Practical Better than Pretty

2009, Dodge, Avenger R/T

Often, practical is a lot better than pretty. That is certainly the case with the Dodge Avenger.

Some background: A designer told us some years ago that a downsized Chrysler 300 just wouldn't work. So they came up with an all new design for the midsize Chrysler Sebring. Well it seems that Team A didn't talk to Team B and Dodge ended up with a downsized Dodge Charger. It has been a critical flop.

Most industry observers will tell you that the Dodge Avenger doesn't work. It violates a tenet of automotive sales. The exterior design of a vehicle gets buyers into the showroom. The interior design sells the vehicle. The Dodge Avenger isn't going to stir too many emotions or get folks into Dodge showrooms with its exterior design.

That's too bad because the mid-size sedan is a really good car. When we first drove our 2009 Dodge Avenger R/T test vehicle, we were struck by the engine. We'd just gotten out of a sedan that was priced at $10K more, yet the Dodge Avenger's engine was quieter. Gear shifts were smooth and the whole power train had a silkiness that was simply unexpected.

Handling was great. There was no play in the steering wheel. Turns were easy, lane changes were effortless and the car accelerated with authority. In a word, The 2009 Dodge Avenger was very easy to drive.

The Dodge Avenger R/T was powered by a 235 horsepower V6 that made 232 foot-pounds of torque. It was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. And rather than all-wheel-drive, our car had front-wheel-drive.

Our test vehicle had a cloth interior that didn't look cheap. It was supple and pleasing. Dodge even subdued the silver stain finish of the center stack template which gave it a much more refined look

There was plenty of space in the front seats, the passenger seat provided lower back support, and the back seats were so roomy they seemed outright spacious. Head room, leg room and hip room could easily accommodate two full-size adults and a third in a pinch.

The car was chock full of stuff that we could use. There was a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Our Avenger R/t also had a dual glove box with the top portion a chill box. It could hold four soft drink cans and keep them cool. The center console had a dual hinge – one lever opened to a shallow coin tray. Pull the other lever and it opened to a much deeper storage bin.

Sounds were better than good. Our test car was equipped with satellite radio and the first year was free. There was an in dash six disc CD player with MP3 and WMA capability. Out car also had UConnect which turns compatible cell phones into hands free car phones.

Overall, the ambience of the car was really nice. Nothing felt cheap or shoddy. The build quality seemed adequate. And the materials were top notch. Even though our test vehicle had cloth seats, we felt no need for leather.

The only options on our 2009 Dodge Avenger R/T were electronic stability, traction control, a rearview automatic dimming mirror, daytime running lights and UConnect. The safety, security and convenience group as it was called was $740.

Tack on the cost of shipping to the options and our test car's sticker was $24,685. The price was impressive and so was the 2009 Dodge R/T.

By Frank S.  Washington
2009-11-08

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Images of the 2009, Dodge Avenger R/T

2009 Dodge Avenger front view
2009 Dodge Avenger front view
2009 Dodge Avenger sleek and sporty interior
2009 Dodge Avenger sleek and sporty interior
2009 Dodge Avenger gauge cluster
2009 Dodge Avenger gauge cluster
2009 Dodge Avenger from the side
2009 Dodge Avenger from the side