Word on the street is that the Avenger could very well fade to black because it’s cannibalizing the sales of the company’s current spotlighted ride, the Dodge Dart. The midsized car is also competing sales-wise with its twin, the Chrysler 200, and the parent company reportedly wants to avoid product duplication, focus on just one of the cars to save a few bucks on development and marketing, and concentrate on giving their brands a distinctive lineup.
Certainly killing off one of the sedans would eliminate the problem of one having to compete wheel-to-wheel with the other. But despite the scuttlebutt, the Dodge Avenger is throwing no shade at its twin and can certainly hold its own. What you see is what you get: smooth lines, sharp creases, crosshair grille, an accentuated hood — just an overall appealing and retro sporty design.
Inside the Avenger the automaker has kept it simple. Nothing on the slabby dash will cause head-scratching or “time to get those readers” moments. Soft-touch surfaces everywhere with ambient lighting adds warmth and fuzziness to the Avenger’s interior. The car’s high-contrast driver’s side instrumentation is oversized, and the media center (optional navigation, audio, UConnect Voice Command with Bluetooth) is hands-down fussy-free, straightforward and just plain old convenient.
Spaciousness is what you’ll see and definitely feel in the Avenger’s interior. The room for five fits all body types — and really comfortably. Leg and headroom front and back is more than plentiful for the vertically and horizontally challenged. Seating is bolstered, tush-supportive, and comfy enough for really long hauls.
The Avenger offers a deep and spacious trunk that measures 13.5 cubes with a lid that swings way high, which is more than enough space for any hoarder pro. There’s also a pass-through for longer items that would accommodate an antique area rug nabbed at a yard sale, or a few fishing poles for those bear types.
Behind the wheel, the Avenger will surprise you. It’s maneuverable, quiet, responsive/peppy, offers little body roll and is just a joy to drive. Going over construction land mines in the vehicle is also a smooth operation.
Our test-model Avenger, an SXT, came with a 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine that produced 283 horses when we gave it some gas. There are three models of the Avenger: the SE (which is the base), the SXT (in the Goldilocks zone), and then there’s the top ranking R/T.
Fuel-wise, the midsized ride could do better on city streets at 21 city/30 highway for the SE and SXT, 19/29 for the R/T.
All in all, the Dodge Avenger isn’t the most sophisticated number among its midsized competitors, but it is sure to satisfy any textbook fussbudget. The sedan’s modest interior, comfort, and excellent handling — with a sticker-price-to-fit-practically- all-pockets starting price of $20,595 — is certainly worth taking a look-see.