You’d expect that this modest engine would pay some dividends when it comes to gas mileage, but unfortunately our time with the Avenger revealed less than spectacular real-world fuel efficiency. Although EPA rated at 20 city, 31 highway, we averaged between 23-24 mpg during mixed driving, which isn’t much better than what you’d expect from a V6. The engine is working quite hard during even normal acceleration, and better results would require going almost dangerously slow.
Out on the road the Avenger displays a very easy-going, relaxed presence. Steering is nice and light, but doesn’t offer much feedback and feels overly boosted. The suspension errs on the soft side, providing a nice and supple ride, but doesn’t fold over completely when thrown into a turn. The 17-inch Michelins at each corner provide a respectable amount of grip, but try to drive a twisty road fast and you’ll quickly realize that despite its name, the Avenger is no sports sedan.
It’s on the inside where the Avenger offers the biggest surprise. Gone are the shiny plastics and cheap looking dials and gauges of the previous car, and in their place is an abundance of soft touch materials and a clean, understated design. Some of the switchgear, such as the turn signal lever and the shift lever, still look and feel a bit low rent, but on the whole the interior is competitive with anything at this price.
The Avenger offers excellent headroom and a decently sized trunk, but rear legroom could be more generous, making the backseat a bit cramped for larger adults. The cloth seats are reasonably comfortable, but don’t provide a ton of support. Some classy touches include chrome door handles, contrast stitching on the armrests and center console, and a premium cloth headliner. The interior in our test car was decked out in all black, adding to the understated look, and everything seemed well put together. Noise levels when cruising on the highway are impressively low and there were no discernible squeaks or rattles.
Amenities on our Mainstreet edition are few, but some nice features are included, such as remote start, automatic climate control, and heated seats. Our test car also featured an optional media center that offers a 40 GB hard drive for storing your favorite tunes. Sound quality from the 6 speaker stereo is surprisingly good, with clean highs and punchy lows. Unfortunately, Bluetooth® connectivity isn’t available on this trim level.
Unlike its platform mate, the Chrysler 200, the Avenger did not receive a full exterior makeover this year. While not an ugly car, the exterior is unremarkable and looks a bit dated. The sides feature some styling cues from the more muscular Charger, and the front end gives the car a modestly aggressive face, but the rear is very generic and the overall shape is too reminiscent of the boxy sedans of the past.