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#20

in 2009 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $8,442 - $10,539
Original MSRP: $20,515 - $25,415
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2009 Dodge Avenger Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The Dodge Avenger is available with three different engines, but reviewers consistently call two of the three underpowered, and all three loud and unrefined. Its suspension doesn't handle bumps well, and the automotive press almost unanimously agrees that the Avenger's electric steering is overboosted and difficult to master.

  • "The Avenger is a timid performer." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Dodge Avenger is available with a 2.4-liter 173-horsepower inline four-cylinder engine that reviewers say struggles to give the car highway passing power. An available 2.7-liter V6 doesn't offer much of an improvement with 186 horsepower. The highest performer, the R/T, boasts a 3.5-liter 235-horsepower V6, which brings the car close to the class average for power, but only in its most expensive trim. Fuel economy varies between trims, with the four-cylinder engine managing an EPA rating of 21/30 mpg city/highway, while the R/T's V6 earns only a 16/27 mpg rating.

  • "With the 4-cylinder, Avenger struggles in passing and merging situations, though it handles around-town driving adequately. Same goes for the SXT's optional 2.7-liter V6. ... Power is ample with the R/T's 3.5-liter V6, though the transmission suffers from delayed downshifts and unacceptable clunkiness. Powertrain refinement is below the class norm." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Although the base four-cylinder engine delivers the best fuel economy, many buyers will be put off by its sluggish response and coarse power delivery." -- Edmunds
  • The R/T's engine "is thoroughly up to the task of getting the Avenger up to speed. But it's still no match for the gutsy six-cylinder variants of the Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry." -- Car and Driver
  • Testing the R/T, "I expected a faster 65-75 mph passing time and generally more highway punch." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The 2009 Avenger uses electric steering that some reviewers find difficult and others like. Those that dislike it say the system has a highly artificial feel, while the car's suspension system allows the body to roll more in corners than most competitors, further compromising handling. Most testers say the brakes are also inadequate.

  • "Handling is compromised by artificial feeling steering and surprising body lean in corners." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Push this dreary driving street rod towards the extremes and the 17" wheels and chassis loses composure like a paranoid schizophrenic at a UFO convention." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "The speed-proportional, power rack-and-pinion steering was especially confidence-inspiring with good, on-center feel and no loosey-goosey moments." -- MSN

Next Steps: 2009 Dodge Avenger

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