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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.
While the 2014 Dodge Avenger looks competitive with its segment on paper, the performance just doesn't feel all that inspired.
We'd recommend that shoppers leave the 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder with the four-speed automatic for the rental fleets–choose that model with the six-speed automatic instead. It's zippy enough, though the engine feels coarse at times.
If you're looking for more performance, the 283-hp 3.6-liter V-6 is a huge upgrade in smoothness and demeanor. The six-speed automatic works well here, too, especially with hard acceleration, but stop-and-go traffic can leave it shuddering at times.
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.
There's not much fun in the way the Avenger drives, but acceleration is strong on V-6 versions.