Dodge Avenger Interior
Poor fit and finish plague the Avenger's five-seat interior, and relegate the sedan to the bottom of the interior rankings. The Truth About Cars reports that "once again, the quality of The Chrysler's Group's rock hard plastics is both inexplicable and inexcusable. Even Kia uses finer materials."
Car and Driver writes, "The SE stripper model is clearly a bone thrown at National Car Rental, and as far as we're concerned, that's where it should stay -- it's about as basic as transportation gets in the mid-size segment."
The Avenger's spacious cabin provides 100.5 cubic feet of passenger space -- "more than the Fusion and Accord but less than the Camry and Malibu," according to the Detroit Free Press. The larger interior stems from the fact that the Avenger is four inches taller than its predecessor, allowing the driver to sit 2.5 inches higher and making way for "2.5 inches more headroom, 1.2 inches more shoulder room, and one inch more hip room in the front seat," says New Car Test Drive. With the new dimensions, Automobile Magazine finds the cabin "spacious enough for two six-foot, two-inch occupants to sit one behind the other in comfort."
The front seat is decent with "generous headroom" for Consumer Guide, even beneath the optional sunroof." New Car Test Drive says, "The front bucket seats are widely adjustable, comfortable, and generally supportive, although the thigh support is lacking for tall drivers. A standard feature on all models is a tilting, telescoping steering wheel, not usually found in this price class, but welcome and useful."
But the rear seat gets mixed reviews. While Car and Driver says the rear seat "offers legroom galore," Consumer Guide finds "adult-adequate head room" but "no excess leg room." The reviewer also notes the "narrow cabin rules out three-abreast adult seating." New Car Test Drive sums up, noting, "The rear seat area is adequate, but not more. At 6-feet, 4-inches, we would have to sit behind ourselves uncomfortably splay-legged, but perhaps more normal-sized adults would find the rear seat area more accommodating. We didn't."
The Dodge Avenger gets kudos for providing plenty of standard amenities, even if their quality is budget-grade. Road and Track says the SE is "more than acceptable transportation," considering its low price and the number of standard features. MSN also notes, "Even the base SE is fairly well-equipped." However, Edmunds says, "The mediocre quality of the materials is immediately apparent." Kelley Blue Book says "the Avenger's cabin sends out more of an entry-level vibe" compared to the best cabins in the class.
Standard features on the SE include air conditioning, power door locks and windows, power trunklid release, cloth low-back bucket seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an MP3-capable CD player with four speakers, keyless entry, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver's seat, illuminated entry and a split-folding rear seat. The STX adds premium cloth bucket seats, driver's seat manually-adjustable lumbar support, an eight-way power driver's seat, a front-passenger fold-forward-flat seat, YES Essentials stain/odor resistant seat fabric and six speakers (instead of four).
The R/T adds automatic climate control, AM/FM radio with in-dash six-disc CD/MP3/DVD changer, heated power fold-away mirrors, deluxe door trim panel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, automatic temperature control, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and an automatically-dimming rearview mirror.
Stereo and Entertainment
Kelley Blue Book says the Avenger has the potential to be "one of the most entertaining cars in the category" when loaded with some of the available options. Nearly all reviewers positively comment on the uniqueness of MyGIG(TM) Multimedia Infotainment, an audio, navigation and entertainment system that allows the user to download music and photos to a 20-gigabyte hard drive. Optional on all but the base model, it also includes JPEG image uploading via a high-speed USB port, auxiliary audio input, voice recognition, voice message recording and playback, SIRIUS® Satellite Radio and Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity.
Also available for the STX and R/T is a rear-seat video system -- "a worthy feature at this price level and in this segment," according to Road and Track. The system includes dual headphones, a seven-inch color LCD screen, remote control and gaming capability. Buyers can also upgrade all but the base model with six Boston Acoustics speakers, as well as SIRIUS® Satellite Radio (with one year of complimentary service).
A well-liked standard feature that is unique to the Avenger and the Chrysler Sebring is the Chill Zone; an air-conditioned storage box that holds up to four 12-ounce soda cans in the glove box area. As part of the optional Premium Convenience Group package, drivers can also get a special front center cupholder that can heat a beverage to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or chill it to 35 degrees. Thereports, "I have no doubt some people will buy an Avenger - and love it - for the cup holder alone." The reviewer further notes that "the chill zone and thermo-cupholder make the Avenger a great drink box with a reasonably good car wrapped around it."
The 2008 Avenger provides a 13-cubic-foot trunk that's undersized for its class, with most of the cargo room under the rear window and parcel shelf. In fact, Car and Driver says the space is "shy of both the Honda Accord's and the Pontiac G6's, and a whopping five cubic feet smaller than the Nissan Altima's." In addition, Consumer Guide notes the "short decklid and high liftover limit utility of small but usefully shaped trunk."
However, a plus is the 60/40 split rear seats that fold nearly flat to expand cargo space. The fold-flat front passenger seat that comes on the STX and R/T models can expand space to hold eight-foot-long cargo. Interior storage is adequate, with a fold-down center armrest that contains dual cupholders, front door storage pockets, rear door beverage holders and an air-conditioned Chill Zone beverage unit.
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