- Chunky, unique exterior
- Good backseat space
- Decent fuel economy (four-cylinder)
- Convenient options
- Chintzy cabin materials
- Engine and road noise
- Sluggish powertrain (four-cylinder)
- Stability control isn’t standard
The 2010 Dodge Avenger offers cool, chunky styling and innovative options; otherwise, it's several paces behind in the evolution of the mid-size sedan.
The mid-size Dodge Avenger sedan carries into 2010 with no significant changes, as Chrysler finds its way and readies grander product changes under the influence of Fiat. In a very competitive mid-size sedan segment that includes family-friendly heavy-hitters like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and even the Hyundai Sonata, the Avenger stands out from the pack in styling but barely keeps up in most other respects.
The 2010 Dodge Avenger is closely related to the Chrysler Sebring, but its styling leaves the impression of a scaled-down Dodge Charger. However, the proportions don't have the same zing in the front-wheel-drive Avenger. Inside, the Avenger's styling is daringly different for a sedan—though, as we'll clarify later, unsatisfying materials will probably leave you wanting.
While originally available with optional all-wheel drive, the Avenger lineup is now limited to front-wheel drive. The middle powertrain offering, a 2.7-liter V-6, is gone for 2010, leaving two very different engine choices: a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder and four-speed automatic transmission (the SXT model), or a 235-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic (available on the R/T). The V-6 includes AutoStick, which enables manual gear selection.
Between the two engines and models, the driving experience is very different. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is one of the least refined base engines in this class of vehicle, with a coarse sound when accelerating and ever-present drone, matched with sluggish acceleration and hesitant transmission downshifts. The V-6 in the 2010 Dodge Avenger R/T provides strong acceleration and is relatively refined, but fuel economy is lower than in rival V-6 models. Fuel economy ranges from 21 mpg city, 30 highway with the four-cylinder to 16/27 mpg with the V-6.
The 2010 Dodge Avenger has a rather soft ride, and it handles well enough but not enthusiastically. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes work well and are standard on the Avenger. With the available V-6, the R/T model includes firmer suspension settings, front and rear stabilizer bars, and big 18-inch wheels.
The base models of the Dodge Avenger have a particularly soft ride, and while the R/T sports a firmer suspension, it doesn't suffer much in the comfort department. Despite the aggressive nameplate, the Dodge Avenger SXT doesn't handle as well as expected for a mid-size sedan, but the 2009 Dodge Avenger R/T controls body roll well and corners with gusto. One feature that might kill some of the driving experience is road noise, which can be an issue on rough roads in any Dodge Avenger model.
While the interior might look good from a distance of 10 feet, up close the cheap materials give themselves away thanks to the abundance of hard plastic surfaces of varying luster and texture. The expensive Dodge Avenger R/T gets some more brightwork and upgraded trim pieces, but otherwise it retains the budget feel. Interior space remains a strength, though; in back, headroom and legroom are better than in some rivals, while in front the seats are supportive and provide a nice, upright driving position.
The Dodge Avenger has upgraded safety features for 2010, but it's still not quite in line with other sedans in terms of features. All 2010 Dodge Avengers now include front side and head-curtain airbags, new head-impact protection in the front seats, and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, but electronic stability control, an invaluable feature that has saved many lives, is only offered as an option on the R/T. In the insurance industry's IIHS tests, the Avenger scores "good" ratings for front and side protection; in government safety tests, the Dodge Avenger earns a five-star rating in frontal crash tests, but it hasn't recently been tested for side impact.
While Dodge (Chrysler) skimps on the materials and trims that set the feel of the interior, the Avenger SXT actually comes quite well equipped compared to other base mid-size sedans. Air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, cruise control, and keyless entry are all in the base feature set. Another surprise is that the Avenger provides a very robust set of options; heated seats, Sirius Satellite Radio, a MyGig infotainment system, a Chill Zone beverage cooler, a navigation system, and Uconnect Phone (Bluetooth) hands-free calling are all available on