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Dodge Caliber MPG-Real World Numbers



  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    9.498 gallons on a "top off" fill, 288.6 trip odometer miles,

    30.39 mpg

    For this last fill up after coming off the L.A. trip.

    I'll now drive the car with mixed freeway commute (1 day a week) and weekend city driving and see how that mileage compares to the old PT Cruiser with automatic. Then I'll switch to all freeway commuting for a week (no weekend city trips) and see how that compares vs. the all-time mileage champ, my stick shift Cobalt.

    BTW, this is a lot more car than the Cobalt - I'd call it a midsize vs. a compact, or a "new compact" vs. a "new mini". They are at least a half, if not a full, size different.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Average mileage from SF to LA with some surface driving in LA:

    28.53 mpg

    Took a passenger this time, might have affected mileage. Meanwhile my Cobalt stick shirt returns a consistent 33-34 on my commute (used to be higher but the traffic has gotten heavier and the trip computer indicates my average speed is down to 33 mph).

    The Cobalt remains a mileage champ, but the extra quiet and comfort and size of the Caliber make me prefer it. It will be interesting to see the EPA's revised "closer to real world" mileage figures this fall.
  • I've just put my K & N air filter in my Caliber with a full tank of gas. I'm going to test mileage for the next few weeks and will post driving conditions and mpg with the K & N air filter. I'm not expecting much, I'd like to see close to a mile a gallon difference but I'm expecting .5 of a mile more per gallon. Time will tell! I do notice a difference when I punch the gas or need to pass as this air filter handles 431 scfm's compared to the paper filter at 330 scfm's.
  • My MPG is down to 23. Probably because of below zero temps. Dodge sucks gas!
  • Well, I've gone through one tank with the K & N air filter and it has made no difference as far as m.p.g. yet. Will it ever? Doubtful, but it's nice to feel some more "pep" on the gas pedal with the cloth filter. Will keep all updated.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    My last 2 tanks of gas I've averaged 28.67 mpg. ( 2.0 w CVT ) I'm also having cruise control installed next week so that should help also.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    5 Tank Average, 34 mile freeway commute, 1.8 Stick Shift:

    31.15 mpg

    This is a commute so it has some slow and go stretches plus my surface street stretches to get to and from the freeway (about 1.5 miles on each end).

    I am very pleased with this mileage.
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    Not too shabby, it's better than I average with my 1.8.
  • jhknightjhknight Posts: 46
    This is part of the problem, people seem to consider 30mpg acceptable. the old epa est mpg for the caliber sxt 2.0 cvt was 26-30, the new epa figure is 23-26. Pityful, but accurate. I had based my expectations on admittedly optimistic and naive assuptions; that something 10 years newer might be improved, and I also underestimated government complacency and greed in allowing technology to be withheld from the people. I just sold a 1996 6 cylinder minivan! that got 24 mpg,and bought a 2007 "all new"? 4 cylinder GAS GUZZLER that is even worse than my minivan was!!!!!!!!! Get active, vote with dollars, BUY A PRIUS!
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I don't think your criticism is fair. It doesn't take into account how much cars have grown.

    For example, I had a 1993 Honda CX, their "low tech" high mileage version that year. Here are some key specs from Edmunds:

    2094 pounds;
    70 horsepower;
    91 pound feet of torque;
    42 city mpg, 46 highway mpg

    Ok, want to know what kind of mileage I got when I drove between LA and San Francisco? 32 mpg. Pretty disappointing, huh? I can assure that zero, zip, nada has happened between my driving habits then and now - conservative, easy driver.

    Want to know my overall LA to San Francisco gas mileage on my 2007 Caliber, which weighs 3089 pounds, has 140 hp, 129 pound feet of torque, side curtain airbags, and a "big" profile (tons of front and rear seat head room and legroom, four doors, bigger hatchback storeage area)? Almost 33 mpg.

    So I'd call that progress. I have owned a large variety of economy cars in the last 9 years. A 2003 Civic Coupe stick shift gave me 35 mpg on the same run; but so did a 2006 Chevy Cobalt stick shift, and it was much faster and quieter. I tend to average about 30 mpg on that run, except for a couple of VW Golfs which dropped to 26 mpg due to the low 5th speed gearing, and also a Focus hatchback with auto that got the same mileage (their stick shift hb's returned 30-33 mpg - the current Duratec motors are more efficient).

    It's very hard, imho, to hit the really high mileage numbers. Consumers demand quick acceleration, to manufacturers don't gear their products high. Automatics are very inefficient, they recapture part of that with extra tall gearing but it still doesn't make up for friction losses.

    In short, the Caliber is, for all intents and purposes a midsize car but matches the fuel economy of the "compact" (more like "mini" compared to today's vehicles) cars of the 90's. To me, that's progress despite all the rants I see.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I set off to LA last weekend expecting to take a mileage "hit" from the high speeds that are common on the San Francisco to Los Angeles run. Earlier in the break in cycle, I seemed to be getting 28-29 mpg on that run vs. 31-32 mpg on my commute (the variation resulting from the amount of city street errands mixed in with my freeway commute).

    Instead, mileage came up. The only factors that have changed since my last report are (1) I sometimes accelerate harder, running up the rpm (supposed to use more fuel); (2) I sometimes accelerate harder, but by flooring it in a lower gear (supposed to use less fuel than running up the rpm in a lower gear, since the butterfly valve in the throttle body is in the more efficient, wider open position); (3) the car has 5,000 miles on it; and (4) I changed to full synthetic (Pennzoil Platinum 5-20) vs. semi-synthetic (Motorcraft/Conoco 5-20). From all reports I have read, synthetic oil per se does not increase mileage, but on the other hand different makes tend to fall into slightly different viscoscity ranges (all within the 5-20 spec, though) which may affect mileage, but shouldn't affect it by more than a couple of percent.

    Here are the tank by tank numbers. I wouldn't read very much into the tank by tank variations, since I was on the road and obviously unable to follow my "at home" routine of using the same gas station, same pump, same vehicle to pump orientation (levelness affects fill considerably).

    32.59 mp - fill up before I hit the road, this represents my normal "commute" mpg, although it is about 1 mpg above average, probably a fill variation.

    34.44 mpg at Kettleman City;

    35.14 mpg in Burbank after arriving (probably a fill variation, esp. considering the "hill climb" over the mountains on the last stretch into L.A.);

    31.32 mpg in Buttonwillow on the drive back (all my L.A. driving was freeway, very little street mixed in, this leg also includes up the mountains and back down to get out of L.A.);

    30.28 mpg from Buttonwillow back to SF (this was the highest speed portion of the run, people were maniacs on the way home on Sunday).

    Average - 32.75 mpg.

    Awfully darn good.

    I suspect a stick shift with a 2.0 would match this mileage - the 1.8 is geared necessarily low due to its small displacement. It makes good hp, but only at high rpm. This car simply won't "pull" at low rpm the way my Cobalt with a 2.2 would - on the other hand, the engine is much smoother and rev's very freely. More of a European experience - small displacement, high rpm for performance.
  • My Caliber now has nearly 15k on it. Overall, it's working out great although the suspension is a bit noisy. On my latest road trip ~2k miles, I had the majority of my tanks above 28mpg with the 2.0 CVT driving at 70-75mph. One tank even registered a hair over 32. Works for me! One thing to note... it has a pretty high drag coef. so anytime you drive into a decent head wind (10mph+) kiss fuel economy goodbye. It will typically drop into the mid 20s then.

    While I would love to have a hybrid, the $$$ wasn't there for it for me. Caliber offered the best bang for buck + decent mileage + versatility I was looking for.
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    I am getting almost 30 mpg.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I don't know if it's the warmer weather or what but my last 2 tanks of gas I've averaged 29.8 mpg with my 2.0 CVT.
  • litesong1litesong1 Posts: 39
    Haven't posted here in months. Bot my SE Caliber 2 liter CVT on Sept. 28, 2006. My first MPG reports were from new car daytrips in the last warm weather we had(Washington State) before the winter weather caved in. Nicely got 32MPG over 4000 foot mountains & even 34.9MPG on 1 flat highway outing. Thru the winter, short trips, cold, winter gas & lots of cooldowns, my average sank to 28.4MPG with low of 24.9MPG & no tanks were 30MPG or more. A month ago with warming weather my Average MPG began rising to 28.8. With the continueing to warm weather plus the switch to summer gas(& longer pleasure drives) my MPG has risen to 29.3MPG with trips in the 31 to 33MPG range. Hope it continues to rise. Might even reach an average of 30MPG in the first year of ownership. We'll see. :shades:
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I've averaged 28.7 mpg on my last 8 tanks of gas on my 2.0 cvt. Last night I managed to get 30.3 mpg when I filled up, woohoo! :shades:
  • commprocommpro Posts: 13
    My SXT is 6 months old and my milage sucks :cry:

    In US MPG I have gotten:
    22.85 on my last five fills. All of our driving is in the city. On the occasions when I get it out on the highway, I see the fuel economy shoot up big time. With gas hitting $1.04 per litre here in Canada I was hoping for something a bit better than my Caravan. I not the lighest foot in the world, but I am very far from the heaviest foot too. Other than the milage issue I love this car, just wished I owned a refinery is all.
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    Now that winter mix gas is being replaced with summer
    formulation you should see an increase in mpg.
    The CVT if that's what you have for tranny does not like
    heavy acceleration,the programming allows rpm
    to go up but is set to protect the belt pulley
    systems in the CVT from slippage.
    If you want better 0-20mph starts use "L" then shift
    to "D" at 20-25mph.
    Having said that if you drive aggressively the CVT mpg
    is about what your getting.
  • djp_63djp_63 Posts: 10
    I was looking at the Caliber and Patriot, and ended up with the latter. They are mechanically clones. My first check with combination driving yielded 26.9 mpg. Not bad for a 3000 pound box.

  • likecvtlikecvt Posts: 2
    I glad to here your mileage. :)

    I read similar post at other site.
    I heard CVT is around 10% better than conventional A/T.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your post. :)
  • litesong1litesong1 Posts: 39
    Hi likecvt...The Dodge Caliber review with the most commentary at carsurvey is mine. I hope you reviewed all my posts there which talk in detail about the CVT & discoveries I've made with the CVT that other people haven't figured out yet. For those readers who don't want to go to carsurvey, here are a few points.

    Altho my MPG has been good, it is because I very carefully feather foot. My latest posted MPG updates are on this website for April 15, 2007. Please see for details. With the warming weather & summer mix gas in the last half month, my average MPG has risen another .2 MPG from 29.3 to 29.5MPG. Doesn't sound like much, but I hope my average MPG to be in the low 30's by end of my first year of ownership, late September 2007.

    Some people get bad MPG, & blame their cars. We must shoulder some of that blame, be philosophical, & try to feather foot tho. If you really feather foot & get tired of it, then you're not really feather footing. By definition feather footing is being easy on the gas pedal, easy on the planet Earth, easy on your pocketbook, easy on yourself....Zen of the pedal, as one might say. You must love to travel, you must love to look at the planet Earth, you must love those people along the route you travel, you must love to accomplish your aims in life with less fuel consumed. It is more than philosophy, more than is Love.
  • jmechjmech Posts: 15
    Just returned from a Highway trip-65mph with A/C on part of the trip. 183.0 miles using 5.5 gallons= 33.2 mpg.
    This is the best tank I recorded since buying the car. The car has 11,200 miles on it now.
  • nonnemachernonnemacher Posts: 98
    Looking at buying a second Caliber. A local dealer has a 1.8/5 speed equipped the way I would like it, the same color as my 2.0 CVT. Generally, I have not gotten very good MPG from any of my cars around town, but I do fine on the HWY. Nearly all my in-town trips are less than 3 miles, and many are less than 1 mile, so this can't help MPG. That said, I get 24-25 MPG all city and 26-28 MPG with several 10+ mile trips thrown in. On (really rare)long highway trips I get 31-32.

    Way back in my past I was a pizza driver... I know I'm doing everything right for MPG, but average trip-length is a real MPG killer. That is, unless you have a manual transmission, where you can "coast" alot. In my experience, manuals often get much better in-town MPG than automatics.

    I'd like to hear from folks with 5-speed Cailbers as soon as possible to see if they are getting the advertised 28 mpg or better in short-trip driving. If the MPG on the 5-speed is better (and it costs $1150 less), I'll have my wife drive the CVT. :)
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    We have a 2207 Jeep Compass 2.4 CVT and we get 24 mpg in town and as high as 29 on the open road. We drive to conserve fuel. The 1.8 with the 5 speed still is houling a lot of lbs arround. Maybe on the open road it would be good, but in the stop and go I doubt it will get a lot better than the 2.0 with the CVT. What is your left foot worth to you? That and the clutch is not warrantied at all. Something to think about anyway.

  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    Well the verdict is in as far as I'm concerned,had Tsb#18-031-07
    performed 2 weeks ago and filled up the tank.
    Using Mopar oil/filters with 100% city driving my mpg has gone
    from 27 mpg/imp gal to 32.038 mpg/imp gal.
    Taking in summer gas blend and warmer temps with 10532 kms/
    abt 6200 miles on odo I am happy Caliber owner.

    Get the flash!!!!!!!
  • I am half-way through my longest highway trip ever in my Caliber (Toledo, OH to OK City). Had cruise control set between 70 and 74 all the way and A/C on a low setting. 496 miles, 15.75 gallons, 31.5 mpg. Car rides very well at these speeds.

    Just had the PCM re-flashed per the current TSB. I'm not sure if that had any effect on the MPG, but its up-to-date now.

  • In my previous post, I was really only 1/4 the way through the trip. I was half-way to my destination, now I am at the same point on the way back. In the last two days, I drove from St. Louis to Oklahoma City and back. This has reduced my overall MPG since my speeds have increased and the terrain is largely that of the Ozark region. Overall, I have averaged 29.6 mpg to this point (1529 miles on 52 gal) and I expect that to increase back above 30 mpg as I drive through the much flatter regions of central Ill, Ind, and Ohio on my way home tomorrow.

    Overall the car is comfortable and keeps the road out well at higher speeds. The only oddity I noticed was that CVT and cruise seem to team up and act as an "engine brake" when descending fairly steep inclines.

    As with any car, someone should invent some sort of "smart cruise control" that will maintain MPH, but only up to a user-specified RPM. I could have achieved better MPG in the mountains, if I slowed down to keep the rpm under 3,000 during climbs. With the cruise set at 74-75 MPH, the RPM ran as high as 3800 during steady climbs. I'm sure this was the optimum gear ratio given the specified speed and the grade of the road, but it would have not bothered me if the car's speed dropped a bit to save fuel :)
  • bbbribbbri Posts: 1
    Averaged 24-25 mpg on recent long highway trip with a rented Caliber 2.0 SXT automatic. Average speed was 75 mph. Fuel economy is not this car's strong point.

    For comparison, other cars that i have rented ranged from 29.4 mpg hiway for a V6 Saturn Aura, to 32-33 mpg for 4 cyl. Pontiac G6 & Chevy Malibu.
  • habalanchehabalanche Posts: 57
    Just completed my first 4hr mostly HWY trip with my R/T AWD and averaged 26 mpg. Mostly travelling between 70 & 75 mph.
    Not bad since in previus posts around town I was getting about 18.5 mpg.
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    habalanche: The RT AWD fas a 2.4 engine as well, plus it's weight is about 3,350 lbs. The old 1996 Neon we have is less than 2,600 lbs but gets 28mpg with a 194,000 miles. Our 2007 Jeep Compass gets 23 to 25mpg depending on a lot of things, like temp., wind direction, if the gas is 10% eth. and so forth. Considering this Caliver, and the Compass have side air curtians, ESP, and anti lock brakes and a better saftey rating 26 mpg is ok. Consider the Chevy Aveo, it gets 25 mpg tops!
    My only issue is the 2.4 just lacks quick get up and go. At passing speeds it moves very well, but not from a dead start. These 2.4 world engines need some refinement on a quicker start. Other than that we find it has lots of room and is pretty smooth.

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