We’ve been testing Dacia’s first ever hybrid electric model in Lisbon, the Jogger Hybrid 140. When launched the Dacia Jogger quickly proved itself to be an interesting MPV. The 4,547mm long car, Dacia’s longest, offers great carrying capacity at a budget price point in a sector where there are very few alternatives. Jogger in Ireland comes in seven-seat guise with a tiny boot (212 litres). If you take out the third row seats it becomes a five-seater with a vast boot (699 litres). Fold the second row and there is up to 2,085 litres of cargo space available. Dacia says almost 60 seat configurations are achievable.
The entry Jogger model (see our review) has a manual gearbox but this new full hybrid version is an automatic. The Hybrid gets a more powerful petrol engine taken from the current generation of Renault power plants. Jogger Hybrid’s 1.6 litre pushes out a very healthy 140hp – making it a sufficiently brisk car, thanks in no small part to its relative lightweight construction (circa 1.4 tonnes). About town you can travel in electric mode for brief periods at up to 70km/h, with CO2 emissions quoted at 112g/km – impressive. Average fuel consumption is quoted at 5 l/100km.
Dacia stylists found the middle ground between an estate and SUV when they styled the exterior. The Jogger rides higher than a regular hatchback car with 200mm ground clearance, and while the driver doesn’t get an SUV-like driving position the view of the road and surroundings is good. The Jogger Hybrid will come to Ireland with two grades. Standard specification is good with auto air conditioning, cruise control / limiter, rear parking sensors and rear parking camera, automatic headlights and wipers, blind spot warning, keyless entry, heated and electrically-adjustable door mirrors, ‘Media Display’ with 8-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Expression is Jogger Hybrid’s entry point grade, while the Extreme SE model (includes Media Nav upgrade / heated front seats / black alloys etc.) is the most impressive and the one to get if you want the car to look its best, topping the range. There is only one factory option and that’s metallic paint!
On the road Jogger Hybrid is surprisingly composed and civilised. The standard manual entry model Jogger does a good job of hauling itself and occupants around but the Hybrid has enough poke to make you not think about what is under the bonnet or feel it could do with a few more horses in the stable. On paper a 0-100km/h time of 10.1 seconds doesn’t sound overly brisk these days – but it feels it in the Jogger Hybrid. Top speed is 176km/h. The auto gearbox is smooth and despite its low kerb weight doesn’t lurch between gear shifts. The car has enough power to do everything you want to do and will perform well at motorway speeds. At its European launch I particularly enjoyed joining motorways stress-free, as its acceleration allowed effortless merging with fast flowing traffic.
The Hybrid has a floor mounted gear lever that has no manual gear selection feature but does have a ‘B’ (brake region) position a single pull away from ‘D’. Jogger’s long (2.9m) wheelbase means that the ride feels composed and when cornering with gusto you really feel there is no chance of the car swapping ends. The car is quite narrow too and this makes manoeuvring in tight lanes and parking spaces relatively easy next to the current crop of broad SUVs. The Jogger Hybrid delivers a refreshing ease of use that you simply wouldn’t expect from a budget offering and will make this version an instant hit with families and taxi drivers.
The Jogger Hybrid will, we expect be offer excellent value for money and this will attract drivers looking for a car that has tons of space and doesn’t cost the earth. In terms of how Dacia has packaged the Jogger Hybrid, there is no compromise on space despite the addition of a 1.2 kW / 230v battery pack that forms a key part of the two motor hybrid system. The larger traction motor adds 49hp (the other motor acts as a starter/generator). Towing capacity in the Hybrid takes a modest hit dropping from 1,200kgs to 750kgs.
The Jogger Hybrid’s powertrain features relatively low emissions and is frugal too. the hybrid jogger features Garcia’s new corporate identity this in the grill, which is that bit more prominent with white paint used for budget.
The elephant in the room with Jogger concerns is poor NCAP crash protection rating. When you dig deeper you see that the car itself performs adequately and it is the lack of seat belt warning chimes for the 6th and 7th seats that degrades its overall score. Could Jogger be safer? Yes, but it is a budget offering and much in line with the sector.
Budget brand Dacia has come a long way in a relatively short period of time in Ireland. It launched in 2013 with the Duster, and now over 30,000 Dacias have been sold here. The Dacia Jogger Hybrid is a prime example of a car offering value for money. The Jogger Hybrid will arrive into Ireland in July 2023, and its pricing will be announced then but we expect it to be no more than 3 to €4,000 more than the standard manual Jogger. The Jogger Hybrid, to put it in a nutshell, is now Dacia’s best car.