Used 1998 Dodge Avenger Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

Interior fabrics are new, as is a black and gray color scheme. The ES model gets a new Sport package that affects appearance, not performance. Also available for the ES are new 16-inch aluminum wheels and a rear sway bar that improves handling.

Vehicle overview

Nobody misses the Dodge Daytona. You will recall that the Daytona was a front-wheel drive sport coupe based on the K-Car chassis. After a decade on the market with minimal changes, Chrysler mercifully pulled the plug on the Daytona, replacing it with the Mitsubishi Galant-based Avenger sport coupe in 1995.

Avenger competes with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix; whereas the Daytona was marketed as an alternative to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. Smaller, lighter and less powerful than the GP or the Monte, Dodge has managed to squeeze nearly as much interior space and as much performance into the smoothly styled Avenger.

Based on Mitsubishi Galant underpinnings, the Avenger comes in base and ES flavors. The standard engine is the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit found in the Neon, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The five-speed makes the Avenger quite fun to drive, offering sprightly acceleration.

New this year is a 16-inch cast aluminum wheel option for the Avenger ES. The 2.5-liter V6 is hooked to a four-speed automatic. No manual is available with the V6, and that's a shame. So equipped, the Avenger is slower than the standard model, and is woefully inadequate in comparison to the Grand Prix GT and Monte Carlo Z34. To redeem the Avenger, Dodge prices it between base editions of the Pontiac and Chevy.

Overall, the Avenger pleasantly surprises. An accommodating sporty coupe, the Avenger's only shortcoming is weak engine choices. Put a more powerful engine on your Christmas list for next year, because it won't happen in '98. But with prices for the top-of-the-line Avenger ES on par with base editions of competing products, the Avenger is a tempting piece indeed.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.