When I began traveling the country to work for the 24 Hours of Lemons, back in 2008, I began experiencing the joys of renting the very cheapest cars (that could haul four adults and all their stuff) available at airports in places like Charlotte and Philadelphia. That’s when I discovered the Dodge Avenger and its Journey platform-mate. These fleet-spec Avengers were not good cars, to put it mildly, but we’d speculate— jokingly— on how amazing the factory-hot-rod R/T version must be as we sliced our fingers on door-handle casting flash and listened to the wind shrieking through the sub-par door seals. Here’s one of those mythical Avenger R/Ts, found in a Denver self-service yard.
When you bought the ’08 Avenger R/T, you got the big V6 engine, dual exhaust, a pretty decent audio system, and a “sport-tuned” suspension. By the way, this is the “Inferno Red” paint.
In this case, the engine was the 3.5-liter version of the Pentastar’s predecessor, the SOHC V6. That’s 235 all-Detroit horsepower, rather than the 173 horses wheezed out by the base 2.4 Mitsubishi/Chrysler/Hyundai four-banger. Later versions of the Avenger R/T got a 283-hp Pentastar.
I tried my best to get the FCA press-car people to loan me one of those hot-rod Avengers, but they just wanted me to write about Challengers or Wranglers or anything not as embarrassing as the Avenger. After 2013, the Avenger R/T was gone, with the Avenger itself getting the ax the following year.
Like so many Chryslers, the 2008-2014 Avenger lived on a Mitsubishi platform, in this case, the same one still used by the Outlander.
What I really wanted was to do, back in the era of my obsession with the Avenger R/T, was to set up a drag race between the 2013 Avenger R/T and the 2013 Chevy Malibu with the 259hp Ecotec engine. Excitement would have ensued!
Built to grab life.
A natural performer.