Dodge Caliber

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Comments

  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    I live in the snow belt and think AWD is overrated for low powered cars. If your FWD car has problems in the snow, try different shoes. $400 for a set of snow tires (or better all-seasons) will do wonders. Much less than a new $20k car.

    Anyway, the EPA mileage numbers are pretty close to the few competitors. Matrix 30/36 is close to the Caliber 1.8. Mazda 3s is similar to Caliber RT FWD.
  • jmetteejmettee Member Posts: 3
    Kinda of disappointed in a way. After test driving the AWD Pontiac Vibe & wanting more power, I was hoping for the Caliber SXT (2.0L) would be available in AWD. But no luck.

    However, at least Dodge went the other direction & decided that since AWD saps so much out of the engine power, they didn't put the AWD on only the weakest powerplant (like Pontiac/Toyota). If it's 170HP & still gets about 30 MPG hiway, I think the wife & I will be able to swallow it.

    Just wish you didn't have to get the performance model with 18" wheels for AWD to drive in the snow.

    J
  • achrachr Member Posts: 1
    Chrysler hasn't been able to make their 4 speed automatic robust and reliable since introduction in 1989. And now we're to believe they're going to be THE company who WILL have a CVT which stands up to the real world. They're a great concept for snowmobiles but the evidence to date is that they're not up to challenge of the automotive environment. The stresses of the high weight and higher horsepower levels have precluded a proven successful implementation. I understand that this unit is made by Nissan's JATCO subsidiary but we still need more years of successful durability data. Personally, it is the one item which will disuade me from considering the Caliber.
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    So buy a stick. j/k
  • jmetteejmettee Member Posts: 3
    Funny you mention the CVT, as I too have some reservations about them. I understand a few car companies tried them in the 1980's, but abandoned them. Recently, Saturn has used the CVT in the Ion & Vue....& stopped putting them in the Ion due to slipping belts/chains. Not sure why the Vue didn't have problems....though they were the same exact tranny.

    Also, more manufacturers are jumping on the CVT bandwagon, especially hybrids. Time will tell, but perhaps 20 years since the last attempts at automotive CVTs will be different than the first go-round. We are seriously looking at the Caliber R/T AWD with CVT (lots of letters!). Guess we can hope for the best & cross our fingers if we actually get one. The wife won't drive a manual & the R/T only has CVT/manual options.

    J
  • nonnemachernonnemacher Member Posts: 98
    Red SE 2.0 with auto at a large Toledo, Oh area dealership. This looks like one nice car - even teh SE model. Didn't get to drive, they were prepping it for a show, but the doors and hood all fit perfectly and slammed shut with a solid thud - just like our 2002 Grand Caravan. SE rear seats fold down much flatter than I expected, SE 15" tires are a taller ratio (70's) to help fill the wheel wells. SE has the nice mono-color front, but no fogs. 2.0 auto had 30 mpg hwy on the window sticker. Salesman's book had 35 mpg for 1.8 with 5 speed.

    I told my wife it loks like a "baby pacifica" the first time I saw one on the web. In real life, I still think that.

    Looks like a lot of car for the money. I want an SE 1.8 with the 5 speed, and I want it now! :):):):):)
  • soccerhorsesoccerhorse Member Posts: 10
    All,
    I just got back from the DC auto show and forgot to ask these questions: Will the Caliber have navigation and adjustable lumbar support for front seats? My back would kill me on long trips in my 98 Voyager. However my 2000 Grand Caravan had adjustable lumbar plus I added the cabbie beads and it is just fine.
    If any one knows, please post it.
    Thanks
    Dave
  • gogogodzillagogogodzilla VirginiaMember Posts: 707
    The built in beer cooler is a nice touch! LOL!

    -------

    Heh heh heh!

    That it is... that it is.

    :shades:
  • gogogodzillagogogodzilla VirginiaMember Posts: 707
    Mazda3 and VibeGT proudly offer MT, and are THE main competition.

    -------

    Don't forget the Volkswagen Golf and GTI...

    :P
  • durangodawgdurangodawg Member Posts: 2
    If you look at the Caliber features on the Dodge website (http://www.dodge.com/caliber/vehicle.html) under Interior features it shows a Navigation system, but it does not show up as Option when trying to build. I sent them an email and they stated it would be a Mopar aftermarket option that could be installed at the dealer (but not at the factory). As far as the adjustable lumbar, looks like it is only available with the R/T with Leather Interior Group and it is for the driver only and manually operated.
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    Caliber Build & Price:

    Leather Interior Group includes:
    Heated Front Seats
    Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats
    Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
    Manual Driver Lumbar Adjuster
    Steering Wheel-Mounted Audio Controls

    Availible for $1045 in the SXT or standard on the R/T.
  • hoffhoff Member Posts: 3
    I really like the looks of the Caliber. I'm 2 years into a 5 year loan on a 2004 Ford Explorer. Right now I'm wishing I had leased it, because I'd almost be done with the lease period. I like the R/T, but would really like to see a SRT-4 version with AWD and a 6-speed.

    One thing I'd like to see is iPod integration. I know it has the aux jack, but I wish it had a dock connector interface.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    showed the first production Calibers rolling down the line in Belvidere.
  • dialm4speeddialm4speed Member Posts: 110
    "I like the R/T, but would really like to see a SRT-4 version with AWD and a 6-speed."

    Nope! That thing will have to prove it self first before it gets the SRT treatment. It's replacing a popular much better looking car.

    "One thing I'd like to see is iPod integration. I know it has the aux jack, but I wish it had a dock connector interface."

    Nope! iPods are populare but there are other brands on the market. Now if they could make a universal one that would work with all brands... that would be cool.
  • nelson331nelson331 Member Posts: 3
    This may have been answered, but I could't find a definitive answer.

    Are they or are they not going to offer the 2L Diesel in the Caliber?
  • durangodawgdurangodawg Member Posts: 2
    Not sure if any of you noticed that if you upgrade to 9 speaker system, you are not allowed to upgrade the stereo (on Build and Price online). I sent a question to Dodge and they have reposnded with the below:

    We have discovered that all three radios are available with the Music Gate 9 Speaker Premium Sound System. Currently Dodge.com will not allow a radio to be selected when the optional Music Gate 9 Speaker Premium Sound System is selected. This is an error and is in the process of being corrected.

    If you are interested in an optional radio plus the Music Gate 9 SpeakerPremium Sound System the additional cost of each would be added to the vehicle.

    Prices are as follows:

    The Music Gate 9 Speaker Premium Sound System is: $400
    AM/FM Stereo Radio w/In-Dash 6-Disc CD/MP3 Player: $320
    AM/FM Radio with Cassette, CD, 6-Disc Changer & MP3: $420
  • jmetteejmettee Member Posts: 3
    "Nope! That thing will have to prove it self first before it gets the SRT treatment. It's replacing a popular much better looking car"

    Beg to differ. Glad to see the Neon go, it was never a good looking car, & the SRT-4 was even worse looking. Performance & mechanics may have been there, but it was horrible coming & going.

    The Caliber looks like a good, well-designed vehicle. Have yet to see one in person, but the wife & I both love the images.

    J
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    The 2.0 VW diesel is only for export markets.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Mateja reviewed the Caliber in today's Chicago Tribune (available on-line with free registration).

    The review is pretty good. He drove a fwd SXT with the 2.0 and cvt. He really liked the drive train - said it was smooth, with the engine and transmission working perfectly together. he praised the ride and handling. Apparently the touring suspension did a good job on the twisties in the mountains in Northern Arizona. He says the cloth seats were comfortable and ergonomics good.

    Mateja had problems with the ordering process. He thought the options offered were confusing and added up quickly.

    One thing that caught my attention: He says the R/T will be available with a manual come late Summer or early Fall (which makes sense, as that is when the Compass, which will have a manual with the 2.4 will launch.)

    All in all, a very positive review.
  • concrete1717concrete1717 Member Posts: 29
    More comments by Mateja: electronic stability control available this summer; the back seats fold flat; cargo floor is a removable rubberized mat; 115-volt outlet in center console; optional heated leather or cloth seats; "spacious" headroom; optional exterior colors of Solar Yellow and Sunburst Orange; side-curtain air bags standard.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Thank you.

    All things considered, it was one of Mateja's more positive reviews in a while.

    I look forward to seeing what the other journalists have to say.

    At the outset, Dodge may have a winner here.
  • twaintwain Member Posts: 185
    I like the Caliber but I'm not so sure about the drivetrain choices that are initially available. It looks like not all engines are available with all transmissions. And three different engines? Two isn't enough for a car of this size?

    Why not a 2.0, available with stick and auto? And the 2.4, with stick and auto. If Dodge is going to have a third choice, it should be a diesel.

    I'm not wild about the new Jeep Compass styling but I do like the drivetrain...the 2.4 available with stick or CVT.
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    stick will be avail. later think summer
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    As I state in post #174, when the Jeep Compass is available on the market later this Summer or early Fall, the 2.4 Caliber will also be available with stick or CVT. It appears as though Daimler is still working on manual sourcing issues.

    At this time, I've not seen anything to suggest the 2.0 will come with a manual.

    I imagine when low sulphur diesel starts becoming available next year, Dodge will have a diesel option for the Caliber. But that should not mean no 1.8, should it?
  • micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    I think the main engine choice, by default, will be the 2.0 since that is the only way to get an automatic (which is the CVT, a pretty bold step to take!).

    I think the 1.8 is a lame choice in the American market, but I am guessing that:

    1. The 1.8 is pretty quick with a stick shift; and
    2. With a stick shift, the 1.8 might deliver some EPA fuel economy ratings they can brag about in their ads.

    It IS possible to get the 2.0, according to the Dodge website, as a $100 option, and I bet the few stickshifts that make it to dealer lots will be coupled with the 2.0 engines.

    The 2.4 is just plain going to be rare - limited to the very upscale R/T. That's a shame.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    It IS possible to get the 2.0, according to the Dodge website, as a $100 option, and I bet the few stickshifts that make it to dealer lots will be coupled with the 2.0 engines

    When I try the build your own function, the 2.0 defaults to the cvt auto. This is consistent with Mateja's article cited above.

    I think the 1.8 is a lame choice in the American market, but I am guessing that:

    For stop and going driving, the 1.8 would probably be tedious. If you want the Caliber for road trips though, it could be an acceptable choice, provided you do not plan on speeding up and down mountains.

    The 2.4 is just plain going to be rare - limited to the very upscale R/T. That's a shame.

    A loaded R/T is still not that bad of a deal. If the sports suspension is even half way decent, I think a fair number of people might go this way (To Daimler's obvious delight, no doubt.)
  • mindaugusmindaugus Member Posts: 20
    I'm very irritated at Dodge at the moment and maybe they have had too much success lately to really understand how out of touch they are. What is the market for this vehical? I imagine Gen Y. Twenty somethings and younger looking for something fun, that can haul our stuff. I'm Gen Y and saw the pics, inside and out and it looked great. I thought new engine, hmmmmm, maybe something from dodge is interesting. However, the mpg numbers of 28 HW, 32 City listed in the first drive are ridiculous. My friends would make fun of me getting something that low. Everyone my generation would tease me. Out of touch! Look at the matrix engine choices Dodge and you can see what your missing. I know people whine about horsepower but they are at best spoiled. I'll give you the old european line. I've driven a polo on the autobahn with 55 HP and cruised at 160km/h which didn't take long to reach, and the engine noise was less than my girlfriends Escort 110HP going 65 mph. We went up and down the mountains of Austria no problem. If you have a problem going uo hills, maybe something is wrong with your car thats not horsepower? Tranmission (AT sucks for hills), Weight (Caliber is fat), Tires (17in. are expensive...dog!) Or maybe too much of a good thing is bad? (148 HP to go 80mph tops).
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    stick is for 2.0 and 2.4, diesel will never make it too america unless the contract with VW is changed. VW does not want Chrysler selling a caliber with their engine in the states.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Member Posts: 541
    If my guess on the Caliber SXT is right (just over 3,000 lbs. with the 2.0-liter I-4 and CVT automatic), the EPA rating of 28 city, 34 highway is actually quite good considering we're talking a car nearly 250 pounds heavier than the 2006 Honda Civic sedan and definitely way less aerodynamically efficient than the Civic! :)

    The Caliber--it it lives up to its promises and offers decent reliability--will be a HOT seller because the vehicle offers excellent interior arrangement flexibility, something minivan and SUV owners burned on high fuel prices really want.
  • drdan3drdan3 Member Posts: 13
    You are right that Americans are simply not sensitive to the finite quality and national defense implications of imported oil. Rather than focusing upon the patriotic necessity for all of us to couple our personal driving fantasies with a larger societal obligation to conserve, we are constantly bombarded with the notion that a 'good car' is measured by its 'performance' interpreted as '0-60 acceleration times.' The supreme irony is that Europeans have much higher speed limits (on average) but drive vehicles that are "underpowered" by American standards. Having driven lots of 40 mpg Eurocars, I have yet to feel frustrated by performance gaps in real world settings. American carmakers feed the fuel frenzy by selling 'performance' and speed. While the Caliber's MPG is not low, and the CVT option at least points in a positive direction, more options on the low end of the performance scale would have been useful. Why not couple the 1.8 with the CVT. Why not offer the AWD on the 1.8 or 2.0? Cynics will say "no performance!" but I've been driving an AWD Matrix for two years and haven't felt the pain. It's really a matter of growing up, taking a different view of the place of the US in the world and tamping down our irrational passion for excess to show more social responsibility....
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    We don't have official EPA fuel economy numbers yet for the Caliber. I don't think it is very bad. What are your friend driving that gets so much better mileage? The Matrix automatic (best fuel economy in class) is rated at 28/34 c/h. The difference between that and the Caliber will be what, maybe 2mpg less for each? 1500 miles/mo & $2.30/gallon means <$10 mo more. What's to laugh at?

    Also, <a href="http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/pw/07caliber.htm" target=_blank>Canadian Driver's Review.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    stick is for 2.0 and 2.4, diesel will never make it too america unless the contract with VW is changed. VW does not want Chrysler selling a caliber with their engine in the states.

    Do you mean when the manual becomes available later this year? Right now the Dodge site only allows you to go with manual with the 1.8. Mateja said later this year a manual will be available with 2.4 litre r/t version. He did not say anything about the 2.0. A manual with the 2.0 would be welcome.

    Your take on VW is interesting and makes a lot of sense. The only counter I would offer is that VW's sales are not all that stellar in the US. A Caliber with a diesel (assuming the new diesel formulation spurs significant demand) may be a way for VW to use some manufacturing capacity that may otherwise be idle.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    The supreme irony is that Europeans have much higher speed limits (on average) but drive vehicles that are "underpowered" by American standards

    From my travels in Europe, the open speed limit autobahns and highways in Europe tend to be dominated by the higher end EU cars which do, in fact, have horse power well in line with the US offerings. The smaller cars are used for driving about town, where distances are short. Europeans are far more likely to take the train, bus and discount airfare when driving cross country (or continent, if you prefer.)

    Why not couple the 1.8 with the CVT. Why not offer the AWD on the 1.8 or 2.0? Cynics will say "no performance!" but I've been driving an AWD Matrix for two years and haven't felt the pain.

    Both options would add weight and take away from performance. Seems to me the best set up for mpgs is the fwd SXT with the 1.8 and manual. The one luxury I always want is the sun roof. This would add a little more weight, but not near as much as the CVT and the FWD.

    It's really a matter of growing up, taking a different view of the place of the US in the world and tamping down our irrational passion for excess to show more social responsibility....

    As I said above, Dodge does offer the Caliber in the very economical 1.8 with fwd. If anything, the desire for AWD is a not necessary luxury. With 90% or more of the population living in areas that have paved and plowed roads, awd is arguably socially irresponsible.
  • mindaugusmindaugus Member Posts: 20
    I know that the fuel economy is not bad, but being not bad is not good. You can't come out with a car to enter a category that is already dominated by other makes, and not do better than the competition. Dodge built a nice coach, but they are all pretty good now. How about some better technology. The Matrix is EPA listed 30/36 with the 1.8M, which would compare to the Caliber's 28/32 estimate with the same. Most estimates end up being on the high side so we'll see. I don't get the niche for this auto. People that like SUVs, won't compromise and will buy SUVs. This is a small eco-hatch that doesn't try to be that. I think thats an over site, placing an entry level car between niches. Remember this thing replaced the Neon.
  • callmedrfillcallmedrfill Member Posts: 729
    This vehicle was one of the reasons I took the job offer.

    If it can be larger than the Mazda3 hatch, weigh over 3000 lbs., with easily more legroom, yet offer a combined 30MPG vs. 148HP?, I think makes this a great vehicle.

    Plus you can get in starting at $14k?

    I've driven the Vibe GT/Matrix, and wanted to LOVE them, but the driving position was abysmal, wheel doesn't adjust enough and is too close to the dash, seat is too low, seat lacks adjustment. But otherwise very nice.

    The Mazda3 is the best compact on the market, after driving it, but the back seat is tiny. So if you are moving someone older than 8-9 years old, the 3 is deficient, and it is smaller than the Caliber, plus cost more.

    If you don't like the chick-car image and curves of the PT Cruiser, the predominantly male buyer has a useful, efficient alternative. It looks sporty, roomy, and is a good value. :)

    DrFill
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    on this.

    The Caliber is the best looking (from a guy's perspective) car in this segment. The layout is very practical. The mileage is good, if not the top in the class.

    I have driven the Maxda3 about 4 times now. It is a decent car, but not quite the all out champ the Edmunds' reviewer makes it out to be. In fact, while I liked the Mazda drive train better than the Corrolla, I actually thinks the Corrolla has better ride and handling.

    I have never driven the Vibe/Matrix. The interior in both turn me off. The Vibe/Matrix use the Corrolla drive train. It may be a little bit better than the Dodge mpg wise, but I bet from a fun perspective there is not much of a hill to climb for the Caliber. Also, the Corrolla auto never seems to be in the right gear for the way I drive (of course, these are rentals. If I bought I would go with a manual).

    If Toy/GM had a new Vibe/Matrix on the market right now, maybe I would look at one. As it is, I think the Caliber will get a lot of attention, and deservedly so.
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    We don't know what the rating is yet, nor the real world mileage. The Edmunds review, CA driver review, and the "Salesperson's book" all list different numbers. Before you judge, let's wait to get the facts.

    If you are impatient, do some calculations on how much more that gas may cost. 32mpg vs. 36mpg @ 18k/yr will cost a whole $156/yr more. Oh wait, I'd better spend another $6k for a Prius to get 50mpg and save $350/yr on fuel over a Matrix. There are plenty of other ways to be competitive in a market segment than fuel economy. If fuel cost per cubic foot of interior space is the most important to you, then enjoy your Vibe or Prius.
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    I checked out the Matrix XR vs. a Caliber SXT, both FWD/manual. Matrix is $17.7k MSRP including dest and $340 of mandatory equipment in my region. SXT Caliber is $1500 less including speed control and includes side air bags standard as well as some of the unique standard and optional equipment.
  • micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    I agree with all your points. The Matrix does have its faults. I guess it's a Toyota, so it won't ever die, but the driver might die of terminal boredom.

    I am looking forward to seeing a Caliber in person to find out if it can "out-Matrix" the Matrix and bring some of the acceleration and handling thrills that the Neon used to be famous for, to the table.

    I do understand the nostalgic regret in the Edmund's reviewer's article - "where's the speed?"

    After all, this is the car company (Dodge) that got me to buy 3 Neons is five years just because they were so damn quick.

    Well, except for the last one, but that was only because I got an automatic. It was still faster than a Focus with an automatic - a lot faster.

    Wait until the Caliber is available with stick shift on the 2.0 and 2.4's. I bet they'll satisfy the Edmund's reviewer's need for speed. But Dodge is right to sell automatics first, they are the most popular. And I am glad to see the automatic is a Nissan CVT (with steel "push belts"), which should be MUCH more reliable than those marginal Eastern European CVT's that were making it over here in Saturns and giving CVT's a bad name. (Ford did a joint venture with the ame Eastern European company, I believe, which explains some of Ford's teething problems with CVT's as well.)

    Finally - I am afraid to hold my breath - but I sure hope Dodge hits a home run on the "crash tests" issue. They've had plenty of time to design to the new IIHS side impact crash test, they have side curtain airbags, I'd like to see an American small car excel in this important safety area. If they do, I'll really take the Caliber seriously as a small family car (my wife is getting tired of the CR-V, she claims it is a little too big).
  • navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    300hp! 0-60 under 6 seconds! All at an affordable price! How's that for driving excitement!

    I can't wait for the Chicago Auto Show, so many cool cars to see this one included.

    SRT-4
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    300 ponies! You had to figure Dodge was not going to let this baby alone for too long.

    I like the wheels, the ground treatment, the subtle way they worked the spoiler into the design. Not too sure about the air vent in the hood.

    The good thing about SRT development is that those of us who just want to tweak a more pedestrian model a little bit are assured the product will be on the secondary market.
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    yes summer. remember VW sells alot of diesels in Europe so I am sure demand is met.
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    300hp, 260lb-ft torque, 6 speed man, fwd, 18 and avaible 19 inch rims. Just for some more info on this bad boy. Price will impress but can't shed everything.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Member Posts: 541
    I think one of the big advantages of CVT's is that you're "always" in the most optimal gear ratio, so when you accelerate the car doesn't feel flat footed. I drive a 1998 Honda Civic HX CVT coupé and believe me, up to 85 mph the car has lot of pickup, thanks to the fact the the CVT allows the engine to pull quite strongly even at freeway speeds.

    I am glad that DaimlerChrysler is using the CVT system that Nissan is using, one that has a very good track record of reliability in Nissan JDM models. That same CVT unit will be used on the Nissan Versa and next-generation Nissan Sentra models, too. :)
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Well, you know, I can wait until Summer to buy.

    The 2.4 with the manual might be the way to go for me.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I am glad that DaimlerChrysler is using the CVT system that Nissan is using, one that has a very good track record of reliability in Nissan JDM models. That same CVT unit will be used on the Nissan Versa and next-generation Nissan Sentra models, too.

    I am a manual guy. But Mateja really liked the Caliber CVT. He said it seemed perfectly in sync with the 2.0 engine.

    I guess this new trannie in the A3 is receiving a lot of praise as well. But wow! that car is expensive.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I did not realize you were an insider.

    Appreciate your taking time out to keep us informed.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    Seems like it shouldn't take 300HP to do 0-60 in 6 seconds in a car that size.
    What was the HP and 0-60 in the Neon SRT-4?
    I wonder what the MPG will be?
  • navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    The old Neon SRT-4, in the year 2003, had 215HP. 0-60 times by edmunds say 6.3 seconds, but I think Dodge and other car magazines have got it down to about 5.8 seconds.

    There's an Inside Line story on now, saying it will be less than $25,000! What an amazing buy! Probably the cheapest ticket to getting 3000hp.
This discussion has been closed.