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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
We're genuinely shocked -- considering just how terrible the last Avenger was -- at how much we enjoyed driving the new one.
For now, the new six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6, but later in 2011 an advanced dual-clutch, six-speed transmission will be available.
The 2013 Dodge Avenger manages to deliver specs and numbers that are entirely competitive in this class, but in the end its performance just isn't very inspired.
For most everyday buyers, the 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder and four-speed automatic should be skipped right over and left to the rental fleets. The four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic—the default combination throughout most of the rest of the model line—is quite perky, but there's a bit too much coarseness at times. Otherwise, the 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that's optional is a vast upgrade, with a strong, smooth demeanor. Most of the time, the six-speed automatic is a good companion, with smooth shifts under full-throttle acceleration, but in lighter-duty driving there's some shuddering and indecision.
Also, the V-6 has a bit of an issue with torque steer. The Avenger has old-fashioned hydraulic power steering, and a lower ride height in front than in back; together they give it decent road manners and feedback, but it's not happy and taut at most speeds.
A smooth V-6 and six-speed automatic transmissions are promising fundamentals, but the Avenger lacks driving enjoyment.