Dacia is one of those brands that show that things can be done differently. While the entire car world premiums that it is a delight, the Romanians pride themselves on an excellent ratio between price and quality. And they manage to maintain that ratio regardless of the powertrain, because in addition to the ever-popular Sandero with combustion engine, the electric Spring also boasts a remarkably acceptable price tag. So guess what happens when Dacia shows up with a hybrid for the first time…
However, that hybrid comes in a recognizable jacket, because in front of us is the now well-known – and secretly loved – Jogger. It combines the recently renewed snout of the Sandero Stepway with a body that is almost half a meter longer, without making the overall picture seem uncomfortable. Admittedly, the fact that the windows of the rear doors are just that little bit higher than the front ones must be attributed to its rugged character, but that is made up for by the handsome vertical taillights that are not at all copied from Volvo.
Inside it’s all about Sandero, but that doesn’t have to be a problem. The dashboard looks nice and modern with its 8-inch touch screen, while the more traditional customer can still operate the climate control by means of large, easy rotary knobs. Only when you start to feel, do you start to feel what Dacia has saved on: the use of materials. The plastic on top of the dashboard is even so cheap that it reflects the sunlight blindingly on the inside of the windscreen… However, that is almost the only thing you can see in the budget image, because otherwise you will be particularly impressed in this Hybrid 140- version pampered by a 7-inch digital driver display from the racks of mother hen Renault.
That is not the only thing that the Romanian engineers have blindly copied from their French colleagues, on the contrary. This may be Dacia’s first hybrid, but the powertrain is almost identical to the self-charging power source of the Renault Clio E-Tech. This Dacia also has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder petrol engine that is connected to an electric motor by means of a remarkably compact six-speed automatic transmission with so-called claw couplings. The electric motor then draws its power from a 1.2 kWh battery, which is automatically charged by recuperating braking and rolling energy on its Toyota.
We’ll spare you more technical details, but the result is a car that can switch between electric drive and petrol power in a relatively smooth way. If both engines work together, this Hybrid 140 can unpack with – you’ll never guess – about 140 horsepower, making this the strongest Jogger in the range. The torque then peaks at 205 Nm, and together those figures take the Jogger to 100 km / h in 9.8 seconds. More than smooth enough for a spacious family car, and the fact that the powertrain has been around for a few years also inspires confidence in terms of reliability.
Up to 80% silence
However, this Hybrid 140 seeks its main raison d’être in its efficiency. For example, Dacia reports that the electrified Jogger would cover 80% of its city kilometers electrically, although that naturally drops considerably once you ask for more power. Our test drive, for example, consisted of a healthy combination of city roads, rolling country roads and highways, and the consumption meter of our copy invariably fluctuated around 5 l / 100 km. We even occasionally gave the engine the spurs, but despite the fact that the Jogger continues to steer quite predictably, such a Hybrid 140 version naturally does not encourage sporty driving. Secretly, the opposite is even true, because the six-speed automatic transmission often reacts a bit surprised when you step on the gas.
This is also the only Jogger that is available with an automatic transmission, which in turn benefits the peace inside. This is especially the case when the car briefly runs in its pure electric mode, because once the combustion engine kicks in, it is quite loud. And while we are nitpicking: the Jogger Hybrid is perhaps a little less pleasant on a bumpy road surface. The hybrid powertrain makes this variant 180 kilograms heavier than a copy with just a thousand euros in the front, and Dacia’s engineers had to compensate for this by making the suspension 10% stiffer. So you feel that if you really pay attention, but let’s be honest: how much comfort do you really expect from a Dacia?
No bald carriage
Furthermore, this Hybrid remains of course completely a Jogger. This copy is also available with seven seats, despite the extra battery under the boot floor. The rear seats do not fold away under that bottom, but you have to remove them by means of old-fashioned manual labor when you do not need them for a while. If you do that, you will have a nice 708 liters of trunk space. With all the seats in place, you have room in the back for at most a few backpacks, but then two more or less fully grown people will fit on the third row of seats. The picture would have been just a bit more complete if you could move the three-seater sofa forward or back to provide extra space for those rear occupants, but well: you can’t want everything in this price range.
Because in addition to its economical powertrain, its seven seats and its homogeneous looks, this Dacia has another trump card up its sleeve, and that is its price tag. You can already take a Jogger Hybrid home from 24,790 euros. Admittedly, that is 7,300 euros more expensive than a basic Jogger with a petrol three-cylinder, but where else can you find a full-fledged hybrid with seven seats for less than 25,000 or even 30,000 euros? For that money you don’t just get a bare carriage either, because the hybrid powertrain is only available from the ‘Expression’ trim level. That offers cruise control, parking sensors and the 8-inch infotainment system with smartphone connectivity as standard, while the hybrid automatically adds the digital driver display, an electric handbrake and of course the automatic gearbox.
If you think ‘Dacia’, you think ‘affordable’, and the brand has succeeded again with this Jogger Hybrid 140. For example, 25,000 euros may not be cheap by Dacia standards, but in hybrid land 25,000 euros is not yet sufficient for a basic Yaris. And even though you feel here and there where the Romanians have saved; something tells us that a lot of interested people won’t let that stop them at all.
1.6L four-cylinder petrol + electric motor
Price basic model
€ 24 790.00
Average test consumption