The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

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
Features
  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Roosevelt Building mug Revitalizing Roosevelt: Plans will turn it into housing

    The Roosevelt building is being sold, checking off one of the Clinton Community School Board’s priorities for 2014.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miss Clinton County 2014 Wiebers crowned 2014 Miss Clinton County

    For nearly all of her life, Taylor Wiebers has dreamed of winning the title of Miss Clinton County.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet Your Neighbor: JR Kuch takes the reins at Clinton High School

    Working as a high school helper during his senior year at North Scott High School, JohnRyan "JR" Kuch first stepped onto the path of teaching and administration.

    July 26, 2014

  • Evergreen job fair in the works

    The Clinton Regional Development Corp. and the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce are lining up companies to participate in a job fair exclusively for the soon-to-be displaced employees of Evergreen Packaging.

    July 26, 2014

  • Zeiser photo 85 years a nun By Brenden WestAssistant EditorCLINTON — There are things you outlive over a lifetime.Sister Bertha Zeiser, 103, grew up in a Clinton County town that no longer exists (formerly known as Browns); the house she was born in is now a cornfield somewhere

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (with VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Stewart McCaskill photo McCaskill settles into new role at shoe store CLINTON — An Oklahoma boy at heart, Stewart McCaskill is settling into Clinton and Brown’s Shoe Fit.The 35-year-old has worked with the Brown’s Shoe Fit company for seven years. His brother-in-law, who manages a Brown’s in Colorado, brought Stewart i

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook