The Dodge Avenger returns for the 2012 model year with a few modest changes. The five-seat Avenger is related to the Chrysler 200 — formerly the Sebring — and both cars got a new interior, a revised suspension and a new V-6 engine option last year. Competitors include the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Mazda6.
New for 2012
The 2012 model year sees the introduction of the new Avenger R/T. The performance-oriented sedan features a 283-horsepower V-6 engine, a stiffer suspension and unique exterior and interior cues.
The R/T's monochromatic exterior carries a rallye-themed flavor with its tinted headlamps, unique 18-inch aluminum wheels, a rear deck lid spoiler, dual exhaust tips and stripes on the front fenders.
Inside, the R/T features leather-trimmed sport seats and a touch-screen Boston Acoustics stereo with a 28-gigabyte hard drive for music storage. A center-mounted tachometer in the instrument panel bears the R/T badge, and the pedals have an SRT-inspired appearance. A perforated leather steering wheel has red accent stitching, and the interior gains red ambient lighting.
The Avenger didn't get as big of an exterior overhaul last year as the 200, but there were some subtle changes, like a new crosshair grille, new taillights and smoother bumper styling. Aside from the taillights, which didn't really go with the rest of the car, it was a nice update on an existing design theme. Exterior features include:
- Standard 17-inch steel wheels; 17- or 18-inch aluminum rims optional
- Dual exhaust tips (V-6 models)
- LED taillamps
- Optional fog lights
- Optional heated side mirrors
- Optional sunroof
- Optional rear spoiler
Much of the Avenger's hard plastic interior trim was eliminated with last year's revisions, which included a reskinned dashboard and nicer touch points on the doors. That said, some rudimentary elements remain, like cheap airplane-style map lights and a wobbly turn-signal stalk. Interior features include:
- Standard cloth seats; leather upholstery optional
- Standard manual air conditioning; automatic air conditioning optional
- Standard cruise control
- Standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls
- Standard 60/40-split folding backseat
- Standard CD stereo with MP3 jack
- Optional touch-screen stereo with music hard drive
- Optional navigation system
- Optional Uconnect hands-free phone connectivity
Under the Hood
A 173-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, and it works with either a four- or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on the trim level. The optional 283-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 pairs with a six-speed automatic. Mechanical features include:
- Front-wheel drive
- Both engines can use regular gas
- R/T models have a sport suspension
Standard safety features include:
- All-disc antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags
- Active front head restraints
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