Cars Of A (New) Lifetime: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT – Midsized Ride, Big Time Change

During the time of my last few COAL posts some big changes were under way in my household. I try not to publish too much of my dirty laundry personal stuff. But suffice it to say, things were not going so well with a certain female. And things were not going so well with my ride either (read it how you like). The family van I bought a year ago was off the road (coming up) and the other car was a real penalty box (yet to come). Luckily, in a very short period both problems were to be greatly ameliorated if not altogether solved!

For accompanying music to this post click here. I will try to spare all you readers much of the gritty bits. But my wife (and I say that with the full technical meaning) has never been one of the quietest people and one of the things she has been most outspoken about over the many years I have known her, has been about our vehicles. She is the minivan sort, I am not. It’s been a long standing disagreement with us, but I have always managed to hold back the flood gates of minivandom. But some time ago the issue came roaring back when our 4×4 van broke down. Of course that’s not all that got mentioned in that “discussion”, I will spare you. However my love of cars did factor strongly into it. But, that “discussion” could not have come at a more fateful time.

For the last several months I had been working around a women named Mandy. As I have gotten to know her, I have realized that we have a lot in common. One of those things is a love of cars.Β  Mandy owned a 1965 Mustang when I met her. I was impressed to say the least. But as I have gotten to know her more and more, I have found that there is much more to Mandy than just cars. But I know for a fact that you dear readers don’t want to hear about that!

Mandy and her Stang

To make a long and very difficult story very short, Mandy and I started sharing an apartment about a month ago. A divorce is in the works, and Mandy and I decided to get a car that is a little more modern than the Mustang, something to kick off a new life, a new future. So the first place we went was over to the local Chevy dealer. Honestly though, most of their lineup was pretty bland, though I did like the Traverse and the Cruze a bit. But I wanted something really sporting. Now that I only need to haul kids around every other weekend, I could get something more exciting than a van or a truck.

While we were driving home we passed a Dodge dealership and Mandy said “let’s see what they have”. I knew I really didn’t want to finance a Charger or Challenger and I didn’t want a truck, so I figured, what could Dodge have that I would want? Turns out they did have something, something I wanted a lot. As soon as I saw the new Avengers I thought, wow, where have you been all my life! I liked the R/T, but the financing on it was a bit high. The SE came with a four cylinder and promised good gas mileage, so I asked to test drive it. For some reason the sales guy seemed to think I was just kidding. But after a little more discussion he agreed to let me take it for a spin, but not without some curious little chuckles.

The SE was not the car for me or Mandy; that was obvious as soon as I gave it a little gas. It was like churning butter. But I liked the rest of it. The interior was awesome, and the ride was really tight. So of course I thought an Avenger would be a perfect match for us. But that four cylinder was a real dog. When I told “Jerry” the salesman what I thought, he had just the solution, an Avenger SXT with the V6 engine. The price was right, but I had to drive it to see.

The test drive in the SXT was vastly different. The V6 pulled nicely and the slush box now had six speeds. It was very sporty and the styling rocked even more. I was sold and Mandy loved it as well. The salesman with the help of management, cut us a pretty good deal, but honestly I was sold on the new Avengers as soon as I saw them.

The ride home was like a whole different world. The interior on these cars is really nice, no more hard plastics, but soft durable materials now. The cross-hair grill styling is carried over into the interior via the steering wheel; reminds me every time I get in of how proud I am to be a Dodge owner. And the sound system is pretty good too; who cares if I can’t hook my iPod up to it! I really like the big analog gauges, they give it a certain retro feel.

But how is the handling you ask? Well I have always been a big fan of front wheel drive performance cars and this one really shines. The ride quality does not suffer considering the fine performance one can get out of it. Under-steer is not bad and the brakes are pretty decent. Turn-in is sharp with a bit of tread squirm from the factory front tires. But all in all, it is a very competitive piece of engineering.

When Dodge conceived the Avenger, they had their sights set squarely on the blue collar, working class hero. It’s really a poor man’s Aston Martin. And who the hell could ask for more than a beautiful women and an Aston Martin? I sure couldn’t, and this is as close as I think I will ever get. So no more used cars for me; I’m tired of cars with “character”, which is just poverty speak for busted shit box. Nope, I am starting over again and this time I am gonna do things right! The right girl, the right car, and no kids! At least not most of the time.

So I did have three cars left to go in COAL, but I sold one and the soon to be Ex has the others. But I know you guys will want to hear about Mandy’s Mustang and all (well not all) the things we do in it. And of course my continuing adventure in my new Avenger SXT. So stay tuned, for a whole new perspective!