The Dodge Avenger is an honest, straightforward sedan at a good price. In certain respects it's less sophisticated than some competitors, but it's powerful, comfortable and reasonably economical to operate. It's also quiet and pleasant to drive.
Avenger was launched as a 2008 model. A thorough update for the 2011 model year made the Avenger much more competitive in key areas. Avenger R/T joined the lineup for 2012. Avenger carries over to 2013 unchanged.
Dodge calls the Avenger America's most affordable mid-size sedan, and based on current retail prices, we can't disagree. Yet the Avenger isn't just selling price. Both the base four-cylinder engine and the upgrade V6 deliver excellent power and competitive mileage ratings. We might call it a mid-size package with compact value.
The 2008 Avenger appeared looking like a scaled-down version of the hot-selling, full-size Dodge Charger. Since then, the Charger has moved on to a new look, while the Avenger has remained mostly unchanged. It's still clean, tightly creased and not bad looking, but without the more dramatic proportions of the bigger car it doesn't stand out. Its basic visual impact is retrograde.
The cabin contributes to a relaxing, pleasant driving experience. The quality of the interior materials isn't the best in the class, but the Avenger is comfortable and the controls are intuitive and easy to use.
Avenger SE retails for hundreds of dollars less than the next competitive mid-size sedan, and it comes well equipped. Its 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder is strong and smooth, with acceleration performance that's better than adequate. With the 4-speed automatic transmission, the Avenger SE is EPA-rated at 21/30 mpg City/Highway. Avenger SXT models come with more equipment and a 6-speed automatic with the four-cylinder, increasing the EPA Highway rating to 31 mpg, for mileage ratings of 20/31 mpg.
Optional is a 283-hp, 3.6-liter V6 and a 6-speed automatic. The price is thousands less than other mid-size V6s, yet it's the most powerful V6 in its class. The Avenger V6 also out-powers every mid-size turbocharged four, while undercutting every one of them on price, too. EPA ratings are 19/29 mpg.
Avenger R/T comes with the V6, a sports suspension and racy stripes and interior treatment. Loaded with navigation and the Boston Acoustics audio upgrade, an Avenger R/T barely cracks $27,000.
The Avenger chassis is shared with the Chrysler 200, which was designed to be a convertible as well as a sedan, so the chassis is stiff and strong. You'll feel the tightness in both the cabin and handling. Dodge aced the suspension, and both ride quality and cornering response are excellent, benefits of that rigid chassis. The fine balance of comfort and handling contribute significantly to Avenger's appeal.
This mid-size has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. Avenger comes standard with six airbags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.