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New Caliber Owners - Give Us Your Report!

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,965
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  • Just got my black Claiber SXT yesterday, like it a lot, upgrade over my stratus at the very least. Has almost every option minus the sunroof. It also looks a lot nicer than the Matrix I parked next to last night. Only thing I don't like about it is the visibility out of the rear window, but I'll get used to it. They could have made the roof in the rear a couple inches higher, although it probably would have made it look like a mini-Durango.
  • hi did you ever drive the hhr ,how would you compare it to the caliber?
  • no i haven't driven the HHR, but i don't like GM cars. always had problems with them, blazer, jimmy, camaro, and grand prix. dodge is my new favorite.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I just bought a caliber 3 days ago, an SXT model. I can't say enough about how well this vehicle performs. Nothing like the Neon (which I have owned several) and that is good. I'm testing my mileage now on my drives to and from work which is about 75 miles a day. The styling and interior grows on you every day and I have people asking me about it more and more. I believe Dodge hit a grand slam with this new car.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I had three Neons and for their time they were the hottest econobox you could get. Since you had several too, you can't have that low an opinion of them! Once you have a few hundred miles on your Caliber SXT, please give us a more detailed report, since at this point few people have gotten their hands on them, and even the reviews are scarce. Did you get a stick or auto? 1.8 or 2.0?

    Happy driving! Owning a new car is great....
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I got the 2.0 engine, automatic on my Caliber. This car is so much more quiet while driving it as far as road noise, engine noise.
    I've got about 550 miles on it now and it looks to be giving right at 30 mpg. Also the new transmissions are great! Not like the "jerky" dodge transmissions of the Neons. I can't even hear the car shift, very nice. The Neons have been very good to me as far as reliability goes so I can't say anything bad about them. :D
    I was told by the dealer to let the engine break in to around 6000 miles before putting synthetic oil in the engine. Anybody think differently on this?
  • mazda6iguymazda6iguy Posts: 365
    What about the view out the back? I thought the blind spots were too big.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I don't have any issues with visibilty around the caliber. Perhaps my 6'-4" frmae has a little to do with it also. The rear hatchback window is a little small but I find no hinderence in it at all. The rear cargo area is just big enough to put groceries in or a few suitcases/duffel bags. I would have liked to see dodge figure some way to have storage space where they put the full size spare tire under the cargo area but I guess space was limited.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Did you say "full size spare tire?" As they used to say in VW Golf commercials "we haven't seen one of those in these parts in a long time."

    As an alternative to carrying around a spare tire, some manufacturers are including those cans of puncture sealant sold at Walmart etc. plus an electric airpump you can run off the "accessory power outlet" (cigarette lighter) in your car. Not recommending that you do this, but I figure the idea is at least getting some legitimacy.

    As to synthetic oil, on my cars I run the regular oil to 1,500 or so miles, then change to synthetic (Mobil 1) and thereafter do 5,000 mile oil changes (starting at 5,000 miles, so the first two changes are both "short").

    I think to preserve the warranty on your new Dodge, you can't go beyond 6,000 miles between oil changes even in "non severe" service (used to be 7,500 miles, but they wised up).

    I have heard, but not confirmed, that the Caliber includes an extended power train warranty (5/60?) even though Chrysler has discontinued the extended power train warranties on its other cars.

    So I'd resist the urge to stretch any oil change beyond 6,000 miles for that reason alone.

    Since you were asking for general "care and feeding" advice, I'll chime in with my unconventional recommendation to avoid lube shops, Walmart, and your own garage for oil changes, and to even stick with just one Dodge dealer for oil changes.

    Dealer oil changes are lot cheaper than they used to be ($25-$35 with a multipoint inspection) and unless you are suscepible to "Jedi mind tricks" you won't get sold "extra" services you don't need. By going to the same dealer, you not only have the best possible records to support warranty claims, you also have someone to blame if they tell you that you need a new oil pan because the last person to do an oil change stripped the threads when overtightening the drain plug. Records of service at an authorized dealer also enchance trade-in and private party resale value. Finally, the dealer will always run your car through its computer for recalls, and will fix any warranty issues that otherwise you might be postponing.

    I usually carry-in my own jug of synthetic oil; a lot of people do that these days and you won't be making your dealer mad.

    As to the "dealer recommended" extra servicing they try to foist off on you sell you at 30,000 miles and 15,000 miles - I usually just follow the owner's manual for recommended inspections, adjustments, and fluid changes, albeit on the accelerated "severe" service schedule - which is still much cheaper than "dealer recommended" service.

    You might want to find out how much an even more extended warranty would cost you (available at a discount from dealers on the internet). I would get one, if less than $1,000, just for the peace of mind on the CVT. Otherwise, given the newness of the CVT's, I'd consider trading it in before the extended power train warranty you got free expires (which is way in the future).

    Finally, your transmission shifts smoothly because it is actually not shifting at all. There are no actual gears to switch, just a couple of pulleys with a "v" slot that opens and closes to move the belt up or down on each pully; these types of transmission are found in ski-mobiles and motor scooters , albeit on the Caliber it is a second generation Nissan transmission, like used on the Murano, all grown up with a sturdy metal "push" belt, and not a flimsy sythetic cord "pull" belt (those were the transmissions that didn't doo well in cars). The only complaint I have heard about CVT's is that they zoom up to a high rpm, and hold the rpm while your car accelerates, and only drop down to cruising rpm when you hit your cruising speed. This isn't a "defect" in CVT's, they are SUPPOSED to hit the optimal rpm/torque band and work out of it, but it isn't the "vroom-vroom" up and down of rpm most of us drivers are used to hearing.

    (Since this is America, they have actually reprogrammed CVT's on some cars sold here - like the MINI - to throw "fake" gear shifts which makes the customers happier, at the expense of losing the efficiency benefits of the CVT.)

    30 mpg is awesome!
  • tygtyg Posts: 1
    Just bought SXT Caliber 2.0 CVT2 Inferno Red w/ Soundsystem. Great sounding Radio!!! 484 Watt Boston Acoustics, my favorite part! The CVT2 is interesting makes for extremely smooth shift points. Great interior color scheme. If I were to point out any negatives it would be that you can feel the road pretty well but it does corner really well. Overall, alot of bang for your buck and it looks good too, I just need some window tint and some WSU Plate frames and I'm straight. :blush:
  • Bought a SXT w/ sunroof, fog lights, music gate system. Only thing I wish it had was the alloy wheels (forthcoming). After the first tank of gas I averaged 26mpg. Not bad for 35% city/65% highway. I expect this to improve slightly once the engine is broken in. Overall I love the car. It has the sportiness feel of the Fusion, but with the versatility of the HHR (HHR felt like a granny ride as one other on here mentioned). My first new car and I love it! It has more pickup than my old 95 Saturn, although the 2L is by no means a speed demon. That's fine, so far the CVT2 is great. It's weird not feeling the car shift like a normal AT.
  • kapricekaprice Posts: 1
    Today I just test drove a sxt, and I love it. I drive 39 miles everyday to school, and this car is the one I need to have. Personal question and I understand if you don't answer. How much did you pay? The dealer is giving me a hard time. There is only two calibers on the lot one is a sxt and the other is the higher version. Thanks
  • zugislandzugisland Posts: 21
    Just drove my Caliber for the 1st whole day...and my initial impression is that I love it...ive been gettign combined 28 mpg ....I did get the upgrade pacage which has a mpg computer ,trip time , tire pressure monitor...which is very benefecial to see at all times in order to help with those mpg.. I also have the SXT sport and it has a 115 volt jack too to power my ipod or computer....the only problem so far is you cant power the ipod with this jack and use the aux input at the same time....there is significan feedback through the alternator i would guess that makes it impossible to use both at the same time....oither wise the ipod wors great in the AUX input...upgraded sound is awesome and I am shocked at how quiet this car is ....I still cant believe i paid so little for this amazing car
  • I actually sell Dodges for a dealership in Vegas. After I drove the Caliber I was extremely impressed, and bought one. I've been driving it for about two weeks now and I absolutly love it. Its a nice ride, and gas mileage is great. The only bad thing I have to say about it is the blind spot in the back right corner, besides that my favriote dodge product. They are going to do great with the younger crowd.
  • pacermanpacerman Posts: 62
    Today I drove an Orange SXT Sport, the drivers door closed well, after reading that this 2.0 is pretty gutless I was mildly impressed with the power. Sure it would take getting used to the snowmobile drive, but it worked well for me.Actually in city driving under stop and go conditions I am sure the passengers wouldn't know the difference.There were three of us adults in it.I was really amazed at how quiet this engine ran. Like I could not hear it running inside the cockpit, really well done!!!Flooring it produced 6000RPM and the speed just crept up and up and up and it would just climb till it met its maximum speed, or you took your foot out of it........no muss no fuss, your waiting for it to shift but it doesn't , then a smile comes on your face, and you say .....this isn't bad at all!!!!!!!! Nice ride, not harsh nor super soft, no rattles.Going to wait for the RT.Test drove HHR, Vibe, PT. I like the extra cargo in the HHR, but not the electric assist steering. Vibe wasn't bad 126HP, PT seats dug into my [non-permissible content removed], and felt smaller in cargo area.My brother in his Matrix is getting 33MPG (canadian)in town.My .02 worth
  • opie232opie232 Posts: 1
    :) just bought a sxt sport today. i paid invoice for it. the new trans is cool but the car doesn't have the blazing get up and go of other cars i have had in the past. it will definitely take some getting used to. if the dealer is giving you a hard time leave i am sure you will find another dealer who will treat you well.
  • zugislandzugisland Posts: 21
    i bought an sxt sport last friday ...which is the fwd variant...i was shocked to see on monday an AWD RT at my dealer on monday.....i was pissed as I sure would have sprang the extra for it...however after reading Motor Trends recent review of both they daid the AWDlarger engine was not as peppy as my 2.0 ..and that the ride and tires with the touring suspension was noticibly better then the sport suspension of the Rt..hmm I felt better after that as my ride has been very smooth esp over rough roads...also my 1st fill up got a slighty disappointing 24.07 mpg although i must say iran the car hard....i was told with enging breakin i should see improvement..any feedback on these issues is welcome ...thanks to all
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I bought my Caliber at a dealer in Evansville, IN. an SXT model for 17 thousand even. This dealer is a volume dealer so they may be able to sell vehicles there a bit cheaper than elsewhere. I went into the dealer today to pick up an oil filter for my Caliber which now has 2100 miles on it. I was told by my salesman that they had to trade 2 of there best Chargers to another dealer for 2 Calibers. As soon as a Caliber comes onto the lot it's gone within 24 hours. They can't get them from the plant fast enough! I've had no issues with the car and still get a lot of compliments on it's looks and questions about it. I've been averaging 27 mpg the last few weeks but getting ready to put synthetic oil in the engine and see if that might help out the mpg a little. I still have'nt taken it on any long highway trips yet so I'm curious to see if it'll get 30 mpg there.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I've had my Caliber SXT for about 3 weeks now with 2100 miles on it. My wife and I are both amazed at how quiet this vehicle is on the road. I've been getting 27 mpg the first week or two...I need to check it again next time I fill my tank up. I'm also putting Mobil1 synthetic in it tomorrow for it's oil change, curious to see if that helps mpg at all. I do have an issue with the area in front of the lighted cup holders as it is hard to reach things. It's also awkward for the passenger to reach for their drink over the emergency brake handle. Other than that we love this car!
  • I got my steel blue sxt (with cruise) this morning. It was an internet deal and the dealer drove the car to me and did all the paperwork at my location. Unbelievable price, even with the delivery included. QUITE CONVENIENT. Car had a bad rattle in the back end, but it was just the plastic frame the dealer put around the temp tag - so I trashed that and its fine now.

    Car drives like a tank for a compact and I like that about it. I agree that some of the interior surfaces are "hard" but I do not think that's a really bad thing about a car. After all, this is piece of machinery, not a living room set, that we are talking about.

    Some have also complained about the rather small windows, but that goes along with the style of the car - which can't be beat in my opinion. The spare tire is super-sized compared to other compacts!

    My kids (homeschooled) immediately wanted a test ride and they though it was the coolest thing ever - they called it a car-van because the sides are high like our van. They liked the individually reclining rear seats too. My 12-year-old even noticed the air bag markers on the sides of the car and asked about them.

    The base audio system is fine for me and better than some others in this class. Suspension is "just-right" in my opinion, not too hard for in-town driving, but not too-soft for highway driving. My 12-year-old even commented that when turning corners the car did not lean. What can I say, she's a genius!

    I did notice a neat thing about the CVT when I drove my daughter to her flute lesson today (which actually was cancelled). It was quite windy and I had the cruise set on 60 mph going and coming. I noticed that the rpm was about 200 higher when driving against the wind. When the wind let up for a few seconds, the rpm decreased slightly, but the speed remained the same. Then I remembered that the CVT always picks the optimum gear ratio for the conditions and engine efficiency - pretty cool.

    As for MPG, it was a long-distance deal and the dealer had a older gentleman drive the car to me and take me trade-in back to him ( about 550 miles each way). He said that the car was filled before he left, but he did not think it was completely full. Along the way he stopped and put 11 gallons in it. When I got it, the gauge was a little below 1/2 tank. In my tooling around town and other driving, the ODO showed 600 miles total and I stopped and filled it really full. This took 9 gallons. So, assuming it was completely full to begin with, the car went 600 miles on 20 gallons of 87 octane, 30 MPG. If it was not completely full to begin with, the MPG would be a little higher. NOT BAD FOR BREAK-IN!

    The only "oops" I've noticed on the car (and I'm picky about details) is that all of the trim around the windshield and the mirrors are flat black, but the aerial is silver. Tonight, I'll hold my black aerial from my silver Caravan up to the Caliber and see if it looks better. I'm thinking a swap would be in order.

    So far, I am very impressed with this car, and so is everyone else who has seen it. :D
  • pacermanpacerman Posts: 62
    Congrats on your new Caliber!!!!!! :shades: Keep the stories coming and keep us informed as to your gas mileage. have fun!!!!
  • 87gn187gn1 Posts: 1
    Has anyone heard about the SRT4 Caliber? I'm beginning to deal on a R/T, but may wait for the SRT4 if its not going to be long. I'd like to know gas milage, base price, and when its coming. I know there is an article in car & driver that just came out, but I don't have it. Thanks for any help.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    what size engine did u get and is it a 2wd or 4 wd? 30 mpg is great on the highway trip. I have'nt been able to take mine on an extended trip yet but will post mpg on my 2.0 liter when I do.
  • kronogoosekronogoose Posts: 116
    87: Check out this link. http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/FVDP/Preview/styleId=100650669

    Also, you can go to dodge.com to get more information.

    I don't think gas mileage or base price has been set, but I believe the SRT4 will be out either later this year or early next year.

    It will have a 4 cylinder turbocharged engine rated at 300 HP, front wheel drive, a six-speed manual tranny and different styling.

    - Greg
  • I picked up my new 07 Caliber SXT three weeks ago. I got if for 17000 K before trade in. I drives fantastic. My last car was an 02 Neon that I bought brand new as well. I loved my Neon, but the replacement Caliber is a far superior vehicle, and a huge step in the right direction for Dodge. My Caliber is a black SXT model and came with the special edition four tone slate gray interior. It came with cruise, the cooler glove box and re-chargeable flashlight. I did not want one with the sound system because I plan to customize it myself. I did really like the CD player head deck that came with it. It's cut in and the styling is very cool. I want to let people know that the MP3 audio in jack is not just for "i-pods" put it can also be used for any MP3 player. I have a really nice Sony MP3 and it looks really nice in the holder that came with the car and sounds really good on the cars system. I hate i-pods and I can't stand how some are using the apple product as this particular features selling point. My SXT also came with the 17" alloy wheels and silver painted front calipers. These look really cool. I am confused about how people have commented on this car having "hard" interior surfaces, and this is a downer for the car. I'm not sure if it is just the SXT I have, but this is one of the coolist dash set-ups I have ever seen, not to mention the seat material and design. Let me tell you my in-laws bought a 2005 Toyota Matrix last fall and my father-in-law is kicking himself right now. There is no comparison when it comes to cool looks on these two cars, Caliber is the champ. Out of all the things I have heard in the last two weeks as far as comments from friends, family, and aquaintances on the Caliber, the interior is what blew most folks away. whether the VW, Chevy, ford, or [non-permissible content removed] fanantics want to admit or not you can't compete with this cars styling, features, or extras for the price. My in-laws paid 3 grand more than I did for their Matrix, and mine has CVT transmission, side curtain airbags, drivers side knee airbags, traction control, ABS, and cruise. Oh yeah and a full sized spair. In short (ha-ha), this car is the best thing going on the market right now. By the way I already installed the chrome door sills and the back tire mud guards these are great quality items for a good price that really add to look of this car. I highly reccomend them.
  • zugislandzugisland Posts: 21
    shadow i think you better check your specks ...these vehichles do not come with traction control yet.,..if i am wrong i would love for you to let me know if that is on yoru invoice....thanks
  • thekingtheking Posts: 107
    :cry: For some reason 1st year Chrysler products have many "teething" problems...Let us hope the Caliber is the exception ! :blush:
  • lpatricelpatrice Posts: 1
    I recently begin leasing the Dodge Caliber. I got it about one month ago from Chrysler Performance in LaVista, NE. So far, I love it. I haven't determined the exact gas mileage, but it does appear to be in the mid twenties for city driving and around 30 for highway driving. One thing I did notice was that it appears to be a little hard to clean the exterior. I live in Omaha and took it for a wash this past weekend to get all the winter grime and dirt off, it took a while for it to get clean.
  • pacermanpacerman Posts: 62
    Was it hard to get clean because of the body lines or the grime was "sticking" to the paint. Maybe a wax is in order, next?? :)
  • orangertorangert Posts: 41
    For everybody out there, I am new to the forum as of Today. I bought my wife an Orange R/T a couple of weeks ago and it is awesome. The power is just enough above the 2.0 to get you out of trouble, and the autostick helps. It is weird having a 6 speed autostick though. we have gone through several tanks of gas and it gets about 25 mpg avg. which I guess is high for the R/T. Factory 23 city 26 hwy.

    I love the AWD portion, I played with it on wet pavement really trying to break it free and the 18" tires really take a lot to slide. The 4 wheel disc & ABS help!!!

    I have already added several MOPAR addons - mudflaps, window visors, hood deflector, sunroof deflector, stainless sill protectors. There are more on order.

    Will keep you posted as we put miles on it, we average about 400 a week between work & play.

    Will be getting an SRT the day the come out if things go well with the R/T. :)
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