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#19

in 2012 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,557 - $16,152
Original MSRP: $18,995 - $25,995
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2012 Dodge Avenger Performance

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

Like most affordable midsize cars, auto reviewers report that the 2012 Dodge Avenger’s standard four-cylinder engine is adequate. They are impressed with the optional 3.6-liter V6’s power, but some feel that other competitors offer better V6 engines. Reviewers say the Dodge Avenger’s suspension offers a comfortable ride. One test driver notes that the Avenger’s brakes don’t provide enough stopping power.

  • "With the optional V-6 engine, the Avenger was one of the quietest non-luxury cars I've driven lately. Road noise is nearly nonexistent at midrange speeds, as are noises from other cars around you." -- Cars.com
  • "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 front-wheel drive 2012 Dodge Avenger has two engines and two transmissions. The base SE trim has a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. The SXT trim also gets the four-cylinder engine, but comes with a six-speed automatic. Avenger SXT Plus and R/T models come with a 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates the four-cylinder 2012 Dodge Avenger at 21/30 mpg city/highway with the four-speed automatic transmission and 20/31 with the six-speed automatic, while the V6 engine is rated 19/29 mpg. The Avenger’s four-cylinder EPA ratings are among the worst in the class.

Some reviewers are not impressed with the base four-cylinder engine, but others say it’s sufficient compared with similarly-equipped cars in this class. However, they like the 3.6-liter V6, which is plenty powerful and fun to drive. The Avenger’s six-speed automatic transmission receives mixed comments. Some say it’s adequate, while others think it’s unrefined.

  • "The Avenger was a pleasure to drive. It had plenty of power to get me up to speed, and I felt planted in this car at all times. It is a bit loud, however." -- AutoWeek (on the V6 engine)
  • "Avenger's available V6 engine delivers great power and very impressive highway fuel economy. We like it so much, in fact, that buyers should ignore the standard 4-cylinder motor entirely." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Performance with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is still far from impressive, though we suspect it will be adequate for many buyers' needs, especially when it's mated to the six-speed automatic transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "The transmission pauses slightly between gear changes when upshifting, and a few of us noticed balky shifts in low gears, along with unrefined kickdown at highway speeds." -- Cars.com (on the six-speed automatic)
  • "The four-cylinder engine has a hard time producing enough grunt to boot the sedan up to speed." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the 2012 Dodge Avenger handles as well as most affordable midsize cars, but they don’t consider it sporty. They like the Avenger’s comfortable ride and limited body roll, but one test driver thinks the brakes aren’t strong enough. Dodge says the R/T model has a performance-tuned suspension that’s geared toward driving enthusiasts, but test drivers haven’t evaluated its handling yet.

  • "The car tracks well, has good steering, and there's little body lean in fast corners. It's certainly competent, but not what you would call sporty." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The suspension tuning skews to the firm end of the spectrum, but there's enough damping to soak up any rough stuff before it disturbs you. Body roll is well-managed, too. Overall, it's one of the better examples of melding the competing qualities of ride comfort and handling poise." -- Cars.com
  • "Avenger falls well short of being a sports sedan, but its ride and handling is certainly class competitive for once." -- Left Lane News
  • "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
  • "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

Next Steps: 2012 Dodge Avenger

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