Jeep Avenger 2024 long-term test

jeep avenger lt 2023 jh 2
jeep avenger lt 2023 jh 2

Why we’re running it: To see if this new Avenger is finally the Jeep to crack Europe

Month 1 - Month 2 - Month 3 Final reportSpecs

Life with a Jeep Avenger: Final report

It arrived to fanfare, but this little electric SUV isn’t leaving with its head held high - 17 April 2024 

The whole point of our long-term tests is to really get to know cars over a number of months and miles and in the hands of different testers. More often than not, we reveal hidden depths and intrigue and allow cars that might not set a startling first impression to let their qualities shine through.

Occasionally, the opposite scenario manifests itself: a car arrives to a warm reception and with a big reputation that starts to unravel over a longer period of time.


The Jeep Avenger arrived on our fleet late last year sitting on a lofty perch. It had been crowned Car of the Year (COTY) 2023 and named our Best Small Car for the same year. It was with great excitement and anticipation, then, that we welcomed it to our fleet, and given my history with the little EV, it felt right for me to be running it.

I had been one of the judges on COTY and given the Avenger the maximum amount of points I had available in the process. I'm a big fan of small cars, particularly those that bring all the benefits of being compact yet don't feel inferior to drive or dwarfed on the road, and the Avenger emphatically lived up to that billing on first impressions.

Are you wondering where all this is heading? Or is it obvious? Without skipping too far to the end, the Avenger leaves our fleet with its reputation diminished. It simply went wrong too many times and in too many different ways for the early lavish praise to continue, while some quirks became irritations over a period of time.

I still like the Avenger. It's a fantastic size: at a smidge over four metres long, it's the smallest car in its class, yet it retains a chunky look and feels solid from behind the wheel. It's nippy and manoeuvrable in town, has a useful amount of usable storage in the front of the cabin and has a good level of driver engagement, albeit at the expense of ride quality - which was one of those issues that became more irksome as time went on.

Other things that began to grate included the pretty basic functionality and graphics of the infotainment system (your near-£40k deserves better, although I was grateful for wireless Apple CarPlay), the longer-than-necessary press of the starter button to 'fire' it up and, most irritatingly, the range indicator, which seemed to mimic the rapidly emptying counter from the game show Pointless. The range we got on average was almost 100 miles lower than the official claim.

All of these things would appear in a review further forward in Autocar. The Avenger scored a three-and-a-half-star road test verdict, and my experiences over an extended period largely tally with that.

Like any car, it has good bits and bad bits; in the Jeep's case, the really good bits are more good than the really bad ones are bad. I still like it and still enjoy driving it, and it appeals to my heart in a way that so few cars manage these days.

What about the Avenger as an ownership proposition? The more time I spent with it, the more issues it had and the more confidence in it I lost. Cars go wrong, yes, but the Avenger's problems followed a pattern; they weren't isolated. In the context of the issues experienced by our sister title What Car? while running their Avenger, it all points to a car with problems.

In the Jeep brand's most recent appearance in the annual What Car? Reliability Survey, it came last. The Avenger has launched since as the first Jeep designed, engineered and built in Europe and for Europe, yet it seems to have inherited an unwelcome family trait from Jeeps built elsewhere in the world.

Problems started first in the hands of photographer Jack Harrison, who took the Avenger to the depths of Wales and experienced issues including the car failing to communicate with chargers and then the motor failing to start. Turning it off and back on again was a short-term fix, but a trip back to Jeep found no fault.

I escaped largely niggle-free, beyond the car being unable to charge at close to its maximum claimed speed, but the proverbial hit the fan one gloomy morning on the M25 when all the interior functions and displays died. It was scary for a moment, but everything came back to life before I reached the hard shoulder and the problem didn't came back.

On its second return visit to Jeep, the incident again didn't show up in the fault logs, so it was put down to a loose battery terminal. At this point, it was revealed the car was a pre-production example that didn't have the latest software. An update was downloaded and installed.

But as I pondered last time, should the fact that the car was a pre-production example really matter? We test pre-production cars all the time, and one of their functions is to act as live testbeds for gremlins to be found and then fixed on finished models.

What's concerning is that these faults didn't show up in the workshop (as I understand, it was the same story with What Car?'s Avenger), thus calling into question the point of pre-production cars in the first place. If you don't know the fault, or if there was no record of it, how can you be sure it won't happen again?

If faults had been identified and logged, this report would have a significantly more positive tone. This is a thought that I ultimately couldn't shake in the Avenger's last days with us, which is an immense shame for a car that arrived with such a burgeoning reputation.

I'm still sad to see it go, not least because it's a great thing to drive, but perhaps the feeling is more one of disappointment for it not being as good to live with as I thought - or expected - it to be.

Second Opinion

It’s painful to read that such a characterful little car has been plagued by issues. As Mark says, the fundamental proposition here is good, but niggles abound. I’m more drawn to the 1.2-litre petrol manual Avenger. It’s so simple that it shouldn’t go wrong (you’d hope!) and the Suzuki Jimnylite vibe has undeniable appeal.

Richard Lane

Back to the top

Love it:

Compact size Here’s a small car that doesn’t feel dwarfed on the road – and yet it still looks like a Jeep.

Front storage Lots of cubbyhole cleverness going on here. The full-width tray was particularly useful.

Handling It’s one of the more dynamic and involving small SUVs – a car type not known for engagement.  xxxx

Loathe it:

Reliability Cars go wrong, yes, but the concern here was that the faults weren’t logged by the car or identified.

Efficiency A 51kWh battery should be plenty for a car this size, but it didn’t get near claimed 200-mile-plus range.

Final mileage: 5811

Back to the top

Life with a Jeep Avenger: Month 3

Ever suffered a systems failure on a dark, wet motorway? - 20 March

The terrible wet and windy weather we've been having these past few months seemed to peak one Saturday morning in early March, the M25 virtually turning from day to night as the spray from the surface met with low rain clouds above to make visibility very poor

I was in the outside lane but, like everyone, driving sensibly at no more than 60mph. Then the turning of day to night occurred inside the Avenger too, with all the digital features dying entirely.

The radio went first, then the touchscreen, then the instrument display. There was a loud beep, like the one when you pressed all the keys at the same time on an old Windows computer. Thankfully, the running gear was unaffected.

A few seconds later, everything came to life after what seemed like a system reboot. But it was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying It felt like the car had been made invisible and neutered at the worst possible time and place.

I checked my mirrors instantly and saw no immediate way to the inside lane, so it was a case of holding on for the moment, staying calm and hoping life would return. Thankfully it did.

I completed my journey without further incident, but the Avenger didn't turn another wheel until Jeep came to have a look at it.

Remember, this isn't the first time this car has had issues, having refused to charge and then refused to start in the Welsh wilderness - issues that prompted a return to Jeep but which couldn't be repeated or diagnosed.

A reader had subsequently written a very eloquent letter to me about my summary, saying that I had been too lenient on Jeep for that fault and issues like that can't just be shrugged off. And in all honesty, this letter was where my mind quickly went after the M25 incident. Was this a case of once is never, twice is always?

It didn't take long for Jeep to diagnose the fault this time: the positive connection on the battery terminal was loose, which it believed caused the loss of power inside. However, nothing showed up in the diagnostics, so that can't be categorically confirmed as the cause of this latest incident.

Our colleagues at sibling title What Car? are also running an Avenger and have had reliability woes too. Once their car started but none of its screens worked, requiring a full reboot.

Then another time it refused to start at all. This was diagnosed as a software issue and the car was given a full software update. Mine was given that update while being looked at this time.

What came to light for both us and What Car? on our respective cars' second workshop visits was that they were pre-production Jeeps running different software, which has now been brought into line with customer cars' software.

It would have been helpful to know this information earlier, because it's an important qualification - but certainly not an excuse for the car. I do now feel conflicted about the Avenger and its temperament - mostly about trying to explain its faults comprehensively. Is it because our cars were pre-production? Is the fact that it's electric relevant?

To be frank, I don't have answers and am still wrestling with it. These days, it's very rare for cars on our fleet to go wrong, and What Car? would concur. The fact that both our Avengers have had problems can't be overlooked.

I've just now been reunited with my Avenger, and its last few weeks here will be important in steering any final conclusions. I suspect that many of you, like the reader who wrote to me before, may already have drawn your own.

Love it 

Bright yellow paint

Even if nothing was lit up inside when the dashboard died, other drivers would still have seen me.

Loathe it 

Low efficiency 

The average figure is plummeting with each report. Longer runs at motorway speeds barely yield 150 miles of range.

Mileage: 4333

Back to the top

Life with a Jeep Avenger: Month 2

A red cable is more useful than it sounds - 28 February

One small development I approve of in the Avenger is Jeep making the charging cable bright red. It’s a small thing, but the typical grey colour can make cables a trip hazard if you’re not paying as much attention as you should be and don’t quite expect one to be where it is. The false boot floor also allows for a handy storage space for the cable below it.

MIleage: 3522

Trips to the tip and wintry Welsh forests prove our plucky EV’s toughness - 14 February

One key sign of a car's toughness credentials is how prepared you are to fill it with rubbish. And in the Avenger's time with us, both Richard Lane and I have taken it to our local household waste recycling centres (when did dumps get posh?).

Richard noted that even the Renault Clio is bigger capacity-wise, yet once the rear seats are down, the Avenger still scores points for offering such a useful shape for chucking in big bags of tree cuttings.

The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split without leaving a lip and a large space emerges for floor-to-ceiling stuffing. I've found measurements in this instance are secondary to shape itself.

Any mess is easy to hoover up, too. The Avenger feels right at home at the dump too (no offence meant), gleaming among the Ford C-Maxes and Nissan X-Trails that think they've got the run of the place.

Despite being tiny, it looks nails. Photographer Jack Harrison was so enamoured with the Avenger's toughness credentials that he took it to watch the muddy Roger Albert Clark Rally in Wales.

Jack had four adults in the Avenger for the 390-mile round trip from his home in Poole to the Sweet Lamb Motorsport Complex.

Although the rear passengers were fine with the ride quality, they did find it quite cramped and very dark, with small windows and dark headlining. Again, it's not all about the tape measure: the perceived space could be much bigger with a lighter interior.

Jack had a good time behind the wheel, though, and found the driver's seat to be very comfortable over long distances. I'm with him on the steering - "surprisingly engaging and a pleasant surprise" - and he enjoyed handling that made the car feel lighter than he expected, with "a go-kart feel". Jack should work in the Mini marketing team with an observation like that...

A further plus on Jack's journey was the Apple CarPlay integration, which was seamless and wireless too - still not a given, even in 2014.

However, the Avenger suffered a couple of gremlins that made Jack suddenly feel a long way from home. An attempt to connect to a BP Pulse charger failed twice, so he went and tried another nearby charger - and then the Avenger wouldn't start.

The infotainment system would fire up, but the motor itself wouldn't and a gear couldn't be selected.

The key fob was in the car and Jack held it close to the steering column to see if that would help, but it still wouldn't start. This carried on for about 10 minutes, with Jack trying to reset the Avenger and leaving it for a couple of minutes. It finally fired up after another attempt to hold the key fob up to the column.

This was about 130 miles into a long drive, with a charging stop having taken place about 70 miles earlier. It was only about 1deg C outside, so Jack wondered if what he had experienced was related to the cold, but everything had worked fine at -2deg C earlier in the journey.

The good people at Jeep took the car back to the workshop but failed to find any fault with it, so it was soon back with us. The problem hasn't occurred again, thankfully. Nor have any other issues that might be filed under software glitches.

Perhaps something that could also be improved with a software update is a more accurate range readout, which Jack said dropped deceptively quickly at motorway speeds in colder weather, as if the prediction doesn't adapt to how you're driving

These experiences all remain part of the learning process with EVs. It's not just the cars but also the infrastructure with which they need to interact that have to be seamless if they're to win the trust of the masses.

Love it 

Standout looks

Every time I see an Avenger on the road, it turns my head – even when I’m driving one.

Loathe it 

That yellow

Jack isn’t sold on the Avenger’s colour. “Dehydrated wee” is what he called it. Eek.

Mileage: 3455

Back to the top

Life with a Jeep Avenger: Month 1

Our EV’s had cold water poured on it, but we’re not deterred - 31 January 

A fine all-round package but one that, in the cold light of the Autocar road test, appeals more to heart than head," my colleagues concluded in the 24 January issue.

You won't find a dressing room split here or any quibbles after the road test team's collective three-and-a-half-star rating of the Jeep Avenger, even though I awarded it four stars on first acquaintance. Indeed, I found myself nodding along throughout my reading of the test, and that finalline summarised the mood about this EV so well.

The Avenger is that kind of car: one that against the clipboard can seem unremarkable and objectively does have shortcomings (in this case, hard plastics inside and subpar ride quality at low speeds) but proves to be more than the sum of its parts with real charm, character and a feel-good character - things that aren't easily measured or quantified in that cold light.

Over a longer period of time, shortcomings can be overlooked or compensated for, should you still fundamentally like the car, as I do the Avenger. Still, it was a bit of a shock when gathering the figures for this latest update to see that the odometer had already passed 3000 miles.

I will be honest: they have been rather unremarkable to date, and I can't remember many especially interesting journeys in the car or point to any one thing that has made my first few weeks in it so enjoyable.

Does that make the Avenger an unremarkable car, then? Absolutely not. It's testament more to how easily it has slipped into everyday life, with more than its fair share of mundane drives, a lack of sunlight, frequent trips to airport car parks and cold weather.

Its the kind of car you can get in at any time of day or night and just ge. with. It's easy to drive intuitively provided you give the starter button a firm enough press and wait a good couple of seconds more than feels healthy for it to kick into life.

Perhaps this is the EV equivalent of an older combustion-engine car struggling with a cold start... I took delivery of the Avenger as winter had already begun and was getting around 220 miles of range in cooler weather.

Then the cold snap hit in mid-January and it dipped below 180 miles. I've run EVs that have suffered far more than that in colder weather, though.

I've not had any trouble with door handles or windows freezing shut, either (this happened frequently last winter in my BMW iX). Yet unlike in an ICE car, the windscreen washer fluid never unfreezes on a journey if the temperature stays below zero, because there's no combustion occurring nearby to warm it up.

Another thing the cold weather has shown is how limited the in-car 'EV functions' of the Avenger are.

There doesn't seem to be a way of using the touchscreen infotainment system to precondition the heating to defrost the car before driving it, which is always a boon (and a fairly common feature) in EVs.

This instead has to be done using Jeep's phone app, which is quite crude, doesn't always work and is prone to 'computer says no' moments.

The Avenger is receiving semi-frequent over-the-air software updates, though, so perhaps - and hopefully for the sake of my core temperature of a morning - that functionality is on its way.

Love it

Like the very best small cars, the Avenger can do a good impression of a big one on a motorway.

Loathe it

It’s impossible to set in the car which battery percentage you would like it to charge to. It’s 100% or nothing.

Mileage: 3033

Back to the top

Richard Lane gets behind the wheel - 17 January 

I borrowed the editor’s wheels over Christmas, during which time several people commented on how much smaller it feels inside than it looks from the outside. That’s very much the intention, no? Chunky, traditional Jeep looks but a dainty, mini-me footprint. That doesn’t make it the finest tool for a tip run, mind. Seats-down capacity is 1053 litres – less than a Renault Clio

Mileage: 2844

Back to the top

Welcoming the Avenger to the fleet - 10 January 2024

I have worried that what has so far been a fairytale beginning for the new Jeep Avenger will come to an end at some point - and that some fingers will be pointed in my direction for being complicit.

I went to the car's launch back in November 2022 so was the first Autocar staffer to deliver a verdict on it. I raved about the Avenger so much that it got my vote for the 2023 Car of the Year - a title that it would go on to win - and my voice was the loudest among colleagues to name it Best Small Car at the 2023 Autocar Awards, despite no one else on the mag having driven it at the time.

A year on, it wasn't a dream; I hadn't drunk the Kool-Aid. The Avenger really is a good car, and not just good for a Jeep. Colleagues have since driven it and liked its character and the way it drives.

Yet all my acquaintances with and drives in the Avenger so far have been brief, which makes this long-term test even more interesting. It certainly leaves a good first impression, yet what we learn over the next few months will dictate how lasting that impression is going to be now the shock and surprise factors (both positive, I should add) have worn off.

To recap, the Avenger is like no other Jeep before it, and not only because it can be recommended for the way it drives on the road as well as off it. It's the first Jeep to have been designed, engineered and manufactured away from the US; instead, its creation was led by Italy and the building of it takes place in Poland. Such is its Euro focus that it won't even be sold to Americans.

Jeep has had a job on its hands because the small SUV is the hardest type of car with which to create something unique and interesting. Such small SUVs mostly look oddly proportioned, particularly when compared with the supermini on which they are typically based (think Ford Fiesta to Puma, Renault Clio to Captur).

Yet not so this Jeep. Maybe that's because there are no preconceptions about what a small Jeep looks like, but even so, the result of the Avenger is that it manages to look both compact and substantial.

The Jeep design cues work well on such a small car and when you're inside, you'd never guess how small it is, because that sense of robustness remains. At just 4.08 metres long, it's shorter than almost every other car in its class, yet somehow it still manages to look the toughest - like a featherweight boxer at a weigh-in.

The Avenger is electric, which is another Jeep first, but it won't be sold solely as an EV. When we first drove it, the UK was only going to take the electric Avenger, but there's now also a 1.2-litre petrol version with a manual gearbox coming to bring the entry price point down by about £8500, as well as a mild hybrid.

For launch, though, the Avenger remains electric-only, and it's offered in three trim levels: Longitude (£35,700), Altitude (£37,400) and Summit (£39,600 and what we have here, each adding progressively more toys: Each model is front-wheel drive and uses a 154bhp electric motor.

The battery pack is 51kWh and offers an official range of up to 249 miles. The crucial heat pump is standard and the charging speed is up to 100k. Our test car has some options, among them striking yellow paint and leather seats, which, along with the infotainment pack, push the price north of £42,000.

This suddenly feels pretty punchy, and it's a good £10,000 more than the starting price that was talked about back on the original test drive in late 2022. At the time, the mooted price gave extra weight to the praise the car received, but it looks like even the petrol version is going to be £10,000 more than a Renault Clio.Still, prices can be cut, discounts negotiated, deals structured.

What can't be quickly changed is the underlying quality of a car that you're getting in return for your money. Early indications show that the Avenger could at last be a Jeep to give the brand lift-off in Europe, a market in which less than one in 100 SUVs sold wear a Jeep badge. There's much to learn about this Avenger - not only how good a car it can be but also how far it can take the Jeep brand.

Second Opinion

I was eager to drive the Avenger. It looks fantastic, but my worry was that style would win over substance. Yet it was just so… normal: more comfortable, sensible city cruiser than what its rugged, go-anywhere look promised. In my short time with the Jeep it felt easy to live with. Let’s see if it is.

Will Rimell

Back to the top

Jeep Avenger Electric Summit specification

Specs: Price New £39,600 Price as tested £42,125 Options Sun/Volcano bi-colour paint £1100, black leather with grey stitching £900, Summit infotainment pack £500, puncture repair kit £25

Test Data: Engine Front-mounted permanent synchronous motor Power 154bhp Torque 192lb ft Kerb weight 1,288kg Top speed 93mph 0-62mph 9.0sec Range 248 miles (claimed) Fuel economy 3.9mpkWh (claimed) CO2 0g/km Faults None Expenses None

Back to the top