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Dodge Avenger, page #2

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About Dodge Avenger

Thus far, Dodge has used the name "Avenger" on two wholly different cars from different time periods. The first Avenger was a midsize, two-door coupe born in the mid-1990s. Noted mostly for its stealthy good looks, the original Dodge Avenger also featured a reasonably roomy cabin and an appealing blend of handling and comfort. It enjoyed some success both with critics and consumers, though at decade's end it faded away with little notice. After a long hiatus, the Avenger name resurfaced in 2008 when Dodge deemed it fitting for the successor to the Stratus sedan.

Unfortunately, the second-generation Avenger has not enjoyed the positive reaction of its two-door predecessor. Until a couple years ago, the Dodge Avenger was one of the least appealing midsize sedans available. A recent overhaul fixed many of the Avenger's faults, making it more competitive. But we still think most consumers will be better off looking elsewhere for their next family sedan, as the majority of the Avenger's rivals, both import and domestic, offer superior interior designs and a higher level of overall refinement.

Current Dodge Avenger 
The Dodge Avenger shares much of its engineering with the Chrysler 200 sedan. The differences between the two come down to styling, as the Avenger's more aggressive shape is aimed at a younger audience. Dodge Avenger buyers have a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6 good for 283 hp. The four-cylinder sends its power to the front wheels through either a four- or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on trim level. The V6 gets a six-speed auto with a manual-shift mode.

The Avenger's trim lines are SE, SXT, SXT Plus and R/T. The SE is reasonably well equipped, while moving up to the SXT and SXT Plus will get you features like automatic climate control, heated seats and an upgraded sound system with digital music storage. The R/T has leather seating and a sport-tuned suspension. Both the SXT Plus and R/T come standard with the V6.

The Avenger's interior boasts soft-touch materials and tight construction; both are among the best you'll find in a midsize sedan. However, the look is a tad generic, the available in-car electronics are a bit behind the times and there isn't as much space for passengers. As for the Avenger's engines, the base four-cylinder is barely adequate (especially with the four-speed automatic) and sounds unrefined. The V6 engine is very strong, however, boasting the most power in its class as well as strong fuel economy. Handling is also pretty good, although again, not quite up to the class leaders.

In total, the Dodge Avenger is a solid sedan that could be worth a test-drive, particularly if you're prioritizing a V6 power plant and value. But in general, we think you'd be better served by some other competing models.

Used Dodge Avenger Models 
The second-generation Dodge Avenger debuted for 2008 and is represented by the current model. However, the Avenger was so poorly received that it underwent a major overhaul for 2011. It has been unchanged since then, other than a renaming of trim levels for 2012 (originally Express, Mainstreet, Heat, R/T and an additional fully loaded Lux trim).

From 2008 through '10, there were three engine options: the current four-cylinder, a 2.7-liter, 189-hp V6 and a 3.5-liter, 235-hp V6. There were also three trim levels -- SE, SXT and R/T. The base four-cylinder-only SE came with air-conditioning, a CD stereo, full power accessories and cruise control. All-wheel drive was optional in that first year on models equipped with the 3.5-liter V6. For 2009, all trim levels received more sound insulation, the 2.7-liter V6 became a fleet-only engine option later in the year and the R/T trim was newly available with the four-cylinder engine. For 2010, the SE trim level was deleted and the Express trim added.

These early model year Avenger sedans suffered from a variety of ailments. Neither the four-cylinder nor the V6 engines were particularly good in regards to performance, refinement or efficiency. The interior was also far below that of the competition, with designs and materials that were best described as rental-car quality. If that wasn't enough to drive buyers away, the Avenger was also stuck with lifeless steering, excessive body roll and underachieving brakes. We highly recommend that you look at different used family sedans.

The first Dodge Avenger was sold from 1995-2000. Employing a platform derived from the Mitsubishi Galant and similar to the one used in the contemporaneous Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Avenger had the Chrysler Sebring coupe as its twin and debuted with two powertrains. The first was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 140 hp mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic -- all borrowed from the Dodge Neon. The step-up engine was a 2.5-liter, Mitsubishi-built V6 with 155 hp, mated to a four-speed automatic. The Avenger's trim lines were base and ES.

Initially, the base model opened with the four-cylinder engine, 14-inch wheels, a radio and dual airbags. The V6-powered ES model came with an upgraded suspension, antilock all-disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, air-conditioning, a cassette deck and cruise control. Base models could add most of the ES's items, while ES models could add leather seats and a sunroof.

The Avenger's biggest changes came in 1997, when meaner styling adorned the body and new 17-inch wheels were made available to ES models. More significantly, both the base and ES now had the four-cylinder standard, with the V6 optional. For the Avenger's final year in 2000, Dodge made the V6 standard on both, and also loaded up the ES with a power driver seat, leather and keyless entry.

The Dodge Avenger was a fairly appealing coupe in its day as long as the V6 was specified. The front seats were comfortable, and unlike in most cars sporting two doors, the Avenger's rear seat actually offered some semblance of comfort for adults. The Avenger also held the advantage of actually looking like a coupe instead of a bland sedan with two fewer doors. However, the Avenger's record for reliability is notably poor. As such, we wouldn't recommend it as a used-car purchase.

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2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak previewed

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:27:00 EST

Dodge and Mopar have never strayed far from success in drag racing, be it on run-what-you-brung nights at the local strip or at the highest levels of the sport. Hoping to both add to that heritage and capitalize on some of the media spotlight that's shown so brightly on the brand of late, Dodge has given us our first look at the 2015 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak test car.
Though this first iteration doesn't make use of the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine, it seems to be a pretty formidable racing package. Starting with a stock '15 Challenger, Mopar adds a full roll cage built to National Hot Rod Association specs. Rubber front and back is drag racing-ready as well, with 28x4.5-inch tires in the front, and fat 30x9-inch tires out back - all from Hoosier.
Powering the beast is a massive 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Hemi Race V8, with output levels that are still unspecified. A Chrysler 727 automatic transmission connects up to a racing style shift lever, with integral line lock.

Challenger A/T Unlimited Concept could be your next Hellcat-powered ORV

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:32:00 EST

This past June I spent an excellent day hanging out with Joey Ruiter, driving and discussing his Reboot Buggy project. Before heading home, I let him know that he was more than welcome to keep me abreast of whichever new automotive project he'd get into. You can never have too many car designers and one-off fabricators in your Rolodex, right?
Ruiter recently made good with the follow-up, emailing me with details on this Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed Concept that pushes a lot of hot buttons for the muscle car and off-roading enthusiasts.
This all-terrain Mopar is a lot more than a Challenger body dropped on a truck chassis, too. A materialized version of the A/T would included a completely new, long-travel suspension, skid plates, body armor and rock sliders, and obviously flared fenders to help accommodate a hellacious set of off-road-ready tires. The dramatically revised underpinnings would be topped with a slick graphics package and a killer lower light bar, all making the A/T look quite cohesive in its own, radical way. And the result would be a car no longer limited to mere road-driving.

Chrysler investigating complaints of vehicles with faulty power modules

Sun, 24 Aug 2014 15:09:00 EST

Chrysler owners are hopping mad after experiencing a series of electrical gremlins in some of the company's vehicles. Issues range from mere annoyances - windows rolling down and radios turning off of their own accord - to serious safety issues, with headlights that randomly shut off at night and cars that stall and refuse to start.
The issues are being blamed on the total integrated power module, which can cost up to $1,000 for customers to replace. This, of course, has led to a hefty batch of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with 240 owners expressing their displeasure so far. Another site, CarComplaints.com, has registered over 300 complaints relating to the 2010 to 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, alone, according to The New York Times.
Chrysler has acknowledged that it's investigating the complaints and is analyzing the faulty TIPMs, but that isn't quite enough for customers of the affected vehicles. The newspaper has snagged a few of the more harrowing tales with the electrically challenged Chrysler products, culled from the NHTSA complaints.

Thieves still love older Hondas and pickups most, says NICB [w/video]

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST

No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That's the lowest figure since 1967. That's also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. "The drop in thefts is good news for all of us," says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year."
Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year's theft study. Toyota and Dodge can't really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year's list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups.
The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were:

Dodge Viper to out-Hell the Hellcat with supercharged V10?

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:30:00 EST

The Viper wouldn't be the Viper if it wasn't the most powerful model under the Chrysler umbrella. But with the arrival of the Hellcat engine in the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper has fallen behind in the bragging rights department: where the new supercharged V8 produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the naturally aspirated V10 offers "only" 640 hp and 600 lb-ft - gargantuan output figures by almost any other standard, but crucially behind on the SRT power scale. Conner Avenue is going to have to do something about that.
Although the Hellcat's engine reportedly won't fit under the Viper's hood, SRT is now rumored to have another trick up its sleeve: supercharge the existing V10. According to the Pentastar performance enthusiasts at allpar.com, Chrysler has already taken delivery of the first such prototype engines so that it can begin the process of fitting it into an upgraded Viper.
The spooled ten-pot is tipped to produce around 800 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. More than that and the Viper's drivetrain, chassis and bodywork would have to be substantially reworked. Though beefier transmissions are available, fitting them would reportedly set off a domino-game of changes required to handle the added torque. Which may be something Chrysler would be prepared to do for the next-generation model, but in the meantime, 800 hp could prove enough to put the Viper back atop the Mopar performance ladder where it belongs, and give it an edge against the new Corvette Z06 to rekindle sales.

We cruised Woodward in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/video]

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:58:00 EST



We were definitely rock stars at the 20th edition of the Dream Cruise.
The yell came from somewhere in the crowd: "Hey Hellcat, push it!" We obliged with a jab of the throttle, and the 707 horses of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat roared to life. It went on like this. All weekend. It's one thing to attend the Woodward Dream Cruise, it's quite another to star in it.

Weekly Recap: Things you might not know about the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats

Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:01:00 EST

If you're an enthusiast, and you don't know that Dodge spawned another Hellcat this week, you really must have been living in cave. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is probably the biggest news for enthusiasts since the reveal of, well the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
But, there are some things you might not know or might have missed about the new Charger and Challenger Hellcats. For starters, reports that the Hellcat production would be limited to a low volume are not true.
"We have not capped the Hellcat on either the Challenger or the Charger," Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said.

Dodge Challenger returns to Trans Am

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:44:00 EST

NASCAR's Nationwide Series may have switched (in appearance anyway) to muscle cars, but American racing fans know that if they want to see real muscle cars on the street circuits, the only place to look is Trans Am. The all-American racing series is packed with Mustangs, Camaros and even Corvettes. The one thing it's been missing is the Dodge Challenger, but now SRT Motorsports has announced it's bringing its muscle car back where it belongs.
Rather than waiting until next year, the Miller Racing team is switching mid-season to the new Dodge Challenger SRT Trans Am racer you see here, just in time for this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio. And not just that - it's lined up a compelling pair of drivers to pilot it, as well.
The No. 11 car will be driven by Trans Am legend Tommy Kendall, a four-time series champion who's been off the grid since 2004. Backing him up in the No. 1 Challenger will be none other than Cameron Lawrence, the driver who has won five out of six races in the Chevy Camaro so far this season, losing out only once to American racing scion Adam Andretti.

Ranking Dodge's Charger Hellcat with the fastest sedans in the world

Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:01:00 EST



"This is a car that most brands would never bring to market." - Tim Kuniskis
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis had reason to be confident, perhaps even a bit cocky at the reveal of his brand's newest halo car, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. As he said simply, it's the "quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world."

2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit prepares to keep Hellcats in line

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:33:00 EST

Earlier today, Dodge pulled the wraps off its 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat - a 707-horsepower sedan capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and reaching a top speed of 204 mph. Naturally, the car debuted in a bright shade of pull-me-over red, so it was fitting, then, that Dodge also brought its newly updated 2015 Charger Pursuit to keep everything under control.
No, cops won't be able to spec their Charger cruisers with the 707-hp Hellcat engine (oh man, imagine the chase scenes...), but law enforcement officials will be able to choose from either a 3.6-liter V6 or 5.7-liter Hemi V8, producing 292 hp and 370 hp, respectively. V8 models can be ordered with all-wheel drive, and Dodge estimates that with either engine, the Charger Pursuit can achieve up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway (thanks to the V8's four-cylinder mode).
Other updates for 2015 include improved braking power, a seven-inch display in the instrument cluster, a five-inch display in the center stack, and a new vehicle systems interface that could make it easier for police squads to install computer and radio equipment.