When Dodge relaunched the Avenger sedan in 2008, Chrysler did not have the winning hand and had to bluff to both journalists and buyers. The 2013 Dodge Avenger, in contrast, carries on as a much-improved midsize sedan that not only feels totally rejuvenated but is also very affordable.
For 2013, the Avenger is available in four trim levels: SE, SE V6, SXT and R/T. All trim levels provide a good variety of standard equipment and options, but the Avenger's dimensions are in a weird place between more popular sedans such as the larger Toyota Camry and the slightly smaller Ford Focus.
To get away from the family style of the Camry or the compact feeling of the Focus, the 2013 Avenger SXT model can be had with a Rallye Appearance Package or a Blacktop Package, adding various tricked-out exterior and interior upgrades.
Moving inside, the Dodge Avenger looks great at first glance, including the cool-looking leather-bolstered seats and unique gauge cluster found on the R/T trim. However, the front seats don't offer much support, and the rear seats are some of the smallest in a midsize sedan. The Avenger's trunk space is also one of the smallest in this segment at just 13.5 cu ft.
Technology inside the Avenger also seems nice, but if you are looking for a USB input and Bluetooth, both are optional on all trim levels, except the R/T. Also, the 6.5-inch touchscreen Navigation system with a jumbo 40-gig hard drive is outdated when you learn that Dodge now offers a larger, updated 8.4-in unit with crisper clarity and higher-quality images.
Under the hood, engines range from the base 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder with 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque to the available 3.6-liter V6 with 283 hp and almost 100 more pound-feet of torque than the inline 4-cylinder. Both engines only have an automatic transmission available, but the V6 does come with six speeds, while the inline 4-cylinder has an outdated 4-speed transmission. All Avengers are front-wheel drive.
The 2013 Avenger SE retails for $18,995 without any options. The Avenger R/T, which comes standard with the V6 and leather-appointed seats, starts at $25,495. With the V6 -- also standard in the SE V6 but optional in the SXT -- the Avenger is a great midsize option thanks to the extra power and similar fuel economy to the inline 4-cylinder as a result of its 6-speed transmission. All 2013 Avengers come standard with a 5-year/100,000-mile warranty.
When considering a midsize sedan, other choices include the Kia Optima with its edgy styling, better fuel economy, bigger back seat and peppy turbo 4-cylinder for a little more money. The Chevy Malibu hits those same points, as well, but offers GM's OnStar service. And the Camry might look bland, but it does have a V6 option, more room and better miles per gallon than the Avenger.
The 2013 Dodge Avenger has evolved into a sensible choice for those shopping for a value-packed sedan. Based on the different trims, the V6-equipped SXT Avenger may offer the best balance of features and performance, while the R/T may be better suited to more enthusiastic driving styles. While the Avenger isn't the roomiest midsize on the road, it can more than hold its own in this very competitive category.