Full 2013 Dodge Avenger Review
What's New for 2013
Other than some minor changes to standard equipment, the 2013 Dodge Avenger is unchanged.
In a hotly contested automotive category filled with excellent choices, sometimes good isn't quite good enough. Such is the lot of the 2013 Dodge Avenger.
Viewed in isolation, the Avenger is certainly likable enough. After an extensive makeover that rectified a number of significant weaknesses, the Avenger is a perfectly competent choice for families looking for an affordable midsize sedan. Notable strong points include a powerful V6 engine and a well-crafted interior with generous use of soft-touch materials. Not to be overlooked is its very attractive sticker price that can be thousands less than some of the category leaders.
With these strengths come a number of notable drawbacks, not the least of which is the base model's four-cylinder engine, which has enough power to handle this small package but fails to impress nevertheless due to its four-speed automatic transmission. The suspension gives the car passable handling, though here, too, the Avenger trails a number of its competitors. Even the otherwise agreeable passenger cabin suffers a lack of sought-after electronic features like a rearview camera, plus the backseat is less roomy than those in many of its rivals.
These shortcomings lead us to suggest that you compare the Dodge Avenger with several of the better midsize sedan alternatives. If it's a more spirited driving character you're after, consider test-driving the new 2013 Ford Fusion or 2013 Nissan Altima. If you're looking for maximum comfort and interior room, the 2013 Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat should be on your comparison list.
In short, the 2013 Dodge Avenger is agreeable enough, but it's hard to give it a solid thumbs-up in a segment with so many other excellent choices.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Dodge Avenger is a midsize sedan available in three trim levels: SE, SXT and R/T.
The base SE comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a fold-flat front passenger seat and 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack.
Options include 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, satellite radio and a V6 package that bundles the larger engine and six-speed automatic transmission with 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and dual exhausts.
The SXT adds a number of desirable features to the SE's standard equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded transmission, automatic headlights, foglights, heated outside 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. Options here include the V6 engine, a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, upgraded audio systems with a USB port, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio and a touchscreen navigation system. A Rallye package that adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and assorted appearance items inside and out is also available.
The R/T adds the V6 engine as standard, plus distinctive exterior trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, upgraded steering, a sport-tuned suspension, heated front sport seats with unique cloth/leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and a Boston Acoustics sound system with six speakers and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Dodge Avenger SE and SXT are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission in the SE and a six-speed automatic in the SXT. Fuel economy is average for a midsize sedan, with EPA ratings of 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the four-speed and 20/31/23 with the six-speed.
The Avenger R/T gets a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a V6-powered Avenger 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.
The 2013 Dodge Avenger comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, active front 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 government crash tests, the Avenger earned an overall rating of four stars (out of five), as well as four stars for both frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Avenger its top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Dodge Avenger's interior design is rather unremarkable, but overall materials quality is respectable. Most controls are straightforward and easy to use, although the touchscreen's unintuitive design seems outdated. While we're on the subject of electronic bells and whistles, newly commonplace technology like a rearview camera and rear parking sensors aren't even offered as options here, a definite negative in a car with thick, rear roof pillars that hamper visibility.
Up front, the seats are comfortable, though the seating position feels a bit on the high side, a trick designers used to gain a little more legroom. The backseat is a tad cramped, a byproduct of the Avenger's compact overall dimensions. The trunk is likewise on the small side with just 13.4 cubic feet of cargo room, though the Avenger does have a fold-flat front passenger seat and 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks.
On the road the 2013 Dodge Avenger delivers strong performance when equipped with the 3.6-liter V6, an engine that also delivers livable fuel economy. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is rather underwhelming, but is probably good enough to meet the needs of most buyers.
Overall, the SE and SXT models are enjoyable to drive, with the suspension delivering a comfortable ride and decent handling. Folks looking for a sportier driving experience can opt for the R/T, which benefits from a firmer suspension, albeit with some loss of ride comfort. The crisp, nicely weighted steering is a plus, even though it's not quite as sharp as some of its competitors.