By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
The 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan is designed to compete with the Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu and Hyundai Sonata. The Avenger platform was remade last year, with a more aggressive look, and improved suspension and drivetrain and a vastly improved interior. On its own, the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan has some redeeming qualities worthy of consideration. Its new Pentastar V6 engine is one of the best V6s we've tested, and its newfound athleticism makes the Avenger a fun car to have when taking the long way home. But, with newer, larger sedans such as the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata offering equal or better pricing on comparably equipped models, finding a reason to opt for the Avenger over any of its competitors will probably come down to a matter of personal taste.
If you're looking for a sedan with an American muscle-car attitude, but you can't quite swing the big bucks for the Dodge Charger, the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan makes a good second runner-up.
If you're looking for a more modern design, feature-rich standard equipment list or a manual transmission, there are newer and more modern cars from which to choose. If resale figures are important, you'd be far better off in a Honda Accord, VW Jetta, or Hyundai Sonata.
The 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan gains a new R/T performance-oriented trim. The old trim names (Express, Mainstreet and LUX) are dropped in favor of the more familiar SE, SXT, SXT Plus and R/T names.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan is a surprisingly fun car to drive. Last year's complete reworking of the car's suspension, brakes and steering gear make the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan...perform much more like a nimble European VW or Opel than any mid-size Dodge we've driven in the last decade. But, unlike many sporty cars that punish the pleasure of excellent handling with the sin of a harsh ride, the 2012 Dodge Avenger knows no such unpleasantness. 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 Avenger's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is the most powerful V6 engine in the mid-size segment and it delivers enormous power reserves all while operating as smooth as glass. The 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan uses a 4-speed automatic transmission on 4-cylinder cars, and a 6-speed AutoStick automatic transmission on cars equipped with the V6. 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.
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 ever produced, the new Pentastar V6 pulls like a V8, purrs like a Lexus and returns impressive fuel economy.
If the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan can trump its competitors in one area, it is with its interior design and materials. Where so many sedans offer dull gray and flat black fabrics, the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan is peppered with soft-touch panels, interesting color and fabric patterns and supportive front seats. Nowhere is this attention to detail more evident than on the new R/T trim, which receives unique striped seats with leather bolsters, a revised gauge cluster with center tachometer and SRT-inspired brake and accelerator pedal pads. Extensive use of insulation helps give the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan one of the quietest cabins in the segment, a silence easily pierced by one of the many audio options that include a 6-speaker Boston Acoustics upgrade and a navigation radio with a 30-gigabyte hard drive capable of storing up to 4,250 songs.
With a somewhat aging profile, the oddly familiar 2012 Dodge Avenger's new look is primarily due to its revised front and rear fascias, new wheels and new paint colors. The familial Dodge cross-hair grille and aggressive lower air intake signal the Avenger's sporting intent, as well as link it to Dodge's other performance sedan, the Charger. LED taillights and an available rear spoiler round out the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan's look, which we think becomes progressively better in the higher trim levels. More aggressive 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels can be found on the SXT and R/T trim, but even the base SE comes with 17-inch steel wheels with handsome covers.
A 2012 Dodge Avenger SE features a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 4-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.
The highlight of the 2012 Dodge Avenger sedan'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 (standard on SXT Plus), Voice Command and USB interface, Sirius Satellite Radio, Boston Acoustics speaker package, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity with streaming audio, 8-way power driver's seat, automatic climate control, auto on/off headlights, heated front seats, leather seats, remote start, 18-inch wheels and a power moonroof.
The 2012 Dodge Avenger midsize sedan'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 lineup is the newly minted 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 @ 6,000 rpm
166 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (4-speed automatic), 20/31 (6-speed automatic)
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 (gasoline), 14/21 (E85)
The 2012 Dodge Avenger SE sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $20,000. The SXT starts around $22,500 and a fully loaded SXT Plus with navigation and V6 engine bumps the price closer to $26,500. Our Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world 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.
By Matt (NY) on Monday, June 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, powerful, upgraded interior"
Cons: "None that I can currently think of"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The 2013 Dodge Avenger is a great car, especially for the price. I bought the R/T model, just picked it up a few days ago and could not be happier. The car has a ton of power, not to mention still provides solid gas mileage. I took the car on a 200 mile road trip the day after I got it and averaged 31.6 mpg on the open road. Not bad for a 283 HP V6. The car handles very well, flying around tight turns. Don't listen to the "Experts" when they say this car has too many flaws to compete in the mid-size sedan class. Leg and head room are just fine, even in the rear seats. I am 6'0" and sat in the back seat with the driver seat adjusted to when I drive and my knees weren't even touching the seat. Visibility is not as bad as advertised. The touch screen entertainment system is great and is very user friendly. Not to mention, Dodge throws in a free year of satellite radio. Overall, this is a great car, especially if you have the extra few bucks to upgrade to the R/T. It is definitely worth it. Go test drive one next time before you listen to the so called "Experts" tear apart a car which can easily compete with the Fusion, Sonata, Optima, Camry and Altima if it got the attention it deserves."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By j on Friday, May 31, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "How it handles, how it looks"
Cons: "The durability (issues I have had), design flaws"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car brand new in 2010. I enjoy driving and using it when it works. However I have had issues with the brakes squeaking and making noise, the transmission making weird noises, the driver side window motor broke, the emergency brake light coming on for no apparant reason and at random times, and some kind of rod in the steering broke causing popping noises and a popping in the steering wheel. I have had the car in the shop at least 6 or 7 times for these issues (more than once on some issues). That is way too many times to have your car in the shop escpecially when it has had regular maintenance, been taken care of, and just barely has 40000 miles on it. Other design features I did not like are the plastic chrome ring around the shifter reflects sun in your eyes, the trunk lid/opening make it hard to get odd shaped items in there (I often find that things are just barely too long/tall/wide)and it is also sometimes hard to get things in the back seat as well, and sometimes if you get one drop of water on the seat it will make a stain. Other than that I loved how it drives and looks. However do to the issues I had I am in the process of getting rid of it."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By julie (CA) on Friday, May 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Virtually everything."
Cons: "The break lights looks like flowers."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the avenger in february, and I can't be happier. This car is absolutely fantastic. It picks up speeds rapidly, does better on gas than my last car, is comfortable to drive, handles fantastically, and it looks incredible."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Tiny (OR) on Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "sharp style, good quality for the price."
Cons: "only the lightness of the front end when passing."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Front end a little too light. When taking off to pass front end lifts up some and causes car to go to left and back to right. Need to keep control with steering wheel when this happens. The car is great overall. Just this one thing I believe needs to be changed."
By IronMan (CO) on Monday, May 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"After only 2 years after the vehicle was manufactured the car has had 3 shifters. The shifter would not shift out of park, after replacing it the first time the recall finally came out and even though the car was recalled for the inability to shift out of park DODGE charged me for it! This car was my latest and last attempt to "buy American" sorry but back to HONDA I go. Oh yeah I almost forgot the motor for the window on the driver side blew out as well and at that time the car had around 75k miles on it."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Ron (MN) on Friday, May 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive. Killer Design. A proud American."
Cons: "Weak acceleration."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This Avenger is a 2012 SXT. A roomy car for a tall guy like me which was one main reason why I bought it. Enough space also for grownups in the back seat. Ride is somewhat bumpy at low speeds on bad roads, but it pays well back at higher speeds. Surprisingly comfortable on longer roads trips where the somewhat hard seats show to be supportive when you best need it. Much better gas mileage that advertised, I am never fewer than 26, highway up to 35. The car is fairly quiet inside. Design, both exterior and interior is so cool, how could one not love it? Can only score 10/10. It is actually nice to ride a cool car, a feature not to underrate - I never thought about this before I bought the Avenger. Radio with big responsive touch screen; comes with one year Sirius XM. Good sound system. Dashboard is absolutely perfectly designed, clean, retro, and functional. Engine has a somewhat weak acceleration, this is perhaps the biggest con of the Avenger, but that doesn’t bother a laid back driver like me. If you need action when lights turn green, don’t buy it, then buy the 6-cylinder version instead. The transmissions is smooth, I barely feel its existence. All in all, nothing to complain about, everything works great. Fun to drive. I am a pleased owner, 20 000 miles now. I am an immigrant from Europe. I can’t understand how Americans have given up their heritage now driving those Camry and Civic. Be proud of American car design that once upon the time made this country so famous, take back you domains!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful