2008 Dodge Avenger SXT: MyGig in Action

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One feature we were looking forward to experiencing on our own home turf is the Chrysler Group’s voice- or touch-screen-operated MyGig infotainment system. MyGig uses a 20GB hard-drive to manage music, navigation (including real-time traffic capability), space for storing photos, and operating UConnect and Sirius satellite radio. Chrysler Group offers MyGig with the latest Dodge Avenger and Nitro, Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible, the upcoming minivans, and Jeep Wrangler and new Liberty. Though we first covered MyGig after seeing it in the Chrysler Sebring, we recently spent a few days with a MyGig-equipped 2008 Dodge Avenger SXT.

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Music, Photos Easy to Load, Navigation Includes Traffic Alerts
Loading music onto the MyGig system is easy and simple, but arranging songs into playlists wasn’t intuitive. (There is an auxiliary jack for MP3 players, but MyGig will not download songs from those devices.) After spending a few minutes with it, we were able to get the music better organized, rename playlists, and delete songs with ease. We did discover that while the system is importing a CD, you can’t listen to that CD or another playlist, and exploring other menus slowed the import process. Understandable, as MyGig doesn’t have the computing power of your laptop or desktop. The JukeBox feature shuffles songs in a playlist, though the play random function does the same thing. MyGig uses the Gracenotes database for identifying songs added. Though perhaps user error, MyGig ignored my photo-laden memory stick.

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The 6.5-inch screen is crowded when split between music and navigation, and the navigation graphics offer only mid-level quality. You can choose between two-dimensional or three-dimensional map views and heading up or north up. This map, whether viewed in split-screen or full-screen format, isn’t as clear or detailed as Toyota, Honda, or GM systems.
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The TMS, or Traffic Message System, takes traffic information from Sirius satellite radio to route, or re-route, a destination and you can view a list of TMS alerts. Ongoing construction is shown on the map, like a freeway shut down near our office. Where the freeway and its on ramps are closed, the map sported eye-catching do-not-enter icons. Reviewing the TMS alert list in our Southfield parking lot, we found alerts for Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and northern Kentucky. MyGig’s trip-planning feature is more sophisticated than simply adding multiple destinations to one route (which most systems allow) and several trips can be stored and modified. This just might beat AAA’s TripTik Travel Planners.
UConnect made it easy to pair a phone and the in-car reception is clear and strong. My callers reported good sound on their end, despite the speaker phone sound all hands-free systems have. Voice dialing was easy, compared with having to repeat numbers several times before OnStar gets it right. But UConnect can be had without opting for MyGig and Chrysler has been offering it for years; we’d be surprised if it didn’t work well.
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Options for Looks and Lifestyle Hide Four-Cylinder Powerplant
Our Inferno Red Avenger had the standard 172HP 2.4L DOHC 16v four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Options included rear-seat DVD system, power sunroof, two convenience packages (including power heated mirrors, heated front seats, remote start, automatic air, auto headlamps, interior LED lights, heated/cooled cupholder, temperature/compass gauge, and a premium headliner), and the Sport Appearance Group (fog lamps and trunk spoiler). At $2030, MyGig bundles UConnect ($360) and Sirius satellite radio ($185) and reasonable for the features. According to the window sticker, this very package could be yours for $25,775.
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With gas prices back in the news, it’s good to know that you can opt for the fuel economy of a four-cylinder engine without being forced to choose from a shorter options list or giving up features that make commuting less painful.
Powerplant Unimpressive
As we mentioned in our February 2007 driving story on the Avenger, the I4/four-speed auto combination is not at the head of the class for fuel economy or refinement. Offsetting Avenger’s weaker fuel economy versus four-cylinder Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, it offers more power. After our week of city driving, the Avenger’s trip computer reported an average fuel economy of 19.3 mpg. Factoring in some aggressive driving, some moderate driving, and stop-and-go city traffic, the real-world 19.3mpg seemed reasonably close to the EPA’s rating of 21mpg city. Being a little lighter on the throttle and making more use of the cruise control would have gotten us nearer the mark.
We found the 172HP adequate for most daily driving, aside from a memorable short onramp freeway merge with four adults in the vehicle. The unusually short on-ramp had me wishing for the extra oomph that the 2.7L or 3.5L V6s offer.
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