2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T. Click image to enlarge

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Dodge Avenger

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Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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2010 Dodge Avenger

The Dodge Avenger’s optional 2.7-litre V6 “flex-fuel” engine has been discontinued for 2010, leaving Avenger buyers with a choice of two powertrains: the standard 173-hp 2.4-litre four-cylinder with four-speed automatic transmission offered in the base SE and mid-level SXT models; or the 235-hp 3.5-litre V6 and six-speed automatic transmission that’s standard in the top R/T trim.

The 2.4-litre four-banger could be described as “adequate” for daily commuting and offers reasonable fuel economy (Energuide: 9.7 L/100 km city/6.6 L/100 km Hwy) but it’s noisier than the V6 and doesn’t have a lot of passing power. The 3.5 V6, on the other hand, has lots of get-up-and-go, is smoother and considerably quieter than the four. And its accompanying six-speed automatic has more cogs to divide up the work and a lazy top gear for comfortable highway cruising. Plus, it has manual shifting capability for “do-it-youselfers”

2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T. Click image to enlarge

As you can see, I prefer the V6 motor and six-speed tranny in the Avenger, and while the Avenger R/T starts at $25,295, a $4,300 bump over the base SE and a $2,500 premium over the mid-level SXT, it’s a big drop from last year’s Avenger R/T which had an MSRP of $30,195. In fact, the Avenger R/T’s starting price of $25,295 is thousands of dollars cheaper than comparable V6 sedans like the Malibu, Fusion, Accord, Camry, Altima, and Mazda6. In addition, after checking Dodge Canada’s web site, I found that they are offering an additional $2,000 rebate or zero per cent financing for 36 months on this model. Wow! That’s definately a lot of sedan for the price!

R/T features

Though not a particularly stylish car, the Avenger R/T isn’t ugly either: it’s chunky, rather aggressive styling is highlighted by its large grille with the trademark Dodge ‘crosshairs’, front air dam with integrated fog lights, covered headlamps, prominent ‘hip’ over the rear wheels, short rear deck with spoiler, and standard 18-inch tires and alloy wheels. There are obvious similarities with the larger Dodge Charger. Interestingly, the blacked-out headlamp surrounds of last year’s R/T have changed to less menacing silver.

2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T. Click image to enlarge

Features exclusive to the R/T model include the 3.5-litre V6, six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, 215/55R18-inch all-season performance tires, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual rear exhausts with chrome tips, trunklid spoiler, front and rear LED lights, firmer feel steering, firmer sport suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, 140 amp alternator, leather seats, and power heated foldaway mirrors.

My “Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat” test car had the optional chromed alloy wheels ($500); Hands-free Convenience Group which includes Sirius Satellite Radio one-year subscription, six Boston Acoustics speakers, UConnect Bluetooth phone with voice command, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror with microphone ($790); Media Centre 430 CD/DVD/HDD/radio with 30-GB hard drive, and 6.5-inch touch-screen ($750), and electronic stability and traction control ($525). That last option should really be standard on a family sedan.

It should be noted that the all-wheel drive option was deleted in 2009. All Avengers are now front-wheel drive.

By adding $1,400 Freight and $100 a/c tax, the as-tested price of my test car came to $29,360 – less any additional rebates. As I said, that’s a darn good price for a mid-size V6 sedan.

Interior impressions
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T
2010 Dodge Avenger R/T. Click image to enlarge

The Avenger’s upright sides and tall roof contribute to a roomy cabin which has plenty of headroom and legroom for four or five adults. The doors are large, and open wide making entry and exit pretty easy. The one complaint noted by some of our testers is that the blacked-out portion of the rear side windows restricts visibility for rear passengers.

Leather seats are standard in the R/T, and the front seats have two-step seat heaters (also available on the SXT’s cloth seats), a benefit you will appreciate in the winter. An optional remote start feature (part of the Premium Convenience Group) is another feature you may appreciate next winter.

The driver’s seat includes power height, rake, and fore-aft adjustments and a manual lumbar adjuster. Both front seats are comfortable and the driving position is good, aided by a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The raised front seats provide generous footroom for rear passengers who have a centre fold-down armrest with cupholders, bottle-holders in the doors, a seatback storage pocket, small door pockets, and two fixed rear head restraints.

The Avenger’s instrument panel design is straightforward with easy-to-use controls including the optional 6.5-inch touch-screen for audio and optional navigation functions, although the sun’s glare can obscure the screen at times. The speedometer and tachometer are easy to read, and the shift lever is well-positioned for reach. I liked the audio controls on the back of the steering wheel because it’s possible to increase the volume or change stations without taking hands off the steering wheel.

On the downside, some of the smooth, hard plastic surfaces on the dash and doors look a bit cheap and the black surfaces in my test car were easy to scuff and hard to keep clean. And the silver-painted trim on the centre console looks like painted plastic, which it is, but it does make a nice contrast to the black dash.

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