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In-depth reviews

Jeep Avenger review – a characterful and value-packed small SUV

“The Jeep Avenger is a refreshing take on the small electric SUV, that also looks like good value”

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Price
£24,359 - £38,899

Pros

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

Cons

  • Could do with more power
  • Some rivals have more range
  • Some scratchy plastics

Verdict – is the Jeep Avenger a good car?

Jeep’s first SUV designed for Europe is practical and good to drive, with a distinctive character that’s sorely lacking in some of its electric SUV rivals. The zero-emissions Avenger also appears competitively priced, with the well-equipped Altitude model undercutting the entry-level DS 3 E-Tense from its sister brand, while the top Summit edition might look pricey, but is loaded with kit. For those not looking to make the switch to an EV, we’ve also now driven the petrol and mild-hybrid versions, with a significantly lower starting price but higher running costs.

Jeep Avenger models, specs and alternatives

For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody mentions ‘Jeep’ will be high-riding, impractical off-roaders with gas-guzzling engines. It may then come as a surprise that the American brand launched its first-ever electric car, coming in the form of a small road-going crossover called the Jeep Avenger. Now, though, Jeep has diversified the range with more affordable petrol and mild-hybrid versions, while still keeping the focus on efficiency.

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Strip away the new Jeep Avenger’s chunky, yet funky exterior and you’ll find the same underpinnings used in the Peugeot 2008 and Vauxhall Mokka, as well as their electric variants, because the brands now all sit under the same Stellantis umbrella. There’s just one battery option available for the electric Avenger: a 54kWh unit (51kWh usable), providing a range of up to 248 miles on a single charge – a bit behind the Hyundai Kona Electric, but competitive nonetheless. Although it’s just front-wheel drive, the Avenger has some light off-road capability and some drive modes for mud and snow which differentiate it from its stablemates.

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A 1.2-litre petrol and mild-hybrid version were added later – both get 99bhp and offer a more affordable way into Jeep Avenger ownership. They’re both fairly economical, particularly the e-Hybrid model, which doesn’t cost much more than the standard petrol car and represents the best middle ground for a lot of Avenger buyers.

Compared to the full-fat Jeep Wrangler with its punchy 268bhp petrol engine, the electric Avenger’s single-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. 

That’s not to say that Jeep has abandoned its off-road heritage for the standard Avenger entirely; it boasts 200mm of ground clearance and comes with a slew of off-road driving modes – Mud, Sand and Snow – meaning it’s more capable than you might expect. However, it’s clear that the Avenger has been designed first and foremost for city streets and this is highlighted by the small SUV’s comfortable and smooth drive. An all-wheel-drive hybrid model, badged 4xe, is due to arrive in 2024, with greater off-road and all-weather ability.

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.

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The Avenger range now includes Longitude, Altitude and Summit trims, starting from just over £23,000 for the petrol, £1,700 more for the e-Hybrid, and just under £35,000 for the EV. That’s a big price gap between the petrol-powered and EV models, but while the petrol or mild-hybrid may seem to make more sense for private buyers, the EV is still likely to be a top pick for company car choosers after a car in a low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band, and it comes with all the other running-cost savings of other electric cars.

MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions

The Jeep Avenger EV is inexpensive to run, and cheaper petrol and mild-hybrid versions are now available

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. Although available solely as an EV from launch, the Avenger later got a petrol and mild-hybrid version. These use a 1.2-litre PureTech engine which is the same unit used in the Peugeot 2008 and Vauxhall Mokka. The mild-hybrid version, badged e-Hybrid, pairs this with a small 0.9kWh battery and electrical assistance to improve efficiency.

On a single charge, the electric Avenger is said to achieve 248 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 E-Tense and should be sufficient for most city-based buyers.

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.

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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.

The petrol Avenger is much cheaper to buy or lease of course, so it will be a better bet for private buyers with a smaller budget looking to keep their monthly finance bills down. It undercuts the top-selling Ford Puma on price, and it’s also pretty economical, returning up to 49.6mpg, with middling CO2 emissions of 127g/km. This puts it in similar territory to the Citroen C3 Aircross with figures of 54.2mpg and 134g/km, while the entry-level Puma can only manage 47.9mpg.

During our test that took in a mix of urban, country and motorway driving, the Avenger e-Hybrid managed to complete 27% of the drive running on electric power alone, which is even more than Jeep’s claimed 20%. It’s particularly useful in stop-start traffic or for low-speed manoeuvres, where the brand says the combustion engine rarely has to step in. 

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Features like regenerative braking also feature on this model, helping to put some energy that would otherwise be wasted by slowing down, back into its 0.9kWh battery. The result is better fuel economy of up to 57.1mpg. Considering its small price increase over the petrol, we’d say this model offers the best balance of affordability and low running costs if you can’t spring almost £10,000 more for the electric model.

Insurance groups have yet to be announced for the petrol Jeep Avenger, but the electric version spans from groups 24-25 out of 50. The Vauxhall Mokka Electric spans groups 21-23, meaning the mechanically similar Jeep should be just as reasonable to insure.

Engines, drive & performance

The Avenger is more capable than you might expect, and now comes with electric, petrol and mild-hybrid power

Our first experiences of the Jeep Avenger were in the electric version. On a twisty road, the Avenger suffers from minimal body lean for a boxy crossover, and it’s relatively light and small for a crossover EV, helping to boost its agility. 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.

One thing to note is that the petrol car feels slightly different in terms of its handling and performance. While there’s still not too much body lean through the corners, the trade-off is that the petrol Avenger can feel a bit skittish and bouncy on rougher roads. This isn’t so noticeable in the EV, and it could be due to the lack of a heavy battery pack to help keep the ride settled.

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Other than ‘Normal’ and ‘Eco’ modes, 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 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 steep slopes. 

Thanks to that lifted suspension, the Jeep Avenger is well-equipped to deal with bumpy, pothole-laden British roads – even with top-spec Summit models’ larger 18-inch alloys the ride is acceptable. Our only complaint is that there’s a bit of wind noise when driving over 60mph, no doubt due to the Avenger’s boxy shape and fairly large door mirrors.

Electric version

The electric model comes 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 feel somewhat sluggish once up to speed, although instantly available torque means the Avenger still feels relatively nippy when darting between traffic lights in town.

When placed into the ‘Sport’ setting, the Avenger will produce its maximum output of 154bhp and will crack 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.

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Our test car was a Summit model which sat on 18-inch alloys. Despite the wheels’ larger size, the ride was acceptable, so drivers will likely find the ride on lower-spec models with the smaller wheels even smoother.

Brake regeneration when you take your foot off the accelerator isn’t enough for ‘one-pedal driving’, but it does slow the car noticeably and Jeep claims it can extend the electric car’s range to 360 miles in stop-start traffic.

Petrol engines

The petrol and mild-hybrid petrol Jeep Avengers use the same 1.2-litre engine found in other cars under the Stellantis umbrella, such as the Vauxhall Mokka and Peugeot 2008. The standard petrol gets 99bhp and a six-speed manual, while the e-Hybrid’s electric motor improves efficiency while keeping the same power figure and gets a six-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox.

A 4xe model based on the mild-hybrid with four-wheel drive, a raised ride height and all-season tyres is set to arrive in 2024, so if you’re after an even more off-road-capable experience, you might want to wait for that model to arrive.

We tested the 99bhp petrol Avenger on British roads, which replaces the near-silent hum of the electric motor with a deep-chested and somewhat gruff three-cylinder engine note. Some drivers will find it more characterful, even if it’s not quite as relaxing. It’s got a reasonable amount of grunt, so it feels nippy enough without you having to work the engine too hard.

When we tested the 99bhp petrol Jeep Avenger on British roads, we found it needed to be worked quite hard on faster roads and up hills, and as a result its gruff three-cylinder engine’s noise really makes itself known from the cabin, so it’s a lot less refined than the EV. Most of the time it’s nippy enough on moderate inclines, but it feels underpowered on steeper hills.

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While the gear shift itself isn’t too bad, we weren’t fans of the large gear knob and it’s worth noting the clutch feels slightly heavier than some rivals, without making it somewhat tiring in traffic. The stop-start in our test car was a bit unpredictable, though, which may lead to a lot of owners simply turning it off.

While Jeep markets the Avenger e-Hybrid as its ‘entry-point to electrification’, the changes to its powertrain aren’t significant enough to warrant that claim. It’s only really a mild-hybrid, adding a small dose of electrical assistance for improved efficiency and an automatic gearbox. Once you consider it as such, it actually makes more sense, and only costs about £1,700 over the standard petrol.

On the move in the e-Hybrid, the transition between petrol and electric power is almost seamless – the only way you’d know when the engine drops in or out is when the gauge cluster glows blue to signify it. 

The mild-hybrid system makes for quiet driving most of the time, but if you put your foot down and increase the revs, you soon hear the 1.2-litre three-cylinder spring into life. The automatic gearbox is fairly responsive, shifting up and down quickly in Normal drive mode, but holding onto the gears for longer in Sport to eek more performance out of the engine – there are even paddles should you wish to shift manually, though it’s more suited to doing its own thing.

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The mild-hybrid comes with regenerative braking, too. This isn’t quite strong enough to enable one-pedal driving, but can still feel a little aggressive and abrupt, for example on the motorway – we’d prefer more levels of adjustment for this feature, as there’s currently just one.

Interior & comfort

Jeep has outfitted the Avenger with a modern and stylish interior

Interestingly, Jeep’s design team has added a few fun ‘easter eggs’ for owners to find around the car – all inspired by the brand’s reputation for adventure, exploration and nature. There’s a silhouette of some mountain tops on the rear window, a boy looking through a telescope in the corner of the windscreen, a Jeep grille on top of the dashboard and on the Summit model’s alloy wheels. Look even harder and you’ll find a ladybird on one of the plastic roof trim pieces, and a compass with coordinates on the lower grille, corresponding to those of Turin, Italy, where the Avenger was designed.

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.

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, though some of the temperature and fan toggles feel flimsy. While the overall design isn’t the most inspiring, most parts feel pretty solid. Summit models get yellow dashboard trim regardless of the exterior colour – while it won’t be to all buyers’ tastes, it does make the whole cabin feel bright. Altitude models get a matt silver insert instead.

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The highlight of the interior, however, is the Avenger’s UConnect infotainment system. Mounted on the top of the dashboard, the responsive 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. We also appreciate the piano-style buttons under the display for operating the climate control.

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.

Entry-level Longitude models get 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and climate control. Altitude increases the size of the digital instrument display and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, upgraded interior trim and a USB port for rear occupants.

The Summit model is more luxurious, with heated seats and a reversing camera, along with ‘Level 2’ driving aids and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Options include leather upholstery and electric seat adjustment, which will add £1,200 on to the list price. We’d suggest speccing the Tech & Style Pack with the rear-view camera – this is slightly low in resolution, but it’s necessary as it helps to boost the Avenger’s limited rear visibility. Sat nav is optional on all models, though we think most buyers will be happy enough with the car’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, allowing for the use of smartphone-based navigation apps.

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 216mm 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 which struggle to carry four adults in comfort, the Avenger can do so as long as its front occupants aren’t too tall. Headroom is especially generous for a crossover, even for adults over six-feet tall, but rear legroom does get a bit tight if the front seats are slid rearwards. Jeep has also managed to cram 34 litres of storage cubbies around the front of the Avenger’s cabin, and we found the one beneath the infotainment screen particularly useful. Hidden behind a magnetic cover, it’s surprisingly deep and can hold a wireless charger.

The Avenger’s boot isn’t the biggest in class, measuring 355 litres in capacity. While this is 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, and it’s easy for them to hop in or load bulky objects thanks to its one-metre-wide opening and good shape. It’s nice to see Jeep has included a USB-C charger in the back, too, although it’s a shame it couldn’t stretch to two.

Reliability & safety

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

Jeep did not appear in our 2023 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. Jeep even estimates that the durable plastic cladding fitted to the Avenger’s lower extremities could save owners up to £880 in body and paintwork repairs over the car’s lifetime.

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, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that can detect pedestrians and cyclists, along with other vehicles.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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