Normally when I am driving a new car I’m asked questions about the car by passers-by on the street or by people I meet in supermarket car parks. Last week in the new electric Jeep Avenger there was no mistaking the name of the car as the words ‘All New Jeep Avenger’ were written on the front doors and the back doors carried a sticker saying European Car of the Year 2023.
My test car was the Altitude version of Jeep’s new compact Avenger; there are also Longitude and Summit versions. It came in a very attractive Ruby colour and with 18-inch diamond cut alloys, it certainly was a car that you couldn’t miss on the street or supermarket car park.
We are all guilty of using the word ‘Jeep’ too loosely at times; did you know that only Jeeps made by the original Jeep company in Toledo, Ohio are allowed to use the name on their vehicles?
Jeeps have been in use since World War II, but the Jeeps you see nowadays on Irish roads are much more refined. Jeep were part of Chrysler from 1987 and they are now owned by the Stellantis group and distributed in Ireland by the Gowan Group. The Avenger is built in Tychy, southern Poland.
The Avenger is positioned below the Renegade and is the smallest vehicle on sale from Jeep; it’s produced mainly for the European market. The ‘Avenger’ name has previously been used by Chrysler, namely the Dodge Avenger and Hillman Avenger.
For me when I hear the word ‘Avenger’ I think of the old British television espionage series where Patrick McNee, dressed in a bowler hat and carrying a black umbrella, played the part of John Steed. His co-stars included Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg.
We are used to driving large models from Jeep, like the Cherokee, Compass, and Wrangler, so it was a big change to sit into a mid-side SUV like the Avenger.
The Avenger maintains many of the traditional Jeep traits with a seven-slot grille and chunky wheel arches. Also the headlamps are recessed into the bodywork and that means you won’t damage the lights if you have a slight prang. The sound from indicators was different, it reminded me a bit of the ticking from grandfather clock.
I didn’t like the touchscreen on the dash, not very user friendly. However, you do get an actual button for the radio volume and I also liked the open storage area on the dash.
At first you would be forgiven for thinking it was a two-door car as the handles to open the back doors are discreet. And like Renault cars, the car locks when you walk away from it and then opens when you approach, once the key is in your possession.
There is plenty of room for five well-built adults and leg and head room is fine. With a capacity of 380 litres, the boot is a decent size, but as usual with electric cars, no spare wheel. Also available in other colours like a very bright Sun, Lake, Granite, Snow and Volcano.
When it comes to electric cars the most important question is range. Well the 51kWh battery should give you close to 390km with some steady driving.
Prices start at €35,995 and road tax is €120. It’s a gorgeous car to look at and to drive. It will get plenty of marketing support from the Gowan Group, who are also working hard to revive the fortunes of Alfa, Fiat and Honda.
After winning the European Car of the Year award earlier this year, Jeep must be confident that they will be in with a shout of picking up an award when the members of the Motoring Media Association of Ireland (MMAI) announce their various winners on November 3. But it looks like it’s going to be very competitive in the electric car section this year.