In this episode, we’re going to talk about the Dodge Avenger R/T—a sleeper car that can make a grown Ricer cry like a teething toddler. If you don’t know what a sleeper car is, just go to Google and type in “Martha Stewart cupcake recipes”. If you do know what a sleeper car is, then read on. Because you just found your next cheap thrill…

The Dodge Avenger is the underground version of a fairly boring consumer item. If the Avenger came in a box, it would be red white and blue, with a free Statue of Liberty hat and a McDonalds coupon. If you think it looks like a shortened Dodge Charger, you’re right. The designers wanted it to be instantly recognizable in foreign markets as an American car. That’s why it has that big upward crease in the rear corners, and the blunt nose/rear. The headlights and grille were even designed to mimic a pair of wraparound sunglasses. And like any good American transportation device, it came with a selection of hubcaps, and desperate four-cylinder engines. But we’re not going to talk about any of that. We’re going to talk about the 2012–2014 Dodge Avenger R/T. It’s a ridiculously fast family car that you won’t find at Avis.

For 2012, the refreshed Dodge Avenger R/T was blessed with a detuned version of the corporate Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, along a much improved suspension. To keep the car from listing in curves, the front springs were stiffened by 17%, the back ones by 12%, and the struts were now 12% stiffer than the 2008–2011 Dodge Avenger R/T. The rear struts were also stiffened by 19%, and the rear sway bar grew from 19 mm in diameter, to 21 mm. When combined with the re-calibrated steering rack and meaty 18-inch tires, the 2012–2014 Dodge Avenger R/T is capable of surprisingly flat cornering, and a bit of lift-off over steer if you dare.

To make that Walmart BMW suspension work properly, Dodge employed its current go-to 3.6L DOHC Pentastar V6. In some Dodge vehicles, this engine is capable of 300+ horsepower. But for the 2012–2014 Dodge Avenger R/T, they dialed it back to just 283 hp and 260 lb-ft. No worries though, this tarted-up little rental car will scamper to 60 mph in the mid-to-low 6-second range (MotorTrend did it in 6.1 ticks). And before you say it, yes, it’s front-wheel drive, and there is a bit of torque steer when you floor it. However, this is a spunky mid-size sedan that you can haul the kids around in. So you’re probably not going to be encumbered by the Avenger R/T’s limits.

Depending on the age, mileage, and condition, you can find a used 2012–2014 Dodge Avenger R/T for $5000–$9000. The inside has lots of room, lots of red stitching, and there’s a big trunk too. You also get lots of pony-power for the money, which makes the Avenger R/T a real Cheap Thrill.

Dodge Avenger R/T

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