It’s time to pitch the leaky, torn canvas tent of wisdom on the edge of the dark forest of Motoring history, and wait to see whatever tattered relics are blown out by the breeze of rediscovery. Welcome back to The Carchive
Why, you might ask, am I bothering to cover the Dodge Avenger of all things, when the Carchive boasts such a richness of older, more interesting cars to choose from? Well, I was idly reading this brochure recently, as is my wont, when I noticed that it was published exactly twenty-one years ago this month.
My mind was made up. Ladies and Gentlemen; the Dodge Avenger.
Readers in hope of brochure legibility can find it by clicking each of the views in turn.
“This car has attitude with a capital A”
Are there any other words with a capital “A” that could accurately describe the Avenger, I wonder?
“Attitude. It’s the mark of a maverick. The sign of an independent thinker who has enough confidence to walk the edge without ever looking down.”
Just what the hell does any of that mean, and how, exactly, does it relate to a compact coupé based heavily on the Mitsubishi Galant? The Avenger was never really the most exciting of recipes, essentially a bigger, heavier Eagle Talon or Mitsubishi Eclipse.
I should be honest, here. I actually always rather liked the Avenger. Not for what it was, of course – for how it looked. When I first became aware of its existence as a fourteen-year-old I was both geographically and socially very unlikely to make contact with the Avenger in anything like a real-world scenario, all I had was pictures in the Daily Express World Car guide to go on. And I thought it was pretty cool, though this was probably because we had a bit of a coupé drought in England at the time.
“Equipping your all-new Avenger is simple… It has one of the smallest option lists around”
One thing is certain – Few cars had such a gulf between the visual appeal of its entry level model and the high spec versions as the Avenger. Shown of the sports accents and five-spoke alloys of the ES, the base 21A preferred equipment package made the Avenger look like rental car even if it wasn’t. It probably was, though.
The Avenger was supposed to be the sporty one, it’s Chrysler Sebring Coupe sister was meant to be the luxe version. It was the latter that was most abundantly clad with tacked-on garnish towards the end of its sales career.
“Traditionally, sport coupés cater to the whims of front seat occupants while ignoring the comfort of those brave enough to travel in the rear.”
The unremittingly grey, plastic interior of the Avenger made a nice change. Now, four people could inhale gently toxic fumes as the interior slowly decomposed in comfort while luxuriating on thin, slippery leather, but this was still an era when you had to remember to tick for a cassette or CD player to augment the standard-fit FM radio. A/C was firmly on the option list, as was ABS.
“…Dodge Avenger. A sleek, front-wheel-drive sport coupe that defies its traditional classification by providing a unique blend of attributes usually considered mutually exclusive.”
Hmm. They say Sport Coupe, but the lack of a manual gearbox apart from with the 140-horse entry-level 2.0 straight four would seem to counter that claim. There was a V6, a 163hp 2.5 with a strong Japanese accent, but it was saddled with a four-speed slushbox.
There’s bound to be somebody reading this who can attest to the Avenger being a fun-driving, sport-handling coupé par excellence. Feel free to voice your commendations in the comments.
(All images are of original manufacturer publicity materials, photograhed by me. Copyright remains property of Chrysler. Or Fiat. Or possibly Mitsubishi)