Another day, another new or in this case, refreshed Chrysler Group product. Enter the 2011 Dodge Avenger that has been overhauled with a completely new interior, better powertrain options, a revised suspension and a barely noticeable exterior facelift.
Unlike its Chrysler 200 brethren, the 2011 Avenger receives only a few minor exterior tweaks and in particular, the new signature Dodge Brand "split crosshair" grille and a redesigned bumper up front, plus new LED tail lamps at the back.
The big styling changes are found inside where the Avenger gets a brand new interior with a far more contemporary design and higher-grade materials that Dodge claims are "more pleasing to the touch but also to the eye".
Highlights include a new multi-function three-spoke sports steering wheel with integrated controls for the radio, cruise control, hands-free phone and other vehicle functions, and the availability of new two-tone interior color schemes and voice command functions for hands-free phones.
Moving on to the mechanical and chassis upgrades, the 2011 Avenger gains a recalibrated 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a new smoother-shifting six-speed transmission and the Chrysler Group's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 283HP and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, also linked to a six-speed auto.
Dodge says its engineers have retuned or redesigned virtually every part of the suspension for 2011, including 26 of 30 suspension bushings. The mid-size sedan also gets wider tires (from 215 to 225), a new suspension geometry and a wider track (+1-in.) while it rides 12mm lower in the front and 6mm lower at the rear. The company says these changes reduce body roll and vehicle shake, and provide improved isolation, better steering precision, response and feel.
The facelifted 2011 Avenger is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. before the end of the year.