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Dodge Avenger Gets European Reveal

At this year’s Paris Motor Show (public days are early October 2006, after a press preview in late September), Dodge will reveal the direction for its next-generation Stratus, a sedan sized for the European D-segment and North American mid-size market. Ahead of the official launch, Dodge released teaser information and photos, and VehicleVoice and AutoPacific are here to share them with you. (Since publication, we’ve added photos we took at the Paris reveal to the stock pictures initially posted.)


When the production version arrives, which is expected in spring 2007 in the States and summer or fall in Europe, it will continue the North American Dodge Stratus’ relationship to the Chrysler Sebring. This means production continues in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and the platform is the Chrysler Group’s new D platform, which borrows much from the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot and Compass.

Avenger Name Replaces Stratus
Naming this concept Avenger all but confirms that long-standing rumors about dropping the Stratus name in favor of Avenger are true. This 2006 near-production model has little to do with the 2003 Avenger concept (remember this?), but picks up cues from all over the current Dodge car lineup (Magnum, Charger, Caliber). The result we hope looks better in person than in these initial photos, which are not particularly flattering. But it does look very much like its Charger sedan stablemate.
Chrysler’s new Sebring goes on sale in October 2006 and shares a platform, powertrains, and assembly space with the new mid-size Dodge, no matter what the name. The Sebring offers the new global 152HP 2.0L and 172HP 2.4L I4s, an updated 182HP 2.7L V6, a 235HP 3.5L V6, and a 2.0L diesel, depending on market. The diesel and 2.0L gasoline I4 are offered in international markets only. North America gets the 2.4L I4 and both V6 units. Dodge is likely to offer the same lineup. Dodge is working to create a space for themselves in Europe, and whether called Avenger or Stratus, this D-segment sedan is part of the mix.

Avenger Mixes Up Dodge Styling Cues
It is refreshing that the Avenger indicates that the Sebring (click here)and Dodge siblings are highly differentiated this generation; the prior Stratus and Sebring had different grilles and lights, but sheetmetal was about the same. Among the Charger cues are the quad headlamps, the strong shoulders, the shape of the taillamps, and the theme of the decklid and rear fascia. Avenger features more sharply creased wheel arches than the Charger. Some elements of the front fascia look to be show-car bits that may find their way onto an SRT version, but aren’t likely for the basic variations. Though Dodge has not discussed such an animal, it only makes sense to consider giving an Avenger to SRT. From straight-on front view, there is resemblance to the Caliber, though the sedan’s headlights have a slightly different shape and a much flatter hood.




Though we see Dodge cues, we don’t see a unifying theme to Avenger. Its face, as mentioned has a presence similar to the Caliber. The rear three-quarter and side profile are strongly reminiscent of the Charger. You might say the taillights are reminiscent of Charger, but Charger’s taillights are like the Stratus sedan, continuing a family look. The Charger cues are the more successful elements, but tying Avenger into both Caliber and Charger is not creating a clear family image. Though Avenger’s headlights are like those on the Charger, its profile is more like the Caliber and Magnum. The deep front fascia and flat hood remind me more of Caliber and Magnum. The rear is all Charger-inspired. Wheels are good-looking five-spokes similar in design to those available on Charger and on Caliber.


This poor sedan doesn’t know if it wants to look like the more utilitarian Caliber and Magnum or the Charger sedan, nor does it do anything to help bring the upcoming Challenger into the fold. (When Challenger arrives, it will look like a 1971 Challenger, not like anything else Dodge offers, based on the concept. Expect five-spoke wheels, though!) Charger, Magnum, and Caliber take aggressive looks, one way or another, but the Avenger seems weaker than the sum of these parts, not greater. We hope that the production version takes a clearer direction.

International Debut to Help Dodge Find Image in Europe
Why debut this sedan in Europe, where Dodge is a niche player, instead of on its home turf? Not confirmed, but very likely, the production car will debut at home, probably at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Showing off the concept overseas helps Dodge as it tries to establish itself in Europe. Having launched the Caliber in Europe this past summer and shown a Euro-size concept in the Hornet at Geneva, keeping momentum for the Paris show is important. Showing the concept and saving a production version for home keeps the production launch in the vehicle’s highest-volume market.

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