Sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,800*


1995 Dodge Avenger ES


1995 Dodge Avenger ES


1996 Dodge Avenger


1996 Dodge Avenger interior


1997 Dodge Avenger ES

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Available antilock brakes
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cylinder automatic)
  • Radio controls
  • Rear visibility
  • Road noise

Attractively styled and capable on the road, the Avenger has a lot going for it: proven mechanical elements, reasonable prices, and wholly adequate room for four.

Overview

Both Avenger and its corporate cousin, the Chrysler Sebring, were designed by Chrysler but built by Mitsubishi in Illinois. They ride a modified Mitsubishi Galant platform. Sebrings and Avengers differ mainly in grille and taillights, but Dodge’s version had fewer standard features and a lower sticker price. Avengers came in base and ES models. The base had a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with dual-overhead camshafts and 140 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard and 4-speed automatic optional. The ES got a 2.5-liter single-camshaft V6 that came only with the automatic, but a 4-cylinder engine and manual shift were available as credit options. Antilock brakes were standard on the ES and optional on base Avengers. Dual airbags were standard on both.

Yearly Updates

1996 Avenger
Changes were few for ’96. The ES coupe wore new seat fabrics, and the V6 engine gained eight horsepower this year.
1997 Avenger
New front and rear fascias gave the ’97 Avenger a revised look, but little else was new this year. Fog lamps were installed on the ES coupe.
1998 Avenger
A new Sport package was available on base models with the V6. It added a body-color rear spoiler and 16-inch wheels. Base models also got a rear sway bar.
1999 Avenger
Dodge shuffled some options around and, in midyear, deleted the 4-cylinder engine. Otherwise, Avenger was a virtual rerun.
2000 Avenger
Avengers gained a number of standard features that had previously been optional, including power windows and locks. Base models added cruise control, 4-wheel disc brakes, and 16-inch wheels (in place of 14s). ES coupes now came with standard leather upholstery and keyless remote entry, as well as a power driver’s seat. Chrysler planned to drop the Avenger name after the 2000 model year, replacing it with a new Stratus coupe.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Four-cylinder engines went into base Avengers, while the ES got a V6. Rated 155 horsepower at first, the V6 jumped to 163 in the Avenger’s second season. Four-cylinder models might have either 5-speed manual shift or 4-speed automatic, but V6 Avengers came only with automatic. During the ’99 model year, Dodge quietly dropped the 4-cylinder.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
22/31
21/30
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 155-163
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 160-170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/27

23.6

Road Test

Front bucket seats offer plenty of head and leg space for two adults. Rear seats are equally pleasing, with space for two adults. However, large people may not want to spend long periods in back, and getting in and out can be a chore. Avenger’s trunk has a wide, flat floor, plus split-folding rear seatbacks. Although you sit relatively low, visibility is generally good in all directions. However, a narrow back window, tall parcel shelf, and wide roof pillars make it difficult to see what’s directly behind the car. Instruments are easy to read, though auxiliary gauges are small. Most controls are easy to reach while driving. However, the radio is mounted too low and has too many small buttons.

Both engines provide adequate acceleration from a stop, but the 4-cylinder is noisy and slowed by the automatic transmission. Four-cylinder pickup is acceptable with manual shift. The V6 is smooth and more powerful, and fairly lively, but it doesn’t produce much torque at low speeds. Step on the gas, and there might be a rather long pause before the automatic transmission downshifts.

Each model handles adeptly, zipping around corners and through curves with good grip and only moderate body lean. Roadholding is good overall, and the car responds well to steering inputs. Ride quality from the firm suspension is on the choppy side, and when encountering certain pavement separators. Road, engine, and wind noise might all become intrusive at high speeds.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Dodge Avenger ES 2.5-liter

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 37

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.7 187.2 68.5 53.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.1 16.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 36.5 43.3 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Avenger 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 130
Injury 123
Theft 111

Trouble Spots

Alarm system
Description: The theft alarm may go off randomly due to a misaligned hood. (1995-96)
Automatic transmission
Description: Transmission tends to default to second gear only requiring the transmission control computer to be reprogrammed. (1996)
Automatic transmission
Description: Transmission may shudder when accelerating from a stop, thump when coasting down to a stop, or slip when shifting. (1995)
Engine misfire
Description: Engines that idle rough, hesitate, stall, or are hard to restart during cold weather may require a new engine control computer. (1995)
Hard starting
Description: A corroded connector behind the left headlight may cause hard starting, an intermittently flashing “Check Engine” light, or make inoperative the radiator/condenser fan. (1995)
Hard starting
Description: Intermittent no-starts may be due to a damaged wire near the transaxle shift lever. (1995)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The pivot pin in the power sunroof may come out, or the plastic tabs on the control unit may cause interference. (1995) The sunroof may open by itself if water shorts the control unit. (1995-96)
Vehicle noise
Description: Noise from rear of vehicle on rough roads might require replacement of spring seats and bushings. (1997-99)

Recall History

1995-00
Description: Rubber boots on lower ball joint can become damaged, allowing dirt and water intrusion, which can cause excessive wear and possible separation.
1997
Description: On a small number of cars, improperly welded head-restraint support bracket on passenger side can break.
1998
Description: Dash panel pad can shift, interfering with throttle-cable control.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.