2007 Detroit Auto Show: Return of the Avenger

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Revived Avenger Takes Charger Cues in Sheetmetal and Hobbies: Avenger Race Car Part of 2007 NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Program
At the 2006 Paris auto show, Dodge showed off an Avenger Concept. At the time, we offered up our first impressions of the new sedan (click here for our story). A mere four months later, Dodge revealed the production version at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Avenger is important to the Dodge franchise and promises to be a far better competitor than the defunct Stratus was in its end days, but VehicleVoice readers will not be surprised that the Avenger name replaces Stratus, or that the production car is much like the concept, minus the concept’s SRT-like bodywork.

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Dodge also reinforced their commitment to motorsports with a Car of Tomorrow Avenger NASCAR also on stage. NASCAR driver Kurt Bush helped Dodge introduce the updated Viper, but Juan Pablo Montoya was on hand to help introduce the racing Avenger.
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Dodge needs Avenger to play an important role in its car lineup, replacing the Stratus, which dropped after the 2006 model year. Despite initial comments about some confusion in its styling details, the Avenger is more successful at incorporating the Dodge family elements than the Sebring is for Chrysler, but that would not have been difficult. The two share nearly the same overall dimensions, but Avenger’s Charger-inspired shoulders give the rear a more finished look than the truncated Sebring’s short deck allows. Avenger’s competition will include the Ford Fusion, Saturn Aura, and Chevrolet’s all-new 2008 Malibu (also revealed this January in Detroit), as well as the older Mazda6 and the even less expensive Kia Optima. The mid-size sedan segment has historically been highly competitive, and the 2007/2008 model years are no easier. The Detroit reveal gives us the chance to bring you more details on the production car and its available equipment, but in February we’ll have our first driving impressions.
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Three Trim Levels, Three Engines
Avenger is on an all-new platform shared with the Chrysler Sebring, and it also gets the same powertrain and many of the same features. There will be a late-availability R/T AWD Avenger, and very likely optional all-wheel drive for the 2008 Sebring range, too. The Avenger will get the MyGig system being introduced on the Sebring and Dodge Nitro (click here for our MyGig discussion), a feature most Chrysler Group products will add as they get major updates.

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As we discussed back in September with the concept reveal, Avenger will be offered with three powertrains in the States (173HP 2.4L DOHC 16v I4, 189HP 2.7L SOHC 12v flexible fuel V6, and a 235HP 3.5L DOHC 24v V6). The I4 and 2.7L V6 get four-speed automatic transmissions, while the 3.5L gets a six-speed automatic. The SE and SXT both get the 2.4L engine standard, but the SXT can be ordered with the 2.7L. The SXT gets more standard equipment for its higher $19,795 base price, including YES Essentials cloth, a fold-flat passenger seat, power brakes, seventeen-inch wheels, and an eight-way power driver’s seat. The R/T ($23,545) steps up to the 3.5L V6, all-wheel-drive can be ordered, and it gets standard sport-tuned suspension, steering-wheel-mounted controls, six-disc CD radio, heated body-color folding mirrors, eighteen-inch wheels, fog lamps, rear spoiler, and chrome-tipped dual exhaust. The R/T’s equipment list looks good, but even the base SE looks to be well equipped, with standard side airbags, tilt/telescope steering wheel, Chill Zone glovebox (from Caliber), and MP3-capable CD player.
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