Jeep’s macho, outdoorsy image has been successfully reinvented for city streets and the electric age with this, the Avenger. The boxy looks riff on Jeep’s 4x4 roots and are cleverly designed to shrug off the kind of minor parking scrapes and dings that inevitably occur around town, while token off-road ability and decent ground clearance are just as handy whether you’re tackling potholes and speed humps in the city or lumpy car parks out in the countryside. Performance and range are well up to the daily commute or school run, and pricing looks reasonable when compared with closely related rivals like the Peugeot e-2008 or Vauxhall Mokka-e.
“Like all electric cars the purchase or finance costs are only half the story, though”
Shared resources with the wider Stellantis group of which Jeep is now a part helps the Avenger hit a competitive price in an increasingly hard-fought field for small electric SUVs and crossovers. It compares well against the closely related Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka-e, and while it’s not quite as powerful as the similarly stylish Renault Megane E-Tech 100% Electric it’s there or thereabouts in performance and range. Like all electric cars the purchase or finance costs are only half the story, though, and if you have facility to charge at home, are smart with your domestic electricity supply and can score a cheap off-peak tariff for overnight top-ups you’ll save heaps over fuelling a conventional petrol or diesel car. If you do get caught short and need to plug in at more expensive public chargers the small battery means this will cost you less than it would on a bigger electric car and there are also savings on things like congestion charging and – potentially - purchase price if you can buy through an employer salary sacrifice scheme for electric cars.
Expert rating: 5/5
Reliability of a Jeep Avenger
“The Vauxhall Mokka-e and Peugeot e-2008 with which it shares much of its foundations both have solid reputations”
At the time of writing the Avenger is too new to make a meaningful guess at its potential reliability but the Vauxhall Mokka-e and Peugeot e-2008 with which it shares much of its foundations both have solid reputations on this score. So, we’d be hoping for the best. In general electric cars have a lot less to go wrong than their petrol, diesel or hybrid equivalents as well.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a Jeep Avenger
“All models get at least rear parking sensors, alerts if you’re drifting out of your lane and automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection”
There are three trim levels for the Avenger and, in the usual style, the more sophisticated driver aids like blind spot monitoring, active cruise control and lane keeping interventions that can effectively hold your speed and lane position automatically are reserved for the top one. For a cost you can add much of this to the other models with the optional Tech & Style pack. All models get at least rear parking sensors, alerts if you’re drifting out of your lane and automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, though. Isofix mounts on the front passenger seat as well as the outer rear positions on the rear bench will also be welcome when it’s your turn on the after-school club run and you have a car full.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Jeep Avenger
“Legroom in the back is also pretty tight behind a six-foot driver or front-seat passenger”
The smooth Spanish roads we drove with the Avenger clearly flattered the ride quality, but when we did encounter rougher surfaces it maintained its composure and delivered on the bump-smothering promise of its mini SUV stance. For a tall car it also felt impressively composed through the corners as well, the square shape making it easy to judge its size in busy town driving while the silent electric drive and lack of gears all made it all feel very easy. The tough looks are also confidence boosting, without looking too aggressive or intimidating to other road users in the way some bigger SUVs and crossovers do.
The squared-off looks and compact size that help in those situations do come at some cost to interior space, though, and the boot isn’t exactly huge even with the two-level floor in its lowest position. Legroom in the back is also pretty tight behind a six-foot driver or front-seat passenger so if the kids are growing up you might want to consider something a little bigger like a Hyundai Kona Electric or an MG4.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Jeep Avenger
“For all that of-the-minute connectivity we also appreciated Jeep keeping some physical switches like a traditional volume knob”
While the base trim has a smaller digital instrument cluster the models most buyers will actually choose get a slick combination of paired 10.25-inch screens that share the essential information for navigation and infotainment. These are connected to an app through which you can communicate with the car, set your charging schedule to benefit from cheaper off-peak electricity (see Running Costs) and is all linked to a built-in navigation system that automatically updates over-the-air. You can of course run your phone apps wirelessly if you prefer, the customisable, ‘widget’ style menus combining this with the car’s systems with impressive user-friendliness. For all that of-the-minute connectivity we also appreciated Jeep keeping some physical switches like a traditional volume knob for easy interaction without taking your eyes off the road to jab away at a screen. We also liked the combination of stylish design – the body-coloured dashboard on our test car looked especially good – and practical touches like a shelf for your phone and two large storage bins between the front seats, one with a neat magnetic folding cover for keeping valuables out of sight when you park up.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Jeep Avenger
“We also appreciated the clear difference in the different driving modes, with Eco actually reducing the power”
While it shares much of its hardware with the Mokka-e and e-2008 the Avenger benefits from some further development work, so has a bit more power to play with. Given the impressively low overall weight this means an appealing combination of on-road performance and decent efficiency. We also appreciated the clear difference in the different driving modes, with Eco actually reducing the power for when you’re just pootling about town and, at the other end, Sport noticeably improving the response for faster roads. Just don’t forget to switch modes when the traffic speeds up for fear of it feeling like you’ve left the handbrake on. True, there are faster alternatives if that’s your priority, but the Avenger’s performance feels entirely appropriate to its role.
Meanwhile we’d like more time with the Avenger to get a true picture of how well it uses its batttery reserves, and the warm weather we tested it in will have flattered it, but on a mixed test route we saw some encouraging numbers. We’ll take Jeep’s claims of 248 miles of range with a pinch of salt still, but the Avenger should have enough to get you most of the way through the week without needing to plug in. Or able to hold onto its charge with only short nightly top-ups.