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#21

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $20,595 - $25,795
Invoice: $20,214 - $24,586
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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Dodge Avenger Performance

Test drivers say that the 2014 Dodge Avenger’s base engine has adequate power, but they much prefer the muscle of the optional V6 engine, which has one of the highest horsepower ratings in the class. A few critics note that the six-speed automatic transmission isn’t very refined and tends to hesitate between gears. The Avenger’s fuel economy ratings are among the lowest in the class. Reviewers say the Avenger is steady and composed around corners, but lacks the sharp handling of rival sedans. Steering is responsive, but rather numb, they say.

  • "Perhaps the highlight of the Avenger is the optional 3.6-lier Pentastar V6, a smooth and potent mill that pairs with a six-speed automatic produces 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.” -- Left Lane News
  • "Behind the wheel, the Avenger was ok as a daily driver if your commutes are short. It was responsive enough and quick enough when it needed to be. However, it didn't excel in any particular drivability category." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "With these strengths come a number of notable drawbacks, not the least of which is the base model's four-cylinder engine, which has enough power to handle this small package but fails to impress nevertheless due to its four-speed automatic transmission. The suspension gives the car passable handling, though here, too, the Avenger trails a number of its competitors.” -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "The base engine in a 2013 Dodge Avenger is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes 173 horsepower. That's not necessarily a lot of power for this class, but it's enough to allow the Avenger keep up with traffic." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base Avenger comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 173 horsepower, which is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional. A 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine that produces 283 horsepower is available on all trims and standard on the R/T. The base Avenger gets an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg (city/highway) which is among the worst ratings in the class. With a V6 engine, the Avenger gets 19/29 mpg, which is also low for a V6-powered midsize car.

Reviewers say the Avenger’s base four-cylinder engine offers sufficient power, but they’re disappointed that it doesn’t provide better gas mileage. The optional V6 has one of the highest horsepower ratings in the class and most test drivers say it’s refined and has ample power. A few critics note that the six-speed automatic transmission can be slow to downshift.  

  • "Easily the most memorable aspect of the driving experience is the thrust from that powerful optional V6, which transforms the Avenger into a little muscle car that's totally worthy of its Charger-inspired styling.” -- AutoTrader
  • "Its 2.4-liter four makes a middling 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, but the real problem is fuel economy (or lack thereof): with the archaic standard four-speed automatic, mileage checks in at just 21/30 mpg, while opting for a six-speed automatic nets only a 20/31 mpg rating.” -- Left Lane News
  • "Only V6 Avengers have been tested so far. They are strong, and the power comes on very smoothly. The transmission behaves well, but one example suffered from a tendency to hesitate before downshifting." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • “The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is rather underwhelming, but is probably good enough to meet the needs of most buyers." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Dodge's V6 is among the best out there. This engine feels as powerful as a V8, purrs like a Lexus and also offers impressive fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that although rivals offer sharper handling, the Dodge Avenger delivers a balanced ride and is composed around curves, especially in the performance-tuned R/T trim. They note that the steering is responsive, though a few test drivers wish the steering provided more road feel.

  • "Quiet and soft (except for the firmer R/T with its 18-in wheels), yet surprisingly coordinated in corners, the Avenger strikes a good, dynamic balance for American roads and reflects the Dodge brand's accent on performance.” -- AutoTrader
  • "Overall, the SE and SXT models are enjoyable to drive, with the suspension delivering a comfortable ride and decent handling. Folks looking for a sportier driving experience can opt for the R/T, which benefits from a firmer suspension, albeit with some loss of ride comfort. The crisp, nicely weighted steering is a plus, even though it's not quite as sharp as some of its competitors." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "The website description of the Avenger SE states it offers ‘a premium interior and sophisticated suspension delivering responsive steering and controlled handling.’ But after experiencing the numb steering, we'll respectfully disagree." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "The car drives nicely, the steering feels good, and there's little body lean in fast corners. While it isn't the sportiest in class, it's certainly competent." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/12/14

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