Jeep Avenger long-term test: report 6

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 in the woods

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 4042 Price £39,600 Target price £39,017 Price as tested £42,125 Official range 244 miles Test range 163 miles 

16 April – Not such a reliability marvel

I’m afraid to report my Jeep Avenger has let me down again. It was spending the weekend in the hands of one of my colleagues when it refused to start or engage gear. A warning sign on the dash told us there was an electrical problem, so her shopping trip was abandoned and the car was unceremoniously towed back to What Car? headquarters. 

Jeep Avenger warning on dash

The next day, the car started and the warning sign had gone, but we let a local dealer take the car away anyway to see if they could identify the fault. Ten days later it came back, with the fault diagnosed as a software issue. ​​My car is a pre-production model, but a download means it now has the same software as the production cars you will buy, which should hopefully mean no more hissy fits. Following on from my recent problem with the infotainment display and digital dash conking out, which also left me without the car for a few days, this is a little disappointing. 

Jeep Avenger and breakdown van

Further woe ensued when the Avenger was delivered back to me. One of the drivers delivering it back had hit a pothole, damaging part of the steering system and pushing it slightly out of kilter. Sourcing and replacing the parts needed to fix this meant even more time without my Avenger.

Our colleagues at Autocar have also had problems with their Avenger. Firstly, the car failed to connect to a charger, and then wouldn't start until it had been reset. A few weeks later, the car’s instrument display and infotainment system cut out while driving on the motorway, this being subsequently diagnosed as a faulty lead from the battery. 

This seeming fragility is a cause for concern. There’s no hiding the fact that Jeep as a brand finished bottom of our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, although the Avenger wasn’t included in that survey, nor for that matter any fully electric Jeep model. I have a few months left with the car so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a more peaceful time from now on. 

Jeep Avenger over the shoulder

These issues aside, I’m enjoying driving my Avenger. There are three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport, plus a plethora of off-road modes. Not surprisingly, Eco mode feels distinctly lethargic because it limits available power to just 81bhp to maximise its range. In Normal (which is the default setting) the motor produces 108bhp. This mode is good enough for everyday use, although if you’re used to the instant thrust of some EVs and you want to exploit a gap in the traffic urgently you might occasionally wish you had a little more. 

Jeep Avenger front cornering

In Sport mode, the full 154bhp is unleashed. We’ve timed the Avenger’s 0-60mph time as 8.7sec (Jeep says 9.0sec in its brochure) which is good if not outstanding in this class; both the Smart #1 and the Volvo EX30 are quicker, for example.

Two things mitigate against the otherwise pleasant Sport mode’s long-term use for me, however: the first is the slight but unnecessary extra heft it adds to the steering, and the second is the negative effect it must have on the car’s range which, if you're pressing on, can drop a little too quickly. 

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