2014 Dodge Avenger R/T Sedan (3.6L V6 6-speed automatic)
Driven On 3/3/2014
The 2014 Dodge Avenger is highlighted by aggressive styling and a potent V6 engine, but its shortcomings in infotainment technology, interior quality and driving dynamics keep it near the bottom of the midsize segment. This final year of the Avenger has it feeling outdated and uncompetitive against newer sedans.
PerformanceDespite the Avenger R/T's powerful 283-hp V6 engine, its front-wheel-drive layout does little to capitalize on the available power. In terms of handling, it is acceptable but doesn't instill confidence. Daily driveability could also be better.
Accelerating with any level of purpose will have the driver battling wheelspin and torque steer. As a result, its 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds makes it a mid-pack runner in the segment.
Stoppping from 60 mph required 123 feet, which is good for the class. Subsequent runs were 10 feet longer, though. Pronounced nose dive and difficulty with surface irregularities were also noted.
Steering effort is pleasantly light at low speeds. Effort gets heavier at speed, as it should, but there's little feedback relayed through the wheel to the driver.
Body roll in corners is kept to acceptable levels, but the Avenger still feels vague and ponderous. Mid-corner bumps have a tendency to upset the car, keeping the driver busy at the wheel.
The gas pedal is jumpy on initial application, sometimes unintentionally chirping the front tires leaving a stoplight. The Avenger feels bigger and heavier than it really is, but it's still easy to park.
ComfortThe Avenger can transport four full-sized adults in relative comfort thanks to its roomy seats and soft suspension. But in comparison to other sedans in the class, there's little that makes the Avenger stand out from the crowd.
After several hours of driving, the seats remained acceptably comfortable. We would prefer more side bolstering and lumbar support, though.
The Avenger's suspension does a decent job of smoothing out most ruts and bumps in the road. It doesn't offer the softest ride in the segment, but it's also not the harshest.
Road and wind noise are quieted to admirable levels, but that only serves to highlight the numerous interior creaks coming from the dash, seats and headliner. The V6, though, is a smooth operator.
InteriorThe Avenger's bloated dash and last-generation styling, technology and features have it trailing the competition by a sizeable margin. A small-for-the-class trunk and some unintuitive controls further compound matters.
The driver information display and infotainment controls are confusing and take some getting used to. The low-mounted screen and poorly labeled gauges require too much eyes-off-the-road time.
With doors that are tall and not too long, getting in and out of the Avenger doesn't require any stooping or maneuvering in tight parking spots. It's relatively straightforward.
There's plenty of front-seat room for larger folks, with good headroom, legroom and width. The rear seats will comfortably accommodate two adults and one smaller passenger in the middle.
Forward visibility is satisfactory, but the rearward view is hampered by thick roof pillars. The R/T's standard rear wing gives the driver reference when backing into a spot. A rearview camera is not available.
At 13.4 cu-ft, the Avenger's trunk is smaller than rivals, but the hinges don't intrude into this space so there's plenty of usable room. Inside the cabin there's a deep center armrest bin and large door pockets.
ValueAt $21,590, the base Dodge Avenger is comparable in price to other base sedans. As you climb in trim level and options, similarly equipped competitors will end up costing thousands more. But, in terms of quality, the Avenger falls well short.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Interior material quality is significantly below the current standard in this class. With unconvincing surface graining and misaligned panels, the Avenger lacks refinement and precision.
Optional features are favorably priced compared to other sedans but seem outdated. Many of the safety features offered by competitors are absent.
In our range-topping R/T trim with the V6 engine and optional infotainment upgrade with navigation, the price climbs to $27,485. That's considerably less expensive than rivals, but the Avenger lacks their quality.
The EPA estimates 22 mpg Combined (19 City/29 Hwy), which is lower than other sedans by about 4 mpg. On top of that, we only managed 19.7 mpg overall and 25.4 mpg on our highway-heavy evaluation route.
The Dodge Avenger's 5-yr/100,000-mi powertrain and 3-yr/36,000-mi basic warranty are slightly more generous than typical sedans. Extended warranties are available at additional cost.
The standard 5-yr/100,000-mi roadside assistance is slightly longer than the segment average. There are no free or prepaid scheduled factory maintenance plans offered.
Fun To DriveVery few sedans in this category can be considered fun to drive, but the Dodge Avenger is well below even those low standards. It is competent at best, but it doesn't instill the kind of driving confidence exhibited by competitors.
Even though the Avenger R/T boasts a powerful V6 engine, it is held back by its front-wheel-drive limitations and driving dynamics that lack any real engagement.
Aggressive exterior styling might attract some, but in nearly every other aspect the Avenger is disappointing and outdated. It feels more like a rental car rather than something you'd feel compellled to buy.
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