2011 Dodge Avenger: First Drive

November 14, 2010

With a blitz of sedans, crossovers and SUVs, Dodge is set to have a busy, busy 2011. The Durango is new from tires to tail; the Journey's been worked over substantially; and the 2011 Avenger sedan bolts on a new drivetrain, new suspension pieces and new front and rear clips as Chrysler tries to rehab the fleet-queen image of its mainstream, mid-size sedan.

We're covering the more intensive care applied to the 2011 Chrysler 200 elsewhere today, but most of those updates apply to the Avenger, too. But while the 200 sedan has new stampings that clean up its fenders front and rear, the Avenger's metal remains unchanged. Change is good, but the Avenger already had a lock on brand unity with its mini-Charger stance and upkicked rear quarters. The headlamps and taillamps are simplified, but the crosshairs on the Avenger's grille trade metallic ribs for meatier bright-and-black pieces. The 2010 Avenger photos below let you decide whether the change brings enough to the party.

The Avenger's interior wears a little less expensive trim than the Chrysler 200 in places, too. The new dash looks great, with convincing quantum leaps in style and materials. The Avenger's dash cap is sculpted a bit more over its gauges; the climate controls are streamlined, and rings of bright and matte metallic plastic are fine contrasts to most of the soft-touch plastic. The lower half of the Avenger's dash seems to wear lower-grade plastic than the 200, and some of the same carryover gauges and buttons are more noticeable, surrounded by better-quality bits. Our test Avenger had cloth upholstery, which doesn't look or feel as rich as some textures we're seeing in other mid-sizers like the Subaru Legacy, or even the Hyundai Sonata.

2010 Dodge Avenger

2010 Dodge Avenger

2010 Dodge Avenger

2010 Dodge Avenger

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