For the first time ever, a Jeep received top honors from the long-running Car of the Year awards, announced on January 13 at the Brussels International Motor Show. This year's winner is the new Jeep Avenger electric SUV, which is available in Europe, Japan, and South Korea. It will not be sold in North America.
The Avenger also happens to be Jeep's first pure electric vehicle. Debuting last October, it uses a single motor with an output of 154 horsepower (115 kilowatts) and 181 pound-feet (260 Newton-meters) of torque. It drives the front wheels, though a dual-motor Avenger is in the cards for a future all-wheel-drive model. A 54-kWh battery provides 249 miles of range in the WLTP cycle, though in slower-speed urban settings that range could approach 342 miles. It can fast charge through a 100-kW connection, going from 20 to 80 percent range in 24 minutes.
Gallery: 2023 Jeep Avenger
In its Car of the Year victory, the Avenger received 328 total votes, including 21 best votes from a 57-member jury representing 22 European countries. Other vehicles in contention were the VW ID. Buzz, finishing second with 241 overall votes and 16 best votes. In third was the Nissan Ariya at 211 votes, making this year's top-three vehicles an all-electric podium for the second time in the history of the awards. Last year, the Kia EV6 captured the overall win, with the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 following closely behind.
Other contenders for the 2023 award were the Kia Niro, bringing internal-combustion power to the fourth spot. The Renault Austral landed in fifth, followed by the Peugeot 408 and the Subaru Solterra / Toyota bZ4X twins rounding out the seven finalists.
While Jeep has no plans to bring the subcompact Avenger stateside, A larger EV will grace North America in the form of the Recon. A Wrangler Unlimited-sized four-door, Jeep stresses it's not a Wrangler replacement but it will have considerable off-road capability with its electric powertrain. More information on the 2024 Recon should arrive later this year.
Check out the Rambling About Cars podcast for more EV discussion, available below.