Dacia Jogger Hybrid
More for less
Dacia is off to a good start: in fact, the Jogger offers lots of car per euro. The Jogger is a mid-size estate car built in height. That hints at the fact that everything is about interior space. The observant viewer will also notice that the Jogger has the new Dacia logo on the nose.
From both the inside and outside, the Jogger is certainly not ugly, but everything is obviously about space and price. When choosing materials, the focus was always on solidity, not beauty. Yet the Jogger by no means gives the impression of a budget car were savings have been made in every possible way. The Jogger is, however, a simple car.
The space in the front is good. Thanks to its tall build, the Jogger has easy entry and a slightly better overview of traffic than a traditional hatchback. Rear seat space is excellent. Depending on the chosen version, the Jogger comes with a second rear seat. Even here, adults can sit comfortably, which makes the Jogger unique of its kind. Only giant SUVs costing a multiple of the Jogger can even approach this space!
Because alternative propulsion was already taken into account in the initial design, the boot space of every Jogger is the same. In petrol-powered versions, a spare wheel is located under the boot. In the LPG version, it is a gas tank and in this hybrid, a battery (capacity: 1.2 kWh).
For this test, the French spec "Expression" version was driven and it offers everything that can be expected from a modern car, without any fuss. There is no climate control system, for instance, on which the desired temperature can be set, but there is a simple heating and air conditioning system that must be controlled by the occupants themselves. The engine is still started by inserting a key in the lock and turning it. The test car is equipped with audio, communication and sat nav and this too is just a little simpler than average. However, this was experienced as an advantage as it is also easier to operate as a result.
Two things stand out in the interior: the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel has been replaced by a display and the gear lever on the centre console has been replaced by a selector lever for an automatic. And both have to do with the hybrid drive! With multiple engines up front, a single tachometer no longer suffices, so it has been replaced by a "power gauge". Apart from a fuel gauge, the Jogger hybrid has a battery gauge, so the driver knows what contribution can be expected from the electric motors.
Please note the plural form: electric motors. This is because the Jogger Hybrid is powered by one petrol engine and two electric motors. This choice was obviously made not for maximum performance, but because it would be more efficient. To transmit the power of multiple engines to one axle, many manufacturers opt for a costly and complex "planetary system" that must then be coupled to a continuously variable transmission. Renault, Dacia's parent company, has developed an inexpensive alternative. A small electric motor is placed in the gearbox that catches the speed differences and makes complicated technology unnecessary. Another way to save: the petrol engine has no turbo and, thanks to its tamer nature, is easier to combine with an electric motor.
This hybrid powertrain, also found in the Renault Clio and Renault Captur, develops 140 hp. This makes it the most powerful Jogger, the only engine variant with an automatic transmission and, on paper, the most economical version. In practice, it is noticeable when which engine provides the drive, but this difference is never disturbing. So the electric motor in the gearbox does its job properly! On the road, it is noticeable that the character of the hybrid differs from the other Joggers. Because those have a turbo engine, they build up their power more eagerly as the revs increase. As a result, they feel faster than they actually are. The hybrid, on the other hand, moves distinctly smoothly and has more grandeur.
For this test, we drove a demanding route with mountains, city traffic and motorways. Despite this, the promised consumption of 5 litres per 100 km could not only be achieved, but even improved! This is thanks to the Jogger's above-average all-electric drive in city traffic. After a good hour of city driving, the trip computer showed at just 3.5 litres per 100 km. Only after covering a long distance at high speed on the motorway did the final consumption rise to 4.7 litres per 100 km.
The Jogger is meant to be a family car and therefore does not have pronounced handling. This is a car that almost cancels itself out, like a household appliance does its job without fuss. The same goes for the hybrid, but there is a difference from the combustion-only versions. The battery (and possibly the third row of seats!) makes the Jogger noticeably heavier. However, that also makes for more stately handling and so could even be explained as an advantage!
Does the Dacia Jogger Hybrid offer more for less? Yes and no. The negative part: the extra price for the hybrid drive is hefty. That would already make it difficult to recoup the extra investment. However, the Jogger is also available with LPG, making the tipping point much higher still. Thereby, the towing weight is much lower than with conventional engines.
This is offset by positive changes, as the hybrid offers much more comfort than the standard Jogger. This is thanks to the automatic transmission, the ease with which the car performs and thus the peace of mind on the road. The hybrid drive does not affect the space, which is and remains outstanding. In short: the Jogger Hybrid does offer more for less, but more space and more comfort for less money.
- Low price
- Very spacious
- Hybrid drive ensures more comfort and lower consumption
- Low towing weight
- Extra cost barely recoverable
- Noticeably heavier than standard Jogger