By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/30/2011
One year after a brush with near-bankruptcy and with a hefty styling infusion care of Italian car maker Fiat, Dodge has once again avoided being swept into the junkyard of history. One of the most deserving recipients of Dodge's design rebirth is the Dodge Avenger mid-sized sedan, a car that had once been roundly criticized for its dull interiors, mediocre drivetrain and low resale value. But, the 2011 Dodge Avenger is a totally different animal, with an aggressive new exterior, a stunningly modern interior and one of the best drivetrain and suspension setups in its class. If ever there was a case of turning a sow's ear into a silk purse, the 2011 Dodge Avenger is it.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're brain says "Charger" but your wallet says "used car," the 2011 Dodge Avenger may be your knight in shining armor. Its bold styling, great handling and affordable price will satisfy both your enthusiast and economical sides.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for subtle but upscale styling, cutting-edge refinement and best-in-class resale value, you might be happier with the VW Jetta or Hyundai Sonata.What's Significant About This Car?
The 2011 Dodge Avenger receives a complete makeover, with new front and rear styling, new wheels, a completely new interior, new suspension and steering and an available 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2011 Dodge Avenger is a truly great driver's car. A thorough reworking of the car's suspension, brakes and steering systems has netted a mid-size sedan that – if it wasn't for the big Dodge ram head staring up from the steering wheel's center – you would swear was built by VW or Nissan. Dodge has managed to blend a soft comfortable ride with a responsive chassis that can carve up twisting mountain roads as easily as it floats over long freeway stretches. The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 puts the muscle behind the 2011 Dodge Avenger's moves, delivering impressive power, silky-smooth operation and pretty decent fuel economy. Connecting wheels to engine is Dodge's new six-speed AutoStick automatic transmission. While it's fun to shift your own gears, the AutoStick is not as quick or precise as some newer dual-clutch transmissions. But, as the automatic does an excellent job of finding and holding the correct gear, we don't think you'll miss the manual-shift feature in the long run.Favorite Features
Uconnect Infotainment System
This optional hard drive-based system includes navigation with real-time traffic information, MP3/WMA music and JPEG image uploading via a high-speed USB port, auxiliary audio input, voice recognition, voice message recording and playback, Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone connectivity and more.
3.6-liter Pentastar V6
Quite possibly one of the best V6 engines every produced, the new Pentastar V6 pulls like a V8, purrs like a Lexus and returns impressive fuel economy.
The most noticeable change attributed to the 2011 Dodge Avenger is its interior. Gone are the primer-gray tones and hard plastic surfaces, replaced by a more organic dash design, soft-touch materials on the armrests, console and dash and a new color pallet that includes rich ebony, warm sand and even a two-tone red-on-black theme. Dodge has used extensive sound deadening materials to help quiet the Avenger's cabin while simultaneously giving it some very loud audio options, including a six-speaker Boston Acoustics upgrade and a navigation radio with a 30-gigabyte hard drive capable of storing up to 4,250 songs.Exterior
Although its profile is still familiar, the 2011 Dodge Avenger is a far better looking car than the model it replaces. A new front crosshair grille and aggressive lower air intake are complimented by projector-beam fog lamps and honeycomb-textured grille inserts. Around back, the Avenger receives a new rear valence and larger tail lamps with a "ring of fire" LED light pattern. The Avenger's overall fit and finish are also noticeably improved, with better fitting plastic pieces, tighter tolerances between body panels and much more lustrous paint choices. Rounding out the 2011 Dodge Avenger's new look is a set of aggressive wheel choices: 17-inch on Express and Mainstreet trims and 18-inch alloy on LUX and Heat models.Notable Standard Equipment
A 2011 Dodge Avenger Express features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary input jack, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, height-adjustable driver's seat with manual lumbar support, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, 17-inch steel wheels with plastic wheel covers, 60/40 rear seat with pass-through and folding armrest and a security alarm. Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic traction and stability control and front, front-seat side-mounted and side-curtain airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
The highlight of the 2011 Dodge Avenger's optional equipment list is the comprehensive Uconnect navigation, entertainment and communication system. Other standouts include a 6.5-inch touch screen CD/DVD/MP3/HDD radio with 30-gigabyte hard drive, Voice Command and USB interface, Sirius Satellite Radio, Boston Acoustics speaker package, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity with streaming audio, eight-way power driver's seat, automatic climate control, auto on/off headlamps, heated front seats, leather seats, remote start, 18-inch wheels and a power moonroof.Under the Hood
The Avenger's base 2.4-liter "world gas engine" has been given numerous upgrades to help it perform better and with less noise, vibration and harshness. Producing 173 horsepower, the 2.4-liter is not the most powerful in its class, but at least it can now keep up with the pack leaders. The real star of the Avenger line up is the all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which produces an impressive 283 horsepower yet returns highway fuel economy figures around 30 mpg. The 3.6-liter engine is also E85-compatible.
2.4-liter in-line 4
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (4-speed auto), 20/31 (6-speed auto)
283 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 (gas), 14/21 (E85)
The 2011 Dodge Avenger Express has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $20,000. The Mainstreet starts around $22,000 and a fully loaded LUX trim with navigation and V6 engine bumps the price closer to $29,000. Our Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world selling prices others in your area are paying for the Avenger, so be sure to check it out before you buy. The Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima, two performance-themed competitors, start for about the same amount of money, but don't offer the same standard feature content. The Hyundai Sonata costs a bit more but offers more features and a larger cabin, while the Chevrolet Cruze costs less but is somewhat smaller. Compared with category leaders like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, the Avenger's higher feature content at any given price is countered in part by lower projected resale values.