Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2008 Dodge Avenger Review

Cosmetically similar to the Dodge Charger, albeit at three quarters the size and with elements of the Caliber and Chrysler Sebring sedan mixed in, the 2008 Dodge Avenger is the maker's attempt to capture the mid-size sedan market, adding a bit of style and maintaining a reasonable cost. The starting MSRP for the lowest trim level, the SE is only $19,020.

In addition to the SE, which has front-wheel drive and a 2.4 liter, 173 horsepower World Engine - a DOHC engine that was developed jointly with Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai - that provides 166 pounds of torque, there are also the SXT and the R/T. The former comes standard with the same engine configuration as the SE, though there is an optional upgrade to a 2.7 liter V6 engine with 200 horsepower and 190 pounds/feet of torque. The souped-up R/T comes with a more powerful 3.5 liter V6 (235 horsepower), and adds the option of all-wheel drive. It also has a six-speed automatic transmission with the ability to manually change gears, while the SXT and SE are both four-speed automatics.

Inside the car, the 2008 Dodge Avenger offers the "Chill Zone," which is a storage box at the lower front of the glove compartment. Items placed inside are kept cool by extra air conditioning vents. It is a standard feature on all trim levels, as are cruise control and power door locks and windows. The options on the SXT extend to include a power driver's seat, while the R/T not only adds steering-wheel-based audio controls and automatic climate control functionality, but also a cup-holder that is both heated and cooled (and is may be the most distinctive feature on the car).

While the standard audio package on the Avenger is a fairly basic AM/FM radio and CD player combination, there is an optional upgrade to the Chrysler "MyGig" system, which lets users store up to 20GB of voice messages, images, and music which can be played through the navigational system. As well, there is an optional DVD system for back-seat passenger entertainment.

Safety features in the Dodge Avenger are surprisingly scaled back. While it does have side curtain airbags for both rows, and side-impact bags for the front seats, standard across the line, both anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, which have become standard in similarly-sized vehicles, are only available as optional upgrades.

The 2008 Dodge Avenger has a back seat that folds down in a 60/40 split to allow the transport of items that are too long for the trunk, and has a fold-flat front passenger seat that is standard in the SXT and R/T, but only an option in the SE. Its interior volume totals 100.9 cubic feet. Estimated fuel efficiency ranges from 21 city/30 highway in the SE to 16 city/26 highway in the all-wheel-drive R/T.

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