REVIEW: Jeep Avenger ICE

The debate continues about the benefits or disadvantages of buying an electric car. There is no doubt that many electric cars don’t deliver on the range claimed by the manufacturers and now some people who decided to buy an electric car are finding out that their EV’s are not holding their value when it comes to trading-in.

Sales of fully electric cars in Ireland were down 15% in February compared to February 2023 and they also dropped in March by a whopping 41% compared with 2023. It looks like the people who were happy to switch to electric went out and did it, but now it’s going to be difficult to convince the next group of customers to switch to EV. I reckon that won’t happen until the charging network around the country improves significantly.

At the end of 2023 I drove a fully electric version of the new Jeep Avenger and was reasonably happy with the approximately range of 390km which the 51kWh battery provided. Last week I was much happier when I picked up the 1.2-litre Ice version of the Avenger where the range with a full tank of petrol said 700km.

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 was 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.

Lively, that’s the word I think best describes the Ice version of the Avenger. It’s a little bit noisy as your work through the gears, so maybe you would prefer the quieter electric version. But then there is no ‘range anxiety’ in the 1.2-litre petrol version I drove.

The Avenger looks very neat and the seating is slightly higher than your regular saloon car. At first you might think it’s a two-door car as the handles for the back doors are discreet. Inside the dash is dominated by a long slim infotainment screen, but you do get an old-style button to increase the radio volume. The glove compartment is a bit annoying, but there is also an open storage area on the dash.

The boot space is average for a car of this size, but no spare wheel. Overall, I had no real complaints.

My test car came in an underwhelming Granite colour. But there are more attractive colours available if you want to brighten up your motoring. The other five colours available are: Volcano, Ruby, Lake, Snow and Stone.

Now the important question of price. The petrol range starts at €31,495, while the electric kicks off at €35,995. I realise that electric cars are good for the environment. But at the end of the day a car is mainly used to get you from A to B in comfort and we all have enough worries in life without having to worry whether there will be a queue of cars waiting at the next charging station.

Last year the Avenger was voted European Car of the Year and later this year Jeep will be able to offer an alternative with a mild hybrid version of their Avenger.