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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
still trails the Honda Accord in refinement and driving enjoyment
Car and Driver
R/T's 3.5-liter V-6 makes for spirited, effortless acceleration
Stopping distances remain long for this class
With just a cursory look over a number of road tests, it's apparent that the 2010 Dodge Avenger doesn't keep up with the best mid-size sedans with respect to performance or fuel economy.
For 2010, the Avenger no longer offers the middle engine choice, a 2.7-liter V-6. This leaves SXT and R/T models, both featuring a standard 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while a 235-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 is available on the sporty R/T. Reviews of the four-cylinder models are pretty dismal, with ConsumerGuide reporting the Dodge Avenger "struggles in passing and merging situations" with that engine and Cars.com claiming, "ultimately, the four-cylinder gets by, but it wouldn't be my choice for hilly regions or if I planned to drive with a full cabin or trunk." When equipped with the available V-6, the 2010 Dodge Avenger R/T fares much better; ConsumerGuide remarks that "power is ample," and Edmunds notes it "offers much better acceleration once it's revved up."
Reviewers almost unanimously pan the four-speed automatic transmission included with the base four-cylinder engine. Edmunds notes that "gearchanges feel unrefined," and Kelley Blue Book claims the Dodge Avenger's "acceleration isn't as effortless, upshifts aren't as smooth and highway cruising isn't quite as relaxed" as in some competitors. Things get a little better with the V-6 and six-speed automatic; Cars.com comments that they "at least like the way the AutoStick works."
Fuel economy is acceptable but not class-leading with the four-cylinder, and a bit disappointing with the V-6. Drivers of the base four-cylinder Dodge Avenger can expect to see 21 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway, while the 3.5-liter V-6 brings the city numbers all the way down to 16 mpg.
The 2010 Dodge Avenger has a comfortable ride, but its handling is nothing remarkable. ConsumerGuide is disappointed to find that "handling is compromised by artificial feeling steering and surprising body lean in corners." The handling story improves on the 2009 Dodge Avenger R/T, according to Motor Trend, which reports that the "R/T does offer reasonably fun handling, with minimal body roll in moderate-speed corners and a comfortable, well-damped ride." Road & Track reviewers mention the Dodge Avenger's "soft, comfortable ride," and Cars.com points out that the Dodge Avenger has "a nice ride quality on many surfaces." Braking performance remains a glaring negative; Edmunds says that "the brakes fade quickly with heavy use" and "stopping distances remain long for this class"—a complaint voiced by several other sources.
The V-6 makes the 2010 Dodge Avenger a little more exciting to drive, but even then it's no standout.