2011 Dodge Avenger

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2011 Dodge Avenger. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    25 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    173-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    4-speed automatic w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Quiet cabin
  • Suspension refinement
  • Interior improvements
  • Brake-pedal feel

The Bad

  • Torque steer when accelerating hard (V-6)
  • Six-speed transmission's hesitancy
  • Snug cabin
  • Small trunk

Notable Features of the 2011 Dodge Avenger

  • Exterior and interior updates for 2011
  • Optional 283-hp V-6
  • Optional navigation system
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick

2011 Dodge Avenger Road Test

Mike Hanley

With all the attention surrounding the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan — thanks in part to a breakout Super Bowl commercial — its sibling, the Dodge Avenger, has been quite overshadowed. Like the Chrysler, the 2011 Avenger receives noteworthy changes inside and under the hood, but its exterior didn't change as radically as did its sibling's when it transformed from the Sebring into the 200.

That's a problem, because the Avenger is going to need all the help it can get to stand out in the crowded family sedan segment, which is getting better every year. Witness the redesigned 2011 Kia Optima, winner of Cars.com's Best of 2011 award.

The 2011 Avenger rides well, but that's overshadowed by lingering quality issues and a cabin that's not as comfortable as its competitors.

We tested the midlevel Mainstreet trim level, which has a base price of $21,245. Options — including 18-inch aluminum wheels, a 3.6-liter V-6, heated front seats and a touch-screen audio system — pushed the as-tested price to $24,880. To see how the Avenger compares with some key competitors, click here.

Quiet & Confident
With the optional V-6 engine, the Avenger was one of the quietest non-luxury cars I've driven lately. Road noise is nearly nonexistent at midrange speeds, as are noises from other cars around you. Dodge made a number of changes for 2011 aimed at quieting the car like installing an acoustic glass windshield, laminated side windows and new ...

With all the attention surrounding the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan — thanks in part to a breakout Super Bowl commercial — its sibling, the Dodge Avenger, has been quite overshadowed. Like the Chrysler, the 2011 Avenger receives noteworthy changes inside and under the hood, but its exterior didn't change as radically as did its sibling's when it transformed from the Sebring into the 200.

That's a problem, because the Avenger is going to need all the help it can get to stand out in the crowded family sedan segment, which is getting better every year. Witness the redesigned 2011 Kia Optima, winner of Cars.com's Best of 2011 award.

The 2011 Avenger rides well, but that's overshadowed by lingering quality issues and a cabin that's not as comfortable as its competitors.

We tested the midlevel Mainstreet trim level, which has a base price of $21,245. Options — including 18-inch aluminum wheels, a 3.6-liter V-6, heated front seats and a touch-screen audio system — pushed the as-tested price to $24,880. To see how the Avenger compares with some key competitors, click here.

Quiet & Confident
With the optional V-6 engine, the Avenger was one of the quietest non-luxury cars I've driven lately. Road noise is nearly nonexistent at midrange speeds, as are noises from other cars around you. Dodge made a number of changes for 2011 aimed at quieting the car like installing an acoustic glass windshield, laminated side windows and new sound-absorbing material. If quiet is what you want in a family sedan, check out this car.

The Avenger's suspension was also overhauled for 2011, and the results are good. Unlike some cars, in which you can feel shimmy when you hit particularly nasty bumps, the Avenger's suspension is especially tight, with no unnecessary wiggles to sully the driving experience.

The suspension tuning skews to the firm end of the spectrum, but there's enough damping to soak up any rough stuff before it disturbs you. Body roll is well-managed, too. Overall, it's one of the better examples of melding the competing qualities of ride comfort and handling poise.

The quiet cabin and composed ride make you feel like you're riding in an entry-luxury sedan, but that impression withers the longer you're in the car.

New V-6, Underwhelming Transmission
An all-new 3.6-liter V-6 is optional (a 2.4-liter four-cylinder is standard), and it makes the Avenger an acceptably quick car. Still, it can't match the forceful acceleration of the Toyota Camry's optional 3.5-liter V-6, which still impresses even if it has been around for a few years.

You may feel some torque steer when accelerating hard in the Avenger — the car pulls a little to the right — but the bigger issue with the drivetrain is the six-speed automatic transmission that teams with the V-6. It contributes to the car's quietness by readily upshifting to higher gears to keep engine rpm low — and engine sounds to a minimum — but numerous complaints cropped up during our test. The transmission pauses slightly between gear changes when upshifting, and a few of us noticed balky shifts in low gears, along with unrefined kickdown at highway speeds. We're left to wait for a better transmission to pair with the new V-6.

Gas mileage estimates for the four-cylinder Avenger with the four- or six-speed automatic are 21/30 mpg and 20/31 mpg city/highway, respectively, which is a few mpg shy of what competitors like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Kia Optima achieve. Meanwhile, fuel economy for the V-6 Avenger is midpack: it gets 19/29 mpg. That bests the Fusion V-6's 18/27 mpg rating, is similar to the Camry V-6's 20/29 mpg estimate and slightly trails the Accord V-6's 20/30 mpg projection.

A Snug, Modestly Improved Interior
One of the problems with the 200 and Avenger is that they're not as roomy as many competitors, which have grown in size with recent redesigns.

The Avenger's tighter confines manifest themselves in a few ways. When you sit in the driver's seat, everything feels close to you — from the roofline to the side windows to the front passenger seat. Front headroom is decent, but our test car's all-black interior — including a black headliner — made us feel like we were sitting in a cave.

The Avenger's front bucket seats are unusually small and unsupportive, and that compromises comfort. The snug cabin also means less room for backseat passengers to spread out; it's workable for adults, but there's not much room to spare.

Trunk space also suffers; at 13.5 cubic feet, the Avenger's cargo area is small for its class.

Trunk Space Compared (cu. ft.)
2011 Dodge Avenger 13.5
2011 Ford Fusion 16.5
2011 Honda Accord 14.7
2011 Kia Optima 15.4
2011 Toyota Camry 15*
*14.5 for SE, XLE trim levels

Dodge has been busy remaking the interiors of many of its 2011 models. The effort has met with mixed results, with models like the Durango SUV and Grand Caravan minivan now fitted with upscale, refined cabins, while others, like the Avenger and Journey crossover, gain interiors that are more stopgap than superlative.

To a large degree, the Avenger's new interior is the automotive equivalent of an old house getting some new siding. The dashboard and door panels have been skinned in nice materials, and the instrument cluster has a new design, but you don't have to look too closely to notice things that weren't addressed — things like cheapo adjustable map lights, wobbly steering-column stalks and a gear selector that moves sloppily through its gates. The shortcomings are even more glaring when you compare the Avenger with a car like the redesigned Optima, which has one of the nicest interiors in the segment.

Safety
The 2011 Avenger was awarded Top Safety Pick status by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thanks to its performance in front, side and rear crash tests, plus a roof-strength test (the Avenger received Good scores — the best possible — in all four tests). It also has a standard electronic stability system.

Other standard features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags and active head restraints for the front seats.

For a full list of safety features, check out the Standard Equipment & Specs page, or see how various child-safety seats fit in the Avenger with MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check.

Avenger in the Market
Despite numerous improvements to the 2011 Avenger, they don't go far enough to make this sedan more appealing than any number of competitors, like the Camry, Fusion and Optima. When you compartmentalize the Avenger's attributes, you can praise various aspects, like its composed ride and quiet interior, but in the end you have to weigh the car as a whole. When you do that, there's a lot left to be desired.

Send Mike an email  



2011 Avenger Video

From the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2011 Dodge lineup.

Latest 2011 Avenger Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Extremely pleased!!!!

by AllenVa from Virginia on July 14, 2018

This is the second Dodge Avenger I?ve found on cars.com and I am very excited about it! This particular model is far more stylish inside and out! The ride is smooth yet powerful, and the interior and ... Read full review

(5.0)

I love this car, my favorite on so far!!!!

by River from Phoenix, AZ on July 12, 2018

This car fits both me & my husband, he is much taller than me. Reliable & has a ton of get up and go!!! Runs smooth, beautiful inside & out. Most favorite car I have owned and that is saying a lot. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2011 Dodge Avenger currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2011 Dodge Avenger Express

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Dodge

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, Carfax vehicle history report, rental car and 24-hour towing, and first day rental

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7 years/100,000 mile warranty on all certified vehicles
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 125 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Avenger received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker