2008 Dodge Avenger
2008 Dodge Avenger SXT four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Chris Chase

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2008 Dodge Avenger

Added to the Dodge line-up for the 2008 model year, the Avenger was that brand’s version of the redesigned Chrysler Sebring that was introduced the previous year. While the mechanicals were the same, Dodge came up with a more attractive exterior that resembled its larger Charger sibling.

For 2008, three engines were available. The entry-level SE model and mid-range SXT got a 2.4-litre four-cylinder (173 hp/166 lb.-ft.), while the SXT could be optioned with a 2.7-litre V6 (189 hp/191 lb.-ft.). The top-trim R/T used a 3.5-litre V6 (235 hp/232 lb.-ft.). The SE and SXT used a four-speed automatic transmission, and the R/T got a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive (AWD) was an option in the R/T model, but was dropped for the 2009 model year, making all Avengers from that year on front-wheel drive only. In 2010, the 2.7-litre V6 was discontinued.

The Avenger’s fuel consumption ratings were 9.7/6.6 L/100 km (city/highway) with the four-cylinder and 10.8/7.2 L/100 km in 2.7-litre form. The 3.5-litre V6 was rated 12.9/7.7 in base form and 13.8/8.4 with AWD.

2008 Dodge Avenger
2008 Dodge Avenger SXT four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

Consumer Reports’ (CR) reliability data covers only the 2008 model, but what information it has leads the publication to give the Avenger a “much worse than average” used car rating. I’d suggest the real story isn’t as bad as CR suggests, as few of the problems are serious faults, but fall into the “major annoyance” category.

An Avenger shifter that’s stuck in “Park” could be caused by a couple of things. A “minor” transmission problem (CR’s word in quotes) is probably linked to a transmission shift cable that slips out of the clip designed to hold it in place and is then allowed to touch the transmission case. Heat melts the plastic coating on the cable, and when the car cools, the cable is then firmly stuck to the transmission and won’t move, causing the car to be stuck in whatever gear position it was last in (usually “Park” due to the circumstances).

The other potential cause is a broken piece of plastic in the console-mounted shifter assembly. Read about this particular problem here and here.

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