The New York Auto Show opens to journalists today, and the automotive press is already abuzz with the newest models that will be there. Mazda is one automaker that’s ahead of the pack. It released the basics on its latest compact crossover, the Mazda CX-5, yesterday. Dodge is also releasing photos and a few specifications for the 2012 Dodge Avenger R/T, a performance version of the Avenger, ahead of the game.
“In the auto business, you know it's never too early to roll out the next year's model -- and cool, new features and upgrades -- to your vehicle line up,” Dodge writes in a press release, which gives a rundown of some of the changes it has made to the Avenger. One thing that has changed is the Avenger R/T’s suspension. Dodge says that roll stiffness, spring rates in the front and rear and front and rear strut dampening rates have increased, and adds, “The suspension changes result in a spirited, performance sedan driving experience, with best-in-class 283 horsepower.” That 283 horsepower comes from a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA hasn’t issued fuel economy data for this powertrain, but Dodge predicts it will average 19/29 mpg city/highway.
There are also a few exterior changes, which include a body-color grille, a black headlamp background and 18-inch painted aluminum wheels.
Kathy Graham, a Dodge spokesperson, told Inside Line, “This is different from the 2010 Avenger R/T in that it has performance differences.” She added, “Before, the R/T was just a model, but the 2012 R/T has different suspension tuning and some design cues.” Dodge hasn’t released official pricing information, but Graham said the R/T will cost more than the $23,745 Dodge Avenger Heat.
Currently, the Dodge Avenger isn’t ranked at the top of the affordable midsize cars, and it's unclear if these changes will be enough to pull it to the top, especially since the R/T will be the priciest trim. We’ll let you know what test drivers think of these revisions once they get a chance to slip behind the wheel.
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