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#20

in 2010 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,208 - $11,286
Original MSRP: $20,230 - $21,730
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2010 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 generally don't like any of the three. Two four-cylinder options are both underpowered, while the available V6 is quicker, but loud and unrefined. The Avenger's suspension transfers road bumps into the cabin, while the press is almost unanimous that its electric steering is overboosted and difficult to master. Shoppers looking for a more engaging ride should consider the Ford Fusion or Mazda6, both of which offer more nimble handling for a lower starting price than the Avenger, while those interested in a softer ride might want to test drive the Toyota Camry.

  • "The Avenger is a timid performer." -- Edmunds
  • "Of models tested, SXT is the most compliant...the front-drive R/T is less composed." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The driving experience is not nearly so cool. The 2.4-liter four moves the beast along reasonably well, but those expecting a performance hit from the V-6-powered R/T (man, does that badge set up expectations, or what?) will be disappointed." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Dodge Avenger is available with a 2.4-liter 173-horsepower inline four-cylinder engine. That's a fairly typical power rating for a four-cylinder family sedan, but the Avenger struggles to translate that power into acceleration -- reviewers say the car has little highway passing power. The 2010 Subaru Legacy, by comparison, gets 170 horsepower from is base engine, but offers much more confident acceleration than the Avenger.  An available 2.7-liter V6 doesn't offer much of an improvement -- making 186 horsepower, it's one of the weakest V6 engines available anywhere. 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, 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. It's marginally more powerful than the 4-cylinder in all situations. 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. A better choice for most people is the 2.7-liter V6 available on the SXT: Refinement still isn't a strong point, but with this engine, the Avenger feels much stronger during highway maneuvers." -- 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 2010 Avenger uses electric steering that some reviewers find difficult and others like. This is now common in the midsize car class. Many of the Avenger's competitors have abandoned pneumatic power steering for electric steering. Most, though, seem to offer better road feel than the Avenger -- reviewers describe its steering as highly artificial, while the car's suspension system allows the body to roll more in corners than most competitors, further compromising handling. The brakes, most testers say, are 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
  • Steering is "especially confidence-inspiring with good, on-center feel and no loosey-goosey moments." -- MSN

Next Steps: 2010 Dodge Avenger

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