Fuel Economy Should Improve With ‘16 Redesign of the Dodge Avenger

What changes will make it different?

Production of this midsize sedan ended with the 2014 model, and it was last updated back in ’11. Although there is no official word from the manufacturer about a replacement, there are strong rumors that an entirely new Avenger will appear as a 2016. With the vehicle’s Chrysler counterpart, the 200, being all-new for ’15, it would be easy for the Fiat-owned group to produce a new Dodge based heavily on the 200. However, it sounds as though a completely overhauled offering is being developed that will share a platform with a new Alfa Romeo.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

The ’16 version is likely to be very different from that of 2014, so it all depends on whether you want something that’s completely updated. The model-year ’14 Avenger shares a look and style with the last version of the Charger, but that sensibility is a thing of the past, and it’s hard to say whether the upcoming Avenger will be to your taste.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

Well, no, considering that there is no ’15 model. If you want this car and you want it now, you’ll have to go back to the 2014.

Will the styling be different?

If the ’15 Charger is anything to go by, it should be drastically different. We’d love to see the vehicle inherit the new styling of its full-size Dodge sibling, and that would make sense. However, with strong suggestions that it will be an all-new model, developed and designed alongside a new Alfa Romeo, we aren’t likely to get a midsize version of the simply stunning new Charger.

Any mechanical changes?

Although the car will share a platform with the Alfa Romeo, the mechanics won’t be similar. Advancements are expected for the Alfa, making its mechanical setup more expensive than that of the Avenger. The new Dodge midsize sedan will probably share a lot of parts with stable mates like the Charger and the Chrysler 200. Don’t be surprised to see the 200’s 295-horsepower V-6 and 184-horsepower four-cylinder engines in the new Avenger, with the V-6 especially suiting the expected rear-wheel drive format of the upcoming model. It is also likely to feature the same nine-speed automatic transmission that we expect to see in the model-year 2016 Dart and that is already in the Jeep Cherokee.

Will fuel economy improve?

Gas mileage was a real issue with the old model, especially compared with some extremely capable competitors in that segment. Its 24 mpg combined for the four-cylinder and 22 mpg combined for the V-6 simply won’t cut it in today’s midsize segment, so expect significant improvements.

Will it have new features?

Base trims should have fairly generous specification levels, but don’t expect too much, as the vehicle will have to be competitively priced to make a mark in the important fleet market. The old model lacked a Bluetooth hands-free interface from the majority of the lineup, and although such goodies will now have to be essential throughout much of the range, base trims could still omit this feature in the same way the entry-level Chrysler 200 does. The ’14 was dressed in a slightly sporty manner by Dodge, which seems to be a theme that continues to run through the automaker’s current design philosophy. Look for the new car to carry on in this vein and also have high levels of the latest connectivity and infotainment features.

How will 2016 prices be different?

This is a segment where cars sell in big numbers—they have to in order to be deemed a success. The ’14 model had a starting price of $20,595, but expect a new model to start somewhere closer to the 2015 200’s $21,700 MSRP.

When will it come out?

A lot depends on the timeline of the new Alfa Romeos we’re expecting to see over the next year or two. But skipping a ’15 model means we shouldn’t have to wait too long for the 2016, so a release date in the summer of ’15 seems like a safe bet.

Best competitors

Ford Fusion, Chrysler 200, Kia Optima, VW Jetta, Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry

What changes would make it better?

There wasn’t much wrong with the old Avenger—it simply failed to keep developmental pace with its competitors. If the ’16 model follows the lead of the 2015 Charger in terms of styling, it’ll be great. However, a little more headroom in the back would be welcome, just as long as it doesn’t mean sacrificing too much of the look. The new car needs to have at least one performance model in its range, and the fuel economy also must improve significantly.

Quick hit

At this stage, there is still a lot of speculation about this offering. But we do know that it will be rear-wheel drive, which is a big departure from stable mates like the Chrysler 200 and many of its prospective competitors. If the new Avenger, which may not even take on that name, is undergoing changes as big as sending the power to the rear wheels, who knows what else is in store?

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]