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New Caliber Owners - Give Us Your Report!



  • airnosairnos Posts: 16
    Brand new forum member here. :)

    I purchased my SE w/2.0L, AC & power package yesterday, and I'm still under 200 miles on the odometer, but so far I've enjoyed it. For perspective, I traded a 2001 Corolla.

    Don't regret the choice. Wish I could have afforded the SXT but the SE with upgrades is a good alternative.

    Judgment's been an adventure. I checked specs and the Caliber's footprint is actually SMALLER than the Corolla's. Between that and the fact that I'm used to having a trunk behind the back window, I've been badly overjudging the back. I'm also still slightly overjudging the right. But I'd rather overjudge than underjudge.

    I noticed the blind spots right away; they're most definitely there. But in my case the higher seat goes a long way toward mitigating them. I've also been long used to glancing over my shoulder since I wear glasses and thus have less-than-reliable peripheral vision anyway. So far, it's been annoying at times, but no real problems.

    My initial impression of the CVT was that it was sluggish and required a lot more gas pedal than I expected. But out on an Interstate this morning it handled itself very nicely in the 70 mph range. Per the break-in section of the owner's manual I revved it a couple times and made it from 70 to 80 just as fast as the Corolla. After doing a bit more research, I have started to wonder if the "sluggish" feel has to do with the fact that the Caliber is heavier than the Corolla. More to come. My chief concern at the moment has to do with the fact that I drive Atlanta's Downtown Connector daily during rush hour, and more days than not I end up doing some hard accels/decels in the 30-60 range.

    The car seems to lean to the driver's side even though the car does not drift to the left when I take my hands off the wheel. To me the non-expert this suggests shocks instead of tires or alignment. That being said, the shocks on my last new car (a Nissan) also required a break-in so my current plan is to re-evaluate at 1000 miles. Also, the accelerator sometimes acts a little strange when I have cruise on but not enabled. This, too, is something I'll just watch for right now.

    I've got the base audio and it's well more than I need. Road noise is about what I expected, and I noticed that most of it is tire noise not engine noise (i.e., the engine is well insulated). I can drown it out with the audio at 12 or so. The difference between a cassette adapter and an aux jack for my mp3 player is pleasantly noticable.

    I wish the pedals were mounted a little further back. I'm only 5'5" and have to sit a bit closer to the steering wheel than I particularly like.

    But these are really my only complaints. Handling's fine, performance seems at least decent, etc. And when I got home from the dealership, I barely even made it out of the car before someone came up asking me questions and wanting to check it out. :shades:
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    Hello and Welcome!! For the sluggish acceleration look into get this flash. TSB#18-031-07

    Several owners have reported improvement, including myself! :)
  • jmechjmech Posts: 15
    I have over 16,000 miles on my Caliber SXT, auto. Its been a great car so far-no serious issues. I had the sunshade replaced in the back under warranty and the computer was flashed/upgraded.It improved performance with the A/C on a lot. Thats it so far! Gas Mileage is good even with A/C on quite a bit. 23 city and 30 straight highway @ 70 mph. It been about 27 mixed. :)
    I understand that Chrysler is now offering a UNLIMITED POWERTRAIN Warranty for as long as you own the car. Too bad they don't offer it on ALL 2007 owners. :)
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    The Caliber has almost everything I want on paper.
    Reasonable price, auxiliary audio input, and available bluetooth and stability control. There are not many other vehicles for the same price that have those particular features.
    However, the quality control issues, cheap interior and bad gas mileage for a smallish vehicle make in unacceptable.
    It barely gets better mileage the V6 car I'm driving now. Many midsized cars like the Camry and Accord get much better gas mileage than Calibers with their larger and more refined 4 cylinder engines and 5 speed automatics.
  • lexan1965lexan1965 Posts: 118
    I've just gone over 43K in my 2.0 cvt caliber and the car still drives like new. No issues with it what so ever. I change the oil and filter every 5 to 6 thousand miles with Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic. Now that I've had Sirius Satellite installed I like it even better *L*.
  • fregtroopfregtroop Posts: 1
    I took delivery of a new SXT (CVT2, 2.0L engine) about 10 days ago and noticed that the engine cover was 'missing' - which made the engine look vulnerable with the cables and associated tapes clearly visible. Anyway, the dealership told me that DiamlerChrysler (DC) decided to offer the covers only on the R/T trim. They actually printed out a parts bulletin from DC showing that all 1.8 and 2.0 Liter engines (Jeep Commander, Dodge Caliber . . .) would no longer have the cover. In fact, the bulletin seemed to suggest quite strongly that dealers should not try to order the cover for engines of these sizes. I couldn't help wondering whether there was something wrong with the 1.8 and 2.0L that made it risky to have the covers in there.

    Other than that minor annoyance, I have been enjoying my car so far. Averaging 29 - 30 MPG on my daily commute.
  • airnosairnos Posts: 16
    1800 mile report:

    I'm definitely going to ask the dealer about the flash update when I take the car in for the first oil change (which I'm planning for around 2500 miles). The sluggish acceleration and the hard "downshift" at 20 mph -- I assume this is the rpm governor kicking in -- are driving me crazy. Per the label inside the driver's door, it came out of the factory in June 2007, so I'm surprised the update wasn't already done.

    I'm also going to get a couple other small things taken care of at the same time. They're minor -- the door hinges need lubrication; the Chill Zone latch won't stay open; and the brakes have a funny squeak. Other than the accel/decel the car is doing fine.

    Took the car, which is now named D.C., to see family in another state (900 miles round trip) and it did great out on the highway. The shocks have settled in fine and there has been a marked reduction in tire noise now that I, and not the dealer, am monitoring the pressure. Given that I live in the South with CONSTANT a/c use, I'm pleased with the 26/30 mpg I'm getting.

    I'm very glad I bought this car. I'm still getting used to it, but I've already had one rather close call and the car did exactly what I wanted it to do. To me that's the most important thing: can I rely on the car to perform well enough to keep me out of wrecks. I'm pleased to say I can.
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    10,000 miles

    My SXT 2.0L/CVT has only been back to the dealer
    for my free oil changes and the TSB# 18-031-07.
    It's drives the way I expected sporty and fun
    to use and the MPG has gotten better after the TSB,
    last tank 30% city driving with hiway driving
    4 adults and luggage at 70-80 mph with A/C on
    averaged 30 mpg US.
    The downshift at 20 mph is the result of the
    engine programming,when you lift off the gas
    it goes to economy mode at 20 mph reducing
    gas consumption and that with the CVT adjusting
    felt harsh in mine also,after the flash and at
    about 8,000 miles it became less noticeable.
    I fixed the chillzone door myself with piece of
  • Had my Caliber SXT for exactly one year now with 21,000 miles and no problems...2L CVT and between 27-29 mpg on a continual basis...gorceries, golf clubs, camping stuff all fit great in back....little more power would be nice, oversteers on corners, and back window washer squirts periodically but mechanically and the practicality of this vehicle is awesome for the price and features I got...same vehicle with options now would cost $800 more than last year!! I do not understand some of these complaints about gas mileage and is a small wagon that looks like a sporty crossover that is economical with some cool features all for under $18,000......hard to complain about all that!
  • edr2edr2 Posts: 2
    I bought my Caliber 2 weeks ago. I've got now 1400 miles on it and I like everything so far. My only complaint is the gas mileage. At this point with mixed driving it gets about 22/23 mpg. Is it because it is new? Is there anything I can do to improve it?
    Thank you for your help.
  • Which model Caliber do you have.Gas mileage varies greatly from the FWD to the AWD R/T
  • Get the newest TSB Flash, but if it's an R/T that is pretty much right for city driving. I average about 23mpg with my city driving.
  • See the post above & get the flash.your mileage should be better with the SXT
  • My SXT with 2.0L engine CVT has been consistently around 29 mpg's for the 12 months I have had it with 75% highway..25% City...just an FYI and you should get your computer reflashed.
  • My wife has had her Caliber SXT 2.0 for about 3 months now. Her MPG started around 24, so I had the computer flashed, or at least the dealer said they did, and now she is getting around 22-23 mpg. I did notice an improvement in takeoff, so I guess they did do the update. I am not sure what else to try though. She does do a lot of city style driving.
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    My SXT 2.0 was about the same but I can assure
    it fets better with more miles.
    Don't ask for a magic number of miles when
    it will happen,todays cars with adaptive
    driving software can do funny things when
    given erratic driving habits to contend with
    and it will change as now I consistently
    get 27-30 mpg US in the city.
  • airnosairnos Posts: 16

    I can confirm 27 mpg in the city (about 60/40 for me). And it's a RARE road trip that I don't pop 30.
  • eb01eb01 Posts: 1
    I have had my Caliber for a little over 5 months and have 5k miles. It gets great gas mileage in the city. I have been getting 26-28 in the city. We did recently take it on a 900 mile vacation to Acadia National Park, on the way we noticed a funny whistle sound coming from the drivers side door it is very distracting (even my husband who wears a hearing aid can hear it) It continues to make that sound if you go over 60 miles an hour. Other than that problem it has been a great little car. My two year old enjoys sitting in the back with the hatch up when we go to the drive in. It reminds me of my Moms old Station Wagon.
  • I've got a 5 speed Caliber, 7+ thousand miles, and have scheduled maintanence performed but while stopped at lights and stop signs, etc. it "threatens" to stall. There is no tachometer and I had the dealership take a look but they "Can't find anything wrong". It doesn't do it every day so it's difficult to take it into the shop and have it do the same thing. Anybody have any ideas as to what might be going on?
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    The 5spd/1.8L stalling is a problem that's been around
    for a while.
    I suggest you follow this link-

    Read it and follow their advice.
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    There is a TSB that has been issued for your whistling sound and
    how to fix it.
    You can find it here-
  • Just wondering if anyone has had a wierd smell coming out of the vent on startup. it only lasts a few seconds...I have tried spraying lysol in through vent in firewall as suggested by dealer, but it hasnt done anything to fix the problem. Air smell is so bad I have to open the windows....even in below zero temps here in Northern BC
    Have been to the dealer a few times and they have not been able to fix it yet.
    Anyone have any suggestions or experience with this?
  • dommissedommisse Posts: 2
    Luckily I do not have any wierd smell. WHAT does it smell like?
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    The smell you are having is from mildew/fungal buildup on the AC/DEFROST
    evaporator which located in the dash about at its center.
    The problem arises from using the ac/defrost cycle both of which
    use the evaperator to remove water/humidity from the cabin area.
    You can help prevent it by running the HEATER only on high for
    several minutes before turning the car off.
    If you spray Lysol with the fan on mid setting spray it thru the
    cabin airfilter access behind the glovebox,you can spray the cabin
    airfilter itself with Lysol or do as I did by placing a FEW drops of
    liquid car scent (something you can live with) onto the cabin air filter.
    I have owned Chrysler cars since 1984 and this crops up in some
    models more than others.
    Since scenting the filter and letting it run on heat only for a few minutes
    I haven't noticed it all winter.
  • opotsopots Posts: 3
    Just wondering if anyone else has major water leaks in their cali? Started with rear hatch then right side (actually sloshing around back there), now left side sopping wet.
    I have a 2008 R/T with AWD, and a 2.4. Been to the dealer 3 times and have called today to speak to owner of dealership to see what he or Chrysler are going to do.
    Leaks seem to be happening every couple of months. Bought car in Oct. 2007, first leak in Jan. 2008 then March, etc.. Is this common with Calibers??? Anyone else have these major problems?

  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    Over the 2 yrs I have owned my Caliber I have seen numerous posts
    regarding water leaks,I have not had a problem with this myself.
    The most common cause has been plugged drains on the
    sunroof drains,there are 4 of them,one each in both the "A" pillars
    and the "B" pillars.If you have a sunroof this could be the source
    ant drains have become clogged with debris.
    The 2nd cause has been poor body panel sealing in the manufacturing
    process and this can only be resolved by a dealer who provides
    good service.
    The 3rd source has been the runoff from the AC evaporater which
    is used both AC and defrost cycles,the overflow hose which exits
    the cabin close to gas pedal uder the carpeting becomes clogged
    and backs up the water at the catch tray.

    Find another dealer if yours isn't doing the job.
  • I got mi Caliber 07 in April last year and my first visit to the dealer due to leaks was in december.It started in the back right side then passed to the front.They sealed the fllor and replaced the whole carpet.THen I tooh the car again one monrh later with the same problem.Today I have no problem yet.
  • opotsopots Posts: 3
    Thanks for your reply. Let me first say I do not have a sunroof. This problem started in Jan, 2008 with the hatch leaking on both right & left side, this was found and repaired by the dealer. The next problem was in March, 2008 when the right side rear floor was flooded (1" water laying on top of carpeting). Took to dealer they said they fixed it. In May, 2008 after another storm, it leaked at the same side again.
    Took it to dealer, after a week in there they finally found and fixed the leak, replaced the carpet and broke my windshield while testing for leaks there. They also put holes in the back of my rear seat with tools or something when they were trying to take the seat out to replace the carpet, and ruined the carpeting on top of the spare tire hatch.
    This repair is still open pending a new seat cover replacement. Now in June, 2008
    after another storm, the left rear is leaking. Waiting for Service Manager to get a hold of Chrysler Rep. hopefully the rep. will come here to talk to me. I think 6 months, going on 7 is enough!!!!
  • equuspwrequuspwr Posts: 6
    Leased the sxt. 2.0L CVT in Jan. In March I noticed that there was an unusual amount of water in the car, on the drivers side front and back, about a half inch deep. I brought the car to the dealer. They had the car for about a half a day and said that the fire wall was not sealed properly at the factory. They fixed it and I have not had any more leaks since. I still have my fingers crossed.
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