warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)
[personal profile] warthog9
So as I've been traveling a lot this year, I've also had the need to get a number of rental cars for various reasons.  Mostly because I've been traveling well outside the ranges of public transportation on where I've been going.  I thought I'd start writing more public commentary on those experiences.  Today installment: the Dodge Avenger R/T

www.dodge.com/en/2011/avenger/index.html

Overall Grade: C
Would I buy it: No

Had the car for about 4 days, and did quite a bit of travel in it (had to go from Portland to Corvallis, and back and sadly Portland to Salem and back).  So I think I got a good feel for it.  I'll start with the external apperance: it's a 4-door muscle car.  If that doesn't sounds like it's just confused from the get go, I don't know what is.  The particular one I had was either Tungsten Metalic of Black in color, which the dark color was mirrored inside.  It also had a spoiler on the trunk.  Now I know what spoilers do, but my Mother has forever spoiled their "go faster" stripe mentality in my mind by usually referring to them as the stroller handle.  Needless to say upon seeing the Avenger, I chuckled at it's silly spoiler.  Bonus points that this is a FRONT WHEEL DRIVE car, so the spoiler really is nothing more than added weight and a "go faster stripe" on the car.

The Interior did not fare well either, it had some faux leather seats thing which was frankly sticky and kinda nasty (from the material, not from someone having spilled soda or something on it), and the dash was covered in plastic that had been done to make it look like carbon fiber.  The controls labeling is confusing, and I ended up on the highway one night  without my headlights on because I was genuinely confused as to which spot the control was supposed to be in to make that all work right.  There's also 6 buttons on the back of the steering wheel which control the radio, but since they are on the back they aren't marked and it takes some guessing to figure out what they all do.  The entire car was roomy from the inside and large from the outside, and seemed to sit 5 adults total comfortably for short journeys.

Once inside the car and trying to settle in I adjusted the pathetically small side mirrors.  Dodge decided to put more "go faster" bits on this car but putting ludicrously small side view mirrors on this car.  They are triangle shaped and honestly didn't provide enough visibility for my liking, particularly when considering the massive columns in this car.  I'm not sure what it is about the rental cars I've driven lately, or even my Mom's newer Toyota Camry, but all of the pillars in these cars are just MASSIVE I'm not entirely sure why they are doing this but both the rear and side pillars created large dead zones in trying to see out of the car, again not nearly as bad as the HHR, but large enough to be concerning and annoying.  The trunk is also raised up in the typical sports car fashion to try and make the car look more wedge shaped and thus look faster.  This obviously cuts down on rear window visibility, though it wasn't nearly as bad as I've seen on some cars, it was noticeable.

Performance was disappointing, I'm pretty sure this was an inline-4 cylinder car, and it did not have a turbo (so why it had R/T on the boot I have no idea), but it's not a particularly peppy 4 cylinder engine in this car, particularly as Dodge is billing this as a "muscle car" (taken from their website).  Trying to get the car moving quickly just doesn't really happen, I had a situation where I needed to get around a Truck train (a tractor truck with 3 trailers), and the car was very sluggish at getting around it.  Beyond that the car rode smooth and nicely, suspension was a little soft, so nicer general ride but you wouldn't want to take corners hard.

The build quality was also disappointing.  At one point early on in the journey I had to hammer the plastic plate around the gear lever back into it's locked position, and the check engine light came on while I had it - the car only had 33K miles on it.  It also exhibited some grounding issues with my dc-dc converter, my phone acting as an aux music source, and the aux input on the stereo.  This leads to an interesting hum that rises and falls with the speed of the engine and is directly related to the power the alternator is generating.  I heard this on the HHR too, but I haven't been able to hear it anywhere else where I normally drive.  That said the hum was a lot less noticeable and I quickly missed it was there much of the time.

So overall it was a car.  I wasn't particularly impressed, but I wasn't actively angry at it either (unlike the HHR).
 

on 2011-07-25 05:08 pm (UTC)
terriko: Evil Soup (evil soup)
Posted by [personal profile] terriko
Are you going to do a belated review on that thing we had in North Carolina next? ;)

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warthog9

September 2012

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