The Dodge Challenger and Charger Had a Short-Lived Cousin

Dodge began as a simple parts supplier in Michigan, but it wasn’t long before the brother-owned company began producing whole vehicles of its own. Now, it’s unlikely that you could take a simple drive to the grocery store without running into one of its iconic releases — be it the Durango, Challenger, or Charger. The latter two make up Dodge’s inventory of sports cars, but they used to be joined by a third option: the Dodge Avenger. 

Despite its impressive name, the Avenger failed to wow consumers and gain widespread success. After the re-brand of the forgotten original failed, the manufacturers decided to get the sports car outta Dodge . . . literally. 

The Dodge Avenger debuted in 1994

Dodge first showcased their Avenger in 1994, marketed as a 1995 model-year release. The two-door coupe was sleek and sporty for its time and perhaps served as a follow-up to the Dodge Daytona, which was discontinued in the same year as the Avenger’s debut. Though it was re-packaged and indisputably a new car, the Avenger entered the marketplace in the same class and price range as the Daytona had been. 

Its predecessor’s discontinuation foreshadowed the Avenger’s fate. Although the vehicles stayed in production until 2000, they failed to gain much of a market share or a fan following. While Dodge’s website says that this first rendition of the Avenger made “its mark on history,” it is primarily remembered as . . . unmemorable. After all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would release a movie proclaiming Captain America to be “The First Avenger” 16 years after Dodge’s introduction of their vehicle.

The line was ultimately discontinued after lackluster ratings

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In 2007, the Dodge Avenger got a reboot. It moved from a two-door coupe to a four-door, mid-sized sedan. It sought to cater to families with its larger capacity, while still maintaining the original’s sporty appeal. 

The second attempt at selling the Avenger to America had slightly more success. As would be expected, each new year’s release brought updated features, increased styling, and better brand awareness of the car. Still, some hurdles could simply not be overcome. Consumer Reports notes that the Avenger was a little late to the game — half-heartedly reaching out to families in a market that was “teeming with better choices.” 

Though owners of these 2008-2014 Avengers seemed generally satisfied, Dodge was again disappointed with the vehicle’s sales. As The Car Connection recounts, the company began offering cashback deals early into the first model year. 

Dodge continues to excel with other vehicles

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The double discontinuation of the Avenger left Dodge without a mid-sized sedan to offer consumers. Still, the brand has found plenty of success in other areas, pointing those who miss the Avenger to the wildly popular Charger. This classic vehicle, now in its seventh generation, offers the four-door, sporty experience within a full-size sedan. 

For those who are ready to ditch the sleek look and prioritize space, the Dodge Journey and Durango are their SUV options. These bigger vehicles can come with a higher price tag, but fans of the brand are still ready to sell out dealerships after every release. Although no car wants to be discontinued, the 1994 (and 2007) failure has plenty of famous family members to avenge it.