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Long-term review

Jeep Avenger - long-term review

£39,600 / £42,125 as tested / £519pcm
Published: 05 Apr 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    Jeep Avenger Summit

  • Range

    248.5 miles

  • ENGINE

    1cc

  • BHP

    154.2bhp

  • 0-62

    9.6s

We've swapped our electric Jeep Avenger for a petrol one

Ever seen that bit in Pixar’s Wall-E where humans, through lack of physical endeavour, have degenerated into boneless blobs scooting about on hovering armchairs? Well let me tell you, it’s terrifying, because that’s the way we’re heading people with our never-ending search for convenience and comfort. Sadly, I’m just as bad as the rest.

While our yellow Avenger EV was being flashed with new software to try and jumpstart the faulty heater, Jeep loaned me a petrol-powered Avenger for a week. The results were surprising. I thought I’d love the anxiety-salve of a tank of petrol behind me, the (admittedly mild) challenge of working the engine to uncork the torque and using a manual gearbox to give my left leg a much-needed workout. In fact, the exact opposite was true.

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Presented with a near identical interior, view-out and chassis behaviour, but now an engine that needing revving, a clutch that required pressing and a lever that demanded waggling, the whole experience felt crude. My progress more staccato and my enjoyment of the Avenger diminished. It didn’t take long before I was wishing to be back in the EV with its seamless creep in traffic, silent peppy responses and general lack of fuss. Told you I’m a boneless blob in the making.

So that’s that is it? I hate manual gearboxes and petrol engines for their increased faff factor? Not quite. Give me a performance car, something interesting that’s designed to be driven hard and challenge the person pedalling, and the petrol engine with all its mechanical complexity and character is still head and shoulders above EV. A manual gearbox on top of that is, in most cases, a catalyst to the conversation going on between person and machine.

And then there’s classics, like this 1978 Renault 5 TL I recently attempted to drive to Paris, before breaking down 14 miles from home. It’s an anti-performance car, the plainest of the plain runabout hatch back then, but now… now, it’s a window into an analogue world where driving a car requires all your attention and the rewards are magnificent even if you’re likely to be overtaken by an energetically ridden bicycle. Fiddling with the choke, heaving the unassisted steering at low speeds, finding a gear in the hilariously vague four-speed ‘box and finally unleashing all 44bhp to the tarmac in a rush of mechanical aggression, if not speed. I’d love to daily one, if only I could rely on it.

Which brings us back to the Avenger. This is a city car cloaked in rufty-tufty Jeep design cues and right now for short, urban, everyday trips (and increasingly for longer undramatic ones too) EVs are simply a nicer way to travel. The electric motor is an elegant solution to forward propulsion, albeit more sanitised and uniform that what we’re used to. Let’s keep the fast stuff petrol powered, the classics ticking along, but can we all agree that EV is a better way for tackling the mundane?

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