YOU know when you buy something for one job and it turns out super useful for another?
Hand sanitiser. Everyone had it during the pandemic. I still keep it handy for getting sticky residue off my phone screen, cleaning white trainers, and other general stain removal.
The new Jeep Avenger was engineered to give owners an intro to off-road freedom and back-woods adventure.
But it also turns out to be a brilliant city car.
It has big wheels, short overhangs and long-travel suspension, good for soaking up uneven terrain. And excellent over city speed-bumps.
It’s compact and manoeuvrable for tight forest trails. Also for narrow streets and car parks.
Fun on a windy road
Its body has a perimeter of scratch-resistant plastic, so if you scrape past branches it won’t ding the paintwork. Nor will supermarket trolley impacts.
You get the picture.
But the Avenger starts at £32,000 and that’s a lot for a city runabout. Even if, being electric, it saves you the congestion charge in London and parking costs in many places up and down the land.
Anyway, it works well on longer trips too. The official range is 250 miles, which, in the worst-case is 200 on the motorway.
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So you could go 350 miles with just a half-hour stopover. It’s a pretty relaxing car at those speeds, holding well in its lane and producing little tyre noise.
The electric motor kicks out enough power to propel you from 0-62mph in nine seconds.
It feels quicker than that, because when you floor it you don’t have to wait for a turbo or a kickdown like you do with a petrol car. It just goes.
On rural roads, the Avenger’s suspension is pretty well-controlled and quiet. Plus the cornering is surprisingly well-sorted. The steering is reassuringly accurate without being fidgety.
The tyres hang on gamely. It doesn’t lean much even in tight bends. So you can have a bit of fun on a windy road. That wasn’t really a Jeep mission before.
Still, with its boxy design no one’s going to mistake it for anything other than a Jeep.
That shape has other advantages: The back seat and boot are surprisingly spacious for an electric car that’s only an inch longer than a VW Polo.
And yeah, this tiddler isn’t as good as bigger Jeeps at true mountaineering. It doesn’t have four-wheel drive.
Even so, it’s good over rocks, its safe wading depth is up at the tops of your wellies and the electric systems find remarkable traction in the mud.
But I’d recommend a car wash, not sanitiser, to clean it afterward.
KEY FACTS: JEEP AVENGERS LAUNCH EDITION
- Price: £38,000
- Battery: 54kWh
- Power: 156hp, 260Nm
- 0-62mph: 9 secs
- Top speed: 94mph
- Range: 250miles
- CO2: 0g/km
- Out: January