Dodge introduced the Avenger for the 2008 model year, a dark time in parent company Chrysler’s history. An underfunded project from the start, the Avenger launched just as Daimler and Chrysler were getting a divorce, and no amount of Charger Jr. styling could mask its underwhelming engineering and cheap construction. As a result, Dodge was forced to offer big discounts to sell Avengers to consumers, and needed to place large numbers of Avengers in rental car fleets in order to keep the factory running and to recoup as much investment as possible.
The vehicle shown here is not a rental car. It is a 2013 Dodge Avenger, yes, but this is the sporty R/T model, something you’re unlikely to find sitting in a parking lot adjacent to an airport. Historically, Dodge has employed the R/T designation to infer capability both on the road and at the track. This is marketing hyperbole, of course, yet the 2013 Dodge Avenger R/T is a much better car than its critics might claim, in part due to a significant upgrade bestowed upon the model a couple of years ago, an effort that fixed many of the things that were wrong with the car, but not all of them.
Positioned as a midsize family car, the Avenger is sandwiched between the new Dodge Dart, which is almost as big as the Avenger on the inside, and the Dodge Charger, a larger and more substantial car than the Avenger. If the Avenger is a tough sell within the Dodge lineup, it’s even more difficult to recommend in comparison to midsize sedans from other car companies. Where the Avenger makes the best case for itself is in terms of value, but that value comes at a cost.