Overview & Reviews
Thus far, Dodge has used the name "Avenger" on two wholly different cars from different time periods. The first Avenger was a midsize, two-door coupe born in the mid-1990s. Noted mostly for its stealthy good looks, the original Dodge Avenger also featured a reasonably roomy cabin and an appealing blend of handling and comfort. It enjoyed some success both with critics and consumers, though at decade's end it faded away with little notice. After a long hiatus, the Avenger name resurfaced in 2008 when Dodge deemed it fitting for the successor to the Stratus sedan.
Unfortunately, the second-generation Avenger has not enjoyed the positive reaction of its two-door predecessor. Despite a midlife overhaul that corrected many of its initial glaring faults, the Avenger has always been one of the least competitive midsize sedans. Consumers will find that most competitors, both import and domestic, offer more space, superior interior designs and a higher level of overall refinement.
Current Dodge Avenger
The Dodge Avenger shares much of its engineering with the previous-generation Chrysler 200 sedan. The differences between the two come down to styling, as the Avenger's more aggressive shape is aimed at a younger audience. There is a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6 good for 283 hp. The four-cylinder sends its power to the front wheels through either a four- or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on trim level. The V6 gets a six-speed auto with a manual-shift mode.
The Avenger's trim lines are SE, SXT and R/T. The SE is reasonably well equipped, while moving up to the SXT will get you features like an upgraded transmission, automatic climate control, a power driver seat and a six- (rather than four-) speaker sound system with satellite radio. The sporty R/T comes with the V6 engine as standard, plus 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, remote start, heated front sport seats, leather and cloth upholstery, Bluetooth and an upgraded audio system.
The Avenger's interior boasts soft-touch materials and tight construction, but the look is a tad generic, the available in-car electronics are behind the times and there isn't as much space for passengers. As for the Avenger's engines, the base four-cylinder is barely adequate (especially with the four-speed automatic) and sounds unrefined. The V6 engine is very strong, however, and also returns commendable fuel economy. Handling is also pretty good, although again, not quite up to the class leaders.
In total, the Dodge Avenger is a solid sedan if you're prioritizing a V6 power plant and value. But in general, we think you'd be better served by most other competing models.
Used Dodge Avenger Models
The second-generation Dodge Avenger debuted for 2008 and is represented by the current model. However, the Avenger was so poorly received that it underwent a major overhaul for 2011, which included updated styling, a revamped interior with higher-quality materials, added safety features and a more powerful 3.6-liter V6. It has been essentially unchanged since then, other than a renaming of trim levels for 2012 (originally Express, Mainstreet, Heat, R/T and an additional fully loaded Lux trim).
From 2008 through '10, there were three engine options: the current four-cylinder, a 2.7-liter, 189-hp V6 and a 3.5-liter, 235-hp V6. There were also three trim levels -- SE, SXT and R/T. The base four-cylinder-only SE came with air-conditioning, a CD stereo, full power accessories and cruise control. All-wheel drive was optional in that first year on models equipped with the 3.5-liter V6. For 2009, all trim levels received more sound insulation, the 2.7-liter V6 became a fleet-only engine option later in the year and the R/T trim was newly available with the four-cylinder engine. For 2010, the SE trim level was deleted and the Express trim added.
These early model year Avenger sedans suffered from a variety of ailments. Neither the four-cylinder nor the V6 engines were particularly good in regards to performance, refinement or efficiency. The interior was also far below that of the competition, with designs and materials that were best described as rental-car quality. If that wasn't enough to drive buyers away, the Avenger was also stuck with lifeless steering, excessive body roll and underachieving brakes. We highly recommend that you look at different used family sedans.
The first Dodge Avenger was sold from 1995-2000. Employing a platform derived from the Mitsubishi Galant and similar to the one used in the contemporaneous Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Avenger had the Chrysler Sebring coupe as its twin and debuted with two powertrains. The first was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 140 hp mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic -- all borrowed from the Dodge Neon. The step-up engine was a 2.5-liter, Mitsubishi-built V6 with 155 hp, mated to a four-speed automatic. The Avenger's trim lines were base and ES.
Initially, the base model opened with the four-cylinder engine, 14-inch wheels, a radio and dual airbags. The V6-powered ES model came with an upgraded suspension, antilock all-disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, air-conditioning, a cassette deck and cruise control. Base models could add most of the ES's items, while ES models could add leather seats and a sunroof.
The Avenger's biggest changes came in 1997, when meaner styling adorned the body and new 17-inch wheels were made available to ES models. More significantly, both the base and ES now had the four-cylinder standard, with the V6 optional. For the Avenger's final year in 2000, Dodge made the V6 standard on both, and also loaded up the ES with a power driver seat, leather and keyless entry.
The Dodge Avenger was a fairly appealing coupe in its day as long as the V6 was specified. The front seats were comfortable, and unlike in most cars sporting two doors, the Avenger's rear seat actually offered some semblance of comfort for adults. The Avenger also held the advantage of actually looking like a coupe instead of a bland sedan with two fewer doors. However, the Avenger's record for reliability is notably poor. As such, we wouldn't recommend it as a used-car purchase.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 435.00
Love my Avenger! - 2012 Dodge Avenger
By Brenda Coleman - December 6 - 9:13 pm
Heater Core Needs a recall - 2012 Dodge Avenger
By Frank - December 5 - 1:42 pm
This car performs well. There are a few things that needs to be address before the avenger can be a really neat ride. The Heater core seems to be a major issue with this vehicle. Especially if you live in cold areas. The Heater only blows warm air on the driver side of the vehicle and cold air on the passenger side. Dodge is well aware of this issue but has not done a recall on this placing the cost to repair this problem onto the consumer. Even then there is no assurance this problem will not return since the problem is in the faulty part. The cost can be anywhere from $900 to $1300 to repair depending on your area mechanics. Cold air in the winter renders this vehicle useless during the winter season. My vehicle is currently parked now and I am seriously consider trading this vehicle in for another one. Mostly because I refuse to pay to fix something that is flawed and Dodge knows that it is. Making you feel like you purchased a lemon. Not right Dodge, not right... I need a vehicle I can drive year round and not for 6 or 7 months out of the year. In Kansas it has really cool down in the temps. So it's looking like this vehicle will be parked November- March, and that's if the weather is not crazy cold in March. So with that said I encourage anyone having issues with their heating system in their dodge avenger to speak up and be heard. Not sure what it will take to make Dodge do a recall on this issue. For me, I'll be looking to trade this vehicle in if Dodge refuse to act by January.. Maybe someone in Florida or LA can use a ride that cools pretty well in the summer months, but they better not take a trip up North during the Fall.
I've had mine for 17 years some work but she's my - 1998 Dodge Avenger
By michael hammann - November 19 - 12:10 pm
400,000 MILES AND GOING STRONG - 2008 Dodge Avenger
By David Smith - November 4 - 10:56 pm
I bought this car for my daughter after she got divorced in 2013. The car already had 331,000 miles on it. I knew the owner so I had a complete history. Except for normal maintenance the only thing he had to do was a transmission solenoid because it was starting to leak. We have spent some money on it this year: i.e shocks,struts, tie rods, wheel bearing, brakes, tires, an oil pan and the alternator finally went. Not bad for the mileage and certainly expected. The car gets 90,000 miles out of tires, drives great in the snow and on the highway, She has put over 70,000 miles on it in two years with my granddaughter in a car seat the whole way. It is the original motor and transmission. The 2.4 in 2008 went to a timing chain so no maintenance there. I work in a shop. I never see these for major repairs. I agree with some people that the interior is a bit cheap looking. Dodge did major improvements on their interiors in 2010. The styling is very attractive on the exterior. Like a mini 08 Charger. That being said I am a pragmatist. Dependability is more important to me. My lowest mileage car has 142,000 and we cover almost every make. It still is my favorite. At 404,000 miles the car shows no sign of slowing down and believe me, my daughter is not what you would call an easy driver. My youngest son totaled his car. Guess what I'm looking for now?
Car never stops - 1998 Dodge Avenger
By Dusty whitford - October 20 - 9:02 am
My Dodge Avenger has been to hell and back with me driving it and I had to replace some thing but honestly I can tell you what I did to have to replace everything on my car and it's at 200*** miles and still runs strong. I haven't done any motor work except change to oil so say what you want about this car but if you don't want yours give me a price [contact info removed]
Fool me once dodge, but fool me twice - 2011 Dodge Avenger
By Logan King - September 23 - 8:20 am
This is my second dodge first one the thermostat housing cracked and had to be replaced as well as water pump till finally died, I now have an avenger certified pre owned and less than 80,000 miles and regularly maintenance and same issues with this one. Two dodges same problems all coming to the amount of 900 plus in price.
Totally Disappointed - 2009 Dodge Avenger
By Devin - September 9 - 4:12 am
At 50,000 miles on it. It's leaking puddles of water onto my passenger floor board. Took it to my mechanic, and he said the whole dashboard is gonna have to come out. I've been through two sets of brake pads. I'm starting to believe I have a very horribly built car.
Great for the price and looks - 2008 Dodge Avenger
By Aaron Davis - August 21 - 12:48 am
I have only had the car for a little over 2 months, but I really do love it considering I upgraded from a 2004 Dodge Neon SXT. But sadly enough my neon was smaller yet the avenger yields about the same gas mileage so that's a plus but odd enough my neon was faster than this lug of a car. 2.4L 4cyl engine just isn't enough to haul the weight of the car.. If I was buying this car i'd recommend getting the 2.7L or 3.5L. It doesn't have the performance I was expecting but I like the sleek performance look though and get compliments on it especially since mine has 17' Challenger rims on it. But it is a great family car I would say. Also nice that it has Sirius Radio and the cooler for 4 cans of soda which is pretty neat.
I drive a 2012 Dodge Avenger and it is Fantastic!!! - 2012 Dodge Avenger
By sachi25 - July 1 - 3:30 pm
My first experience driving this car was thru Enterprise Rental. I had it for a full month and decided this had to be my new car! The rental was a 2014, but when I noticed that the 2012 looked almost exactly the same, I chose the 2012. My 2012 has 38,000 miles on it and drives like a dream! It has satellite radio in it with a power driver's seat as well as great rims, a beautiful white body, and black interior. I love this car! A special thanks to Lahti's of Leominster, MA! I bought this for 12,900 at 32,100 miles. I typically get about 26-27 miles to the gallon,sometimes as low as 24.5/city. It has gotten as many as 29.7/highway(possibly 31/highway). Mine is a 2.4 liter & drives like a 6!
2012 DODGE AVENGER - 2012 Dodge Avenger
By slowhand2 - May 12 - 4:53 pm
I just love my 2012 dodge avenger r/t I have not spent a penny on it since I bought it.i get more double takes from people..wow nice car is it new? I would buy another again but they don't make the avenger anymore:-( still a damn nice car.