Chrysler has to be applauded for bringing some extremely attractive cars to market in recent years and the Dodge Avenger certainly falls within that group. First introduced in 1995 the Avenger is a sporty two-door coupe with seating room for five.
The Avenger is also sold as the Chrysler Sebring and was originally conceived to compete against cars like the now departed Ford Probe and Nissan 240SX. Although designed by Chrysler and built in Illinois, the Diamond Star assembly plant where Avenger is put-together is owned by Mitsubishi and the bulk of its components are Mitsubishi. All of which is now academic, as both companies have since been joined within the DaimlerChrysler group.
The base Avenger trim came with a 2 litre 4-cylinder Chrysler engine (also used in the Neon) and either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The Avenger ES originally only came with a 2.5 litre V6 engine, made by Mitsubishi, and a 4-speed automatic transmission. Drive is to the front wheels and a double wishbone type fully independent suspension provides a nice ride and very stable handling characteristics.
A more powerful 4-cylinder engine with double overhead camshafts replaced the original in ’96. Another change allowed buyers to order the ES trim version with the new 4-cylinder and a 5-speed manual transmission. The ’97 model year brought changes to the front and rear to give Avenger a bolder look and a rear spoiler was added to the ES. Other than a new “Sport Package” option there were no other significant changes in’98.
The ’95 Avenger may have trouble getting through a smog or emissions inspection due to a faulty aspirator system that increases the output of nitrous oxides. A new fuel pressure regulator and reprogramming the power control module (PCM) are included in the dealer fix (Chrysler campaign code # 767).
The passenger side headrest support bracket weld may fail on some ’97 Avengers and dealers will replace seat back assembly on affected vehicles. A sagging dash panel can be another safety problem on some ’98 Avengers as it may interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause the throttle to stick.
Neither engine choice churns out the sort of power that would put the Dodge Avenger into the high performance ranks. However, there’s still enough oomph there to satisfy the sporty urge in most drivers. When you add in its styling, ride and handling attributes and the sedan-like room for five passengers, the Dodge Avenger is an attractive package.
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.