2012 Dodge Avenger SE
(2.4L 4-cyl. 4-speed Automatic)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 4/5/2011 (2011 Lux V6)
Our test car was fitted with the optional 283-hp 3.6-liter V6, which delivers ample power, especially higher in the rev range. The 6-speed automatic is overly shifty, but generally a smooth operator. We averaged 20.2 mpg; EPA says 19/29.
Dodge made some improvements to the Avenger's chassis; it's no longer afraid of corners, with good turn-in and stability. Steering now has some feel and reasonable weighting. Panic braking stops were on the long side; pedal a bit spongy.
The tradeoff for the Avenger's improved handling is a slightly degraded ride quality, but we'd say the sharper dynamics are worth the bit of harshness. Front seats have decent cushioning, excellent lumbar and some lateral bolstering.
The smooth V6 remains nice and quiet, other than at full throttle. Tire noise is kept to a minimum, even at elevated freeway speeds. We did notice a bit more wind whistling than usual, coming from the B-pillar area.
The dash-to-window length is longish, but in general the Avenger's upright seating position gives a good view. The speedo and tach's jagged delineations make them hard to read quickly. Knobs instead of buttons make most controls a breeze.
The Avenger's beltline rises steeply to a gigantic C-pillar, which hampers rear three-quarter vision. But small B-pillars and short A-pillars make for good side and front views. Neither a back-up camera nor parking sonar are available.
Seat Access & Space
Plenty of headroom, front and rear, in the Avenger. It will definitely suit larger-than-average folks. The doors open wide, making for good ingress/egress. There isn't an abundance of rear legroom, but it's reasonable for a midsize.
Cargo & Storage
The glovebox feels cheap in operation, but is reasonably sized, as are the door pockets. Center armrest bin is large; center stack bin has a rubber mat to hold items in place. Front cupholders are excellent due to rubber anti-tip knobs.
Lots of hard-touch plastics, particularly the dash, center console, shifter and hand brake lever. Upsides include the leather-wrapped steering wheel and plush armrests. The left rear passenger door had a balky and noisy hinge.