The Dacia Jogger is a practical remix of the Matra Rancho

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Don't give up on the new car market just yet, because the Dacia Jogger is shaping up to be one of the best cars of 2022.

Apologies to Club PetrolBlog member Craig Stewart for stealing the headline from one of his tweets. Like Craig, I adore the look of the new Dacia Jogger.

His tweet in full: ‘I think I'm in love with this car. It's like an actual practical remix of the Matra Rancho. There's hope for new cars yet.’ Beautifully observed, Craig, but then I'd expect nothing less from a Club PetrolBlog member.

Like the Rancho, it's hard to pigeonhole the Jogger. Dacia says it ‘redefines the 7-seat family car with a blend of estate car practicality, MPV spaciousness and SUV styling’. Pioneering a new niche is becoming increasingly difficult, even for the German brands, so why not blend three into one?

Cool Ranch Dressing

Matra-Simca Rancho

We all know that the Rancho is irreplaceable. Launched in the UK in 1978, the soft-roader was years ahead of its time, with Matra building a lifestyle vehicle for 4x4 wannabes who rarely ventured beyond the urban jungle. The press didn't get it, but this wasn't enough to stop around 57,000 Ranchos being built between 1977 and 1983.

A decent result for a car trying to carve out a new segment, if not carve out a new path through the countryside. Still, there's always been a sense that the Rancho was the right car at the wrong time. Which brings us back to the Dacia Jogger. I must remember to avoid calling it the Dacia ‘Dogger’.

It looks brilliant. A kind of beefed-up Dacia Sandero at the front, a modernised take on the original Logan MCV in profile, and a sort of Mk1 Volvo XC90 at the rear. As somebody pointed out on Twitter, the wheels could do with being a little larger, but at least it means that the ride quality should be nice and ‘French’.

Welcome to the Jungle

Rear of new Dacia Jogger

There are neat touches, like the modular roof rails, although Dacia's claim that fold-down tables on the Extreme SE model and cup holders will ‘ensure all occupants are kept entertained’ is perhaps a little optimistic. Experience shows that kids need a little more than an empty picnic table and cup holder on a long journey. Are we nearly there yet?

All UK versions will come with seven seats as standard, but removing the third row will turn the Jogger into an epic estate car. With the rearmost seats removed, the luggage capacity totals a meaningless-to-most-people 708 litres, which is more than you'll find in the really-very-spacious Skoda Superb.

Breaking my own rules about only buying the cheapest Dacia in the range, I'd have to opt for the flagship Extreme SE, if only for the heated front seats. My ideal Jogger weighs in at £17,990, including the price of optional Terracotta metallic paint. Fancy a basic Jogger? It costs a fiver less than £15,000.

Use Your Illusion

Dacia Jogger seven-seat interior

That's £15k for a seven-seater MPV-estate-SUV thingy with a punchy 1.0-litre turbocharged engine. The name rhymes with people who like to spend dark nights in forest car parks, but don't let that put you off. Just £99 secures a reservation. For the Jogger, not the dogger.

You can read about the new Dacia Jogger on a proper motoring website. In the meantime, I'm going to consider adding a Jogger to the fleet in 2022. Do you think Dacia will stick a pair of swivelling spotlights on the front wings for me? Is a Découvrable version on the cards? Can we look forward to a Dacia Jogger Grand Raid edition? So many questions.

I'll see you back at the Rancho.

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