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First drive: Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid. Image by Jeep.

First drive: Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid
Hello, what’s this? A Jeep which feels like it is challenging the best in class in its segment? You’d better believe it.


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Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid

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We've already driven the amenable Jeep Avenger in its pioneering (for the US off-road company, at least) electric form, but now here we are trying it with an internal combustion engine fitted. There's still some ecological goodness involved, however, as this is the new e-Hybrid, but has compromising it as a petrol-electric halfway-house improved the Avenger, or made it worse?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid Summit
Price: Avenger range from £23,600, e-Hybrid Summit from £29,200
Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol plus 21kW electric motor and 0.9kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission: six-speed eDCT6 dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 100hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 205Nm at 1,750-2,000rpm
Emissions: 111-114g/km
Economy: 56.5-57.6mpg
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Top speed: 114mph
Boot space: 321 or 380-1,277 litres


We very much liked the Avenger when we first saw it and slotting a hybrid drivetrain into the vehicle hasn't changed our opinion one bit. When some of Jeep's other products can be either boringly derivative or needlessly cuboid (you know which ones we mean), the Avenger strikes a nice balance between striking detailing and yet retaining an overall cohesive form that isn't spoiled by needless strokes of the designer's pen. The e-Hybrid is solely differentiated from its Electric sibling by the addition of a small green 'e' badge on the bootlid, although it - like the plain 1.2-litre petrol which forms the £23,600 entry point to the Avenger range - also has a little exhaust pipe peeking out of the right-hand side of the rear bumper; something the Electric most assuredly does not. Otherwise, though, the seven-bar grille, the chunky arches and the (optional) contrast roof do the littlest Jeep plenty of aesthetic favours, especially in some of the funkier colours it comes in - all named after elemental and geographical features (e.g., Ruby, Snow, Volcano, Granite, Stone), our favourites are Lake, a lovely blue-green, and Sun, the bright yellow signature shade for the Avenger.


More showroom points are accumulated in the Avenger's favour when you get into it. It shares much with the cabin of the Fiat 600e, including that unusual foldy-lid thing that's like an Apple iPad cover for the central 34-litre storage cubby (which we suspect will look a bit tired after a few years' use... but we digress), yet where the Fiat goes for showy Italianate style - to mixed effect - the Jeep plays things a bit straighter. And, conversely, has the more appealing look as a result.

The central dash panel, which can be body-coloured, is only metal-effect plastic and it doesn't feel particularly robust, but it's a great detail which breaks up the otherwise-oh-so-black cabin. The strong, horizontal theme is continued with the air-vent strip, as well as a stowage ledge beneath that on the passenger side, while what physical buttons there are find themselves arranged in neat, serried ranks; thankfully, the main bank of switches is for the climate control, which isn't instead sequestered in the 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Speaking of which, that works well, as does the crisp and clean 10.25-inch instrument cluster, although you only get the latter on the two upper trims (Altitude and Summit) - base Latitude cars make do with a seven-inch TFT display here.

Most of the main touchpoints, including the steering wheel, have been engineered to feel solid and upmarket, while the seats are good and comfy too, albeit ever so slightly too-high-mounted relative to the body of the car, meaning you can feel a tad 'perched' if you're of the taller persuasion. But there are obvious signs of building things down to a cost in the Avenger, such as the rock-solid and scratchy plastics used for the door cards, and the cut-price finishes on the lower exposed surfaces. However, overall, we generally like the quality levels of the Jeep's cabin, so we'll overlook these one or two questionable materials in the grand scheme of things.


Hmm. Let's start with the boot, which is good. Again, base Latitude cars have a fixed floor in the cargo area, but the upper two specs gain a moveable item, which means you get at least 321 litres with the deck in its raised position and all seats in use, rising to 380 litres if you drop it down to its lowest level. Fold the rear seats away and the outright capacity increases to a useful 1,277 litres, figures which are in advance of the 282-1,252 litres on offer in the Avenger Electric. There's also that aforementioned large cubby we mentioned that sits at the front of the transmission tunnel, while the front door pockets are decent enough.

The problems come when you sit in the back of the Avenger, where the phrase 'the cheap seats' has never felt more appropriate. Headroom is generous, thanks to the car's 1,536mm height and a scalloped rooflining, but by crikey, legroom most certainly isn't. Even the driving position of an average-height driver will see the rear footwell reduced to little more than a thin slot, meaning anyone above the age of about 12 sitting in the second row will find their knees uneasily pressed into the backrest of the seat in front of them. There are also precious few storage solutions in the back, either (there aren't even any door pockets), which means the car's principle use as an affordable family motor looks compromised - if you've got younger kids, then the back seats should turn out to be fine, or at the very least passable. For anyone else, sitting up front is going to be the only comfortable option.


When we first tried this hybrid drivetrain last year in the Citroen C5 Aircross, we weren't massively impressed with it - specifically the somewhat clunky eDCT6 dual-clutch gearbox. Bearing in mind that this powertrain is now spreading like wildfire through the entire Stellantis conglomerate, appearing in everything from Peugeots to Fiats and all points in between, its inclusion in the Avenger didn't exactly fill us with confidence.

Well, clearly someone has been at the software mapping for the transmission's control, because in this application it is transformed. It's not exactly perfect now, yet the eDCT6 shifts smoothly - and this applies up near the 1.2-litre three-cylinder's redline - it reacts quickly to bootfuls of throttle, and it surprisingly proves more than happy to respond to realistic down-change requests via the Avenger's (admittedly stunted and plasticky) paddle shifters. Maybe it's also the fact the Jeep runs a lower-output configuration of the e-Hybrid powertrain than that C5 Aircross did last year, with power reduced to the tune of 36hp to a flat 100hp overall and also detuned by 25Nm of torque to a peak 205Nm, but this powertrain feels a lot more accomplished and polished in the Avenger than it did in the Citroen. This is heartily good news.

It's also a willing little performer. You can have this 1.2 turbo petrol in the Avenger with a manual gearbox and no hybrid assistance, meaning the 21kW (28hp)/55Nm e-motor in the eDCT6 is junked, as is the diminutive 0.9kWh battery under the front-left seat. All told, these changes save 100kg, which gives the plain petrol better on-paper acceleration stats from exactly the same quoted 100hp/205Nm maximum outputs, but due to the weird way hybrid systems work - as in, the combustion engine and the e-motor rarely make their peak outputs at the same time - there's no doubt that the e-Hybrid has more muscle than the pure petrol, even if Jeep won't admit it in the official published data.

Furthermore, at 1,280kg, the Avenger e-Hybrid is not what you could ever term 'fat' and it's also an eye-widening 240kg trimmer than the Electric model. All of this is our convoluted way of saying 'ignore the claimed performance stats'. This thing is a little gem to drive, as you'll rarely want for more zip and responsiveness in town than the Jeep can turn out, while it doesn't feel out of its depth and gutless once you're on faster, open, flowing roads. It even sounds good being revved out, with no coarseness evident as the needle spins past the 5,500rpm point of peak power - normally where these three-pots get a bit wheezy and rasping. And even in Eco mode, the throttle is judged well enough that it doesn't feel a fuzzy mess, or worse still broken in some strange way.

Better yet is the sheer ease-of-use that the e-Hybrid powertrain brings to the Avenger's line-up. We're not for bashing EVs, you understand, we think there are some very good ones out there, but the outright driving-range limitations cannot be ignored, especially for users who don't live in a city or with easy access to charging points. This is where the petrol-electric aces the full EV Avenger. That zero-emission model will, at best, go 249 miles on a full charge of its 54kWh battery pack; realistically, the most you're ever going to see on its in-car display is more like 200 miles. Get into the Avenger e-Hybrid, however, with a full tank of fuel in it and the distance-to-empty readout is more than doubled to circa-435 miles. Jeep claims 56-58mpg for this model, whereas we saw more like 40.4mpg on a fairly tough test route, so maybe even 435 miles is optimistic, but it's clear that the e-Hybrid has the legs on the Electric model, if that sort of thing bothers you.

Ride & Handling

Amazingly, while the Avenger Electric has never set our pants on fire for driving thrills, the e-Hybrid again proves to be the superior machine from a dynamic perspective. Same thing goes when you compare it back to the related Fiat 600e, the last time we drove this particular set of underpinnings most recently. In the Italian crossover - with no engine to make a racket, remember - the ride quality was average, the handling inert and the noise of the suspension far too noticeable for our liking.

No such qualms in the e-Hybrid Jeep, though. It takes barely 100 metres of driving to realise it's a really assured crossover, this. Considerable transverse ridges and imperfections in the road surface will upset the Avenger's composure, sure, but these occasions are so few and far between that you'll barely be bothered by them.

For the rest of the time, this compact crossover rides with a real sense of grace and aplomb, despite the fact it's on big, unsprung 18-inch alloys as a Summit, and then furthermore it transpired that all the launch cars were running on winter tyres... in 17-degree heat. So while there are traces of tyre roar evident in the cabin at times, we're prepared to put that down to the inappropriate rubber at the corners of our test car - and it wasn't even unbearable as it was.

The rest of it - the suspension's machinations, the wind flowing around the compact Jeep's stocky form, the rumblings of the three-cylinder engine - are kept to more-than-acceptably-minimal levels. Despite its four-metre form and the cramped rear passenger accommodation, what the Jeep does is that most noble of tricks: on the move, for rolling refinement and ride comfort, it convinces you it's a bigger, grander and far more expensive machine than it actually is.

And then it also handles well. Not sparklingly, of course, we're not about to come up with the claim of some amazing chassis revelation here, but it's tidy and competent in the corners, resisting understeer admirably, keeping taut control of its body (we couldn't really discern any significant lean through faster bends, or pitch and dive when hard on the throttle or brakes) and, brilliantly, being blessed with likeable steering - it's accurate and nicely weighted, with even a few traces of feel filtering through it. All this on that winter rubber, again, which will have denuded levels of grip compared to a proper set of summer tyres.

Is the Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid brilliant in the corners? Is it as good as a Ford Puma? No, and no, but it's a damned sight better than it probably needs to be for this class and the typical end-user, which just puts the cherry on the Jeep's all-round excellent on-road driving manners.

We also got to try the Avenger e-Hybrid off-road, because, well, it is a Jeep after all. It's only a two-wheel-drive vehicle in this specification and the course laid on for us, while reasonably challenging, at the same time wouldn't have scared many cars. One wag felt moved to say he could've got a classic Mini around it, which is perhaps stretching the point as there was a section of considerable axle articulation (that the Jeep aced because it has good approach, breakover and departure angles of 20, 20 and 34 degrees respectively) as well as some steep, twisting inclines and a 40 per cent descent, but for what it's worth the Avenger didn't struggle for this off-road test at all. A four-wheel-drive variant is on the way, as Jeep is planning a 4xe plug-in hybrid model soon, yet what the front-driven model can do away from metalled roads is probably way more than its owners will ever require of it.


Every version of the Avenger e-Hybrid is less than £30,000, which makes it look good value up against the ideologically similar Renegade and Compass models in Jeep's portfolio, which both kick off the far side of that figure. A Latitude model comes with 16-inch alloys, manual air-conditioning, the 10.25-inch infotainment system, cruise control, keyless entry and go, a load of advanced driver assist safety (ADAS) features and more besides, for £25,300 basic.

The Altitude adds 17-inch wheels, automatic climate control, adaptive cruise, fancier seat upholstery, the adjustable boot floor and the 10.25-inch instrument cluster for a £27,000 asking price, while the £29,200 Summit equips 18s, full LED head- and taillights, foglamps, tinted glass, heated front seats, a wireless smartphone charger, a powered tailgate and even more ADAS gear to take it to Level 2 autonomy, including 360-degree parking sensors and a 180-degree reversing camera. So kit levels are impressive across the Avenger board, with options including (but not limited to) a two-tone exterior paintjob and even a massaging driver's seat, if you want it.

Perhaps the salient point here is that, model-for-model, the e-Hybrid is a honking great £9,500 cheaper than the Avenger Electric, so you're going to really need to make the most of the EV's tax breaks and (potentially) super-cheap running costs to recoup that additional purchase outlay.


We were honestly on the verge of giving the Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid another half-star in this review, so enamoured with it were we - the only thing keeping us from that is that it's supposed to be a practical little family car as a crossover, and yet the rear-seat space is pretty dire, so we've had to temper our enthusiasm a touch. However, for the manner in which it drives and the overall ease-of-use its petrol-electric running gear presents, all packaged up in that attractive body and with a largely commendable interior (some plastics aside), we have to say the Avenger e-Hybrid is a little stunner. It's comfortably the best thing Jeep has made in years, this side of the Wrangler (which has several on-road compromises of its own to work with), and it's one of the finest, most charismatic crossovers in this class to boot.

Matt Robinson - 22 Mar 2024    - Jeep road tests
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2024 Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Avenger e-Hybrid. Image by Jeep.


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