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Old 02-21-2007, 11:17 AM   #1
NYCshopper
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Default First Drive: 2008 Dodge Avenger (Car & Driver Mag)

First Drive: 2008 Dodge Avenger (Car & Driver Mag)

http://www.caranddriver.com/previews...e-avenger.html





Quote:
The Dodge version of the Chrysler Sebring gets a new name, but does it face the same fate?

Though the mid-size-sedan segment is a cash cow for most players in the field, Dodge just hasn’t been able to get one right since the full-size Intrepid (remember that?) more than a decade ago. For 2008 Dodge is making a fresh start with an all-new mid-size sedan that will make you forget all about the old Stratus, which went away last year with very few people noticing. Renamed “Avenger,” an aggressive name that recalls that decidedly non-aggressive Mitsubishi-based coupe that Dodge sold in the 1990s, the new sedan arrives at a party where it’s extremely hard to stand out

Behold the “Chargerette”
The Dodge sheetmetal is as radically different from the Sebring, just as the Sebring is, well, different from everything else in the mid-size-sedan segment. Essentially, the new suit is a full-size Charger skin tailored for a smaller body, with a crosshair grille, tall bodysides, broad shoulders, muscular fenders, and a kicked-up side rear window complete with ugly black plastic covering the corner where we think glass should be. The Avenger’s squared-off contours, especially up front, give it a small measure of distinction from its big brother, and it’s generally agreed in our camp that the “Chargerette” is way better looking than the Sebring. Faint praise, perhaps, as it nevertheless fails to be either menacing or inviting. In a field that includes more elegant sedans such as the Toyota Camry and Saturn Aura, the Avenger looks rather overwrought. Inside, the story doesn’t get much better. Hard shiny plastics create windshield glare that would make polarized sunglasses a life-saving investment. Dreary gray tones abound, and though the dashboard is completely different in design than its Chrysler cousin, it conveys the same discombobulated, rental-grade feel. Moreover, if you do wind up renting an Avenger, pack light: its 13-cubic-foot trunk is a cube shy of both the Honda Accord’s and the Pontiac G6’s, and a whopping 5 cubic feet smaller than the Nissan Altima’s. On the upside, the rear seat offers legroom galore, and most Avengers come with a flat-folding front passenger seat to help accommodate extra long items that won’t fit even after folding one or both of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks.

Trim levels
The SE stripper model is clearly a bone thrown at National Car Rental, and as far as we’re concerned, that’s where it should stay—it’s about as basic as transportation gets in the mid-size segment. Folks that actually have to live with an Avenger shouldn’t even look at it unless there’s an SXT or R/T badge on the back The SXT comes standard with 17-inch wheels (up from the SE’s puny 16s), a chrome grille, stain-resistant fabric, and a healthy amount of much-need brightwork to dress up the drab interior. R/T models, however, get niceties such as automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped wheel, and padding for that hard armrest. R/T models also get automatic headlights, fog lamps and 18-inch alloys. Both SXT and R/T models have a healthy list of options, including a rear-seat DVD entertainment, leather upholstery, a Boston Acoustics sound system, and Chrysler’s bitchin’ MyGIG nav/audio combo system with SIRIUS, Bluetooth connectivity, real-time traffic reporting and a full 20 gigs of hard drive storage for MP3s and even a few photos.

Powertrains
We got our first peek at this car in Paris, where it debuted packing a diesel to lure Europeans to Dodge. However, we won’t get a diesel-powered Avenger here anytime soon. Rather, home-market Avengers come with the same three powertrains as the Chrysler Sebring. SE and SXT models come standard with the 2.4-liter Hyundai/Mitsubishi/DCX-developed inline-four “World Engine”, mated to a four-speed automatic. Easily the most frugal of the bunch, this setup is also noisy and rather lethargic—no surprise considering the Avenger’s 3400-pound base curb weight. We didn’t get a chance to get into the 189-hp, 191-lb-ft 2.7-liter V-6 during our limited time on the press launch, but we did spend a considerable amount of time in the Avenger R/T, with its 232-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic with manumatic controls. Though somewhat gruff at high revs, the engine is thoroughly up to the task of getting the Avenger up to speed, and has enough power to warrant the standard traction control. Expect a 6.8-second 0-to-60-mph time, which is what we recorded in a 3.5-liter-equipped Sebring. The highway is where the Avenger is at its best: the ride is comfortable and the cabin is admirably quiet, thanks in no small part to the stiff structure—roughly 60-percent stiffer than the outgoing Stratus. We would love more steering precision, but the suspension tuning seemed adequate, neither sloppy nor sporty. Stopping from those speeds is also fairly unremarkable, which is a good thing, though safety-conscious Avenger shoppers should consider that all but the R/T feature drum brakes in the back, and ABS is standard only on the SXT and R/T. Shortly after its launch, the Avenger R/T will be offered with all-wheel drive, which we don’t expect will liven performance too much, but nonetheless should make the Avenger more appealing to snow-belt residents. However, no matter which wheels are doing the driving, the Avenger R/T is still no match for the gutsy six-cylinder variants of the Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry. Of course, all that could change once the SRT folks get ahold of it.

The Herd is Safe
The 2008 Avenger will hit the market toward the end of 2007, at a starting price of $18,895—cheaper than the Stratus is replaces. The SXT offers more value at just $900 more. R/T models will set you back $23,545. While from a feature-per-dollar standpoint, those prices are competitive, they sit squarely in the middle of Camry, Accord, and Altima territory, each of which convey a significantly better sense of quality and offer quieter, more refined powertrains (particularly in V-6 arrays). So does the Avenger have what it takes to tip the herd of cash cows from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and even Hyundai? Well, let’s just say the farmer is going to get a good night’s sleep.










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Old 02-21-2007, 11:18 AM   #2
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:06 PM   #3
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... I feel an SRT-6 coming on..

fantastic..
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:55 PM   #4
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-1 for domestic design again
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:09 PM   #5
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All of dodge's designs look horrible.

Something something helen keller better job something.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O2wrx View Post
All of dodge's designs look horrible.

Something something helen keller better job something.
They're almost as bad as Subaru's!
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:26 PM   #7
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Subaru has a bit of function over form included in most of that they do.

This just looks like big chunky weight problem America type of car.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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great, another throwaway car
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:40 AM   #9
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Another YAWNER from DODGER

I'll give it



4 out of 5
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:41 PM   #10
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crap....they all look the same
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:10 PM   #11
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Another mishmosh of all of Dodges worst styling aspects. Complete with the truck grille.
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:38 PM   #12
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And it's a shame too. The last Avenger had serious potential, it just needed RWD, and a better engine, and it could have been something special. Instead, it was another Mitsubishi OEM'd car with no power, and what power there was driving the wrong wheels.
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:46 PM   #13
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Ugh, that thing looks more unappealing and generic each time I look at it. American cars fail...again.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Integra96 View Post
Ugh, that thing looks more unappealing and generic each time I look at it. German cars fail...again.
Fixed

Why did this car even come out???
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:35 PM   #15
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So what's the different between this and the charger?
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bemani View Post
So what's the different between this and the charger?
They put a Charger on a copy machine and hit the "reduce by 20%" button...
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:32 AM   #17
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god that is so ugly. How hard is it to design one car that looks different. Oh thats right they have the Viper. *insert puke emote here*
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:52 AM   #18
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2008 Dodge Spirit would have been more appropriate





(But hey, I would have rocked the old Dodge Spirit R/T...that thing was sick. I always dreamed of owning one of those when I had my acclaim in high school)
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