Jeep injects some much-needed character into zero-emissions motoring

JEEP has completed some transformation since the iconic Willy’s 4x4 once used by the US Army.
Jeep's Avenger SUVJeep's Avenger SUV
Jeep's Avenger SUV

It has now launched its first electric vehicle (EV) and, in the compact Avenger SUV, the new format is a surprisingly good fit.

The Jeep brand succeeds in injecting some much-needed character into zero-emissions motoring.

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Okay, the irony of the abundant ‘X’ styling cues, which hark back to the pattern commonly seen on the side of US petrol cans, was not lost on me, but a 249-mile range and practical packaging make this a standout B-segment EV.

Although less than 4.1m long and 1.8m wide, stocky dimensions deliver impressive cabin space and a 355-litre boot.

Inside, there is 34 litres of storage courtesy of a central cubby, cleverly covered by a folding lid, a shelf in the dashboard and 3.1 litres in the centre armrest.

The dashboard can be specced to feature the exterior colour and there are an array of playful ‘Easter Egg’ graphic design touches to find.

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More practically, the Avenger offers 200mm of ground clearance and black exterior trim to avoid paint damage when off-road. It also features Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, Sand, Mud and Snow modes for off-roading.

We drove the £39,600 Summit trim, but prices start with the £35,700 Longitude.

All Avengers feature a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, TFT instrument binnacle, cruise control, and a raft of safety tech.

Summit adds adaptive cruise, heated seats and windscreen, wireless smartphone charging and a reversing camera.

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While we did not get off road, the Avenger proved a fun steer. Despite being one of the market’s slower EVs – 62mph arrives in 9.6 seconds – a 156PS and 250Nm of torque power output make it an effortless drive, only a whisper of wind noise interfering with otherwise excellent refinement.

Charging from 20 to 80 per cent will take 24 minutes at 100kW, a full charge taking less than eight hours on a 7.4kW home charger.

The Avenger may well be the brand’s most compelling model to date in the UK, where Jeep has often played second fiddle to Land Rover,

Characterful EVs are rare, but this is one…

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