The new Jeep Avenger is a very bold and controversial move from the brand. Jeep is well known, especially over in the States for no nonsense large SUV’s with lots of presence, lots of off-road capability and a big thirsty engine. The Jeep Avenger however, is seemingly not abiding with this customary recipe. Instead, we have a cutesy ‘toy off-roader’ with very strong Mini Countryman vibes, as well as an only front-wheel drive option from launch. The most audacious move has to be what powers this small crossover, it’s electric motors, a first for the brand.
Back onto the point about styling, I think the front end is very robust and menacing (not in the way Jeep’s of the past were) but nevertheless, more intimidating than your average small car. Down the side, you can quite clearly see this is a 4m long car (shorter than a VW T-Cross or Ford Puma). Regardless, Jeep have still given this car bulging wheel arches and deceptive cladding, as this car is unlikely to take you places a Renegade would. The rear is giving the majority of the cutesy vibes though, but this is hard to avoid with this style and size of car; just take the Suzuki Jimny.
Despite being 2WD at launch, there is some tech to prevent being stranded in a muddy car park. The car comes with ‘standard Selec-Terrain and Hill Decent Control’. The Selec-Terrain system allows the driver to select between different driving modes, “Normal’ for everyday driving; ‘Eco’ to enhance range; ‘Sport’ for more driving fun; ‘Snow’ for maximum traction on icy roads or trails; ‘Mud’ to optimize mud performance and to enhance grip; and ‘Sand’ to limit the risk of becoming stuck on a sandy trail.” But what will help more than this off-road is the statistics. The Short front and rear overhangs are often a complication on larger SUV’s, but not here.
Where Jeep’s often fall down for marks is on on-road capability. This new generation aims to fix this. From reviews I’ve read, it rides firm, but is never uncomfortable, and when you bear in mind this is a city car, that’s just the way you want it. There’s also lots of grip + good steering feel and the cars dimensions make it very easy to place. The fact that it’s electric and the batteries are all low down, means that body roll is minimal. A step in the right direction for Jeep then.
Electricity has also been host to an assortment of very fast 0-60 times. The Kia EV6 GT completes the sprint in 3.7 seconds, while a similarly sized VW ID3 is claimed to do the sprint in 6.6 seconds. However, this is where things start to go downhill, as the 0-60 time for the Avenger is 9 seconds, and that’s in sport mode where you have 152BHP; if you choose eco, you get just 82BHP. 20 years ago, this would have been acceptable, but today, it’s just too pathetic. In fairness, I’m told the
0-30mph sprint is much brisker, which will help if this car is used in the cities. But, don’t for 9 seconds think that this means the range is hit hard (did you see the pun). The range is 250 miles WLTP (400km) For comparison, the closely related VW Mokka E-tense goes 210 miles WLTP. The VW ID3 is claimed to go a similar distance. A 100KW charge on this car takes 24 minutes for the record.
I’m actually a fan of the interior in this new Avenger (see images at the bottom of the article). Other reviews criticise the design as being ‘uninspiring’, but if you look at the step up from the Renegade, it’s monumental. I also like the body coloured trims, the long strip, which is the air vent (similar to that in the new Honda Civic) and the large rounded infotainment screen. The steering wheel also looks like it has been lifted from a far more expensive car. Speaking of the infotainment, there is wireless Android Auto and Apple car play as expected. Widgets, similar to those found on idrive infotainment are here too as well as a 360 camera. Here in the UK, we’re treated to the top spec only version. This means that we also get a 10.25” digital instrument cluster.
Spec sheets often don’t reveal the full truth of the story, much is the case with the practicality of the new Jeep Avenger. At 355 litres in capacity of this cars boot seems rather small. But in reality, this is a very usable space. Interior space is also exceptional with lots of cubbies. The Adjustable boot floor is also more useful than it seems, especially when it comes to the matter of storing charging cables.
The new Avenger starts at prices of £34,000. This is quite pricey, but do remember that we only have the top spec model, with features such as a handsfree opening tailgate. It’s also only £4,000 less than the Fiat 500e which isn’t a crossover and has a much lower range. Overall, a very capable package on and off-road.