From £22,9859
Tremendous large family car gets Renault’s latest hybrid tech. A successful combo?

Of all the cars so far fitted with the Renault Group’s innovative, clutchless Hybrid 140 powertrain, the Dacia Jogger seems the most logical choice. The economy marque’s C-segment seven-seater has been on sale in the UK for a year and is already selling out of its socks – so well priced that 73% of buyers are opting for top-spec Extreme with its climate control and shark-fin antenna.

Even so, economy is very much the point of cars in this price band, and the new Hybrid 140 slashes petrol consumption by 16% compared with the petrol-only TCe, and allows the car to operate on electric power only for up to 80% of its town driving.

Dacia Jogger action

Based around a docile, low-tune, non-turbo 1.6-litre engine producing 93bhp, the Hybrid 140 adds the power of two electric motors – one big and one small – to produce a total of 138bhp, which means the car will sprint from 0-62mph in a highly respectable 10.1sec and post a 110mph top speed. The combined fuel economy is 56.5mpg, while its 112g/km CO2 output undercuts that of the TCe model by 18g/km.

The hybrid system sounds complex but is impressively logical. The transversely mounted 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic dog ’box, which uses the instant torque of the smaller electric motor (a starter-generator) to fill in the torque gaps so that the gears mesh perfectly and the power progression under acceleration is seamless.

A larger electric traction motor on the other end of the gearbox from the engine contributes drive through its own two-speed gearbox, providing thrust at low speed and on a motorway cruise. A clutch isn’t needed because the car always pulls away on electric power only. There’s a freewheel that lets the car run at up to 45mph on electric power only, though this won’t be for long: the 200V battery has the relatively modest capacity of 1.2kWh.

There’s a price to pay for economy, of course. Our test car in Expression trim (the entry-level hybrid spec) cost £22,995 instead of £19,595 for the petrol-only TCe, so the hybrid margin is £3400 – which you can view either as a solid increase over the petrol alternative or an easy-to-swallow extra cost for the most frugal version of a family seven-seater that’s still a bargain. We take the latter view, and Dacia’s people expect about a third of their UK buyers to agree.

The Jogger’s model range is unchanged, with three trim levels (two for the hybrid). Even the most basic version gets modern essentials such as manual air conditioning, electric front windows, rear parking sensors and a steering column adjustable for rake and reach. The top-spec Extreme is well equipped with climate control, black alloys, better infotainment and ‘outdoor’ styling details in Copper Brown.

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Dacia Jogger interior

On the road, the Hybrid 140 is extremely easy to drive. For all its three power sources, two gearboxes and lack of a clutch, it has an entirely seamless power delivery, a brisk step-off and a long-legged cruise. Occasionally you notice a tiny surge as the powertrain does something essential, but the modest noise levels hardly change so there’s no chance of feeling which gear you are in. To the simple PRND selector quadrant, a B position is added behind D. You select it to increase engine braking and collect regenerated power more quickly.

In summary, the Jogger drives like a typical Dacia, which is to say very well. The steering is light, quite accurate at the straight-ahead and generally Renault Group-ish. The ride is flat (courtesy of the wheelbase nearing three metres) and relatively quiet for such a cheap car, though it can occasionally be a little lumpy at low speeds. There’s not much to inspire keen drivers, but plenty to please them. Which is exactly what Dacia had in mind.

Dacia Jogger static

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Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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The Apprentice 24 February 2023

I agree, and as a low cost family friendly company car its usefully 5% lower company car tax than the 1.0 manual so the extra cost would likely be negated in tax savings.

Anton motorhead 23 February 2023
At last a sensible rooomy and economical car which will satisfy the needs of most people. Looks like very good value for money and one you could easily live with. Well done.
catnip 23 February 2023

I think I'd prefer to stick with the lighter weight and less complex standard versions.

gagaga 24 February 2023

Step this way for re-education, sir.