The Dodge Avenger made its first appearance in the mid-size-sedan category back in December 2008, but it never caught on. This was probably due to the fact that the Avenger was little more than average in looks, dynamics, and build quality. Dodge delivered a much-needed refresh last year, but the mild exterior face-lift, sleeker bumpers, and new grille weren’t able to save the Avenger from its dated look. The 2012 Avenger comes with a standard 173-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to a standard four-speed automatic, although a six-speed auto is optional. Buyers can shell out a little more cash to get the more powerful 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The V-6 puts out 283 hp and returns a very respectable 29 mpg on the highway. Where the Avenger has seen the greatest improvement is in its interior. Good materials and stylish trim enhance the car’s feel, but the cabin’s key features are supportive seats and a thick-rimmed steering wheel. The Avenger’s biggest obstacle is the wealth of competition in the mid-size-sedan segment. It’s clear that Chrysler is moving in the right direction by giving the Avenger so much attention, but this car is going to need further improvement before it can compete with the likes of the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
Trim Levels: SE, SXT, SXT Plus, R/T
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
EngineS: 2.4L I-4, 173 hp, 166 lb-ft
3.6L V-6, 283 hp, 250 lb-ft
Transmissions: 4- or 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 100.2 cu ft
Cargo space: 13.5 cu ft
Not much. Copperhead pearl coat and blue streak pearl coat have been added to the palette of exterior paint options.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; stability and traction control; a tire-pressure monitoring system; and ABS are standard.
All: 19-21 mpg city/29-31 mpg highway
- Reasonably priced
- Nicely finished interior
- Better choices in the segment
- Dated exterior styling
In need of further improvement.
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Ford Fusion
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry