By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 5.6
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)
By Avenger nut on Thursday, March 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,152overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, good handling, value, ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"love the handling of car. Its a great vehicle being more sporty and reasonably best in performance with having a V6 engine. Features are outstanding the resale value is excellent on car gives me good gas mileage plenty of room rides smooth. Looks more of a top of the line coupe with taillights and factory R/T wheels. The Avenger is comfortable available with heated seats, UCONNECT navigation, blue tooth and USB/iPod interface include a great sound system. It drives absolutely best more quiet great smooth ride and gas mileage is overall excellent on Avenger. I love this car on lots of good features in its class from more sporty looks and steering controls are outstanding."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Pandora on Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: cheap quality
Pros: "Attractive body style, good mileage"
Cons: "cheap workmanship, poor quality interior."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I bought a 2008 Avenger with only about 100 miles on it. I loved the look of the car and the ride was very comfortable on the test drive. The dealer gave me a really great deal (too good to turn down... should have been my first clue). The first few weeks it was a really sweet ride, so we went back and got a matching one for my husband. I noticed his car drove a lot more 'tight'. Didn't sway as much as mine did. Mine felt like it was always windy out and was a little more 'loose' than his in the steering. His was the top of the line, all the bells and whistles, whereas mine was the plain jane, low end model. So I chalked it up to that. One thing we both had in common though, was the very first week of ownership, our air vents broke when we tried to flip them up to redirect the air flow. About a month after getting it, we took mine out on the interstate on our first long distance trip, I noticed it had a lot of road noise. Almost sounded like a plane was overhead at times. The feeling of being windy out was again very noticeable. We took mine in several times to the dealer for 'small things' like the interior door trim falling off, door not fitting right, etc. My husband's had leather seats which cracked and looked worn before the first year was up. We both had several recalls on our cars in the first 2-3 years (at least 4 apiece). Both cars had the shifter break, leaving us having to take apart the shifter area in order to get the car into gear. It was one of the recalls. After the 2nd year, his car started using oil. Around year 3 for his and year 4 for mine (but the same amount of miles), they both developed transmission problems and started slipping between first and second gears. Mine developed some type of 'air lock' in the 4th year. When I'd drive down the interstate, it'd act like it had air bubbles in the gas. It'd spit and sputter when you'd step on the gas. The mechanic could never find anything wrong. The cars both had very cheap interiors that fell apart, fairly quickly. The molding strips on the bottom of mine fell off when I drove through heavy snow one winter. All of a sudden they were gone and thats the only thing we remember doing. Mine developed 'bubbling' of the paint on the nose of the hood. When a battery needed changed, we found out you have to remove the driver's side wheel and take apart the wheel well to get the battery out. Based on our experience with the two 2008's that we purchased, I will NEVER purchase another Dodge car."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Boomer on Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great performance and yet good economy"
Cons: "Traction control is a nuisance."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm early 60s and have owned a lot of cars. When looking for a new one, I wanted: performance, style ( this car has a great muscle car style ) all the latest do- dads, and economy. I've owned it now for a couple years and still look forward to getting behind the wheel, especially at stop lights. I am sorry to see it go away. Goodbye to a great American car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Chameelia on Monday, March 10, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"So my vehicle was stolen and I got this rental from my insurance company. Being used to an old 99 with poor HP, I spit rocks as I pulled out of the driveway!! I felt like a millionaire, until I checked my blind spots... to look over your shoulder, it is really hard to see out the back window (Im a short 5'2" woman) and the small side windows in the back might as well not even have been there!! The body was also really wide between the back door and the rear windshield, making for a huge blind spot which nearly costed me several accidents. Its not a big deal in rural areas, but I live in a metro, so I need to be able to navigate in a split second, something that is hard to do when you need to look at 2 mirriors and look back, and then check your mirriors again. Now granted, I know that is how you are supposed to drive anyway, but anyone who drives in heavy traffic full of people texting and driving, putting on make up while they speed to work, etc knows that often times will CAUSE you an accident. The car was fairly comfy, but my rump was a bit sore after taking it for an hour and half ride, something I didnt have an issue with in my 99 Malibu. The body style is pretty sleek, a nice look that both the man and woman will love. The interior is pretty spacious, not overly, but 5 adults can ride in it so it could be alot worse, and though it doesnt look it, the trunk is HUGE. IDK about service, it never had issues in teh month I had it, the gas mileage was actually not that bad at all for such a powerful engine (comparable to my smaller 99 Malibu), but it was pretty good highway miles. And I did kinda romp on it a little, its an awesome car, and a loaner so I wasnt babying it thats for sure!! Only think i didnt like about it was that blind spot."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By BJ on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I really enjoyed my avenger when I had it. It was reliable, great gas mileage and good looking. The down side to these cars are that they just don't retain any kind of value. There is no trade in value at all with these vehicles. I paid almost $20,000 for the car 6 years ago and now it is worth 5000.00. You do the math."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By BO on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Bought mine brand new a year and half a go and have 45,000 miles on it. All I've had to do so far is change the oil and put gas in it. 4 cylinder engine performs well and still gets very good gas mileage. Interior is comfortable and the Uconnect system is very easy to use. The only drawbacks I've found are that it has a horrible blind spot and the steering wheel is uncomfortable on really long trips and has a fair amount of road noise on the highway. I've been very happy with mine over all."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful