It’s all about the outdoorsy stuff with Dacia. The Duster is the go-anywhere off-roader that won’t break your wallet - and then there’s the Jogger. If you like large, open spaces, this has to be the car for you. For a start, it is a large open space, and while it doesn’t have four-wheel drive to take you places that the Duster will, there’s something new that’ll at least aim to get you farther into the wilderness.
Both the Duster and the Jogger, along with the Sandero Stepway, are available with a new Extreme trim option (this replaces Extreme SE), but with the Jogger and Stepway it includes Extended Grip as standard. Extended Grip tweaks the stability control to help the front wheels dig in harder on slippery surfaces. Will it make that much difference? Probably not - but who cares, that’s not the highlight of the press release. Nor is the Extreme trim’s posh, country-gent paint scheme of Cedar Green with the Copper Brown embellishments – that includes the mirror caps and Dacia tailgate logos. It's not even the soft, velvet-like but hard-wearing interior trim.
Nope, the main event is the Sleep Pack, which converts the humble Jogger into a mobile bedroom. Seriously. Now, this being Dacia, it’s not what you’d call glamping. There’s no draw that slides smoothly out, presenting you with a well-kitted-out kitchen complete with gas hob and Nesprsso coffee machine, and there’s definitely no mention of a memory foam mattress with Egyptian cotton bed sheets.
What this appears to be (having watched a video about it) is an Ikea-style plywood box that sits in the boot. It has a door, behind which is a void big enough for your watersports gear – after all, that’s the sort of caper these outdoor types get up to of a weekend – and when you fold down the rear seats the other side of the plywood box extends out to the back of the front seats to form a flat, level surface. Once you’ve shoved some cushions on the top, voila: a bed, and a bloody big bed at that. Apparently, it’s got enough space for two. The whole process takes mere minutes and there are blackout blinds for all windows that ‘offer privacy and light control.’
The only downsides are you have to remove the third row of seats before you can get the 220-litre, 50kg-box fitted on board, and while Dacia claims, ‘it still offers a surprising 60cm of headroom limiting the chances of anything going bump in the night,’ that doesn’t sound awfully generous to me. Put it this way, I am 191cm, and the only way 60cm of headroom could ever sound generous is during a potholing experience. So maybe I’d be better off in the smart tent, which is something else that’s available. That fits onto the Jogger’s open tailgate, but just make sure you’re really in the middle of nowhere when you use it. Otherwise, some halfwit walking past might shut the boot on you in the early hours, which really will mean a bump in the night.
The new Jogger Extreme costs £19,445 and is available to order from today, but the Sleep Pack won't be coming until the second quarter of the year. The Sandero Stepway Extreme is £16,745 and the Duster Extreme is £19,695.
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