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Driven: 2023 Dacia Jogger Hybrid. Image by Dacia.

Driven: 2023 Dacia Jogger Hybrid
Does the more powerful, hybrid version of the Jogger make more sense than the entry-level petrol option?

   



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2023 Dacia Jogger Hybrid

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We tested the Jogger a while back, and saw that it was good. But performance was an issue, particularly with seven on board, so Dacia is now offering the Jogger with a 140hp hybrid system, designed to offer power and economy in one package. But does this version of the Jogger make sense, or should you stick with the cheaper 1.0-litre variant?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Dacia Jogger Hybrid Expression TCe 140
Price: £23,645 (as tested)
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol hybrid
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 140hp
Torque: 144Nm (petrol engine), 205Nm (electric motor)
Emissions: 112g/km
Economy: 56.5mpg
0-62mph: 10.1 seconds
Top speed: 111mph
Boot space: 160-599-1,807 litres

Styling

Externally, the Jogger Hybrid looks exactly the same as its solely petrol-powered sibling, save for a little Hybrid wording below the nameplate. Otherwise, itís business as usual, which means the Jogger has inherited Daciaís new brand image at the front. The new DC badge Ė yep, thatís what the white X is supposed to be Ė takes pride of place, while there are modern-looking lights and a new grille. As updates go, itís hardly stunning, and we thought the old car looked okay, but Dacia reckons this is an improvement. It certainly doesnít offend our eyes too much, so weíll run with it.

Especially as the Jogger isnít really designed to make a fashion statement. With its roof bars and oversized rear end, itís hardly the prettiest car on the market, but it does at least look reasonably modern. A little gawky, perhaps, but modern nonetheless.

Interior

Just as the Jogger's bodywork looks much the same in Hybrid and petrol forms, so too does the cabin. Again, Dacia's rebranding is in evidence on the steering wheel, with its stylised Dacia lettering, but the only real clues to the Hybrid's change of powertrain are the digital instrument display and the automatic gear lever. Admittedly, neither is ground-breaking, but the instrument cluster is sharp and easy to read, which stands it in good stead.

As before, the cabin is not the most generously upholstered thing in the world, and there are some hard plastics in evidence, but what do you expect in Britain's cheapest seven-seater? Quality is generally pretty good, and though the doors sound a bit tinny, the dashboard largely feels solid and robust. There's even a swathe of cheap and cheerful cloth trim to brighten things up a bit, which is a remarkably pragmatic and wallet-friendly idea.

Instrument display aside, the tech is a bit ropey, because the touchscreen doesn't do all that much and it looks a bit last-generation, but you can plug a phone in for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connectivity, and that's much more like it. So while it may not be perfect, it does the job well enough.

Practicality

The Joggerís biggest boon is the amount of space inside, which is enough to seat seven adults in comfort. The rearmost seats are surprisingly commodious, and even tall adults will be quite happy back there on anything less than a medium-sized journey. Use those back seats and you get a 160-litre boot Ė the same size as that of the petrol Jogger Ė which is just about acceptable, but folding the rearmost seats down frees up a massive 599-litre luggage compartment. And if you want a flat boot floor, you can remove those seats altogether. Thatís a simple task, but you will need somewhere to put them.

And that isnít the limit of the Joggerís utility. Not by a long chalk. Fold down the middle row and you get a 1,807-litre space, and thereís storage space on the roof, too. Instead of selling aftermarket cross bars for the roof rails, Dacia has simply built them into the Joggerís design, with Ďmodularí roof rails that fold across the car to create a roof rack onto which you can attach your roof box. And if you want to tow, thereís a 1,200kg trailer capacity for the petrol Jogger, although the Hybrid tested here can only manage 750kg.

Performance

In essence, the Jogger's hybrid system is the same as that of the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke, which isn't necessarily a good thing. The 140hp unit combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor that's mounted in the six-speed automatic gearbox, allowing both motors to drive the front wheels.

By and large, the system is pretty effective, in that the electric motor does more of the hard work than you might expect, allowing the car to manage the best part of 50mpg on a long run. But because the petrol engine takes more of the strain at high speeds, the car can actually be more efficient around town, where the electric motor will do more of the work.

Officially, therefore, the system manages 56.5mpg on the official economy test, and the 140hp output gets it from 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds. Combine that with the automatic gearbox and this will already be the engine of choice for some Jogger buyers, but there's more to it than that.

Although the system is supposed to be more refined thanks to the electric motor, it often feels gruff and coarse in a very un-hybridish way, particularly when it's cold or when you put your foot down. The gearbox does some funny things, too, and the whole system sometimes feels slightly wide of the mark. There is something pleasant about gently humming around car parks and the like in electric mode, though.

Ride & Handling

Handling is not really the Jogger's 'thing', even in more potent 140hp form, so we'll forgive the overly light steering and the body roll that comes from such a tall body. And we'll celebrate its focus on urban comfort, with sensibly sized wheels that allow for chunkier tyres and therefore more absorption around town. That means it soaks up the bumps pretty well, and it's great over things like speed bumps, but some sharper imperfections in the surface will unsettle it slightly. That seems to be because the car is designed to carry seven people, and that means beefing up the suspension a bit. But the effect isn't disastrous, and the Jogger is a pretty comfy companion anywhere you're likely to take it, be that around town or on the motorway. It's more manoeuvrable than you might think, too, although the gear lever design makes it quite easy to select the regenerative braking mode that helps keep the battery charged, rather than conventional forward gears.

Value

Car prices have risen, and the Dacia Jogger is no longer as cheap as it once was. But itís still outrageously inexpensive for what it is. The cheapest example Ė the 1.0-litre petrol Essential Ė comes in at just under £19,000, which is less than you pay for a basic Peugeot 208. Yet you get seven seats, manual air conditioning and parking sensors, as well as Bluetooth and cruise control. This mid-range Expression version, meanwhile, starts at £20,245, but that rises to £22,995 for the hybrid. Even so, youíre getting a touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors and climate control for that money, not to mention keyless entry and a rear-view camera. Itís astonishing value.

Verdict

The Jogger is a great-value family bus, and the Hybrid system doesnít really change that too much. Yes, itís more expensive, but adding a bit more power and an automatic gearbox is welcome Ė particularly for those using the car in town or to haul seven people. Whichever engine you choose, the Jogger is brilliant at what it does, which is provide family transport for those with more sense than money.



James Fossdyke - 24 Dec 2023



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2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.

2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.2023 Dacia Jogger Expression Hybrid 140. Image by Dacia.








 

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