Dodge Caliber

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  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    Well with 85 more horsepower, AWD and $4K more than a Neon SRT-4, it should be closer to 5 seconds.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Member Posts: 541
    I guess this new trannie in the A3 is receiving a lot of praise as well. But wow! that car is expensive.

    The thing about the VW/Audi Direct Shift Gearbox is that due to its complicated dual-clutch design, the unit is quite expensive--the option costs nearly US$1,500 on the Audi A3. :surprise:
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    Dodge Caliber SRT-4 Puts Power in Small Package

    Posted Feb 7, 2006, 8:35 PM by Editor
    Category: Chicago Auto Show

    Just a month after the Dodge Caliber wowed the auto show crowd in Detroit, a high-performance version of the replacement for the Dodge Neon makes its debut at the Chicago Auto Show--the Dodge Caliber SRT4.

    SRT4 project team leader John Cathcart discusses just how powerful this souped-up version of the Caliber is and how it got there. Excerpts from his interview are below.

    What turns a Dodge Caliber into a Dodge Caliber SRT4?

    "The first thing is horsepower. It all starts with the engine. We'll be upping the output to 300 horsepower, 260 footpounds of torque. That's always the prime ingredient of an SRT vehicle. It has to go fast. We of course, balance the approach. It has to go fast, stop fast, turn well, and turn heads. So we take that approach to all areas of the car. We're putting an enhanced braking system on the car as well. We always look for parts we can use from the corporate parts bin. SRT is a small organization. We are investment constrained typically as well as always after offering the best price possible to the consumer as well. The brakes, for example, we took from the Chrysler 300C. We take brakes from a 5,000 pound car and put them on a 3,000 pound car and the car stops real well. We've got performance acceleration, performance braking, now we also want the car to also turn well. So we need to have a little lower suspension. We were able to lower suspension by a half-inch on the car. We will retune the shocks and sway bars as well. But the prime ingredient of the car's handling ability will be the lower CG (center of gravity).
    Tires are also very carefully selected for an SRT product. We do have a couple of good tire offerings: an all-season tire and then a higher performance three-season tire. All are capable of the 150 mph top speed of the car.

    We have an extensive appearance treatment for this car. A new hood, a new fascia. Actually the cut line between the hood and the fascia had to change for the SRT4 in order to package the intercooler. We do bring the body sides down a little bit for better aerodynamics with lower side skirts, and a different rear fascia as well which offers diffuser veins for increased rear down force and better directional stability, better yaw stability in high speeds.

    We think we accomplished all the primary functions of the SRT vehicle with the Caliber SRT4 as well."

    How was the World Engine altered?
    "The World Engine does offer a pretty good platform for the customization SRT did to the engine. Similar to the Neon SRT4, we start out by turbocharging the engine. We crank up the cylinder pressures, put a turbo on, make sure we're providing a lot of fresh air into the turbocharger inlet, thus we have a reduced restriction inlet system, and then good cold air at pressure to the cylinders via the turbocharger and the intercooler system. That's really the heart of what makes the Caliber SRT4 an SRT from an engine standpoint."

    Bigger brakes:
    "The brakes are a Bosch system brake, as for the Chrysler 300C. The rotor diameter is 13 and change on the front. The pistons I believe are 58 mm. pistons on the front calipers."

    2007 Dodge Caliber SRT-4 Wheel:

    Transmission choices:
    "The Caliber SRT4 has a unique transmission developed specifically for that vehicle. Six-speed manual is only available in the SRT4 version of the Caliber. The vehicle performance is so tuned around the manual transmission and the gearing and top speed capabilities of that transmission, we really can't offer a different trans in the car and still maintain the level of SRT performance."

    2007 Dodge Caliber SRT-4 Rear Wing:

    Appearance features:
    "Seating is another SRT core element. We have a car capable of high lateral G loadings, stopping, accelerating quick. We need to make sure the driver and front seat passenger are held in place. We have very aggressive thigh and torso bolster and non-slip suede surface area seating. We have a seat that will cradle the occupant, hold them for aggressive driving maneuvers, and also provide a fair level of support at all times. Beyond the seats we do have a unique color scheme for the carpet and the interior trim. It darkens it up a little bit to give it a more performance look. Also, we have an IP that's unique in that we've got a boost gauge that's integrated with the IP. It's not integrated into the dials, it's actually separate were a cubbie bin would be on the left side of the driver. We have added in that spot a uniquely tooled boost gauge so you're able to see what the engine output is or the boost output is.
    The seats will have an embroidered logo in the seat back.

    Why is the Caliber appropriate for an SRT version?
    "The Caliber was a great choice for SRT. It's important to have an entry level vehicle in SRT and maintaining the Caliber's starting price on par with where Neon's was is an important aspect of keeping our brand alive and keeping that end of our brand alive."
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    If Dodge prices this around $25k as suggested above, it will be a screaming deal.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I like the A3 enough that I will probably test drive one.

    Still, I think some manufacturers are losing all sense of perspective on price.

    If Caliber reliability is only just above average (and the new Chrysler and Dodges are doing pretty well in that area) there is just no way the A3 is going to give you 12 to 18k more value.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    The Audi won't be worth it the purpose is to get the fastest car for weekend 1/4 mile times on a track, but people will buy the Audi for luxury refinement. The SRT-4 will be a fast econobox with cheap, plastic interior. Not comparable to the A3 except on paper when you look at specs of dimensions etc..
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Well, what I want is a compact vehicle that will still hold my bike and/or camping equipment, return decent mileage, have a nice stereo, and look fairly good.

    Yeah, I guess the A3 does things a little nicer. But does it do things 10 to 12k nicer?

    That is quite an upgrade to spend on a depreciating asset. Personally I do not think the softer plastic and plusher carpet could ever make it worthwhile. Especially when there is just as good a chance - if not better - the A3 will land in the repair shop as the Caliber.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm getting mixed messages, even from recent posts. It the SRT-4 going to be AWD?

    -juice
  • gogogodzillagogogodzilla VirginiaMember Posts: 707
    So just get the new Volkswagen GTI... It's the A3 with a Volkswagen badge and 2-doors (4-door model will be out in a few months).

    And it's starts at roughly $21~22,000 for the base model and manual transmission.

    (Under the skin of the car... it truly is the A3 with a sport package... or in other words, a $27,000 car being sold for $21~22,000.)

    :P
  • 03dakrt03dakrt Member Posts: 17
    fwd.
  • navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Will definitely look at the 4 door model.

    Hatch with 2 doors seems to defeat the practically. But that is just me. I know a lot of people really like the 2 door hatch GTI.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It'll be interesting to see how 2 front wheels handle 300hp in something this light. Does it at least have a front mechanical LSD?

    Seems like details are still scarce...

    -juice
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Member Posts: 541
    I believe that the Caliber SRT4 will likely be four-wheel drive, for obvious reasons! :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The 4 in this case means the number of cylinders. SRT-8 has a Hemi V8, SRT-10 has a V10.

    It does not signify 4WD. The Neon SRT-4 was FWD.

    -juice
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    Read the Performance info @ the SRT site I linked above.

    FWD w/ Torsen LSD.

    I can post a more details that is at the Dodge sites. What do you want to know?
  • hoffhoff Member Posts: 3
    I know the SRT site says it is FWD. I wonder if they will offer an AWD upgrade option. 300 horsepower seems like a lot of power for a FWD vehicle so light.

    I was pretty excited when I was reading about this yesterday. I'll be looking for a new vehicle in 1-2 years and this will definitely be in my top 5 vehicles. If it doesn't have AWD, it will fall out of my top 10.
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    I've got about 2 years before my next buy as well (not including a replacement minivan). While I have had my doubts on high pwoere FWD vehicles, I'll researve final judgement after some seat time. I vowed in 2001 I'd never buy another FWD sports/sporty car. Maybe I'll forget that statement in 2008. Maybe this will change my mind.

    Obviously, the SRT-4 info is just being released. While I doubt we'll see an AWD variant with this engine in either Caliber/Compass, if the market demands it, DCX will consider.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    At least it has the LSD.

    This gets my attention, even though the Neon-based SRT-4 never really did.

    -juice
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    Only the first year, 2003. The 04/05 SRT-4's had a Quaife LSD. Raised price by a grand too.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Still worth that grand, easily. Gotta get that power down effectively.

    -juice
  • nonnemachernonnemacher Member Posts: 98
    The estimates I got from the dealer on a 1.8 five speed were 29/35. I actually drove the 2.0 cvt (not many posters have)and it was a very nice car for the money. I want the 5 speed to save some fuel, but I wonder how long I'll need to wait for it. Crash test should be great with all the bags, plus this thing really felt like it was built like a tnk for a small car. Seemed a bit wider than a Matrix/vibe and comes with wider standard tires. The one sell point of the cvt for me is that you also get 4 whl ABS with the package. You can get this with the manual, but its an extra $400. As far as AWD is concerned, I live in northern Ohio, and have lived in MI and PA. FWD is fine in the snow and ice if you drive like you know how... The manual 1.8 SE with AC and power package is a nice car and will sell for $15.5k - rebate - dealer discount = $14.5k. Around here a Civic, which would get slighly better mpg is $17.5k and it is not as versatile or attractive. When a red 1.8 5 speed hits my dealer's lot, it will be sold...
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    If I were going to add $1500 to an SE, I'd just pay $500 more for the base SXT to get 17" wheels (although still steel), floor mats, split/recline rear seat, AC power outlet, body colored molding, driver's sseat adjuster (worth $500 right there to me, a tall person), map/dome lights, folding front pass seat, and a tachometer. Seems like a lot of stuff for $500, and I would agree with the needing of A/C and power group.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Is not standard? That's so 1980s. Maybe they did that for the rental fleets, build them as cheap as possible.

    AWD - we were wanting to see that in the SRT-4 model, not so much for snow as much as getting 300hp down to the ground effectively.

    -juice
  • nonnemachernonnemacher Member Posts: 98
    A tach would be nice. Also, you can not get cruise on an SE according to Dodge's build and price. But 17" tires might be expensive to replace compare to 15's... The SE actually does have the split and fold rear seats, but not a foldable front seat. I was surprised at how flat the rear seats folded in the SE. Also, the weight of 17" steel wheels might detract marginally from the MPG - I guess only a former cyclist would think of that. Rotating mass is critical to efficiency... I hope to find out the insurance costs before I buy, If there is no difference between an SE and SXT, I may go for the SXT, otherwise probably the SE. Does anyone know exactly when these cars will be available?
  • w9cww9cw Member Posts: 888
    I'm currently in Orlando, FL on a business trip and staying in a Best Western Hotel. I noticed a black Caliber in the parking lot this afternoon with Florida license plates - only on the back. I really didn't have a chance to look it over too carefully, but I did notice that it had steel wheels with wheel covers, and a grey cloth interior. It looked pretty good, but a bit on the "boxy side" for my own tastes. It kind of reminded my of a Toyota Matrix on steroids! The front grille reminds me of a Dodge Magnum.

    What surprised me about this was that I didn't know the Caliber was out yet. It was certainly a Caliber with the name on the back liftgate. It's too bad I don't have a digicam with me, as I would have taken some shots and posted them on this site. Another thing that surprised me was the height of the door glass - it almost reminds me of the Chrysler 300C glass height - somewhat shorter than the norm. Maybe it's just an illusion.

    It was not a rental car, as although as stated above, I didn't scrutinize the car, I did do a 360 degree walk around. I found no barcodes on the rear side window or rear window, nor any reference to any rental car agency.

    Anyway, I just thought I would mention it on the forum. Probably no big deal, but it was the first one I've ever seen!

    One last thought . . . the NADA Convention is currently being held here in Orlando - as with dozens, if not hundreds, of other conventions - and, maybe this is the reason why I saw the Caliber??

    Don
  • nonnemachernonnemacher Member Posts: 98
    The one Don saw in Orlando sounds like the one I drove in Toledo, except the one in Toledo was red. Actually, I thought the rear end was not as boxy/choppy as some of the photos make it look. The car definititely has a high beltline for this class of car with fairly short windows, even the windshield. The rear visibility was not that great, but I guess thats common for this kind of car. The rear window is fairly small.

    I wanted to get a measurement for the width of the load floor and rear opening, but forgot about it. Any one know?

    The CVT was a bit different to drive. Out of the parking lot, it appeared to be upshifting, but after 20 mph, the rpm felt like it held steady at about 3000 while the car accelerated from 20 to 70 mph. Then the rpm backed off slightly. :P It would take some getting used to.

    I do not know if they can actually sell them yet, I have not heard about the crash test results yet. I said I was interested a 5 speed and the salesman did not try to talk me into buying the CVT. Maybe they just want to keep that one until more come in.

    Any ideas on availabilty with 1.8/Manual?
  • micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    You said in part: "Also, the weight of 17" steel wheels might detract marginally from the MPG - I guess only a former cyclist would think of that. Rotating mass is critical to efficiency... "

    No, I take that into account all the time. Often, aftermarket alloy wheels weigh more than steelies. Tires also make a difference. By browsing tirerack.com , I found out that the stock 15" tires on my Dodge Caravan SE only weigh 23 pounds each, but most of the available replacements weigh 28 pounds. Fortunately one of CR's toprated all season tires only weighs 23 pounds too, so guess which tires I will get when it's time to replace or upgrade?

    :)
  • nonnemachernonnemacher Member Posts: 98
    Off topic, but I got a set of Pirelli touring tires for our Dodge G Caravan Sport at tirerack.com a while back. The guys at the local tire shop think its funny to rotate and balance a set of Pirelli's on a minivan, but they handle nice and wear well.
  • cyber733cyber733 Member Posts: 1
    i live in toledo at which dealer is this car at i would like to go drive it i ordered one about two weeks ago
  • nhclubownernhclubowner Member Posts: 4
    Just don't like the Caliber style. I was going to purchase a new Neon SRT-4 2006, but purchased an EVO instead and kept my 2005 SRT-4. I think Dodge shot themselves in the foot by trying to force a hatchback on a young performance oriented market. But, that's OK Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Mazda and Subaru will be glad to cover the void.

    Dave
  • callmedrfillcallmedrfill Member Posts: 729
    So you wanted another Neon?

    A 170+ R/T or 300HP SRT-4 with room for 4 PLUS CARGO, with prices under $20k is a good value.

    The Neon's day has passed, the Matrix is flawed, the PT is for ladies only, and the Mazda3 is great, but small back seat, and the MazdaSpeed3 will be eating quite a bit of dust!

    I think they hit the market nicely. There just isn't a demand for Domestic economy cars, because the 3, Corolla, Civic, Elantra are just better, or are believed to be better.

    DrFill
  • gogogodzillagogogodzilla VirginiaMember Posts: 707
    Don't forget the progenitor of it all... the original 'pocket rocket'.

    :P

    The completely redesigned Volkswagen GTI has just been released stateside. It's really, really nice... But it's kinda costly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Just read a pretty good write-up in Autoweek. The iPod holder is a neat idea, though the bottled water chiller is a bit over-the-top.

    Still, nice to see them incorporate some surprise features.

    -juice
  • ryukeinryukein Member Posts: 6
    my mom is car shopping (im 13) and she wants 2 know how the noise is, like wind and engine :shades:
  • ryukeinryukein Member Posts: 6
    How much would a fully equipped R/T be?
  • ryukeinryukein Member Posts: 6
    :confuse:
  • ryukeinryukein Member Posts: 6
    :P
  • ryukeinryukein Member Posts: 6
    :(
  • ryukeinryukein Member Posts: 6
  • medinamalibumedinamalibu Member Posts: 71
    After six minutes? This isn't a chat room. Fully-loaded R/T lists for $22,820 according to Dodge's Web site.
  • dialm4speeddialm4speed Member Posts: 110
    Thats what I'm trying to say... the Caliber is about as exciting as a wet noodle! They HAD a sweet platform with the Neon SRT-4 and no matter what they do with the Crapliber... it just won't help. :shades:
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    I hope your age and experience @ the web is showing.

    www.dodge.com to build & price.

    www.google.com to find reviews so far.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    It's not that bad, but I would probably shop elsewhere. This cross-over look is probably the future of small automobiles. There are two things that leave me kind of cold with this car: the Dodge truck type front end, and the Mitsu/Hyundai designed engine.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    In addition to the above mentioned Dodge site, you can build and price a Caliber (along with just about every other current make) right here at Edmunds. Click the New Car button on the home page.
  • satchmosatchmo Member Posts: 34
    This for Juice or any of you out there who know something about the physics involved:

    I understand that both the Caliber SRT-4 and the up-coming MazdaSpeed Mazda3 will harness around 300 hp while retaining FWD. If so, how do you think they'll succeed in minimizing the torque steer that normally impairs the handling of high-powered FWD vehicles? What causes torque steer anyway? I remember from my biking days that something like torque steer occured in motorcycles (like the "boxer" BMWs) when the crankshaft/flywheel was positioned vertically in relation to the direction of travel (sharp acceleration would then cause the bike to pull --rotationally-- to the right, requiring some compensation by the rider(s)). Just what adjustments or configurations could counteract such tendencies --based on the laws of physics-- I have no idea. Apparently
    DCX and Mazda think it's doable. Can anyone out there explain how?
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    I doubt the Mazdaspeed 3 will have 300hp. I suspect it will be detuned from the Mazdaspeed 6 the engine comes from. I've heard 220-250.

    Anyway, Torsion limited slip diff and equal length half shafts in the SRT-4 will help. Otherwise, wheel spin will also defer torque steer. Sorry, I don't know much aboutthe physics of it, though.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Basically, the two front half shafts are not of equal length, the differential is usually offset slightly to one side when you have an engine that is transverse (cylinders lined up side to side in the engine bay, as opposed to front to back).

    This asymmetrical powertrain layout can cause the steering to "tug" to one side when you are accelerating, even while going in a straight line.

    I don't know enough about the Caliber to tell you if the half shafts are of equal length (aaron seems to think they are), but the powertrain is still not totally symmetrical. Basically one path is more direct than the other, left or right.

    The limited-slip helps here, becaues it limits the difference from side-to-side.

    MazdaSpeed3 is supposed to get 244hp, I heard.

    -juice
  • aaron_taaron_t Member Posts: 301
    From the Allpar Caliber SRT-4 page.
    "Torque is sent to the Dodge Caliber SRT4’s wheels through equal-length halfshafts sourced from Chrysler Group mid-size cars for their larger size and power-handling capability."
This discussion has been closed.