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Dodge Caliber MPG-Real World Numbers



  • canoenutcanoenut Posts: 12
    Thanks for your comments and for now removing the Corolla from the debate. As a long time VW Diesel driver, I'm making a leap to the Caliber knowing that in no way will it equal my past fuel economy. However until VW comes up with a Golf Plus model in North America or until DCX will be able to offer the VW diesel in the Caliber (like they are doing now for their overseas markets), I'm willing to pay more to travel the same number of kilometres in order to have what the Caliber offers. Perhaps a new Matrix in 2008 would be more attractive to me but I'm not going to wait and see.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    I think the Corolla is probably the best single person commuter vehicle, a great appliance car.

    I also think the Matrix/Vibe are perfect competition for the Caliber, as well as PT Cruiser, Mazda 3 5-dr, Focus ZX5/ZTW, and VW Golf.

    I think the Caliber shines as a uniquely styled compact with extra utility and some nice features for the money. Fuel economy is not far off the other 5-dr/wagons.

    I also think the media and therefore many consumers are placing too much value on fuel economy. It should be a factor when deciding what vehicle to purchase or possibly replacing a less fuel efficient vehicle, but the numbers should be evaluated for the real cost, not just the knee-jerk reaction of paying more at the pump.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Probably a little since the AC compressor needs to always be taking engine power. Is there a switch to turn off the beverage cooler? I don't think so, but do not know for sure.
  • I agree that the Rio 5 would not pass muster as my only car, but my wife's car is a Buick Lucerne for highway travelling. In need something for in city and short distance hauls (not more than ~300 miles.)
  • jstant01jstant01 Posts: 65
    Having read these arguments about fuel mileage, I have to say that I can see "reason" in most of them. Certainly, buying a "hybrid" to "save money" doesn't make sense. Forget it - you're going to pay more for the car than what you pay in gas unless you keep it for 200,000+ miles.

    However, I also agree with those who have to wonder aloud why domestic compacts don't get better mileage. I just returned from a 500 mile roundtrip with my Pontiac Vibe. I easily got 40+ MPG across the Ohio Turnpike at 65 mph. The Vibe has a Toyota motor, as we all know. I suspect that if it had any of the 4-cylinders GM is currently using, the mileage would be well below that.

    I can't offer any educated comments on a diesel, having never owned one. However, I too am sick of hearing Americans complain about gas prices while they continue to buy and drive around in behemoth gas guzzlers. A family of five could easily fit in my Vibe, with plenty of room for carrying cargo and "stuff."

    Anyhow, rather than continuing to rant, I will also say it does come down to what someone else said - the bottom line is that people are buying what they want and as long as consumers still "want" gas guzzling behemoths, that's what the Big 3 are going to provide.
  • philqb2philqb2 Posts: 6
    Don't worry about the beverage cooler and the A/C because I get better gas mileage with the A/C on than off, whether I have the window up or down. At 27.4 mpg after 2650 miles, mostly highway, partly city (work in DC). And I haven't put synthetic in it yet either.
  • philqb2philqb2 Posts: 6
    "But I don't want to be white-knuckling the wheel while trying to pass a RV on the highway.
    Isn't the Kia Spectra5 a titch bit bigger? "

    There is none of this at all. The caliber is a bit slow at the start, but races by other cars easily. I thought I would have to gun it the first time I passed a semi, and was surprised when I hit the gas hard and blew on by. Better passing pickup than my old 6 cylinder Stratus, and that was a 2004.
  • orangertorangert Posts: 41
    Hi. I was getting decent mileage in our R/T with driving normal and spirited, splitting 50/50 on driving Avg 25/26.(reported here several messages)

    Our last tank just ended up with only 22 mpg avg. Kinda sad right now. This last tank only my wife drove it. She does not drive fast nor hard. Same daily destinations too.

    Going to let just her drive the next tank to check again.
  • The cooler only works when the AC is on. So if you want to turn it off....turn off the AC
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    However, I too am sick of hearing Americans complain about gas prices while they continue to buy and drive around in behemoth gas guzzlers. A family of five could easily fit in my Vibe, with plenty of room for carrying cargo and "stuff."

    Very few vehicles could fit adult behind me @ 6'4" and long legs. Also, reverse facing child seats do not fit either. The cargo space behind of a compact hatch won't hold a pack N play, strollers, portable high chair and other baby/toddler stuff either. Maybe when kids are >5 a small hatch would work as a primary family vehicle, but not a young family. This is why I have a minivan (21mpg) and two 4-dr pickups (14 & 12mpg). Combined 40k miles per year between 2 drivers

    But I don't complain about fuel costs.
  • jstant01jstant01 Posts: 65
    I'm glad you don't complain about gas prices. I'm doing my best not to complain either! :-)

    I'll agree with you when it comes to "storage" of toddler stuff in a car like the Vibe. It is unlikely that a folded down playpen would fit. However - strollers, etc., no problem. I've had them in there on occasion.

    Also, your height would probably not be a factor either since the backseat of the Vibe is roomier than any vehicle I've ever owned. I am about 6 ft and weigh 350 pounds. This translates to "seat all the way back, and reclined some." I've had many adults and kids sit behind me with no complaints. I've actually sat back there behind other drivers that have the seat in the same position. The Vibe is simply above the pack when it comes to rear seat room.

    As for rear-facing child seats, again, I've never had any trouble using one in my back seat on the driver or passenger side.

    Enough about the Vibe for now, since this is a Caliber forum. Based upon my "test" of the Caliber at the Detroit auto show, I suspect it would easily accomodate a family as well, although I personally thought the back seat was much more cramped than my Vibe. It may have more to do with the design of the door opening, or the floorboard, or perhaps the height and extension of the seat, but I had a hard time getting in and out of the back. The storage space behind the back seats looked to be about the same.
  • The beverage cooler only cools with the air conditioning on. You can have it cool whatever is inside it by sliding a panel in the top of the bin forward or backward (I forget which) which opens a slot across the front that lets the air conditioner's cooling air enter the Chill Zone.

    If you slide the panel the other way, it stops the cool air from entering the Chill Zone, and makes it into just a Zone. The beverage rack at the bottom is removable.. it just sits there. I'm sure there are many people who don't want to use that space for chilling beverages, so they allow you to close of the cool air, just like most dampers that you have on any of your air conditioning outlets now.

    Understand? (Sometimes I'm too "wordy".)

  • You can have the AC on and close a damper in the top of the Chill Zone and the Zone won't chill. You can use it just like any other glovebox / storage area.

    See my post somewhere above.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I agree! I was going 60 mph on the highway this morning and had to get around some trucks. I floored the pedal and my Caliber took off ( engine @ 5K on rpm's ) like a race car! I was impressed as this was the first time I have passed trucks at high speed. I had to watch it as I was going near 85 mph when I passed them by easily. Very nice passing power!
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Re: fuel costs, I don't think enough people know their budgets (or manage one in the first place) to calculate the difference it costs them @ $2 vs $3/gal. They just complain even if it means half a percent more of their income, or whatever their number is.

    Long legs, mean seat track all the way back. Long arms means seat bottom front up, back down and seatback reclined a little. Not hiphop reclined, but it may look like that if a shorter person sat in a seat after I've adjusted it. The distance between the seatback and the front of the rear seat bottom cushion gets small quickly for most vehicles. When I had mid-sized sedans and took adults places, I moved the seat forward and seatback up a little, or had my wife (5'5") drive.

    Anyway, i haven't sat in a Vibe/Matrix or Caliber yet. I almost bought a PT Cruiser GT in 2004 and it had plenty of room, but 40" rear legroom is more than any other 5-dr hatch.
  • jstant01jstant01 Posts: 65
    I hear on the "budget" issue. Most people (including myself usually) just buy the gas, and complain when it's suddenly costing $40 per tank instead of $25. I haven't had a $40 fill yet, thank God. My last Vibe fill-up from a very empty tank cost me about $35.

    Anyhow - I hear you on the legroom issue. I suspect that if you sit in the back seat of a Caliber, you will be disappointed if the front seat is back all the way. When I sat in it, I had trouble in the back seat and also felt like the front seat was cramped. I'm more fat than I am tall, but either way, every car I drive I have to put the seat all the way back and recline it some. Otherwise, my stomach won't fit behind the wheel! :surprise: I've never sat in a PT Cruiser, but I've heard other folks say they are also very roomy.

    I still haven't had a chance to test drive a Caliber. There haven't been any available in my area. I've only seen one on the highway, and that was down in Ohio.
  • neely2005neely2005 Posts: 70
    It's funny that you mention that because I recently read an article that said that On Average compact cars have more Leg Room in the Front Seat than SUV's. The reason for this apparently is that Front Seat Leg Room is more of a selling feature on compacts & people just assume that an SUV will have more Front Seat leg room than it actually does.

    I'm 6' & I drive a 2002 Neon and can easlily fit myself, my wife, my 9 year old son & my 18 month old son & all his necessary supplies (aside from a high chair which I'm not sure why you need to take a high chair with you when you travel?)
    His Very Large Jeep Stroller and Jeep Play Pen go in the trunk. his diaper bag goes on the floor in front of him. He is no longer in a rear facing car seat but he current car seat is much bigger than the rear facing one was. Perhaps you just need to learn to pack lighter or more efficently?
  • moonhunt18moonhunt18 Posts: 33
    that was going freeway the entire time. between 70-85 mph.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I just went over 7600 miles on my SXT Caliber w a 2.0 CVT and am getting 28 mpg. I have yet to take it on a long trip but know I've reached 30mpg before so I'm sure it'll happen again. No issues with the car, get a lot of stares from people and I still have'nt seen one on the road here in Evansville, IN. My dealer tells me they can't get them in fast enough if they get any at all and if they do they r gone in less than 24 hours. ;)
  • I've put almost 6k miles on the car... its sweet spot for mpg is around 2000-2500rpm or so. I've been acheiving ~28-29mpg at that mark on the highway. I have yet to do a complete city tank, but city mpg is decent... mid 20s so far. One thing that will hurt the vehicle is its high drag coef. I drove from OK to ND and back and on the way back, had a monster head wind (we're talking 25-35mph with higher gusts). The vehicle which normally is around ~2300rpm or so at 70mph on flat ground was at ~3k. Far more susceptable to wind than my old saturn SL2. By the time the rpms get this high, your mpg starts dropping. For the trip back (with all the wind) I was only getting ~23-25mpg on the highway.
  • fmfpjfmfpj Posts: 12
    my 1st tank of gas average was 26.7 but, that was city driving no highway yet. I did install a after market muffler and i will keep you posted. i take a 2,000 mile trip this month so i hope i :) get good results.
  • flyusmcflyusmc Posts: 10
    I got 29.3 MPG mixed. Pretty accurate. This was my first tank. SXT W/2.0 CVT
  • fmfpjfmfpj Posts: 12
    well, i am here 960 mile on the trip. the first tank through the mountains of west va. i got 33mpg and some change. after the mountains i filled up again and i got a amazing 37.8 miles per gallon. Again all I did was change the muffler out because there is no K&N filter yet. But, I am pretty happy with it. I have the 1.8L 5 Speed SXT. :shades:
  • bobbyd2bobbyd2 Posts: 2
    We just purchased the 2.0 SXL last week. Seems to be getting good milage. I drive with slow starts, and keep my rpm's at 2000 or less. I'm sure this will get me max mpg. Love this car!!
  • xkmailxkmail Posts: 36
    I drive alot of highway, is the 1.8/5spd better than the 2.0/cvt?
  • waorganywaorgany Posts: 10
    Yeah most of the time you will have better fuel economy with a manuel vs auto transmission. I am not sure but I would think this will be the same w/ CVT, but it will give you better mileage over a normal auto transmission. We haven't got ours yet so can't tell you maybe next week been waiting for almost 15 weeks now for our SXT w/ 2.0 CVT....Orange and leather seats!!!
  • If you drive 15,000 miles per year and gas is $3 per gallon

    A Caliber that gets 28 mpg on average will use $1610 worth of fuel each year. (This is my average on the FWD CVT)

    A Matrix that gets 33 mpg on average will use $1360 worth of fuel each year. (Reasonable guess for an automatic.)

    This is a difference of $250 per year. If you drive less, the difference is less.

    If the Matrix costs $1000 more, it takes 4 years, or 60,000 miles to recoup this extra cost in fuel savings. If the Matrix is $2,000 more, it takes 120,000 miles to recoup the extra cost.
  • 2.0 CVT SXT - I filled up this morning after driving 55 miles with the low fuel light on. 361 miles total on 13.4 gallons, or 26.94 mpg. The mileage was split between 2-3 mile trips and 15-20 mile trips. Some with AC, some not. None of the mileage was "pure highway" driving. My cars usually have not done well on MPG due to my frequent short-trip driving. Most of them have gotten less than their ratings. The Caliber is the first "automatic" I've had that actually gets its rating in this kind of driving - I think that's respectable.

    Some questions---

    1. How much does the fuel tank really hold, maybe I was on the fumes, maybe not...
    2. My experience is that manual trannies often do better than rated overall MPG, can someone post actual MPG for the Caliber SXT with a 5 speed manual?
    3. Two local Dodge dealer have a total of 25 Caliber SXT's in stock - mostly CVT's - I bought mine at the end of March and waited 10 days (it was en route when I picked it out) - any clue how availability can vary so much?
    4. I'm thinking of having my wheel covers painted a flat black to match the trim on the car - I have the darker Steel Blue and have already put a black Mopar antenna on it - much nicer than silver. Maybe take off the fuel door and have that done in black too. Any thoughts?
    5. Does any anyone have, or know where you can get, a scuff pad for the top of the rear bumper... It would be good in black, too, especially when you blow a tire and need to load it in the back.
  • fmfpjfmfpj Posts: 12
    Yes, I keep hearing of people waiting for thier car the dealer right outside the gate(i am military) have more than 8 instock from se to rt. I have the Steel Blue as well if you do go black send some pics or links i would like to check it out. I test drove one in vegas during a smal;l deployment and came back to North Carolina and bought one the same day. It has 5speed, sunroof, bostin accoustic with fold out speakers. I love it and all the people i work with like and are thinking of going to buy one.
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    Yes, I have a 1.8 and I average 30.5mpg right now. Most 2.0's are gettin 22-25mpg.
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