a real invitation to enjoy myself.

*Loathe it *

*Load-bay cover*

The load-bay cover is still pinging off in my hands, too often pulling bits of boot trim loose as it does so. An atypically poor bit of design. 

*Mileage: *16,147

*Back to the top*

*Is our bargain MPV really such a great seven-seater? - 5 October *

My first occasion to actually put passengers in the third row of our Dacia Jogger presented itself recently when driving some friends on a night out. All were fully grown adults (or at least claimed to be), but even those who had to travel in the very back didn’t complain about the space they had, or how easy it was to get in and out, which impressed me.

You just expect seven-seaters of this size to effectively cater only to kids in row three. While that’s broadly true of the Jogger, it also seems ready to transport bigger sixth and seventh occupants fairly well on shorter trips.

I’ve written previously about spending time as a passenger in the car’s second-row seats myself and having enough room there – which, as a 6ft 4in bloke, isn’t to be taken for granted. So I would agree that this is a surprisingly spacious and well-packaged family car for its size.

But I’m beginning to wish that some of the little details of the car’s functional design had been better thought through. It must be a challenge to organise the interior design of a car at a point where you have removable flip-up third-row seats, inertia-reel seatbelts for those seats, a retractable load-bay cover and an accessible cargo area all to fit into the same space. But let’s just say the Jogger could do it better.

To start with, if like me you tend to drive with the third-row seats on board but flipped up (so as to give a usable five-seat-mode boot), you will find that the outermost extremities of the retractable load-bay cover too often snag on the third-row seatbelts as you roll it into place or roll it back.

It’s a slightly badly designed cover anyway, being unnecessarily firmly sprung and having no easily grabbable handle by which to move it. But this tendency to snag on the seatbelts, sometimes even pulling bits of boot trim off as it snaps back open (there are clips intended to secure the belts and keep them out of the way, but they don’t work well, and the trim panels to which they’re fixed aren’t so well secured themselves) makes it all the more frustrating.

Then there’s what can happen if you’re not careful when you’re flipping each seat down for an occasional third-row passenger: the rearmost lower mounts for the seats can too easily trap and then bury the seatbelt itself within the mount mechanism as they click home.

This has happened to me a couple of times. It’s frustrating if you haven’t noticed until your passenger tries to belt up, because then you have to get out, open the boot and flip the seat back up again to release the thing. But my main worry, justified or not, would be about the strength of the polyester belt strap itself if you did it time and again by mistake.

It’s definitely something that I will be mindful of over the coming weeks as our test continues. Building clever seven-seater versatility into a car isn’t easy. The Jogger isn’t quite Dacia’s first try, and in some ways it does it well. Where the not-so-clever elements are concerned, however, knowing about them is half the battle. 

*Love it *

*Engaging drive*

It’s a manual, the engine likes to rev and there’s a light touch to the controls: things that you might associate with cheap cars but that make it seem eager to please.

*Loathe it *

*Remote locking *

Renault’s keyless system is still flawed. It too often unlocks when you don’t want it to or won’t lock when you do. It needs a lock/unlock button on the door handle at least.

*Mileage:* 12,586

*Back to the top*

-Life with a Dacia Jogger: Month 2-

*Ergonomics are almost retro-styled*

Photographing details in cars often makes me suspicious of those that try to distract you from lower-rent materials with the odd flashy detail. Funny, then, that I like the Jogger’s shiny, knurled-effect climate control knobs so much. It’s partly because they’re so big and easy to get hold of but also because they look like something found in an Audi TT. 

*Mileage:* 12,338

*Back to the top*

*Our bargain utility car goes climbing, and cornering, in the south of France - 21 September*

I have just returned from a 10-day climbing excursion with friends to the spectacular Gorges du Verdon in the south of France. We put close to 2000 miles on the Jogger over that time, mixing autoroute with minor-road motoring; and camping mainly, with a few short hotel stays here and there

We relied on the car in ways I haven’t previously, and it coped amazingly well for what is a seven-seat family car that costs less than a supermini.

Getting 10 days’ worth of supplies and equipment into the Jogger’s boot gave me cause to take the third-row seats out completely for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to do, and how light they were to carry (especially compared with those in my old Ford Tourneo Connect).

Thus converted, the Jogger’s boot was able to swallow almost everything we needed for the trip, allowing for a little inevitable overspill onto the vacant back seat. I’ve put the rearmost seats back into the car since – not because I need the passenger berths (the bigger boot would be more useful for me day-to-day) but just because I don’t have anywhere suitable to store them.

Being fabric, they are not something you can keep outside, but they’re not quite small or light enough to leave in the corner of the living room either. A garage, if I had one, would be ideal.

Over the course of the trip, the car drove more assuredly than you might think. Three up and loaded, it still had more than adequate performance even with that 1.0-litre three-pot engine. The gorge roads of the Verdon are twisty and steep, and there were one or two occasions when we had smelly hot brakes, but at no point did that motor struggle; nor did the chassis, really.

My friend Jonny says the pedals are surprisingly well placed for heel-and-toe gearchanges – vital intel for potential Jogger buyers. One or two minor practicality gripes emerged, though.

That there is only one USB charging port in the car caused a queue for device charging when we spent night after night under canvas (we bought a 12V USB adaptor to double the port count); and I still don’t find the driving position as comfortable as it should be (there’s not enough steering column reach adjustment, and the front headrests only adjust up and down).

But I did find myself pretty comfy in the back most of the time, I’m pleased to say – except, perhaps, when Jonny’s driving was at its most enthusiastic, and the gorge roads were at their twistiest. 

*Love it *

*It's unrivalled *

If you have an active lifestyle like mine, this genuinely affordable and versatile car is in a class of one.

*Loathe it *

*Driving position *

Because I’m tall, I’m either too far from the steering wheel or too close to the pedals. When I wind the backrest up to mitigate this, the headrest pushes my head forward.

*Back to the top*

*Is no-frills interior common sense or an affront to the senses? - 31 August*

Life with the Jogger continues, and so far, this Romanian-built, budget-friendly, seven-seat option is proving likeable and adept.

I’ve not had the opportunity to properly stretch its 999cc, front-driven legs yet (although my colleague Felix Page has done so, the resulting 2000-mile feature appearing in last week’s issue), but hopefully that will happen soon enough – and before then, there’s plenty more worth discussing.

Starting with the interior, which is where unflattering cost-cutting is usually most apparent and is probably where most reservations harboured by any prospective Jogger buyers will reside. However, it isn’t the explosion of cheap plastics and rough fabrics that you might expect it to be. That, indeed, I was absolutely expecting it to be.

Clearly, it’s all built to a cost and in outright plushness is a step down from what you get even with the traditional master of the rational car purchase, Skoda, but there’s nothing that offends in here, and there’s actually something of modern Audi about the gearlever and the climate-control dials.

I also like the textural variety of the dashboard, which gives this monotone cabin a much-needed visual lift and mitigates some of the coarser material elsewhere. In short, I find the Jogger’s interior perfectly acceptable when it comes to ambience.

Unfortunately, I can’t quite say the same about the driving ergonomics. Visibility is fine and there’s nothing dangerous here; it’s just the driving position, which is hampered by the lack of steering-column adjustability and the fact that you can’t set these seats especially low. It means taller drivers are stuck with a short-leg, long-arm layout of the type found

in old Italian performance cars. It’s a bit van-like and not especially comfortable. However, worse still are the headrests, which I imagine wouldn’t receive the blessing of many chiropractors. They jut forward, pushing your head forward and in turn compounding my existing ‘millennial mobile phone’ neck.

The general ergonomics are better. Rear-seat space is good, and even the third row is a realistic prospect for adults, if only for journeys of up to, say, an hour’s duration. What’s really useful is that those back-row seats can be fully and easily removed from the car.

Do this, and also fold (and then tumble) the second-row seats forwards so they nestle up to the backs of the front seats, and you’ve got outright carrying capacity that’s roughly equal to what you get from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. I find this ridiculously impressive for something built on a supermini platform and a real string to the Jogger’s bow.

Assuming you have space in your house to store the rearmost seats, the car is indecently capacious but not always the most comfortable for the driver. It’s a true tool car in this respect, which is as you would expect, but when Dacia devises changes for the eventual facelift Jogger, a more car-like driving position should be top of the list. 

*Love it *


There’s no nav, but the system is otherwise modern and generally nice, and it works well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

*Loathe it*

*Driving position *

I’m not getting on particularly well with the short-leg, long-arm arrangement. The headrest pushes your head forward awkwardly, too 

*Mileage: *11,481 

*Back to the top*

*You can live easy with the Jogger - 24 August*

There are plenty of economy-spec materials in this car, unsurprisingly. You do notice it. But it’s reasonably cheerful, and if opting for the Jogger means your heating bills will be that much easier to pay this summer, more power to you. Simply, you can easily live with this in a seven-seater that costs little more than £18,000.  

*Mileage:* 1080

*Welcoming the Jogger to the fleet -17 August 2022*

As a photographer (and not in any official way a writer), I tend to leave the undercooked and overblown opinions on cars to our team of road testers. After all, it’s what they exist to do.

They possess a collective experience that you won’t find anywhere else, so if you need to know about the transient handling of a Mazda MX-5 or the steering-wheel adjustability in a Toyota Aygo, they’re usually able to enlighten you.

However, when it comes to Tardis-rivalling esoterica that doesn’t get much of the limelight but does generate cultish followings, usually by virtue of versatility and low-key personality, I have an edge: I understand these cars, having used them often, and I like them a lot.

My need to transport photography kit nationwide and my love of camping, climbing and surfing makes me the go-to custodian of such motors in the long-term fleet. In the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of running a Citroën Berlingo, a Ford Transit, a Skoda Kodiaq and a Honda HR-V.

I enjoyed them all in different ways but especially the Berlingo, whose frugality, space and truly captivating long-haul grace made it an indispensable companion for my lifestyle. One day, I will buy one.

Or will I? Not to disrespect the memory of the Citroën, but if there’s a machine to displace it at the top of my own-money buying list, it might just be the Romanian seven-seater that has recently arrived.

You may already have heard of the Dacia Jogger, because tremors of its incipient cult status are already starting to be felt. It’s a little rustic but also quite smart and extremely inexpensive for what it offers, costing less than £16,400 in its most basic Essential trim. 

Whether its legend ever surpasses that of the Skoda Yeti – that longstanding king of the plain but acceptably well-heeled high-utility class and unexpected darling of the British middle classes – remains to be seen, but it has every chance. Not least because I already like it – and, as already explained,

I get cars like these. The Jogger is neither an MPV nor an SUV, and it isn’t really a crossover either. Come to think of it, it’s sort of a stretched Yeti: long and tall but only to the extent that you might, at a distance, confuse the silhouette for that of some Volvo estate. 

Except it isn’t actually all that big. According to the road testers, the footprint is a little shorter than that of a typical C-segment MPV such as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the basic underpinnings are shared with the Renault Clio (Renault owns Dacia). So it should prove manageable.

It nonetheless features that third row of seats, which can be lifted out wholesale to create an extra-deep boot with 1800 litres of capacity. That’s basically what you get in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, which is the OG family Tardis.

It has decent ground clearance, too, which is sure to come in handy on rugged tracks down to campsites and photography locations, although you can’t currently buy a Jogger with four-wheel drive. Still, simplicity in the driveline department ought to make it frugal, and our car claims to achieve 48.7mpg combined.

So what exactly is our car? It’s a Jogger TCe 110 in mid-ranking Comfort trim. And unless you’re going to treat this as an out-and-out utility car, Comfort is probably where you would start.

Entry-level Essential doesn’t even come with an infotainment system and certain safety aids, but Comfort gets those, along with modular roof rails, automatic wipers and a reversing camera. It also gets body-coloured door mirrors and bumpers, cruise control and, handily, a tyre-pressure-monitoring system. Go for top-billing Extreme and you add alloy wheels, heated seats and touchscreen infotainment.

As for the oily bits, there’s a sideways 999cc turbo petrol engine paired with a six-speed gearbox. For now, this is the only configuration available in the UK, although a more powerful 1.6-litre hybrid will make its way here next year. Chassis-wise, there’s not even the option of adaptive dampers and the back axle is by torsion beam (although let’s not pre-judge).

What I will aim to find out over the next few months is just how well the Jogger works with sustained real- world use. Is it really comfortable enough over distance? Just how versatile is the seating? Is 108bhp enough if you have more than five people in the car or lots of kit? Is this vehicle truly spacious enough? Is the Jogger as frugal as Dacia claims?

And, let’s not forget, can this car burrow under your skin like the characterful best of its kind? Plenty of questions, and now plenty of time to find some answers. 

*Second Opinion*

I’m looking forward to borrowing the Jogger from Luc, not least to find out what the ride is like on those tiny steelies (don’t be fooled by the plastic covers!). It may be ruggedly attractive, versatile and cheap, but if this car can’t waft, I’m not really interested.  

*Richard Lane*

*Back to the top*

-Dacia Jogger 1.0 TCE 110 Comfort specification-

*Specs: Price New* £17,945 *Price as tested* £18,840 *Options *Iron blue paint £595, spare wheel £300

*Test Data: Engine* xxx *Power* 109bhp at 5000-5250rpm *Torque 148*lb ft at 2900-3500rpm *Kerb weight* 1205kg *Top speed* 114mph *0-62mph* 11.2sec *Fuel economy* 48.7mpg (claimed) *CO2 *130g/km *Faults* None *Expenses* None

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