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.