It's lonely at the top
Maybe the most striking thing about the Jeep Avenger: it is a compact car, even by European standards. And despite being drawn by an Italian, the Avenger is instantly recognisable as a Jeep in Europe. At the same time, the distinctive design has been more than successfully modernised and made a little more European. For use in the urban jungle, the Avenger has bumpers all around and the headlights are slightly recessed.
In addition, the Avenger is full of details that prove that Europeans have as much passion for the brand as Americans. The pattern of the grille appears in many places: in the lower bumper, on rims, at the third brake light and on the central speaker on the dashboard. Also very nice: the edge of the rear window incorporates the silhouette of the Italian mountains that the designers looked out on from their studio. The sound of the indicator has a rhythm (first bars of "We will rock you").
Space and equipment
A Jeep has inherently angular shapes and thus maximum interior space can be extracted from limited exterior dimensions. However, do not expect miracles from a car that is 408 cm long (only a fraction longer than a Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta). The large seats and height-built dashboard make the most of the Avenger, resulting in an uncomfortable seating position and an interior mirror that falls dominantly in the field of vision. Rear legroom is moderate, and that is putting it mildly.
Thanks to the angular shape of the bodywork, the boot too has a straight shape and so every nook and cranny can be used. The load floor is adjustable for more storage space (with lift threshold) or a minimum lift threshold and slightly less boot space. Because the Avenger has a thick c-pillar (beam between rear window and rear side windows), all-round visibility is not optimal. For example, on a roundabout, cyclists can "disappear" behind this. And speaking of bikes: unfortunately, you can't fit a bike carrier on the Avenger.
Jeep is part of "Stellantis", which is also the parent company of Opel, Fiat, Peugeot and Citroën. The Avenger therefore shares equipment with those of its sister brands. That means a nicely groomed infotainment system (audio, communication and sat nav) and all the usual safety features. Unfortunately, the standard audio system has poor sound, which detracts from this otherwise festive interior.
Electric car: range and charging
Because the Avenger is aimed at the European market, purely electric propulsion has been chosen. Especially in Western Europe, the infrastructure is ready for this and the law will soon make electric driving compulsory and already fiscally attractive.
The Avenger is the second Stellantis model (after the DS 3 E-Tense) to feature a new powertrain with an extra-capacity battery and an extra-efficient electric motor. On paper, that gives the Avenger a consumption of 15.5 kWh per 100 km and a range of 392 km. No savings have been made on charging capabilities, as even the base model can be charged at 11 kW at a public charge point. Under ideal conditions, 100 kW speed can be charged at a fast charger.
During the test drive on a very demanding route, including large parts on unpaved roads, the test consumption came to 18 kWh per 100 km, which is very high for a car of this size. Although mathematically incorrect, despite the high consumption, a very generous 350 km could be covered on a full battery.
A large SUV provides a mighty feeling not only because of its high seating, but also with the supremacy of its power source. In its own way, the Avenger offers that same sensation thanks to the quick response and consummate agility of the electric motor. Therefore, compared to conventional Jeeps, the Avenger really feels like a leap into the future. In normal mode, performance is adequate. In sport mode, the Avenger is quick and lively.
At the same time, the Avenger is so quiet that the sensation of speed is slight. The Avenger recovers energy during braking and coasting, but in the process does not reduce speed so much that it can be driven with one pedal.
To keep the price down, the Avenger does not have all-wheel drive. Yet despite the front-wheel drive, Jeep has made work of "off-road capability". After all, the compact Jeep is meant for the urban jungle and that is where extra ground clearance (20 cm), large entry and exit angles (32 and 20 degrees) and a small turning circle can certainly come in handy. Funny detail here is that the Avenger feels much bigger than it actually is because of its seating position and clearly visible bonnet. Around town, the Avenger actually proves to be compact and agile. The steering, while precise, is at the same time numbingly light (even in sport mode).
The most interesting thing is saved for last: the electronic anti-slip control has a special off-road mode. Within the constraints of two-wheel drive, the computer can provide extra grip in snow, mud or sand. This works extremely well in practice. Even when the test driver unintentionally found himself in areas that are actually the domain of thoroughbred off-road vehicles, the Avenger managed to get through everything wonderfully. Moreover, the Avenger handled a huge amount of violence, in the form of pits, holes, rocks and slopes, without any protest (or rattles). Never before has a two-wheel-drive test car managed to get this far off-road, resulting in the images accompanying this article of an Avenger being all alone at the top!
Is the Avenger designed and built in Europe a real Jeep? Yes, and even more than that! The Avenger is the first of a whole new generation of Jeeps that the Americans should take as an example. Thanks to electric propulsion, its driving characteristics are far superior to those of conventional Jeeps.
But the Avenger offers more. After all, all electric cars are quieter, faster, more comfortable and more efficient than combustion engine cars thanks to their technology. The Avenger must therefore also distinguish itself from other electric cars. The Avenger does that by scoring well on all points, with its off-road technology based on two-wheel drive being the standout. What is ultimately the decisive factor is the character, as this puts the Avenger on top.
- Solid feel
- Distinctive character
- Strong, quiet and fast thanks to electric drive
- High power consumption
- Poor sound audio system
- Unfeelingly light steering