“The Jeep Avenger is a refreshing take on the small electric SUV, although early models look expensive”

Pros

  • Chunky styling
  • Strong tech offering
  • Off-road capability

Cons

  • Could do with more power
  • Some rivals have more range
  • Launch models are expensive

For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody mentions ‘Jeep’ are giant, impractical off-roaders with gas-guzzling engines. It may then come as a surprise that the American brand has just released its first-ever electric car, coming in the form of a small road-going crossover called the Jeep Avenger.

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

Compared to the full-fat Jeep Wrangler with its punchy 268bhp petrol engine, the Avenger’s single electric motor setup may seem a tad underwhelming. However, given electric powertrains produce an inherently large amount of torque, it feels more substantial than you might suspect. A dual-motor, all-wheel-drive model is also thought to be in the works, with greater off-road prowess.

That’s not to say that Jeep has abandoned its off-road heritage for the standard Avenger entirely; the American brand’s first EV comes with a slew of off-road driving modes – Mud, Sand and Snow – meaning it is more capable than you might expect. However, it’s clear that the Avenger has been designed primarily for the city streets and this is highlighted by the small SUV’s comfortable and smooth drive.

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On the inside, the new Jeep Avenger takes much of its technology from the range-topping Jeep Grand Cherokee. The marque’s latest UConnect infotainment dominates the dashboard and is paired with a fully-digital instrument cluster; all of this makes the Avenger truly feel like a Jeep from the future, with the system itself offering an ergonomic interface and snappy 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 comes fully loaded with equipment and while prices are 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.

Range, charging & running costs

The Jeep Avenger isn’t the cheapest EV, nor does it have the best range; although it should be inexpensive 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) which is set to come to those 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 sufficient for most city-based buyers.

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In our brief time with the car we were able to get around 220 miles on a single charge – even in cold, wintery conditions, thanks to the handy addition of an energy-efficient heat pump. One useful feature is that you’re able to increase the strength of the regenerative braking function, meaning more charge should be retained over the course of a journey.

As standard, the Jeep Avenger gets access to 100kW DC rapid charging. If you’re able to find a compatible charger, this will charge the small soft-roader from 20-80% in just 24 minutes. Of course, a much cheaper (yet slower) alternative is to charge using a 7kW home wallbox, which should take around four and a half hours for an equivalent charge. Plugging into a standard three-pin socket will take 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.

Electric motor, drive & performance

The Avenger is more capable than you might 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 the several drive modes you are in. In ‘Normal’, the Avenger outputs 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 that’s available means the Avenger will still feel nippy when darting between traffic lights in town.

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When placed into 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 exactly mind-bending either, the pickup from 0-30mph feels faster than the numbers suggest, plus there’s very little whine from the electric motor, making the car feel incredibly refined. We do feel a more-powerful dual-motor model would be a fine addition to the range, however.

On a twisty road, the Avenger suffers from minimal body lean 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.

Other than those previously mentioned, the Avenger also offers three more driving modes that are specifically designed for slippery conditions: Mud, Sand and Snow. Despite only being front-wheel-drive, clever software means the Avenger can deal with much trickier terrain than other cars in its class. An increased ride height also helps Jeep’s EV to glide over larger obstacles, while a special hill descent mode allows for controlled movement down a steep decline.

Interior & comfort

Jeep has outfitted the Avenger with a modern and stylish interior

Thanks to lifted suspension, the Jeep Avenger is well-equipped to deal with bumpy, pothole-laden British roads. While we are yet to try the car on British tarmac, our only complaint thus far is that there is a little bit of wind noise when driving over 60mph, no doubt due to the Avenger’s boxy shape.

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

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As you’d expect from a Jeep, the Avenger’s interior is highly functional. There’s plenty of storage cubbies dotted around and there are some physical buttons too, which 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-coloured accents help the whole cabin feel bright.

The highlight of the interior, however, is the Avenger’s UConnect infotainment system. Mounted on the top of the dashboard, the central touchscreen measures 10.25 inches in diameter and comes as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. If you’d rather not use your phone, the Avenger also has built-in TomTom sat-nav, and the system overall is slick and easy to use.

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Alongside the main touchscreen is a digital instrument cluster that’s mounted behind the steering wheel; this measures seven inches on base cars and 10.25 inches on top-spec models.

At launch, UK buyers only have one model to choose from: the range-topping and limited-run 1st Edition. This comes fully loaded with LED headlights, the top infotainment setup, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, a heated windscreen, wireless mobile phone charging, ambient lighting, a 360-degree camera system and a powered bootlid.

Practicality & boot space

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. However, thanks to some clever packaging, this is not the case.

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Unlike some small SUVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric which struggle to carry four adults in comfort, the Avenger can do so easily – although passengers over six feet may struggle a tad with headroom.

The Avenger’s boot is also larger than Hyundai’s offering, measuring 355 litres in capacity. 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 it fuss-free to carry pets.

Reliability & safety

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

Jeep did not appear in our 2022 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey as the American brand does not sell its cars in great enough numbers here in order for us to receive a sufficient response. All are built to withstand the most rugged off-road conditions though and with the inherent simplicity of electric powertrains, the Avenger should be relatively painless to own.

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

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