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#19

in 2011 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,557 - $14,098
Original MSRP: $19,245 - $23,745
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2011 Dodge Avenger Performance

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

Auto reviewers feel the 2011 Dodge Avenger’s standard four-cylinder engine is underpowered. And while they are impressed with the new optional 3.6-liter V6’s power, some feel that other competitors offer better V6 options. Reviewers say the newly redesigned suspension is nice and taut, yet offers a comfortable ride.

  • "We didn’t spend much time behind the wheel of the four-cylinder, but we were impressed with its silence. Emitting only a light vibration at idle and a little buzz at high speeds, the four-cylinder moves the Avenger along adequately - about par for the class." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Dodge Avenger has a standard 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine is standard on Heat and 2012 R/T trims and optional on the Lux trim. The new V6 offers improved power compared to the 2010 Avenger’s available 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V6s, which only produced 186 and 235 horsepower, respectively.

Two transmissions are available on the 2011 Dodge Avenger. A six-speed automatic is standard on the 3.6-liter V6 engine on Heat models, as well as the 2.4-liter four-cylinder on Mainstreet and LUX models. A four-speed automatic comes standard with the base four-cylinder engine found in the Express trim.

The EPA rates the four-cylinder 2011 Dodge Avenger at 21/30 mpg city/highway with an automatic four-speed transmission and 20/31 with an automatic six-speed, while the V6 gets 19/29 mpg city/highway.

The R/T trim level of the Avenger debuted as a 2012 model at the New York auto show in April 2011. It has the same Pentastar V6 engine as the Heat trim. Dodge says the R/T model has a performance-tuned suspension that’s geared toward driving enthusiasts.

Reviewers are not impressed with the base four-cylinder engine, saying it is underpowered compared to similarly-equipped cars in this class. However, they like the new 3.6-liter V6, which is standard on the Heat trim and optional on the Lux trim, saying it’s noticeably more powerful than the 2010 Avenger’s V6 options. The Heat model starts at $23,840 and adding the V6 to the Lux model brings the price to $26,290. These prices are about $1,000 less than competitors like the Subaru Legacy, whose six-cylinder trim starts at $24,995, and the Mazda6, whose V6 trim starts at $27,080. The Honda Accord V6 has a base price of $27,280.

  • "The engine is strong, but I personally would prefer more aggressive throttle actuation. You have to put your foot deep into the pedal to summon the power needed for highway-speed passing." -- AutoWeek
  • "The Avenger's adequate but unrefined 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is still standard equipment for most trim levels, but the new 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is noticeably more robust than the outgoing model's V6 and indeed is actually the most powerful engine in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "Buyers who opt for the old 2.4-liter four-cylinder will be met with visions from the vehicle's less-than-award-winning past, including plenty of engine vibration and fuel economy that's not on par with new hardware coming out from the competition." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Dodge says it completely redesigned the Avenger’s suspension for 2011, increasing the width and lowering it for a more aggressive stance. These improvements yield some positive comments from reviewers, who say they like the comfortable, yet sporty ride. However, one test driver feels the brakes aren’t powerful enough.

  • "The Avenger's suspension was also overhauled for 2011, and the results are good. Unlike some cars, in which you can feel shimmy when you hit particularly nasty bumps, the Avenger's suspension is especially tight, with no unnecessary wiggles to sully the driving experience." -- Cars.com
  • "I especially found the brakes on the weak side, and if you really need to get into them, the whole car can get squirrelly and out of sorts in the hurry." -- AutoWeek
  • "Avenger falls well short of being a sports sedan, but its ride and handling is certainly class competitive for once." -- Left Lane News
  • "After a few days of driving, we enjoyed the Avenger's comfortable and communicative ride, which absorbed even the nastiest of pavement cracks. Though it continued to lean in corners, the Avenger was unexpectedly poised." -- Motor Trend

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