What Changed for 2008:
- Replaces the Stratus as Dodge's midsize family sedan
- Aggressive styling based on other Dodge models
- Larger cabin, taller driving position
- Choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines
- Front- or all-wheel drive (AWD)
- Optional 2.7-liter Flex Fuel V-6 engine
- Optional MyGig entertainment system with 20 GB hard-drive-based music server
- Optional heated and cooled cupholders
- Optional DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system
- Optional electronic stability control system
Dodge hopes to make the Avenger, its 2008 replacement for the Stratus sedan, a major player in the midsize market. With styling that bears more than a passing resemblance to its big brother, the Charger, a choice of three engines (including two V-6s), and an optional all-wheel-drive system, the Avenger is designed to bring the attitude of Dodge models like the Charger, Nitro and Ram to the 4-door family sedan.
The Avenger is offered in SE, SXT and R/T trim levels. The 4-cylinder SE features power windows, mirrors and locks; automatic transmission; air conditioning; CD/MP3 player; cruise control; 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers; and front, side, and side curtain air bags. Options include a sunroof; 6-disc CD changer; heated front seats; Bluetooth phone compatibility; and anti-lock brakes. The SXT adds alloy wheels; stain-resistant YES Essentials seat fabric; and anti-lock brakes. The options list includes a 2.7-liter V-6 engine; leather seats; MyGig audio/navigation system; rear-seat DVD player; automatic headlights; automatic climate control; and electronic stability control.
In addition to the SXT's standard equipment, the top-of-the-line Avenger R/T gets a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 6-speed automatic transmission; body-color mirrors and trim; automatic climate control; auto-dimming rearview mirror; 6-disc CD/MP3 player; 18-inch alloy wheels; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; and optional all-wheel drive. Electronic stability control is optional on the front-whee-drive model, standard with all-wheel drive. As with the SXT, leather seats, MyGig audio, and a rear-seat DVD player are optional.
The Avenger SE's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine represents a 15-percent jump in horsepower over the outgoing Stratus' base engine (173 vs. 150) with an 8-percent increase in fuel economy. The new engine's EPA mileage figures are 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The Avenger SXT offers an optional 2.7-liter V-6 engine with 189 hp and 191 lb.-ft. of torque, a flex-fuel engine that can run on ethanol blends up to E85. EPA fuel economy estimates (on gasoline) are 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway. Both 2.4- and 2.7- liter engines employ a 4-speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels. The Avenger R/T's 3.5-liter V-6 puts out 235 hp and 232 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission delivers power to either the front or all four wheels; EPA fuel economy estimates are 16 mpg city/26 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, 15 mpg city/24 mpg highway for all-wheel-drive models. All engines and transmissions are covered by Dodge's lifetime powertrain warranty.
The Avenger uses MacPhereson struts up front and a multi-link independent suspension in the rear; R/T models get sportier suspension tuning. Brakes are front disc/rear drum with optional anti-lock control on SE and SXT models; 4-wheel discs with ABS are optional on the SXT and standard on the R/T.
Driver and passenger front air bags, front-seat side air bags and two-row side curtain air bags are standard on all Avengers; anti-lock brakes are optional (standard on R/T), and electronic stability control is offered on the R/T model (standard with all-wheel drive). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had not crash-tested the Dodge Avenger at the time of writing; however, the Chrysler Sebring sedan, which is mechanically similar, received a perfect 5-star rating for both front and rear passengers in the frontal crash tests. For the side crash test, ratings were 5 stars for front occupants and 3 stars for rear-seat occupants.
The optional MyGig stereo system includes a 20 GB hard drive for music files, which can be ripped from a CD or copied via the stereo's built-in USB port and a touch-screen navigation system with voice activation. A built-in copy of the GraceNote CD database allows the stereo to automatically detect and display artist and track information. The UConnect system provides hands-free Bluetooth phone compatibility with voice dialing. The Avenger offers an optional rear-seat DVD player, and front-seat occupants can watch movies via the navigation system's screen when the transmission is in park. The Avenger can keep your coffee hot and your iced tea cool with cupholders that can heat up to 140 F and cool down to 35 F.