The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Community News Network

March 5, 2014

Avenger an American value

Mid-size Dodge offers plenty of power, equipment for the price

If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.

It’s the Dodge Avenger, and it’s part of a disappearing breed of domestic family cars that actually feel American. While most four-door cars seem to be following the longstanding Japanese model of lightweight construction, firm suspensions and jellybean bodies, this one just doesn’t.

It feels more iron-like than most cars being sold today, with a softer suspension, smoother ride and portlier handling than its competitors.

After you open the wide, weighty front doors, you plop down into the driver’s seat and are greeted by a thick, meaty steering wheel. From the oversized air vents to the wide seats and big honkin’ gear selector, the Avenger is a car that actually seems like it’s built with the American market in mind rather than a globalized, homogenized platform that would make people in Finland or Thailand equally happy.

In some ways, it’s the counterbalance to Dodge’s very Italian-feeling Dart.

That also means it’s not a good fit for people who are looking for a super-duper fuel sipper.

At its best, the Avenger is rated for 31 mpg on the highway, which isn’t impressive when mid-size cars are routinely available in special eco-friendly versions that achieve 40+ mpg ratings these days.

On the flip side, none of the tree-hugger cars offer as much torquey, pavement-crushing power as this one. The 3.6-liter V6 in my test car makes 283 horsepower, enough to make it accelerate with nearly the same gusto as a muscle car. And it’s rated for 29 mpg on the highway, which isn’t bad at all for that level of power.

Not surprisingly, the Avenger aims to exert some of that muscle-car influence through its sheetmetal, too. Oversized fender flares and wide back pillars are throwbacks to 1960s Detroit, although I can’t help but wish Dodge’s designers would go even farther — either more blatantly retro, like the Challenger, or more refreshingly modern, like the Dart.

What I like best about the Avenger isn’t the overarching Americanism coursing through its veins but something much more practical: attractive pricing.

While the base price is a hair under $20,000, the version you actually want, the one with V6 power, goes for $20,895. It’s a true bargain for that many horses packed under the hood and doesn’t burn much more fuel than the four-cylinder engine, making it the no-brainer pick.

Even on my test car, which came with leather seats, a navigation system and the trendy Blacktop appearance package, the total price rang up at $26,480. For a comfortable car with a healthy level of luxury amenities, that’s an impressive price indeed.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014