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1997 Dodge Avenger Overview
Most of us don't worry about an inch here or an inch there - unless, of course, we're on a diet and there's a class reunion just around the corner. Generally speaking, one of these small dimensional units just doesn't make much of a difference in our lives. But in the automobile business, an extra inch, strategically placed, can give your car a big advantage over its competition. That's one of the big reasons for the resurgence of the Chrysler Corporation. Starting with the LH cars (the Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid and Eagle Vision), Chrysler designers have made sure each of their cars has had a little edge - an extra inch or so - in roominess, especially rear-seat roominess. Obviously, it helps that all these new Chrysler cars look good. And when it comes down to tiebreakers, that extra inch of rear legroom, combined with smart looks, can make a pretty big difference. Particularly in the rear seat of a swoopy sport coupe. Enter the Dodge Avenger. It's not the hottest thing in its class. Almost every sport coupe on the market, including Chrysler's own Eagle Talon, offers an edition that makes the Avenger's performance look pretty ho-hum. But thanks to Chrysler's inch-consciousness, the Avenger offers something none of the so-called 2+2 coupes can match. An adult can sit in the Avenger's rear seat without first qualifying as a circus contortionist. In fact, among the affordable sport coupes, only the much bigger Ford Thunderbird offers more rear legroom. The Avenger's rear seat even has a legroom edge - albeit a very tiny one - over the new Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a car that's just as long as the Thunderbird. Is this a big deal? You bet. The No. 1 complaint of small sport-coupe owners concerns inadequate rear-seat legroom. Sooner or later your sport coupe will accommodate a rear-seat passenger, and you'll probably want that passenger to emerge feeling as good as when he or she climbed into your car. The Dodge Avenger should elicit that response. Avengers are offered in two trim levels: the base model and the upper-level Avenger ES. The rock-bottom price for a basic - very basic - Avenger is $13,876, including destination charge. ES models start at $17,726 and include 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking (ABS), alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control and an AM/FM/cassette sound system. Our test ES was also equipped with a preferred equipment package - power locks/mirrors/windows plus dual illuminated vanity mirrors - for a ready-to-roll total of $18,585. If you added a sunroof, CD player, leather seats and keyless remote entry, you could manage to spend $21,222. But those high-priced options are typical of all cars.