Jeep Avenger SUV Review | Carbuyer

For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “Jeep” is giant, impractical SUVs with gas-guzzling engines. It may come as a surprise then that the American brand has just released its first ever electric car, which comes in the form of a small road-going crossover called the Jeep Avenger.

Strip away the new Jeep Avenger’s chunky, yet tasteful exterior and you’ll find the same underpinnings used in the Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka Electric. At launch, there is only one battery option available: a 54kWh unit (51kWh usable), which provides a range of up to 249 miles on a single charge.

Compared to the beefy Jeep Wrangler with its powerful 268-horsepower gasoline engine, the Avenger’s single electric motor lineup may seem a tad underwhelming. But given that electric powertrains produce an inherently large amount of torque, it feels more significant than you might suspect. A twin-engine, four-wheel-drive model is also believed to be in the works, with greater off-road capability.

That’s not to say Jeep has completely abandoned its off-road heritage for the standard Avenger; the American brand’s first electric car comes with a range of off-road driving modes – mud, sand and snow – meaning it’s more capable than you might expect. However, it is clear that the Avenger has been designed primarily for city streets and this is highlighted by the small SUV’s comfortable and smooth ride.

On the inside, the new Jeep Avenger takes much of its technology from the range-topping Jeep Grand Cherokee. The brand’s latest UConnect infotainment dominates the dashboard and is paired with a fully digital instrument cluster; all this makes the Avenger truly feel like a Jeep from the future, with the system itself offering an ergonomic interface and quick responses to your inputs.

As is increasingly the case with new cars, the only model available to UK buyers at launch is a limited run Jeep Avenger 1st Edition. This one comes loaded with equipment and while prices have yet to be announced, we expect it to set buyers back around £38,000. More affordable variants will almost certainly be offered in the coming months.

The Jeep Avenger isn’t the cheapest electric car, nor does it have the best range; although it should be cheap to run

As previously mentioned, the Jeep Avenger shares its platform with the Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka Electric and is the first to debut a new 54kWh battery (51kWh usable) that will be coming to these cars in the near future.

On a single charge, the Avenger is said to achieve 249 miles on the combined WLTP test cycle. This is slightly less than the 281 miles possible in the slightly larger Kia Niro EV, although it’s still more than the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense and should be enough for most city-based buyers.

In our short time with the car, we were able to get around 220 miles on a single charge – even in cold winter conditions, thanks to the handy addition of an energy-efficient heat pump. A useful feature is that you can increase the strength of the regenerative braking function, which means more charge should be retained over the course of a trip.

As standard, the Jeep Avenger gets access to 100kW DC fast charging. If you can find a compatible charger, it charges the little soft-roader from 20-80% in just 24 minutes. Of course, a much cheaper (but slower) option is to charge with a 7kW home wallbox, which should take around four and a half hours for an equivalent charge. Connecting to a standard three-pin socket takes significantly longer.

Insurance groups have yet to be announced for the Jeep Avenger; The Vauxhall Mokka Electric spans groups 21-23 out of 50, meaning the mechanically similar Jeep should be just as reasonable to insure.

The Avenger is more capable than you’d expect from a small electric crossover

At launch, all Jeep Avengers come with a single front-mounted electric motor, although its output depends on which of several drive modes you’re in. In ‘Normal’, the Avenger produces 107bhp, which drops further to just 87bhp in ‘Eco’ mode to preserve range . Both of these, as you’d expect, feel somewhat sluggish, although the instant torque available means the Avenger will still feel sprightly as it quivers between traffic lights in town.

When placed in the ‘Sport’ setting, the Avenger will produce its maximum output of 154bhp and will do 0-62mph in nine seconds. While this doesn’t sound completely mind-blowing either, the pickup from 0-30mph feels quicker than the numbers suggest, plus there’s very little whine from the electric motor, making the car feel incredibly refined. However, we think a more powerful dual-motor model would be a good addition to the range.

On a twisty road, the Avenger suffers from minimal body roll for a boxy crossover. The car’s steering is nicely weighted and as a result the Avenger feels a lot more fun to drive than its Stellantis Group cousin, the Vauxhall Mokka Electric.

In addition to the aforementioned, the Avenger also offers three additional driving modes specifically designed for slippery conditions: mud, sand and snow. Despite being front-wheel drive only, clever software means the Avenger can handle much more difficult terrain than other cars in its class. An increased ride height also helps the Jeep EV slide over larger obstacles, while a special downhill mode allows for controlled movement down a steep slope.

Jeep has equipped the Avenger with a modern and elegant interior

Thanks to lifted suspension, the Jeep Avenger is well equipped to cope with bumpy, bumpy British roads. While we’re yet to test the car on UK tarmac, our only complaint so far is that there’s a bit of wind noise above 100km/h, no doubt due to the Avenger’s boxy shape.

The Avenger’s big brother, the petrol-powered Jeep Renegade, has long felt outdated compared to the plethora of other small SUVs on sale. Thankfully, the Avenger represents a step forward for the brand’s regular models, taking technology and design cues from the larger and more expensive Jeep Grand Cherokee.

As you would expect from a Jeep, the Avenger’s interior is very functional. There are plenty of storage lockers around and there are also some physical buttons that are easy to press when driving and/or wearing gloves. While the overall design isn’t the most inspiring, everything feels solid and a handful of body-colored accents help the entire cabin feel bright.

The highlight of the interior, however, is the Avengers’ UConnect infotainment system. The central touchscreen is mounted on top of the dashboard and measures 10.25 inches in diameter and comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. If you’d rather not use your phone, the Avenger also has built-in TomTom navigation, and the system is generally smooth and easy to use.

Next to the main touchscreen is a digital instrument cluster mounted behind the steering wheel; this measures seven inches on base cars and 10.25 inches on top models.

At launch, UK buyers have just one model to choose from: the premium and limited 1st edition. This comes fully loaded with LED headlights, the top-of-the-line infotainment set-up, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, a heated windscreen, wireless mobile phone charging, ambient lighting, a 360-degree camera system and a power tailgate.

Despite being the smallest Jeep on sale, the Avenger is surprisingly practical

Being the smallest model in the Jeep range and measuring 200mm shorter than the equivalent Peugeot e-2008, you’d expect the Avenger to offer very little in terms of passenger and cargo space. But thanks to some clever packaging, this isn’t the case.

Unlike some small SUVs like the Hyundai Kona Electric that struggle to carry four adults comfortably, the Avenger can do it easily – although passengers over six feet may struggle a bit with headroom.

The Avenger’s boot is also larger than Hyundai’s offering, with a capacity of 355 litres. While this is still less than what you’d find in a Skoda Kamiq or even a Ford Puma, it’s understandable given the Avenger’s compact dimensions. The adjustable, washable boot floor also makes carrying pets hassle-free.

Like all Jeeps, the Avenger is built tough and should be reliable

Jeep didn’t appear in our 2022 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey because the American brand doesn’t sell its cars in large enough numbers here for us to get enough responses. However, all are built to handle the toughest off-road conditions and with the inherent simplicity of electric powertrains, the Avenger should be relatively painless to own.

Jeep isn’t exactly known for top-rated safety scores – the Wrangler off-roader could only score one star when tested by Euro NCAP – but thanks to the latest technology shared between its Stellantis siblings, the Avenger should fare well when it undergoes safety testing. As standard, the 1st Edition car comes with Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities, including lane assist and adaptive cruise control.

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