2008 Dodge Avenger Review
2008 Dodge Avenger Review
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Used Avenger for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Smooth and quiet highway ride, solid performance on R/T model, above-average fuel economy, wide selection of in-cabin electronics.
- Weak and noisy four-cylinder engine, limited transmission choices, underpowered brakes, low-grade interior plastics, small trunk.
The 2008 Dodge Avenger is an all-new, front-wheel-drive midsize sedan. Available with four-cylinder or V6 power, it's a replacement for the Stratus. All-wheel drive is a late-year option on the R/T model.
Spacious and fuel-efficient, the 2008 Dodge Avenger is a viable entry in the midsize sedan segment. However, its love-it-or-hate-it styling, budget interior materials and tepid driving dynamics are liabilities against the talented import-brand competition.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2008 Dodge Avenger SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.85 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize Car
There are plenty of excellent all-around choices in the midsize sedan segment, but not every family car was born to be a mainstream player. One of these is the 2008 Dodge Avenger, which is easily the most aggressively styled midsize sedan on the market this year. The Avenger's leering headlights and massive haunches will undoubtedly be off-putting to some shoppers, but for those who like the idea of "Charger Junior" bodywork wrapped around a more fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive machine, this new Dodge may have some appeal. And with its quiet ride, roomy backseat and impressive options sheet, the Avenger offers some substance to back up its tough-guy facade.
Dodge last used the Avenger name to refer to a midsize Mitsubishi Galant-based coupe sold from 1995-2000. Now it's the name of the company's replacement for the now-discontinued Dodge Stratus. Like its sedan predecessor, the '08 Avenger is mechanically identical to its corporate sibling, the Chrysler Sebring. Engine choices include a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a 189-hp 2.7-liter V6 and a 235-hp 3.5-liter V6. All return good gas mileage. The Dodge Avenger's options list offers considerable variety for this segment. All-wheel drive is available if you get the big V6, and almost any Avenger can be equipped with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system or a Harman Kardon navigation/audio system with a 20GB hard drive. A full menu of airbags is standard, and most Avengers are eligible for stability control.
As solid as it looks when you run down the equipment sheet, the 2008 Dodge Avenger falls flat in a couple key areas. For a car that purports to be sporty and aggressive, the Avenger delivers a surprisingly tepid driving experience. The base four-cylinder is weak and unrefined, and only if you pony up for the 3.5-liter V6 do you get suspension tuning that feels remotely athletic. Braking performance is similarly mediocre. The other major issue in the Dodge Avenger is materials quality, which still isn't up to the standard of this class.
In spite of its faults, the 2008 Avenger will certainly meet the basic transportation requirements of the typical midsize sedan shopper. However, we think the Nissan Altima, Mazda 6 and Saturn Aura are better choices for consumers seeking a midsize sedan with some edginess to its styling and dynamics.
Performance & mpg
Standard on 2008 Dodge Avenger SE and SXT models is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated for 173 hp and 166 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the SXT is a 2.7-liter V6 good for 189 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. With either of these engines, a four-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels. Standard on the Avenger R/T only is a 3.5-liter V6 capable of 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. The R/T comes with a more sophisticated six-speed automatic transmission, and is available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. Chrysler claims a 0-60-mph time of 7.7 seconds for the front-drive R/T. Equipped with the 2.7-liter V6, an Avenger SXT takes about a second longer to perform the feat.
Standard safety equipment on the 2008 Dodge Avenger includes front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitor. Antilock brakes are standard on all models, except the base SE, on which they're optional. All four-cylinder Avengers come with front disc/rear drum brakes, while SXT models with the V6 and all R/T models have four-wheel discs. Stability control is optional on all trim levels, except the SE.
Although the base four-cylinder engine delivers the best fuel economy, many buyers will be put off by its sluggish response and coarse power delivery. A better choice for most people is the 2.7-liter V6 available on the SXT: Refinement still isn't a strong point, but with this engine, the Avenger feels much stronger during highway maneuvers. Still, the Avenger R/T model is far and away the best choice for those who can swing it. The bigger V6 is still a bit light on off-the-line pull, but it's plenty satisfying once it revs up and considerably smoother than the smaller engines. Equally important, its six-speed automatic transmission provides quicker response than the four-speed unit in the other models.
The other reason to get the R/T is its upgraded suspension tuning, which provides more responsive and secure handling on back roads, along with a composed highway ride. Lower-line 2008 Dodge Avengers ride comfortably but are low on grip during cornering. Braking is an area in which the Dodge could stand to improve. On models with rear drums, the brakes fade quickly with heavy use, and although the full-disc setup on V6-equipped Avengers holds up better, stopping distances remain long for this class.
Although not exactly premium in feel, the Avenger's cabin is a step up from the outgoing Stratus, thanks to its simple control layout and comfortable seating. The mediocre quality of the materials is immediately apparent, but white-faced gauges, chrome trim and, in R/T models, a two-tone, leather-wrapped steering wheel, give the interior some personality. In models with the multi-featured MyGIG navigation/audio system, it only takes a few minutes to figure out how to enter an address or rip a CD onto the hard drive, thanks to the simple menus and instructions.
The rear seat is spacious enough to accommodate a pair of adults, although the seat-bottom cushion is a bit too low for comfort and the outboard head restraints are nonadjustable. Partially compensating for the Dodge's small 13.4-cubic-foot trunk is the ability to fold down both the 60/40-split rear seat and the front passenger seat.
2008 Dodge Avenger models
A midsize sedan, the 2008 Dodge Avenger is offered in base SE, midgrade SXT and sporty R/T trim levels. The base SE starts you out with 16-inch steel wheels, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, a CD stereo with an MP3 player input jack, cruise control, full power accessories and an air-conditioned glovebox (the "Chill Zone"). The Avenger SXT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, a power driver seat, an extra pair of stereo speakers and a lengthier options list. The high-line Dodge Avenger R/T provides 18-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning, single-zone automatic climate control, an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The extensive options list includes leather upholstery, a sunroof, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Boston Acoustics speakers, satellite radio, heated front seats, heated/cooled front cupholders, Bluetooth connectivity (known as UConnect), keyless remote start and LED interior lighting. The most interesting add-on is a Harman Kardon-designed navigation/audio system (known as MyGIG) with real-time traffic updates (via Sirius) and a 20GB hard drive that allows owners to rip their own CDs or download MP3 files from a jump drive using a USB port. All-wheel drive and chrome wheels are optional on the R/T exclusively.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
So I guess I'm the only person who had no problems with this car. I bought it used at the end of 2009 with 30k miles (it was a company car for its previous owners) the only thing that was wrong was the plastic that covers the spedometer had a crack, that didn't effect visibility. It was just a crack. I drove this car daily and love it I had the SE so only a 4 cylinder. But it was enough … to have a quick start and handled great for me. I made plenty of 1000 mile trips and was great. I skidded on ice and smashed into the side wall twice at 80mph and walked away without a problem. This car is amazing and it saved my life. The trunk never leaked and I had no problems at all. I loved this car.
3 out of 5 stars
SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I loved my dodge when I first bought it. I have driven it a year and 8 months and have started have some sort of problem that I do not know what is going on. I can be just driving down the road and car shuts off. Sometimes it will crank back and sometimes not. It just dies while driving down the road. Is anyone else experiencing this problem? I had to have it towed one time and the … mechanic said he couldn't find anything wrong. Someone please shed some light on this for me.
4.5 out of 5 stars
SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this car as a Certified Pre-Owned about a year ago. This has been a fantastic car, I bought it with 61k miles on it and within a year I put 22k miles on it doing mostly highway commuting to college and and work and occasional shopping trips an hour away. Haven't had to do anything mechanically to the car other than the oil and filter change every three thousand miles. I have the … 2.7l V6 SXT version.. gets average about 25 city/hwy.. do more highway driving and I'll get about 28. Highly recommend for someone who wants reliability, sport look, and a cheap price.
3.13 out of 5 stars
2008 Dodge Avenger SXT
SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this car brand new in 2007. Since then, I had it in the shop numerous times. The most recent time was just this Monday, July 12, 2010. My car's shifter was stuck in park and would not budge. I googled this problem and it seems like A LOT of people are having the same issues. I had it towed and the dealership had to replace the enitre shifter assembly. NOTE: My car only has … 43,000 miles on it! Dodge needs to do a recall on the shifter problem! (Also, the cup cooler quit working, there was a high pitch noise on front drivers side, had to replace brake pads and rotors but still had vibration in the car, and my back drivers side door has window issues) My advice: Don't buy this car!
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
More about the 2008 Dodge Avenger
More About This Model
The 2008 Dodge Avenger is still living with the burden of an old SNL skit by actor Will Ferrell. Don't believe us? Then say this aloud: "I drive a Dodge Stratus." Now scream it as if your hair were on fire.
Once a great-looking car that made the reputation of an entire generation of Chrysler designers, the Dodge Stratus never got any better than the moment it was unveiled and gradually declined into mediocrity.
It was Ferrell, playing the dull, white-bread dad of a wildly dysfunctional family in a now-famous skit for Saturday Night Live, who made the Stratus a totem of shame.
"I am a division manager! That's very important! People are afraid of me! I drive a Dodge Stratus!" Ferrell screams over the dinner table, demanding respect.
Now the 2008 Dodge Avenger has arrived, trying to rescue the reputation of Dodge's midsize sedan by adopting the name of the Avenger, once known as the coupe companion of the Stratus. White bread no more, Dodge is telling us.
It's got fangs!
We're told that the 2008 Dodge Avenger is "aggressive," "menacing," "in-your-face" and even "sinister." Really, they told us.
Beneath the marketing baggage is the hardware of the 2007 Chrysler Sebring, itself an odd combination of sedan styling and sport-utility packaging. This same platform with front-wheel drive and all-independent suspension also forms the basis for the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.
Perhaps the Avenger's mechanical similarity to such a raft of other vehicles from the Chrysler Group is why the company seems to be putting so much stock in the look of this new sedan. One gander at the Avenger will tell you that the company is trying awfully hard.
The headlights are said to glare beneath heavy brows. The taillights are said to wear "war paint." And Exterior Designer Ryan Nagode says the whole front of the thing was inspired by a pair of Oakley sunglasses he once owned.
Like a Dodge Charger, only smaller
The Avenger's profile is supposed to mimic that of the larger Dodge Charger. And it does, in that the B-pillar is covered in black plastic and there are big haunches over the rear wheels inspired by the Dodge Challenger pony car of the 1970s. Somehow, though, the voluptuous Charger makes all these visual themes hang together more gracefully.
The Avenger's haunches rise awkwardly out of the rear doors, as if they were a last-minute add-on to an already completed design. Dodge says that the blacked-out B-pillar and the triangular flap of ribbed, black plastic at the trailing edge of the rear windows accentuate the car's stance, or some such thing.
Truth is, that piece of ribbed plastic grabs your eye and will not let go. Along with the haunch below and the big rear-wheel flares, it makes for one of the oddest, most uncomfortably complicated door panels in recent memory.
Add the big chrome-covered wheels and the obligatory rear wing and the whole thing looks a little over the top, too much like (dare we say) a Pontiac Grand Am.
The not-all-that special edition
Underneath all this visual bluster and shininess is a safe and competent — if not especially aggressive — sedan.
The basic specs are identical to those of the Sebring sedan. Three engines, two automatic transmissions and two different suspension calibrations are available.
At the bottom of the pile is the SE. It comes with a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder that's mated exclusively to a four-speed automatic transaxle. It's got rear drum brakes, plastic wheel covers and 215/65R16 Firestone FR690 tires. This is the version that you would likely be assigned at the rental-car counter.
In this configuration, the Avenger is a timid performer. If you're going to pass that semitruck on a two-lane road, you'll want to plan ahead and be prepared for the slightly raucous noise coming from the other side of the firewall. But it'll get the job done. And we must say that Dodge has done a good job at quelling road noise, even on this most basic of Avengers.
The Avenger is 4 inches taller than the old Stratus, and the passengers get the benefit. The interior measures out to a spacious 100.9 cubic feet, and the rear quarters afford about the same amount of living space as other cars in this class, although the beltline is so high that you feel as if you're sitting in a well.
The $18,895 Avenger SE comes with front-seat side airbags and curtain-type head protection bags, plus a tilt-telescoping steering wheel and power windows. What these buyers will not get standard is ABS or much in the way of excitement, overheated styling notwithstanding.
Oh, and like all Avenger and Sebring buyers, those opting for the SE get the "Chill Zone." This grandly titled bit of technology is simply a second glovebox with its own air-conditioning vent. You can store up to four cans of soda in the Zone and they will be cooled by the air-conditioning.
Wanna SXT you up
More than 50 percent of Avenger buyers will go for the middle version, the well-equipped but price-conscious SXT.
At $19,795, the SXT comes standard with the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine as the SE. But one could also pony up for an updated SOHC 2.7-liter V6. It makes 189 hp, which is considerably less than the V6 of pretty much all the Avenger's competitors, and this car weighs a substantial 3,465 pounds in SXT trim.
At the same time, the V6's 191 pound-feet of torque matched with the four-speed automatic transmission will be much appreciated during that two-lane road, truck-passing scenario described above. And although it carries rear drum brakes, ABS is standard equipment.
The SXT's exterior is sassed up a little with chrome on the front grille, body-color side molding and 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels with 215/60R17 Bridgestone Turanza EL400 tires.
This vehicle drives pretty much exactly like the SE since it shares the same suspension tuning, but it's a little quicker. And if you want to use E85 ethanol-blend fuel, the 2.7-liter is the only engine in the Avenger lineup capable of running on the stuff.
More road than track, really
The R/T version of the Avenger is really the only version of the car that we can endorse.
These is because once you check the R/T box and pay the minimum price of $23,545, you get the 3.5-liter V6, which is rated at 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. Just as important, the R/T comes standard with a six-speed automatic that incorporates Chrysler's autostick manual-shifting feature.
We admit that the Avenger's 3.5-liter V6 doesn't have a power rating that will make you swoon, and only the Ford Fusion has a V6 that makes less power than the Avenger's 235 hp. But once you combine this engine with the quick-shifting six-speed automatic, a more capable state of tune for the suspension and 18-wheels with 215/55R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE92A tires, the 3,568-pound Avenger R/T becomes a reasonable companion on the road.
Later this year, Dodge will offer the Avenger R/T with an on-demand all-wheel-drive system.
For all its newness, the Avenger assumes much the same place in the automotive sky as the Stratus. It's got some style and it's got some space, but this Dodge is built to a price, and you can tell when you put it next to a Honda Accord, Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry.
Even Dodge admits to us that the Japanese-label competition has a stranglehold on the market for midsize sedans, and the 2008 Dodge Avenger will have to scrap with the Ford Fusion and Pontiac G6 for what's left over.
This doesn't sound very aggressive to us.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2008 Dodge Avenger Overview
The Used 2008 Dodge Avenger is offered in the following submodels: Avenger Sedan. Available styles include SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), R/T 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SXT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and R/T 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Dodge Avenger models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine or a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 235 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2008 Dodge Avenger comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2008 Dodge Avenger comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a unlimited yr./ unlimited mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2008 Dodge Avenger?
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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Dodge Avenger?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.