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Normally mention the word Jeep and thoughts are of a rugged off-roader which first came to fame as a military vehicle; so when purists learned of a new type of Jeep, I bet there were many frowns. The new vehicle of Jeep is the Avenger which first broke cover in 2022 at the Paris Motor Show. The all electric vehicle, the first EV for the brand, has to date notched up many awards, including Car of the Year 2023 and 2023 Women’s World Car of the Year.

I have been behind the wheel of the new Jeep baby, one which manages to pack the company DNA into a compact SUV with distinctive styling. The team who brought the Avenger to market from day one designed it to be a Jeep with a combination of functionality and technology. It’s worth noting that it has been designed and manufactured in Europe and clearly the brief was to produce a vehicle for the European market. Style is rugged; it looks good in the urban environment and when conditions demand it can cope well off road. However, I suspect that few will take this four metre long SUV off tarmac, its size making it the most compact Jeep; yet five can travel in relative comfort with all their trappings. There is ots of interior space, some 34 litres, and the central tunnel can be organised in multiple modular storage pockets by means of movable divider. With the Avenger comes a digital onboard experience. There is a 10.25 inch radio screen. Infotainment is combined with a full digital cluster available in two versions.

A combination of vehicle lightness at only 1,500 kilograms and extreme efficiency of its new propulsion system delivers class leading energy consumption at 15.4 kWH per 100km in the WLTO cycle. With a new electric motor the team have been able to extend range by five percent, a new battery provides a 12 percent benefit and by work on the aerodynamics, gear ratio and tyres. Furthermore the heat pump can extend range by up to ten percent in extreme hot or cold conditions. The second generation M3 power unit, 400 volt, tweaked on the Avenger delivers 115 kW or 156bhp and 260 Nm maximum torque. The new 54kWh battery system is placed under the front/rear seats and the central tunnel with little impact on the Avenger and protection is by high ground clearance and under body skid plates. Both are much needed should you decide to play rough with this new compact SUV. When it comes to full electric vehicles, people almost always ask about charging and I am with them. With the Avenger, the standard onboard charger delivers 100kW in direct current, corresponding to twenty to eighty percent charge in twenty four minutes in the fast charge mode. While in 11KW in alternating current, corresponding to zero to a one hundred percent charge in five hours, or half when connected to a public charger. Development and testing has resulted in the fact that this system can cope with extreme weather conditions; down to as much as minus 30 degrees centigrade in winter and up to plus 49 degrees centigrade in summer.

A number of trim levels deliver customer choice and you can personalise the vehicle; choice is vast. There are  one hundred and fifty authentic accessories, with many exterior and interior packs; so no two Avengers can look the same. Behind the wheel, the new Avenger has a sturdy feel with the ride on the firm side, a little more road noise than I expected. Reasonable handling, what I have come to expect from a vehicle of this type. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity for off road driving- that will have to wait. I could easily live with this newcomer which will appeal to those who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

Ian Lynas