Jeep Avenger long-term test: report 1

The Avenger is Jeep's first electric SUV, but can it tempt a new wave of buyers to consider the iconic American brand? We're living with one to find out...

Jeep Avenger front three-quarters

The car Jeep Avenger Summit Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To see if the trendy Avenger can successfully forge new ground for Jeep and to see how it stacks up against its many polished electric SUV competitors

Needs to dispatch commuting, work and family life without any range anxiety issues and cope with a wide variety of everyday duties 

Miles covered 1089 Price £39,600 Target price £39,017 Price as tested £42,125 Official range 244 miles Test range 183 miles Options Bi-colour paint £1100; Black leather seats £900; Infotainment pack £500; Puncture repair kit £25

17 January – Welcome to the Jeep seats

What’s in a name? Quite a lot if the very mention of it conjures up an image of a 4x4 off-roader as American as apple pie. In your mind, a Jeep is powered by a rather old-fashioned fossil-fuelled engine pumping out enough surplus oomph to push a heavyweight workhorse the size of a small house up the steepest of inclines and across the most rutted of fields. 

It’s one of the most well-known of American brands, but it’s never before made an electric car, or a road car as small as my new Avenger. In many ways, this is not just a subtle addition to the range, this is a full paradigm shift – it may be the first electric Jeep, but it certainly won’t be the last.  

I was so intrigued by this shift that I had to have one. Of course, my Avenger shares many parts with other small electric SUVs that are all also, like Jeep, part of the empire of brands known as Stellantis – cars such as the Peugeot e-2008 and the Vauxhall Mokka Electric.

This is in truth a thoroughly European Jeep, one designed and made in Europe and one that won’t make it anywhere near the US of A. You can even buy a conventional petrol-powered or hybrid version of it, too, and in time a more off-road-focused version. 

Jeep Avenger panning shot left

My electric Avenger sure as hell looks like a traditional Jeep, though, and it’s none the worse for that, from its seven-slot grille to its pert rump and X-style taillights. Its rugged styling and neatly proportioned stance are appealing.

It’s also only a fraction over 4m long, about the same as a Volkswagen Polo, so it just looks like a Jeep that's a little bit closer to you than you thought. To be so compact and yet pull off such butchness is a very clever design trick.

Underneath is a motor that pumps out a useful 154bhp, fed by a comparatively modest 51kWh battery. That smaller battery means it can fully charge in good time, so from a public rapid charger it can run up from 10% to 80% in around 25 minutes, while a full charge from a 7kW home charger will take around eight hours.

The Avenger’s overall weight at just over 1500kgs is good for this class, too, so its performance is sound if not stunning - it’ll top out at 93mph and see off the 0-60mph sprint in 8.7sec, according to our figures.

Jeep Avenger over the shoulder

Officially, my car in Summit trim (there are two lesser-equipped trims below it, Longitude and Altitude) can go for up to 244 miles on a full charge. In our hands, we found around 183 miles in warm weather a more realistic range, which is a good if not outstanding figure.

I shall hope to better that in long-term use, because using public chargers gets me down, and I am one of those who once embarked on a medium to long-length journey feel inclined not to stop. It's handy, then, that I can charge at home and at the What Car? office.

As mentioned, I’ve gone for a top-spec car, so at least I’ll have plenty of toys to play with if I do have to stop and charge. All Avengers come with keyless entry, climate control and a battery heat pump, while my Summit car adds larger 18in alloys, heated front seats, front and side sensors, blind-spot monitoring and a rear-view camera. 

Jeep Avenger climate control buttons

First impressions are certainly favourable. The interior’s cheerful, for starters, helped by the splash of colour that the yellow dashboard brings. There is also deep joy to be had in the knowledge that you adjust the climate control through physical buttons below the 10.25in touchscreen rather than going through it to change temperatures, one of my bugbears.

The driving position’s also spot on, and I’ve gone for the optional black leather seats with grey stitching in mine, to spoil myself. 

But some questions beg to be answered. Is my compact electric SUV a proper Jeep, and with its Avenger nametag should I be expecting marvels, or will my Steed let me Downey? Well, I know already it’s cute, stylish and good to drive, so come what may I’m already looking forward to the next few months. 

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