For 2014, there's not a lot happening with the Avenger. The big news is that Dodge has expanded the availability of the popular Blacktop and Rallye appearance packages to the base SE model. Both packages add only $595 to the sticker price...
The Dodge Avenger is the brand's mid-size sedan, sitting between the Dart compact and the full-size Charger. The Avenger is the oldest of the three and goes up against an army of big-name competitors -- from the Honda Accord, to the Toyota Camry, to the Ford Fusion, to the Nissan Altima -- that are all significantly newer. Since the Avenger's introduction, Dodge has worked to bring up its level of refinement and equipment, but this is still a car that lags behind the competition.
The Dodge Avenger dates back to the bad old days at Chrysler Corporation, before the bankruptcy, to the company's Daimler-Benz ownership. The car was not particularly competitive when new, but Chrysler has worked hard on it since. A particular focus had been the cabin, which has been upgraded significantly; unfortunately, it couldn't be made any larger, and so the rear seat is considerably less roomy than you'll find in a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord.
Buyers who prefer a V-6 get good news, in the form of the Avenger's 3.6-liter Pentastar unit that makes a hearty 283 hp. It's standard in the sporty, top-spec R/T and optional in the midrange SXT. The four-cylinder engine that's standard in the SXT and in the base SE is a 173-hp, 2.4-liter unit. In the SE, it's paired with a four-speed automatic (one of the few remaining in the U.S. market); the SXT gets a six-speed automatic transmission. In either case, fuel economy trails that of most every other four-cylinder mid-sizer; the V-6 Avenger is also thirstier than its six-cylinder rivals.
One thing Dodge has done to make the Avenger more appealing is to keep the price of optional goodies low. On the R/T, navigation is only $695 (it's $995 on the SXT). SXT buyers can upgrade to leather for $795. The relatively inexpensive Blacktop package and Rallye appearance package dress up the exterior with bigger wheels, a black or body-colored grille, black headlight surrounds, and a trunk spoiler. But no amount of optional equipment can lift the Avenger up to the very high level of its competition.
- Honda Accord
- Hyundai Sonata
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry