2012 Dodge Avenger Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Dodge Avenger Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Dodge Avenger Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 283 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Dodge Avenger

  • The 2012 Dodge Avenger is a fully competitive midsize family sedan, but the wealth of stronger competitors makes it difficult to recommend.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong V6 engine; lots of features for the price; composed ride and handling.

  • Cons

    Not as roomy as many of its rivals; smallish trunk; SE's four-speed automatic; some behind-the-times electronics; limited rear visibility.

  • What's New for 2012

    Other than new trim level names, the 2012 Dodge Avenger is unchanged.

Full 2012 Dodge Avenger Review

What's New for 2012

Other than new trim level names, the 2012 Dodge Avenger is unchanged.

Introduction

Sometimes you can do a good job but still come up short. The 2012 Dodge Avenger is a case in point. Dodge's major overhaul of its midsize Avenger last year largely rectified the car's prior faults of sloppy driving dynamics, inefficient engines and a low-buck interior. The result is a fully competitive midsize family sedan, but one that nevertheless still comes up short against more impressive rivals.

The Avenger's interior best epitomizes the car's close-but-no-cigar aspect. Greatly improved upon, the Avenger boasts soft-touch materials and tight construction; both are among the best you'll find in a midsize sedan. However, the look is a tad generic, the available in-car electronics are a bit behind the times and there isn't as much space for passengers.

There is a similar situation under the hood. The base four-cylinder is barely adequate (especially with the SE's four-speed automatic) and sounds unrefined. The V6 engine found in the SXT Plus and R/T is very strong, however, boasting the most power in its class as well as strong fuel economy. Handling is also pretty good, although again, not quite up to the class leaders.

In total, the 2012 Dodge Avenger is a solid sedan that could be worth a test-drive, particularly if you're prioritizing a V6 power plant and value. But in general, we think you'd be better served by some other competing models. Those looking for something more fun to drive should consider the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima. And if it's superior comfort and space you want, the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata or even Dodge's own Charger would be better choices. The Avenger is a respectable sedan, but in this case it's just not a podium finisher.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Dodge Avenger is a midsize sedan available in SE, SXT, SXT Plus and R/T trim levels.

The base SE comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Optional are satellite radio and a package containing heated front seats and an eight-way power driver seat.

The SXT adds to the SE's standard equipment with 17-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded transmission, heated folding mirrors, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio. A touchscreen stereo interface that includes digital music storage is optional.

The SXT Plus includes that touchscreen interface along with a V6 engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps and foglamps. Both SXT models can be equipped with the Cold Weather Group, which adds heated front seats and remote ignition.

The R/T adds different 18-inch wheels, upgraded steering, a sport-tuned suspension, the Cold Weather Group, cloth/leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system with an iPod/USB audio interface.

The SE, SXT and SXT Plus can be equipped with Bluetooth phone connectivity. A sunroof is optional on all but the SE, and all Avengers can be equipped with a fold-flat front passenger seat. Optional on the SXT Plus and R/T is a navigation system that includes real-time traffic, Bluetooth audio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Dodge Avenger SE and SXT are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard on every Avenger. The SE gets a four-speed automatic transmission and the SXT has a six-speed automatic. EPA estimated fuel economy is average for a midsize sedan, with 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the four-speed and 21/31/24 with the six-speed.

The Avenger SXT Plus and R/T get a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, an Avenger with this engine went from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds -- a quick time for a midsize sedan. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19/29/22.

Safety

Every 2012 Avenger comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, active head restraints, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, an Avenger with 18-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in an acceptable 127 feet.

In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Avenger received the top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Dodge Avenger's design team did a remarkable job last year of transforming the old, low-rent interior into something that's now fully competitive for the midsize sedan segment. The general dash design and control layout are pretty much the same as before, but because the materials are substantially better, the overall ambience is greatly improved. Rear visibility can be a bit tricky due to the Avenger's thick rear pillars, however, and neither a back-up camera nor parking sensors are offered.

The Avenger also lags behind its competitors (and even some of its Chrysler/Dodge cousins) in terms of in-car electronics. The older Chrysler touchscreen interface was unintuitive when it was new and hasn't grown better with age. The standard stereo faceplate, however, is a model of simplicity and user-friendliness.

The Avenger's principal demerit, however, is that it's a bit smaller than its competition. This is noticeable in the backseat as well as in the front, which features a slightly odd, elevated seating position to create more legroom. The 13.4-cubic-foot trunk is also a little on the small side.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Dodge Avenger drives down the road with poise. The suspension provides a supple, yet well-controlled ride, and handling is better than that of many other midsize sedans. The steering provides decent feedback, but isn't as responsive as the Accord's or the Fusion's. Performance with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is unremarkable, but it should be adequate for most buyers when it's mated to the six-speed automatic transmission found in the SXT. The 3.6-liter V6 is quite energetic and is one of the most robust engines in the segment, delivering strong acceleration without a tremendous sacrifice in fuel economy.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



2012 se v-6....not an option

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Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Avenger SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I am very disappointed in this car. It is just shy of 3 yrs old and I have put $1200 in to the car in two months. All electronics or emissions issues that are not covered by the warranty. The engine, 3.6L Pentastar, is the only good thing about this pile of flaming poo. The transmission is so lazy I'm amazed it even bothers to show up. Rattles and creaks. Quiet and above average in comfort. Mileage is horrendous! I've never gotten more than 19 mpg combined. On long drives (flat highway 65 mph) you can get up to 29 mpg, but that only happened one time. Chews up tires like Rolaids. 47,750 miles as of this morning and I'm just so disappointed. Going back to VW. Diesel.




My favorite car i have

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Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT Plus 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

This is the 6th car I have owned and I can honestly say that I am finally driving the exact car that I wanted to be driving. Before I bought my Avenger I had always settled for what was available (hand me down cars) as well as what was cheap and reliable. I drove a Corolla for 12 years and that made the decision to settle for nothing less then a 6 cylinder engine that much easier. I drove most the cars in this class (G6, Malibu, Camry etc...) as rental cars but when I rented the Avenger I was sold. Most people on the road do not understand that it has a 3.6 liter 283 hp engine inside. Easily enough to beat all of the cars in its class. Fun car for sure.




I love it, but .

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Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT Plus 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I really do love this car. The engine is fantastic. Awesome performance! Its exterior is eye-catching and sleek. The car is a combination of sporty and practical. Now what I don't like . . . The people who work in the service department of the dealership where I bought the car know me. The car has been in there THAT often. Various censors or detectors that trigger the engine light, the ABS/traction/cruise control system, a misfiring cylinder, visor clip broke off, the entire control panel (lock/window switch) in the passenger side door came out, the vents were flopping closed . . . and I have about 50k miles now. Everything but the ABS issue was when the car was under 36k miles.




Great car for the price

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Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Bought mine new with 3 miles on it in 2012 and have loved every minute driving it. I have a long drive to work and take business trips from time to time and if I leave it in cruise control on the highway set between 65-70 mph, i have gotten 36+mpg average on the highway. I have had trouble getting it to start in the cold, but only the one day when the temp here in NY dropped to -20 overnight and i realized that it was because i had left something plugged in and have had no trouble since. I have had no problems with it and i just today turned 48k miles on it and it still drives like the day i bought it. no problems whatsoever.



5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Screeching noise

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Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

My avenger makes a horrible screeching sound when I back up in low speed and apply brakes. My backing plate, rear rotors pads and clips have been replaced only to make the sound worse and now noise is heard when I go forward also. I have notified Chrysler only to be turned away because no dealership can find a problem. Yet all heads turn when my car is leaving



2 of 6 people found this review helpful

Junk

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I bought the car brand new and now have 21000 miles on it. Worst car I ever owned. Has been in the shop multiple times for the hvac system not working properly. Now the ride has gotten worse. It feels like the rear struts went bad. The 4 cylinder engine is okay on power but not something to brag about and I dont get anywhere near the estimated mpg as the sticker says. Also had problems with the speedometer and transmission intermittently not working properly. The trade in value of this car is low. For the age of the car I expected more. With this car it truly is buyer be ware.



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Reliability

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

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