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2007-2009 Dodge Caliber SRT4: screaming fast American hot hatch

The Dodge Caliber SRT4 had 285 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque; the massive increase in power over the Neon SRT-4, needed to keep similar straight-line performance despite higher weight. The price was also similar to the original SRT-4, at $22,995, but electronic stability control, antilock brakes, a brake lock differential, and a new performance metrics package were included (see our Dodge Caliber SRT4 review).

caliber srt-4

The 0-60 mph time was “in the low 6-second range.” The turbocharged engine put out 285 horsepower from 5,700 to 6,400 rpm; and a whopping 265 lb-ft of torque across a broad 2,000 - 5,600 rpm. 

In the 2003-2005 model years, more than 25,000 Dodge Neon SRT4s were sold – far more than the projected 7,500 per year. Caliber SRT4 did not fare nearly as well, with less than a thousand units sold in 2008 and 2009 — combined.

dodge caliber SRT4

Mike Valentine added: “Both SRT4s had unique struts and lower ride heights. The Caliber SRT4 uses different control arms, knuckles, and a revised lower crossmember along with the brake differential setup. The Neon SRT4 used different knuckles and a claimed revised cross member (some thought it was for clearance of the unique transmission but control arm angles could have been changed, I cannot confirm).

“The differential change helped enormously. ... If you disable the ESP on the Caliber SRT4, so the ESP and brake differential settings are no longer controlling the torque steer, the Caliber SRT4 becomes an animal to drive. Absolutely incredible and always on the edge.”

Erich Heuschele wrote, in the Chrysler blog, that the SRT team had taken the standard Caliber and dropped the front end 28 mm and the rear 22 mm, making the half-shafts flatter to help cut back on torque steer. Dampers were shortened to provide some of the jounce travel lost in the lowering.

He also said that the Caliber springs were around 160 psi, while the SRT4 went to 210 in front and 240 in the rear — versus 175 in the front and 125 in the back for the original SRT4. Tuning was done on the standard Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires on 19 by 7 ½ inch cast wheels (225/45R19). Goodyear F1 “summer tires” were optional.

The brake system is using the 5.7L Dodge Charger police car front calipers. It is actually [using] the export 300C 5.7L pads and the police car brake pads will go on. You can buy those from Mopar. Those are a little more track capable if your main focus with the car is at the track.

The rear brake is essentially a Sebring rear disc set up. We have pretty darn stiff calipers and I think a pretty good pedal feel. I think especially for a slider (floating calipers), this is the benchmark brake system for our segment.

Dodge SRT-4The SRT4 has a much bigger master cylinder to push the fluid volume because we've got twin pistons on the front brakes. We have a unique ABS tuning, unique ESP tuning for the vehicle, but sway-bar wise we maintain the Caliber R/T 24-mm. We bump the rear sway bar from a 15 to an 18 mm. ... if we had started from scratch with an all-wheel drive performance system, we couldn't offer the vehicle at the kind of price point that we wanted to offer.

Dodge Caliber SRT-4 overview

The front fascia has functional brake cooling ducts and a larger grille opening than normal Calibers, along with a cooling air scoop. A large integrated spoiler above the rear glass is tuned for smoother air flow and lift reduction. Paint could be black, sunburst orange, silver, and red.

The interior had sport seating with deep, performance bolsters, different instruments, and an optional Reconfigurable Display (RCD), with "performance pages" that provided lateral and longitudinal G-force, 1/8-mile and 1/4-mile acceleration time and speed, 0-60 mph time and braking distance.

SRT4 gauges

An Getrag DMT-6 six- speed transmission put the power to the ground; no automatic was available, and the car was front wheel drive only.

Standard features included a turbo boost gauge, stability control, all Caliber standard fatures, side window curtain air bag, driver knee blocker, filtered air conditioning, illuminated cup holders, AC outlet, sport seating with aggressive bolstering and performance fabric inserts, and SRT-unique aluminum wheels. Options included the Kicker audio at $1,190; power-express open/close sun roof at $795; and 19 x 7.5-inch polished aluminum SRT wheels at $400.

SRT4

Dodge Caliber SRT4 car engine and transmission

Pete Gladysz, Senior Manager – Powertrain, SRT, said the engine had increased cylinder-head flow and a higher compression ratio. The block was specially machined for increased water and oil flow.  Unique cast pistons were cooled by oil squirters; forged connecting rods with tri-metal bearings helped reliability. The aluminum 2.4 block used steel liners, a standard Chrysler practice. Exhaust valves were unique for SRT; the micro-alloy steel crankshaft and the camshaft were not.

The crankshaft also used tri-metal bearings for durability.  A unique oil pump/balance shaft module (with an external cooler) kept the reciprocating assembly lubricated.

srt-4 engine

The air cleaner drew through an opening in a front crossmember to get cool air; the TD04 turbocharger was configured for packaging. Air went from the turbocharger through an intercooler to a 57mm throttle body. High flow injectors were developed specifically for the SRT4.

The free-flow exhaust had two catalytic converters – one immediately downstream from the turbo, and another further along the 3-inch single-pipe exhaust system.

The six-speed manual transmission had a dual-mass flywheel made of two flywheels sandwiching internal springs, tuned to reduce noise and vibration. The transmission, with a limited-slip differential for uniform side-to-side power transfer, was rated at 300 lb.-ft. of torque.

Equal-length halfshafts, along with wheel hubs and bearings, were sourced from mid-size cars. The MacPherson strut front suspension had new suspension knuckles and tuned dampers with revised spring rates, along with unique front and rear sway bars. The stability control was recalibrated.

boost gauge

Dodge Caliber SRT-4 body and exterior

“We wanted an aggressive, SRT-signature look,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design.  “For example, ... we moved the fascia slightly forward and extended the walls of the grille.  The result is a much more aggressive look than the standard Dodge Caliber.”

The lowest portion of the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4’s fascia was an air dam.

MusicGate

The rear fascia’s lower vertical strakes directed underbody air flow out the back of the vehicle, for stability at speed.  A single, 3.5-inch exhaust tip exits from the right side of the fascia.

The spoiler was nearly 60% larger than that on the standard Dodge Caliber, for smoother air flow and downforce while maximizing the rear view.

Dodge Caliber SRT-4Inside, in addition to the special seats, SRT used a “carbon fiber” pattern on the upper portion of the steering wheel, and contrasting stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and leather shift boot; it also had an “alloy silver” finish on the instrument panel and shift bezel, and bright aluminum pedal pads with rubber grip studs.

Unlike other Calibers, the shifter had a lift ring to engage reverse, and a leather-finished shift knob.

Selected Dodge Caliber SRT4 Safety and Security Features

  • Advanced Multi-stage Air Bags and Constant Force Retractors (to release seat-belt webbing in a controlled manner during a severe impact)
  • Auto-reverse Sun Roof:  automatically reverses the sun roof (to the open position) if it encounters an obstacle while closing
  • Brake Assist: senses a panic brake condition and applies maximum braking power
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) 
  • Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS):  shuts fuel flow and turns on interior lighting and unlocks doors after air bag deployment.
  • ParkSense Rear Back-up System
  • SmartBeam® Headlamps:  adjusts to ambient light and oncoming traffic
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM)

Belvidere plant:  production

The 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 was built at the Chrysler Group's Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant with the other Dodge Caliber cars, as well as Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass. Robots made necessary tool changes automatically, within cycle time, in about 45 seconds. The plant began production of the Plymouth Fury and Dodge Monaco in 1965.

2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 Specifications

 All dimensions are in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted.

Dodge Caliber SRT-4 engine

Displacement 144 cu. in. (2360 cu. cm.)
Bore x Stroke 3.46  x 3.82 (88 x 97)
Valve System Chain-driven DOHC, 16 valves, electronically controlled dual variable valve timing, direct-acting shimless mechanical bucket tappets
Fuel Injection Sequential, multi-port, electronic, returnless
Construction High-pressure die cast aluminum block with dry iron liners, cast aluminum cylinder heads, cast aluminum ladder frame, forged steel crankshaft; dual counter-rotating balance shafts
Compression Ratio 8.6:1
Power (SAE net) 300 bhp (223 kW) @ 6000 rpm (125 bhp/liter)
Torque (SAE net) 260 lb.-ft. (352 N•m) @ 2000-6000 rpm
Max. Engine Speed 6500 rpm (electronically limited)
Fuel Requirement Unleaded premium, 93 octane (R+M)/2
Oil / Coolant Capacity 5.0 qt. (4.7L) SAE 0W/40 Mobil 1 Synthetic; 7.2 qt. (6.8 L) antifreeze
EPA MPG 22 city, 28 highway

TRANSAXLE: MANUAL, GETRAG DMT-6

Fully synchronized in all gears; cable operated four-plane shifter with reverse lockout ring.

1st 3.231
2nd 1.952
3rd 1.321
4th 0.971
5th 1.061
6th 0.886
Reverse 3.831
Final Drive Ratio  Gears 1-4: 4.063, gears 5,6: 2.955
Overall Top Gear 2.728
Torque capability 300 lb-ft

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Electrical  700 CCA battery, 140 amp alternator
Wheelbase  103.7 (2635)
Track, Front 59.8 (1520)
Track, Rear 59.8 (1520)
Overall Length  173.8 (4413.9)
Overall Width  68.8 (1747.2)
Overall Height  60.4 (1533.1)
Ground Clearance 7.0 (178)
Frontal Area, sq. ft. (sq. m) 24.5 (2.28)
Drag Coefficient 0.4 (high for 2006; the first Neon was .32 ... the Caliber is listed at 0.375).
Curb Weight, lb. (estimated)  3189 (1447 kg)
Weight Distribution, F/R 58/42
Tires and wheels Goodyear P255/45ZR19 on cast aluminum 19 x 7.5 wheels.

DODGE CALIBER SRT4 SUSPENSION, STEERING, AND BRAKES

Front Suspension Independent MacPherson strut, coil spring over gas-charged shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Rear Suspension Multi-link-link independent with coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, gas-charged shock absorbers
Steering Type Rack and pinion with hydraulic power assist
Overall Ratio 16.6:1
Turning Diameter 39.6 ft. (12 m)
Steering Turns 2.76
Brakes: Front 13.3 x 1.1 (340 x 28) vented disc with 2.2 (57) dual-piston floating caliper
Front Swept Area 223.52 sq. in. (1442.12 sq. cm)
Rear Size and Type 11.8 x 1.39 (302 x 10) solid disc with 1.4 (35) single-piston floating caliper
Rear Swept Area 138.64 sq. in. (894.6 sq. cm)
Power Assist Type 10 (254) single-diaphragm vacuum

See our Dodge Caliber SRT4 review for details; also see our Dodge Caliber forum

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