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MPV and SUV tropes fuse with a compact seven-seater of likeably humble aspect

Stories of rising commercial success have been hard to find in car-industry circles these past couple of years, but there have been a few among budget brands – and none more significant than that of the Renault Group’s Romanian value marque, Dacia.

After its acquisition by Renault in 1999, this firm’s modern story began in 2004 with the launch of the first-generation, Renault-backed Dacia Logan saloon. Steady initial sales growth quickly accelerated and Dacia consolidated its position as a 500,000-units-a-year car maker (not counting commercial vehicles) in 2021.

The Jogger trounced a Volkswagen Golf R Estate for appeal to my two kids, who adored folding the middle-row seats forwards and lording it up in the back. There’s a storage cubby next to the nearside seat just large enough for a Nintendo Switch, too.

It now has one of Europe’s top-three most popular cars, in the form of the Dacia Sandero hatchback, and has just introduced its first electric car, the Spring EV. Not bad for a brand that few outside of Eastern Europe had even heard of 20 years ago.

And now, since it’s bold enough not to be bound by the trends that guide so many other volume brands, Dacia is consolidating its place in a part of the car market that many of its rivals have given up on.

The new Dacia Jogger is a seven-seat, C-segment MPV – on the face of it, the kind of car that a great many European car makers once made (think Ford Grand C-Max, Renault Grand Scénic and Vauxhall Zafira) but whose place in the market has lately been usurped by the crossover SUV.

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However, this isn’t a classic monocab MPV – and nor is it Dacia’s first MPV, although the UK market never saw either of its predecessors (the Moroccan-built Lodgy and Dokker). From its styling to its platform to its interior layout, the Jogger ploughs a new furrow.

And by doing that technically as well as stylistically, it comes to the UK market with an entry-level price that doesn’t just make it cheap – something you would expect of

a Dacia – but that also gives it a relative pecuniary advantage worth more than £10,000 compared with some seven-seat MPV rivals.

The Dacia Jogger line-up at a glance

Until the 1.6-litre hybrid comes along in 2023, there will be only one engine and transmission for the Jogger and only three equipment levels.

Entry-level Essential has no infotainment system, although it does have stereo speakers through which your smartphone can play music or digital radio. It also comes with manual air conditioning and manual cruise control, as well as automatic headlights and an AEB crash-avoidance system as standard.

Comfort cars add modular roof rails, automatic wipers, a reversing camera and touchscreen infotainment, while Extreme SE models get factory-fit sat-nav, wireless smartphone mirroring, alloy wheels and heated seats.

Engines Power From
1.0 TCe 109bhp £14,995
1.6 hybrid 138bhp tbc

Dacia Jogger First drives