Parkers overall rating: 2 out of 5 2.0

The Avenger comes with a choice of two petrol engines or a Volkswagen-sourced diesel. The range starts with a 156bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine with variable valve timing. It has a five-speed manual transmission, which wouldn't appear to make the most of the pulling power available, however it will sprint from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds. The 170bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine is quieter but only comes with a CVT automatic transmission and is not enjoyable to drive apart from at a steady cruise.

It is a little quicker than the 2.0-litre, accelerating from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds, but the CVT gearbox means the engine spends most of its time at high revs, where it's coarse and noisy. The best engine available is the 140bhp 2.0-litre diesel, borrowed from Volkswagen. It isn't especially quiet or smooth but offers strong in-gear pace and pulls well from low revs.

Available with a six-speed manual transmission it will reach 62mph from rest in 10.5 seconds but the biggest difference is in everyday driving, where it doesn't have to be worked hard and offers a more relaxed experience.

The Avenger has a few chassis modifications for Europe compared with the base version in North America, and it handles fairly tidily. There is a little concern about the damping over bumps - the Avenger seems to take a while to settle down again, which would suggest an even firmer set-up would have been preferable. However, the steering is quite well weighted.

Electronic stability control, which can help correct a vehicle's line during a skid by braking individual wheels until the car is pointing forwards again, is standard across the range.