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Dacia Jogger offers genuine 7-seater practicality at an unparalleled price. Budget family MPVs don’t get better than this.

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Mark Gallivan

Model: 2022 Dacia Jogger Extreme SE TCe110

Price: from €24,190 (26,950 as tested) in Ireland

Engine: 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder petrol, 110bhp, 200Nm torque

Performance: 0-100km in 11 seconds, 111mph top speed

Fuel consumption: 40.5mpg, 5.8 l/100km, 131g/km CO2

Verdict: Dacia Jogger offers genuine 7-seater practicality at an unparalleled price. Budget family MPVs don’t get better than this. Good to drive and shames more costly rivals.

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One true star

Giving a rude hand gesture to something or somebody holds little currency on these pages. It’s discourteous and downright bad form. No matter which circles you roam in. Thumbing one’s nose, however, well that’s a bit different. Actually, if it’s done with an impish nod, it’s decidedly good fun. Pretty much then what the people over in Dacia seem to be up nowadays.

Let me explain. Take the €15,940 Dacia Sandero and the sister baby crossover SUV Stepway. Far from been a riot of badness to drive it’s a plucky thing in which to get from A to B. When I tested the Sandero Stepway last year I said it was quite the cheeky champion. I was surprised how well it drove with such a jaunty stride. You’d think Renault – the owners of Dacia – mistakenly glued the wrong badges on. Surely that’s one of those cut price Dacia’s isn’t it? True, it’s officially Ireland’s cheapest new car at €15,940. That’s an unheard of entry price. Now Dacia has decided to go even one better. It has launched its new 7-seat five-door Jogger MPV at €24,890. Maybe this is one that has enough built-in hubris to see the Romanian manufacturer trip and fall flat on its face in front of all the cheaper 7-seat rivals?

The Jogger is powered by a surprisingly revvy 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that will happily zip up to the 6,500rpm rev limiter if provoked. Performance is decent with 109bhp though I calculated an acceleration of 0-100km in approximately 11 seconds. Usually that would be a demerit but the low kerb weight of 1,250kg belies the Jogger’s vast 7-seater load-lugging space. The car’s dynamics are predictable rather than playful with light steering and pedals. Once on the motorway or even driving up a mountain pass the engine needs to be worked quite hard to extract decent momentum. Mercifully the gearbox isn’t the horribly cumbersome affair you’d expect. It’s fluid and precise so slicing though the gears isn’t a chore.

As a tall MVP the Jogger’s handling finds its limits quickly when pushed hard. Credit is due however in how well the steering relays the messages that you’re driving too enthusiastically well in advance of needing any sudden corrective steering inputs. Only towards the end of the test did I even consider the suspension’s standard damping. It’s particularly unobtrusive and soaks up most road ruts well. The raised ride height of 200mm should also have proved a problem. But in practice it never upset the car’s composure. Dacia appears to have judged this element of the Jogger’s engineering set up well. My lasting impression is the Jogger drives better than a budget car costing under €25,000 really should.

The Jogger is based on the Sandero hatch with an extended wheelbase by 459mm from the CMF-B platform and higher roofline. Somehow it manages to cram in 7 full seats – the sixth and seventh seat being fully removable to increase the rear carrying space. With the two rearmost seats in place the Jogger can carry seven adult passengers with fewer compromises than one would imagine. The middle row seats provide similar legroom to a VW Golf. Stow the last row of seats away and 5 adults can be transported with 699 litres boot space.

The Jogger’s standard specification includes as standard, ABS and Emergency Braking System, 6 airbags/curtain bags, 2 ISOFIX points, rear parking sensors, front seatbelt pretension, alarm and remote car locking, stop/start function, hill assist, exterior LED running lights, rear privacy glass, DAB and Bluetooth. Options of media 8” Media Display and smartphone replication, 2 USB sockets + 6 speakers with Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available.

Open any review and the implied elephant in the room is the Euro NCAP 1 star awarded to the Jogger. Some common sense explanation is required here. Firstly that Euro NCAP crash test was completed using a previous test of the derivative Sandero. The Jogger has not been crash tested by Euro NCAP. Apparently the lone Star rating was arrived at using the data from the Sandero with extrapolated data from Dacia to draw the Jogger’s final crash test result. This in any debate is flawed transparency and renders the Euro NCAP results incomplete or at very best worthy of proper and fuller testing. Secondly, the lack of electronic safety kit including a seatbelt reminder for the third row of seats was a demerit for the manufacturer.

Dacia hit back stating the Jogger is safer for occupants than the Dacia Logan. Ironically the controversy has drawn focus not on the Jogger but the Euro NCAP test. Many manufacturers are struggling to add the necessary active safety equipment into their new cars to meet the Five Stars rating and deliver a car at a fair price to hard pressed consumer facing rising inflation in the EU zone. By drawing up any conclusion about the Jogger without actually crash testing the car calls into question the very integrity of the procedure itself. Safety should and always be founded on real life results not concluded findings plopped out of an unseen software programme.

In summary, the Dacia Jogger is a superb MPV and holds a charm not expected at the price. It offers unrivalled versatility and is comfortable and easy to drive. Notably the build quality is broadly as decent as more expensive 7-seat rivals. Nobody is for one moment suggesting Dacia is thumbing its nose at any rival introducing the Jogger at this price. Of course they are not. Based on this test it seems they might well be.