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Are you hesitant to pull the trigger on a brand new Dodge Avenger in hopes that a new one will be coming? Well, don't hold your breath. According to The Detroit News, Chrysler will be extending production of the current Avenger sedan through the end of 2015.
Originally, we heard that the company would kill the Avenger to better focus its midsize sedan efforts on the Chrysler 200 replacement. But then new reports stated there would indeed be an Avenger successor, and that we could see it as early as next January. This Detroit News report cites supplier sources confirming the extension of Avenger production, though Chrysler has not released an official statement on the matter.
These same suppliers say that the current Jeep Wrangler will live on through mid-2018 - that's right, another five years. The Detroit News reports that a replacement for the iconic, go-anywhere Jeep was due in mid-2016.
Lastly, the report mentions that the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan will remain in production through late 2017, though its Chrysler Town & Country counterpart will be replaced by an all-new vehicle for the 2016 model year. This only further backs reports that the Grand Caravan will be killed from the Chrysler Group portfolio, with the T&C remaining the only minivan in production at the company's Windsor facility.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Chrysler, which was on the brink of total collapse a few short years ago is finally in good health, thanks to majority holder Fiat. Turning a car company around is no small task, and at the core of the turnaround are the cars available for you and me to buy. With the Dodge brand, all eyes have been focused on the new, Alfa Romeo-based Dart, a compact four door sedan. In the mid-size department, Dodge continues to offer the Avenger, which is no spring chicken, having been around since 2008. Vilified by the press for awful interior quality, and crude drivetrains, the Avenger was an easy target. Things changed in 2011 with some refreshed sheetmetal, a vastly improved interior, and a brand new V-6. And consumers responded, with 2012 being the best sales year for the Avenger since it debuted, with close to 100,000 cars sold in the US.
Still, the improvements made to the Avenger, good as they are, still leaves it as an ‘also ran’ in the hotly contested mid-size sedan market. So, with an aging car and limited funds, what do you do if you’re Dodge? You make your mid-size car look mean. From the start, Dodge styled the Avenger to look like a little brother to the Charger. It’s butch, blocky, and undeniably American. Two years after a minor refresh, the Avenger still looks old school. However, our test car was equipped with the $495 Blacktop Package, and the reaction on the street astounded me. For that, you get 18″ gloss black alloy wheels, grille, headlight bezels and a rear spoiler. Pretty simple, right? Yet during my week with the Avenger, people would come up to me saying how bad-ass it looked. I was incredulous when an owner of a Honda S2000 came up to me at a car wash asking me questions about the car. I’ve driven every mid-size car available, and none generated the interest our Avenger did. When your competition has limitless funds, Dodge did the right thing by offering an option to make their car stand out. No, it’s not for everyone, but when I had a Toyota Camry, no one noticed.
The Avenger’s greatest drawback was its interior, which rightfully drew immense criticism for dull as dirt design, poor quality and rock hard plastics. Dodge has gone to great lengths to improve the interior of the Avenger. I am happy to say they have succeeded, but still lag behind the competition. Our all-black interior made for a drab cabin, and the scant silver trim and white stitching on the seats and door panels did little to break up the monotony. That said, the Avenger’s cabin proved to be comfortable for four. Controls are clear and very simple to use-no need to consult the owner’s manual. Rear passengers did complain the Charger inspired kink at the rear fender severely reduced visibility, which is true, and the lack of a rearview camera or parking sensors compounds the problem. The absence of these and other features like a Stop/Start button are stark reminders that this is a car that has been on sale since 2008.
You can take your Avenger with one of two engines. The standard 2.4L four cylinder, rated at 173hp will get the job done. The base model is equipped with an archaic four-speed automatic, while higher trims get a six-speed automatic. For a mere $300 extra, I implore you to get the new 3.6L V-6, mated to a six-speed automatic. Rated at 283hp, the Avenger is one of the most powerful cars in its class. EPA fuel economy ratings are 19/29 MPG City/Highway. When pushed, the Avenger is very quick, and always composed. The steering was nicely weighted. Driver’s seeking an even more aggressively tuned Avenger should check out the R/T, which offers a sport tuned suspension and quicker steering. In the mid-size sedan world, the Avenger cuts a nice balance between the isolation chamber Camry and near-sport sedan Mazda6.
When the refreshed Avenger arrived in 2011, it was offered in a staggering five different trim levels with funny names like ‘Express’ and ‘Main Street’. No more. You have the base SE, the SXT like our test car, and the sportier R/T. Our Avenger SXT has a base price of just $22,195USD. For that, you get the standard four cylinder engine with the six-speed automatic, auto climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio, power driver’s seat, and LED interior lighting. Options on our test car included leather, heated seats, the aforementioned Blacktop Package, V-6 engine, and the Sun and Navigation Group (6.5″ touchscreen, voice command, Bluetooth, 40 Gig hard drive for your tunes, GPS navigation, power sunroof, and auto dimming rearview mirror. Including delivery charges, the total price rings in at $26,225, which is an incredible bargain.
The harshest critics will dismiss the Avenger as an ugly reminder of the neglect Daimler and Cerberus inflicted on Chrysler. I see it differently. Dodge engineers and designers were given an unpopular car with the directive to make it more competitive on a shoestring budget, and they delivered. It is not the most plush, refined and polished car in its class, but decked out as our test car was, it had an elusive quality called ‘character’, a trait almost never seen in a modern mid-size car. It isn’t like the rest of the herd. It stands out, and it got people talking. Isn’t that what we love about cars? Am I really saying this about an Avenger, a car our Founding Editor Gary Grant named the worst car of the year in 2009? Gary may have been right then, but since then, Dodge has cooked up a spicier Avenger with personality and a bargain price to boot.
Chrysler has announced that it will recall roughly 490,000 vehicles around the globe due to a potential active head-restraint problem. The problem is being blamed on "potentially faulty microcontrollers" that may keep the vehicles' anti-whiplash active safety feature from working properly. Chrysler says it has no knowledge of any accidents or injuries related to the issue. Models covered under the recall include the 2011-2013 Chrysler Sebring, 200 (shown) and Dodge Avenger models, along with 2011-2013 Jeep Liberty and 2011-2012 Dodge Nitro SUVs.
Interestingly, the Pentastar notes that the faulty part came from an (unnamed) supplier who furnished the parts in the wake of Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami, natural disasters which decimated the world's supply of microcontrollers.
Chrysler says of those nearly half a million vehicles affected, around 442,000 of them reside in the US, with an additional 25,000 in Canada and 10,000 units in Mexico. A further 12,000 models were shipped beyond the NAFTA region. The Auburn Hills automaker will begin sending out recall notices shortly, and technicians will upgrade the system software or replace the microcontroller as necessary at no cost to owners.
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Filed under: Car Buying
Sub-prime borrowers are buying completely different cars than everyone else, at least according to data gathered by Carfinance.com. This financing company that specializes in helping "below-prime" borrowers finance their car purchases looked at data gathered from between October 2012 and March 2013. According to their numbers, the top 10 new cars bought by sub-prime borrowers during that time are as follows.
- Dodge Avenger
- Kia Forte
- Kia Optima
- Chrysler 200
- Dodge Journey
- Ford Focus
- Ram 1500
- Nissan Sentra
- Nissan Versa
- Kia Sorento
Speaking of which, the Ram pickup also tops the list of top 10 used vehicles purchased by sub-prime borrowers (below), which also includes fullsize pickups from Ford and Chevy, as well as the lone example of what might be considered a less-than-practical purchase on either list, the Ford Mustang. The list of top used vehicles also shows that buyers are getting more car for their money, moving up to mid- and fullsize cars with nary a compact in sight.
- Ram 1500
- Nissan Altima
- Ford F-150
- Dodge Charger
- Chevy Silverado
- Chevy Impala
- Chevy Malibu
- Toyota Camry
- Chrysler 300
- Ford Mustang
Sometimes we feel bad when cars get damaged or destroyed in ridiculous accidents. Take that ultra-sad Lamborghini Miura fire
Automotive News reports Chrysler may finally send the Dodge Avenger out to pasture. Reuters spoke with Reid Bigland, head of the Dodge brand, who said Chrysler would look to focus on a single mid-size car in the next three years or so, and that focus would likely alight on the recently refreshed Chrysler 200. Both the Avenger and the 200 enjoyed a sales boom last year thanks to improved drivetrain options and new interiors, though the two still lag far behind their competition. Removing one of the twins from the picture would allow Chrysler to save money on both development and marketing while eliminating the issue of having competing models on the same dealer lot.
Reports have previously suggested Chrysler will work to slim duplicate models across its brands by eliminating the Dodge Grand Caravan in favor of a Fiat-based crossover. The death of the Avenger is wise step in that direction. Last year, the vehicle sold 63,023 units, and while that figure marks a 26 percent improvement over the 2010 numbers, it's a far cry from the 308,510 Toyota Camry units sold last year.Permalink | Email this | Comments