Dodge plans to ambush the repmobile market with the production version of this Avenger concept. To be revealed at next week's Paris motor show and due in showrooms in July 2007, the Avenger will be spun off the new Chrysler Sebring's front-wheel drive platform. Power comes from four and six-cylinder engines.
Muscle car looks
The Avenger will go head-to-head with the new Mondeo and 2008's new Vectra, using its muscle car styling to stand out. The concept brims with testosterone, with a dose of extra aggression from its macho bodykit. The deep skirts, low front splitter and flared wheelarch extensions will feature on mid-range R/T versions, so expect the flagship SRT6 version to look even more in-your-face. The crosshair grille with 'red inferno' body-coloured inserts and piercing headlamps should prompt a few double takes in rear view mirrors. The wheelarches are packed with 19inch rims. The Avenger looks like a mini-Charger, Dodge's latest version of the Dukes of Hazzard's getaway car introduced Stateside in 2005. The nose and the haunch that sweeps up over the rear wheelarch are hugely faithful to its four-door big brother.
Muscle car engines...?
Don't go expecting a big bore V8. The Street and Racing Technology fettled version should run a 3.5-litre V6, kicking out more than 250bhp. Although the Avenger will be sold in the US, Dodge claims that the saloon caters for European tastes too. Indeed, the concept runs the 150bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel DaimlerChrysler is sourcing from Volkswagen. The petrol engines will also be shared with the Chrysler Sebring, which means a 172bhp 2.4-litre for Europe. In the US, 189bhp 2.7- and 235bhp 3.5-litre V6s will be offered too.
Under the skin
The Avenger is basically a reskinned version of the Chrysler Sebring (above). Hard-points such as the windscreen pillars and glasshouse are shared, although trim inserts give the Avenger a swept up rear window that doesn't feature on the Sebring. The funkier Dodge is designed to appeal to a younger, more dynamic bloke than the ornate Sebring. The front-wheel drive platform is a joint venture with Mitsubishi, set to use a shortened version to underpin the new Lancer. The Avenger will offer a lot of car for the cash, because it's closer to a 5-series than a 3-series in size. Safety kit plumbed into the chassis includes front, side and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability programme.
Gadgets and price
The Sebring will be brimming with gadgets, which will also feature on the Avenger. Harman/Kardon will provide a voice-controlled infotainment system, or you can spec a hard drive that will store your music library in-car. Satellite radio, Bluetooth compatability and rear DVD screens will also figure on the options list. Such equipment is typical of luxury cars from the class above. But the Avenger should be priced from around £15,000 – bang in the heart of Mondeo country. If it's a decent drive, then the Dodge could pose yet another problem for beleaguered mainstream family cars.