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Dacia Jogger review

You’re looking at the world’s cheapest new seven-seater car, the Dacia Jogger, which starts from just over £15k in Britain. Part crossover and part MPV, Dacia’s big new model has a versatile interior that can be set to carry the family or stripped out to make a sort-of van. It’s brilliantly functional and great value. So where’s the catch?

Design

While the Jogger is never going to win any design awards, it’s slightly awkward shape – ensured by the attachment of a big back end to what’s fundamentally the front of a Sandero – does at least open up lots of space. And, dare we say it, the honesty of the design makes it hard to dislike the Jogger’s look. We’ll leave it up to you to have the final say.

The honesty of the design makes it hard to dislike

What’s it like to drive?

Fun. Honestly. The turbocharged 1.0-litre engine is a lot punchier than you’d expect, the six-speed manual gearbox is tight and easy to use, and the steering is fingertip light. In fact, all control weighting is light, and the ride is squidgy. Add in brilliantly comfy seats, and you could munch miles in a Jogger, no problem. We drove in urban traffic, along the motorway and then out in the country, with suitcases and a bicycle in the back, and nowhere did the Dacia break a sweat.

The turbocharged 1.0-litre engine is a lot punchier than you’d expect

Interior

Obviously, this is no Mercedes S-Class. Far from it. But the Jogger is well-equipped enough, with everything but the very base model coming with an infotainment touchscreen, climate control and a digital screen between two analogue dials in the instrument cluster. You can plug your phone into a USB port and there’s satnav on the screen. It does all it needs to.

Everything is manually operated – seats included – but it feels tough and well put together. Sure, there are exposed bits of metal where higher-spec cars would have trim covers, but the Jogger is lighter for it. And it’s honest. For just over £15k, it’s brill.

Practicality

This is the Jogger’s strongest point. It’s a proper seven seater, with a back pair of chairs that are just about big enough for adults, but are clearly intended for kids. Take them out (they can be fully removed with the press of a couple of releases) and you have yourself a five-seater with an SUV-sized boot. Fold down the middle bench and you have a van-like load space. Oh, and those roof racks are standard-fitment, plus the Jogger can tow a braked trailer of 1,200kg.

Reliability and running costs

It’s impossible to test the reliability of such a new model yet, but we do know the 1.0—litre three-cylinder that the Jogger uses from other cars, such as the Dacia Sandero. In that, it’s reliable, and during our week in the Jogger, it never so much as missed a beat. Best of all, we averaged well over 40mpg during our days of mixed driving. Cruise on the motorway and you’ll be nudging 50mpg, according to the digital readout. Happy days.

What cinch loves

It’s a bargain. For £15k starting, and even in higher versions at £17-18k, it’s a lot of car for the money. Literally and figuratively. It overdelivers in so many ways.

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Perfect for

Families

Country drivers

City dwellers

Verdict

Great!

Cheap as chips and just as much fun, too. The Dacia Jogger is a sure-fire hit and might just earn itself a cult-like status, because it’s so easy to fall for.

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