2013 Dodge Avenger Expert Review

2.7 Overall Score
Performance 2.7Comfort 3.1Styling 2.8Value 2.8

Editor's Overview

The 2013 Dodge Avenger brings muscular looks and value pricing to the mid-size sedan segment, but it faces tough competition that is, in many ways, more appealing. Among the Avenger’s highlights are its optional V6 engine, Uconnect infotainment system and surprisingly fun driving characteristics for this class of car.

You'll Like The 2013 Dodge Avenger If...

If you want a car whose looks portray swagger but you can't pony up to a Dodge Charger, the 2013 Dodge Avenger just might be your style.

You May Not Like The 2013 Dodge Avenger If...

If you want looks that are more modern than muscle, snazzier standard equipment or stellar fuel economy, there are newer and more feature-rich sedans from which to choose. Poor resale values further dampen the Avenger's appeal.

What's New

After gaining the performance-oriented R/T version and new trim names last year, the Avenger has just minor changes for 2013. Among them are automatic headlights and the availability of premium leather in SXT models, new exterior colors and a lower starting price on the R/T model.

Interior Features

If the 2013 Dodge Avenger has an edge over competitors, it's in the design of cabin materials. The Avenger has soft-touch panels, visually appealing color and fabric patterns and well-bolstered front seats. R/T trim models are especially nice, featuring striped seats with leather bolsters, a unique gauge cluster and SRT-inspired pedal pads. Plenty of insulation material gives the Avenger a quiet cabin, which in turn helps the optional Boston premium speakers sound even sweeter. Rear-seat room is OK for two adults, and the rear seats fold in a 60/40-split for increased storage capacity. The front passenger seat folds flat for further cargo flexibility.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Avenger has tough-guy looks to go with its name. Up front is Dodge's familiar crosshair grille and aggressive twin headlights that take the shape of menacing eyes. A high beltline and higher rear fenders further embolden the Avenger, and a rear spoiler is optionally available. Models equipped with the V6 engine have twin exhaust tips as standard; that feature is optional on 4-cylinder versions. R/T models have a body-color grille, black-bezel headlights and, for better or worse, fender stripes. SE and SXT models ride on 17-inch wheels, while 18-inch wheels are standard for the R/T and optional on the other two trims.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Dodge Avenger can be a surprisingly fun car to drive. The reworking it received in 2011 to the suspension, brakes and steering gear help make this 5-passenger sedan feel more like a nimble European car than any mid-size Dodge from the past decade. Thankfully, the Avenger's good handling doesn't come at the expense of comfort. The Dodge does a commendable job of offering a soft and composed ride quality, yet still boasts a responsive chassis that doesn't mind carving a mountain road. The 2013 Avenger's optional V6 engine is the most powerful of its kind among mid-size sedans, and delivers that power with smooth response. Base versions of the car come with a 4-cylinder engine mated to an older-style 4-speed transmission, with a 6-speed automatic with manual-shift mode standard on higher trims and optional on the base model. All trims are front-wheel-drive, which won't excite enthusiasts but makes it easier for those who drive in slippery conditions.

Pricing Notes

With a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $20,000, the 2013 Dodge Avenger is billed as the most affordable mid-size sedan. At that price, the 2013 Avenger undercuts the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy and VW Passat by about $1,000, and the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima by even more. Keep in mind these are not necessarily direct comparisons, though, as the Avenger has less power, lower fuel economy and fewer gears than some rivals. On the other end of the spectrum, a loaded R/T model can reach $28,000, still a solid value. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to find what others in your area are paying for the Avenger. In terms of resale value, the 2013 Avenger is predicted to fall short, registering among the lowest in this class.

Notable Equipment

A base 2013 Dodge Avenger SE comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning with filtration system, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, manual-adjust driver's seat and 60/40 split-folding rear seats. The base audio system is an AM/FM/CD/satellite radio with auxiliary jack and four speakers. SXT models add a 6-speed automatic transmission, 8-way power driver's seat, automatic climate control and six speakers. Top-line R/T models come with the V6 engine, leather seats, 18-inch aluminum wheels, Uconnect hands-free phone system and media center with 6.5-inch display screen, 40-gig hard drive and six Boston speakers.

Notable Options

The 2013 Avenger can be fitted with the Uconnect infotainment system, which adds a color touch-screen and a hard drive for storing music and can be upgraded with a navigation system and real-time traffic information. Other major add-ons include a power sunroof, V6 engine in SE and SXT models, engine block heater for cold-weather environments, heated front seats and the Rallye Appearance Group for SXT models that includes 18-inch wheels, trunk-mounted spoiler and two-tone black and red cloth interior.

Favorite Features

UCONNECT SYSTEM
This optional system features a large color touch-screen that acts as the command center for audio, navigation and for retrieval of real-time info such as weather forecasts and movie times. We appreciate the system's prompt response to touch.

PENTASTAR V6
Dodge's V6 is among the best out there. This engine feels as powerful as a V8, purrs like a Lexus and also offers impressive fuel economy.

Under the Hood

The base engine in a 2013 Dodge Avenger is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes 173 horsepower. That's not necessarily a lot of power for this class, but it's enough to allow the Avenger keep up with traffic. The more powerful V6 engine - certainly our choice - is optional in SE and SXT models and standard in the R/T trim. It makes 283 horsepower and is EPA-rated at up to up to 29 mpg on the highway. Both engines operate on regular 87-octane gasoline, and the V6 is E85-compatible.

2.4-liter inline-4
173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
166 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (4-speed automatic), 20/31 mpg (6-speed automatic)

3.6-liter V6
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg (gasoline), 14/21 mpg (E85)

Editors' Notes

The 2013 Dodge Avenger is an adequate car competing in the tough mid-size sedan segment. In this class, the Avenger aims to win over buyers who might otherwise consider the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Kia Optima, and Hyundai Sonata. A recent redesign gave the Avenger an improved suspension, drivetrain and interior, as well as more aggressive looks. Lower-end models have enticing prices, but that value against rivals wanes as trim levels climb. Among the Avenger's redeeming qualities is the optional Pentastar V6 engine that works exceptionally well and gives the car newfound performance. For those drawn to the Avenger over its worthy competitors, the biggest motivating factors may come down to price and personal taste.

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