The Chrysler Group is aiming to expand its market share in Western Europe and the Dodge Avenger is one of the cars it hopes will do just that.
The Dodge Avenger’s brave styling certainly turns heads and the large ‘crosshair’ front grille encourages middle-lane hoggers to move out of the way.
It brings a breath of fresh air to the medium-sized family saloon market with its characteristically aggressive, neatly sculpted Dodge styling with more than a hint of the legendary Dodge Charger of TV’s Dukes of Hazzard series.
Muscular rear shoulders, distinctive tail-light set-ups and large diameter wheels all add further to that powerful and capable appearance which help the car stand out from the crowd.
The Dodge Avenger is available in two models, SE and SXT, with a choice of three engines – 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol plus a 2.0-litre turbo diesel – and is being built at the US carmaker’s assembly plant in Michigan alongside the Chrysler Sebring.
The designers of the Dodge Avenger have done a pretty good job on the question of occupant comfort for five, providing quite generous head, leg and shoulder room in the rear to suit most shapes and sizes. However, the transmission tunnel may prove to have a certain amount of nuisance value.
With 60/40-split folding rear seats adding to its versatility, there is a family-friendly 441-litres of stowage space available with all seats taken, while inside there are a number of cubbyholes for personal possessions.
The Avenger’s dashboard is logically laid out and easy to use, while the steering adjusts for both reach and height.
Forward visibility is fine, but the thick rear pillars can make reversing tricky. The Avenger’s front seats could be more supportive, but most drivers shouldn’t struggle for comfort.
The Avenger is keenly priced and running costs for the diesel versions should be affordable.
The Dodge Avenger boasts some very forward-thinking features such as the Chill Zone storage compartment and the optional MyGigTM infotainment system which includes sat nav.
The car still has a budget feel about it though as there are some hard and glossy plastics tending to overshadow the soft-to-the-touch surfaces in an otherwise nicely accommodating cabin.
The Avenger is reasonable to drive, although it falls short of the high standards of the best cars in its class. The suspension deals with virtually everything that modern roads can throw at it, but the ride is bouncy and the Avenger tends to lean through corners. The steering is well-weighted and lets the driver know what is on the car’s mind.
The Avenger suppresses wind and road noise reasonably well, but its diesel engine is noisy when worked hard.
With its looks the Dodge Avenger should appeal to a younger demographic as a flashier, eye-catching alternative to one of its more expensive rivals.
As far as the environment is concerned the 2.0-litre diesel engine is the least polluting on offer.
Security and Safety
The Dodge Avenger comes with a stability control system to help keep it pointing the right way on the road.
There are also front, side and curtain airbags to minimise the impact if an accident should happen.
To deter the criminal element the car is fitted with an alarm and deadlocks.
The Finishing Touches
There are two trim levels for the Dodge Avenger – the cheaper SE model comes with most of what you would expect, so there’s air conditioning, four electric windows and remote central locking. The extra spent on the SXT model adds alloy wheels and steering-wheel audio controls, leather upholstery, an electrically powered driver’s seat, heated front seats and a rear armrest.
The Dodge Avenger looks like nothing else in the large family car segment of the market. It is bold and brash with an eyeball-grabbing mini-muscle car look and as a budget priced slice of Americana it has an outlandish appeal.