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The Dodge Caliber: mini-SUV cars, 2007-2013

dodge caliber production carsee: Caliber SRT4Caliber forum • Caliber reviewJeep CompassJeep Patriot
CVT automaticCaliber Phase II: 2010 - 2012 models •  T355 manual

The 2007 Dodge Caliber had a low starting price of $13,985, and had the moderate honor of being one of the most popular cars purchased under the “Cash for Clunkers” program, before supplies ran out. A 2010 redesign hiked up the price by $4,000, but also dramatically improved the interior; along the way, the suspension was retuned and the continuously variable transmission was adjusted to address criticism of the early models. By 2012, the Caliber started at $18,085.

Europeans get a diesel engine that provides about the same horsepower as the base 1.8 gas engine, albeit at lower revs, along with more torque than the biggest gas engine - and more than double the torque of the base powerplant, with an EU-estimated 30 mpg city, 46 highway (assuming our conversion from 5-8 liters/100km is correct; thanks, Filip Norrgard).

Engine HP (Dodge.com) HP (Press Kit) MPG Lb-Ft N•m
1.8 liter (stick) 143 @ 6,400 rpm 148 @ 6,400 rpm 28/32 125 @ 4,400 rpm
124 @ 5,500 rpm
169
2.0 liter (CVT) 150 @ 6,400 rpm 158 @ 6,400 rpm 26/30 141 @ 5,200 rpm
135 @ 5,200 rpm
190
2.4 liter (CVT) 173 @ 6,000 rpm 172 @ 6,400 rpm 23/26 165 @5,200 rpm
164 @ 4,400*
224
2.4 turbo (stick) 300 300 22/28 260 352
2.0 VW diesel (stick) 140 @ 4,000 rpm n/a 30/46 229 @ 2,500 310
Gas mileage (FWD except for the 2.4) is estimated; figures out there vary wildly.
* Press kit / dodge.com respectively.

The Caliber’s wheelbase is between the first and second generation Neons, at 103.7 inches. It is just a little (1.4 inches) wider, and is only 4.4 inches taller (60.4 inches), though it looks much higher due to its styling. The Caliber has seven inches of ground clearance; the Jeep Compass based on it has eight.

The Caliber launched a brand new engine series, the “World Engine,” renamed later to “World Gas Engine.” A turbocharged version with 280 hp was used in the Caliber SRT4. This engine is set to be thoroughly retuned in 2011.

caliber gauges

The Belvidere assembly plant has empowered-team-based production; in the launch review, suppliers were on hand to address quality concerns (supplier issues have given a number of past Chrysler vehicles, including the Cirrus, an initial black eye).

2010 Caliber interior

Dodge Caliber was full of interior features rarely found on entry-level compact vehicles, including (many of these are optional):

  • Standard side-curtain air bags
  • An optional nine-speaker MusicGate sound system with subwoofer and two speakers in the liftgate that swing down from the trim panel to face rearward for tailgating
  • A self-recharging removable flashlight, mounted in the headliner above the cargo area, which can snap out of the bezel to serve as a flashlight
  • Chill Zone,® a cooled beverage storage bin that can hold up to four 20-oz. bottles or cans (available in air conditioning-equipped models)
  • 2010 Dodge Caliber exterior
  • A floor console sliding armrest moves forward 3 inches to accommodate shorter drivers. The armrest lid includes a unique flip pocket for storing a cell phone or an MP3 player
  • A 110-volt outlet in the center console can power small electronics (SXT and R/T)
  • Front cup holders rings glow blue-green to match other center stack lighting
  • A front passenger seat folds forward to create a table-like surface for versatility (SXT and R/T models)
  • 60/40 rear seats both fold flat and recline 12 degrees (SXT and R/T models)
  • A vinyl load floor in the rear cargo area is both washable and removable
  • YES Essentials® fabric – an easy-care, soil-repellant and anti-microbial textile protects seats from stains, odors and discoloration (late availability)
  • glove compartment cooler ipod holder

Powertrain engineering

A 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine is available outside North America. Unusual options available in some locations and on some models include stability control (ESP). Three World Engines offerings (1.8-, 2.0- and 2.4-liter) provide 148 hp, 158 hp and 172 hp, respectively — with the 2.4 engine beating Volkswagen’s five-cylinder Rabbit engine by 22 hp.

Chrysler engineers met aggressive performance and fuel economy targets through advanced cylinder head port and intake manifold design. Technologies used in the Caliber include dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and intake manifold design with flow control valves, firsts for a Chrysler Group compact car. Combined, these features produce more power, better fuel economy and smoother, quieter operation than engines without them.

dodge caliber engines

The 1.8 liter engine is coupled to a standard Chrysler-engineered T355 five-speed manual transaxle, while the larger engines come only with the CVT.

Dodge Caliber’s CVT2 is a second-generation CVT that Chrysler Group engineers have calibrated for precise ratio control and an AutoStick® feature that allows for manual control with the simulation of six stepped gears. CVT2 contributes to a fuel economy improvement of 6-8 percent compared with a traditional 4-speed automatic.

Dodge Caliber is the Chrysler Group’s first compact car with available electromagnetically controlled all-wheel drive with variable torque output.

inside the dodge caliber inside

To ensure its success in global volume markets, Caliber launched outside North America with both right- and left-hand drive models and an available turbo diesel engine. Dodge Caliber also meets and complies with all regulatory requirements, as well as off-set crash tests in Europe and Australia and front-impact compliance for Japan and Australia. Dodge Caliber’s manual and automatic transaxle shifters are packaged in the center stack instead of the floor console, which is more common in Japanese and European markets. The Caliber’s transaxle also has been upgraded to provide excellent shift quality and shift effort that is as smooth as any compact car on the road today.

The Federal government gave the Caliber five-star crash test ratings for all tests, while the IIHS gave it Good ratings in all but one test.

2010 Dodge Caliber vs Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cobalt

Dodge Caliber Mainstreet is expected to account for over half of all sales, with the Heat coming in a distant second and top-end Rush being least popular.

2010 comparison Caliber Express Caliber Mainstreet Ford Focus SES Chevrolet Cobalt 1LT
Price $17,630 $18,810 $19,505 $16,470
Price with automatic n/a $18,810 $20,320 $17,530
Base transmission Manual CVT (manual on Express, Heat) 5-speed manual
(opt. 4-speed auto)
5-speed manual
(opt. 4-speed auto)
Standard power 158 hp 158 hp 140 hp 155 hp
Suspension 4-wheel ind. 4-wheel independent 4-wheel independent Front independent
Standard VVT Intake+exh. Intake + exhaust None Yes
Total passenger volume 95 c.f. 95 cubic feet 93.4 cubic feet 87.1 cubic feet
Trunk volume 18.5 c.f. 18.5 cubic feet 13.6 cubic feet 13.9 cubic feet
AC power outlet None Standard Not available Not available
Knee airbag None Standard None None
NHTSA crash test: front n/a 5 star 4 star driver, 5 star passenger 4 star
NHTSA crash test: side n/a 5 star 3 star front, 5 star rear 5 star front, 4 star rear
Powertrain warranty 5 /100 5 / 100 5 / 60 5 / 100
ABS/Stability Both standard Both standard Both standard ABS optional, no stability control

The 2009 upgrades

The 2009 Dodge Caliber got the former MyGIG system, with cellphone connections and 30 gigabyte hard drive, satellite traffic reports, and satellite radio as options. Engine noise was cut with added insulation and exhaust systemupgrades. Cosmetic changes included badging, colors (inside and out), larger floor mats (SXT and R/T), and body-color door handles (SXT and R/T). MusicGate was made standard on SXT Sport, and ABS became standard on SXT. Numerous package changes were made; SXT Security Group got an engine oil cooler with the 2.0 liter engine. On the SRT4, the new performance pages (providing 0-60 times, quarter mile reports, G-forces, and braking distances) and an EVIC became standard. The SRT4 was dropped by 2010.

2010 Dodge Caliber interior

 

Pricing and models at launch

iPodAt a U.S. MSRP of $13,985 (including $560 destination charge), the Dodge Caliber SE includes a standard 148-horsepower 1.8-liter engine coupled with a five-speed manual transaxle. Other standard equipment includes standard side-curtain air bags, a vinyl load floor, auxiliary radio input jack, electrically lit front cup holders, 12-volt power outlet, a center console sliding armrest that moves forward 3 inches to accommodate shorter drivers. The armrest lid features a unique flip pocket for storing a cell phone or an MP3 player. Additional standard features include body color grille and fascias and black door handles, flexible 60/40 split-fold rear seats, manual windows and locks, fabric seats, tilt steering wheel, dome and cargo lights and 15-inch wheels and tires.

Optional features include a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter World Engine coupled with the second-generation CVT2 (which includes standard anti-lock brakes), six-disc radio with cassette and MP3 CD play capability, Power Group (which includes driver one-touch power window, power locks, remote keyless entry and power mirrors), body color liftgate appliqué, air conditioning, Chill Zone®, integrated instrument panel beverage cooler, speed control, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Uconnect™ hands-free communication system, trailer tow group, floor mats and MusicGate Power.

Dodge Caliber SXT adds to the base SE model 60/40 rear seats that both fold flat and recline, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a dual-purpose re-chargeable/removable interior lamp, map light, air conditioning, Chill Zone® tachometer, power windows, mirrors and door locks, remote keyless entry, 110-volt electrical outlet in the center console, manual seat height adjuster, floor mats, bright silver IP bezels and switches. The Dodge Caliber SXT’s exterior features standard black dual power mirrors, body-color body-side molding, chrome grille and 17-inch wheels and wheel covers.

dodge caliber car reviews

Options on the Dodge Caliber SXT beyond those offered on the SE model include a 2.0-liter engine coupled with the CVT2, leather steering wheel with radio control options, heated seats, power sunroof, fog lamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels, a Security Group (which includes tonneau cover, alarm and air filtration system) and a Driver Convenience Group (which includes compass and temperature gauge, universal garage door opener, electrochromic mirror and tire pressure monitor) and a Leather Interior Group (which includes leather seats, heated front seats and manual lumbar adjuster).

A Sport Package also is available on the SXT model and includes fog lamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels and a Sport Appearance Package (which includes cloth seats with colored inserts, color-keyed PRNDL and instrument panel bezels).

The Dodge Caliber R/T with all-wheel drive features a standard 172-horsepower 2.4-liter World Engine with dual VVT coupled with CVT2, anti-lock brakes, AutoStick, a sport-suspension, performance steering and 18-inch aluminum wheels.

Caliber SE: 2966 lbs
Caliber SXT: 3039 lbs
Caliber R/T FWD: 3156 lbs
Caliber R/T AWD: 3308 lbs

In addition to the standard features on the SE and SXT models, standard features on the Dodge Caliber R/T include leather steering wheel with radio controls, tonneau cover, premium fabric seats, silver bezels on the instrument panel and chrome interior door handles. The Dodge Caliber R/T’s exterior features a chrome grille, body-color lower fascias, body-color sill moldings, chrome plated body-side moldings, body-color door handles and fog lamps. An optional feature on the Dodge Caliber R/T models equipped with all-wheel drive, beyond those offered on the SXT, include 18-inch chrome wheels.

All 2007 Dodge Caliber models will be available in red, orange, marine and steel blue, silver, black, and white. All models feature a two-tone interior color theme of dark and lighter shades of gray or beige. An optional Sport Appearance Package includes gray with red, yellow, orange or blue seat inserts that coordinate with the exterior color, center stack and shifter bezels.

caliber car review - dodge

Production of the Dodge Caliber began in early 2006 at the Belvidere, Illinois Assembly Plant. The new four-cylinder World Engines for this vehicle were built in the state-of-the art Global Engine Manufacturing Assembly (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan.

More Dodge Caliber news and such

cargo bayThe engine idles quietly and at a very low rpm, but the 2.4 can be raucous and buzzy when revved. Size-wise, the Caliber is similar to the Matrix, though it seems a bit wider and lower — like the Commander, it looks taller than it is; it isn’t all that high but seems to have nice interior space. Inside it looks like other recent Dodges, with dull, thick chrome rings around the gauges; it's not far from the Charger overall.

As with the Neon, the Caliber will benefit from a long model year of 18 months - the 2007s will be made starting in January 2006 - and 2008s will start showing up in August 2007. Chrysler said they believed they would sell 370,000 Calibers in that time (18 months), which would make it hotter than the Neon (around 120,000 per year) — in reality, putting together all Dodge Caliber sales of calendar-years 2006 and 2007, which included many 2008 models, Dodge sold a little less than 200,000 vehicles. By comparison, the 1995 Neon, which sold starting in January 1994, ran to 112,511 Dodges and 89,607 Plymouths, exceeding 200,000 units. (Just for fun, we checked on 1974 Plymouth Duster figures and found 277,409 were sold - along with 127,430 Valiants, 51,000 Scamps, a few thousand Broughams and Duster 360s, and a slew of Dodge equivalents). The Caliber did sell nearly as well as the Neon’s norm in 2007, but never hit 120,000, unless you include the Compass and Patriot. (Then one might be tempted to add the PT Cruiser to the Neon).

(Actual Dodge Caliber sales figures:)

U.S. Sales Dodge Caliber Jeep Compass Jeep Patriot Total
2006 92,224 18579 0 110,803
2007 101,079 39491 40434 181,004
2008 84,158 25,349 55,654 165,161
2009 36,098 11,739 31,432 79,269
2010        

A 1:87 (HO) Caliber model is available now in Inferno Red and Sunburst Orange and will be offered in Black Clearcoat and Brilliant Silver in the fall. It can be obtained from Burbank’s House of Hobbies or Truck Stop Models. The Caliber model and the forthcoming Charger, 300C, and PT Cruiser models made by Ricko can be obtained through any retailer served by Horizon Hobby, Models 11, or William K. Walthers, Inc.

We have a Caliber discussion forum.

Caliber: comparisons to the Neon

JATCO CVT from Dodge CaliberWhile the Caliber is neither as slippery as the first-generation Neon nor as light, with performance nowhere near as good as a stick-shift Neon, it has more cargo space, more passenger room, and higher safety and emissions standards...not to mention a high performance diesel option for Europeans.

The CVT makes gas mileage for the Caliber automatics better in some cases than the Neon automatic, though still disappointing (especially given that the Kia Optima, using a similar engine, managed to post a full 7 extra highway miles-per-gallon with a conventional automatic).

The base model gets lower EPA ratings than the 1995-99 or 2004-05 Neon stick-shift models (29/38), but may be better for automatic buyers, with the continuously variable transmission. By comparison, the Toyota Corolla automatic gets 30 city, 38 highway with 126 hp; or 26 city, 34 highway with the 164 hp XRS and a stick, but the Corolla is much lighter (and possibly smaller). The Caliber SRT-4 blasts the XRS out of the water, with the same acceleration as the Neon SRT-4.

Dodge Caliber engines and transmissions

  • All three Chrysler versions of the world engine are being used in the US, but only the 1.8 liter will be coupled to a manual transmission (until a late-availability 2.4-manual and SRT-4 are brought out). Europe will see a Volkswagen diesel also used in the Volkswagen Golf range, chosen due to cost and size; it produces less horsepower than the bottom-end gas engine, but has gobs of torque available from low engine speeds (and out-torques all of the gasoline engines except perhaps the turbo). Gas mileage is expected to be excellent with this powerplant.
  • We have photos of the engine and transmission at the end of this page.
  • The CVT (continuously variable transmission) is uses a steel push belt for durability. The CVT was retuned and revised during the first model year for better feel and responsiveness. CVT transmission details
  • CVT drivers should note that unlike an automatic transmission, there is no part-throttle downshift. To get full acceleration you press the gas down more. The engine will not change rpm as you accelerate so don't be fooled by the sounds - you are accelerating!
  • Dodge Caliber uses the first electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system with variable torque output ever offered on any Chrysler Group car. (Details on the CVT page.)
  • The 2.0-liter engine is a direct-injection turbo diesel with high-pressure fuel injection, a variable geometry turbocharger, and four valves per cylinder. The injectors are electronically controlled, allowing precise management of each combustion cycle. This system can operate at pressures up to 2000 bar, leading to finer atomization of fuel, high power and torque, and better fuel efficiency.

The Caliber is an international and multibrand vehicle, with one series of engine designed in at least three nations by three different companies; a Mercedes variable valve system, Nissan-subsidiary-supplied transmission (JATCO is almost entirely owned by Nissan), and Chrysler vehicle platform and general design - albeit based on a Mitsubishi platform that we'd assume uses Mercedes stability control systems.

Second generation: 2010 - 2011 Dodge Caliber

inside the 2010 Dodge Caliber

The Dodge Caliber was developed under the thumb of Daimler, and reflected their keen lack of knowledge of what American buyers wanted from a car. Many buyers were happy with the Caliber, which fit the needs of many people, but many more turned down the hatchback form, chunky styling, and “odd-feeling” powertrain. Cerberus, on taking over, initiated a fairly extensive restyling effort; when Fiat took over, Chrysler engineers and leaders continued that work and added a rebranding effort.

2010 wheelsWhen the 2010 Dodge Caliber finally arrived, with production starting in January 2010, many changes had been made; and practically no Calibers remained on dealer lots. The interior was mainly new, with a new instrument panel, floor console with soft armrest and secondary armrest storage bin, new door trim panels with soft armrests, new shift boot (manual transmissions), new cloth, active head restraints, standard floor mats, and a new LED cluster with chrome rings on higher models. New wheels were used, as well. Climate controls were larger and the airbag cover was seamless; bright accents added contrast and chromed accents brightened numerous controls. New door-trim panels and center console with armrest split-lid feature padded soft-touch materials for improved passenger comfort. The five-speed manual was available on the 2.0 (SE and SXT), with the 1.8 dropped. A Sport Appearance package included 18-inch aluminum wheels and touring suspension (available on SXT).

Unconfirmed were optional heated mirrors, automatic air conditioning, leather emergency brake handle, and six-way power seats, with a new optic green metallic paint.

The CVT was given “tip start” and a moderate gas-mileage boost to 31 mpg highway. A new optic green metallic color replaced surf blue, and a new set of wheel options was brought out. All power mirrors were heated; remote start was available. But the SRT4 was gone.

All models had five star front and side crash test ratings.

Export models gained a 2.2 liter Mercedes turbodiesel which had 16% more power, while cutting fuel usage by 5%. The 1.8 liter engine was to be dropped; a possible 2.0 MDX engine might raise highway mileage to 31 mpg late in 2010.

The upper instrument panel was restyled and painted; the seat recline handle was lengthened and seat track covers improved; temperature controls were electronic (rather than using cables); and air conditioning performance was reportedly upgraded. The result was a very different Dodge Caliber than the model that "wasn't cute."

The model range was completely revised and brought into line with what customers wanted to buy, rather than what made sense to executives, or so Dodge officials claimed. The line dropped the “alphabet soup” of SE, SE with CPOS, SXT, SXT with CPOS, and R/T, and replaced it with Express, Mainstreet, Heat, Uptown, and Rush. While prices did not fall in absolute terms, more features were bundled.

dodge cvtThe 2010 Dodge Caliber Express is the base model. It is now nicely loaded, and has the four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and 2.0-liter 16-valve World Engine with fuel-efficient five-speed manual transmission capable of 31 mpg on the highway. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Caliber Express is $17,510 (including $630 destination). The CVT is not available on Express.

To get the Caliber Express, Dodge took the $16,975 base model, and added air conditioning, power locks, mirrors, and windows, tonneau cover, UConnect/iPod connection, AC outlet, auto-dimming rear view mirror, remote entry, and cargo shade. But it's available only with the manual transmission and seems to come with the smaller engine; and no option packages are available, just the smoker's group, engine block heater, and 17” aluminum wheels, all as standalones.

The Dodge Caliber Mainstreet adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, chromed crosshair grille, body-color door handles, fog lamps, folding front-passenger seat, 60/40 split-folding and reclining rear seat, touring suspension, tachometer and 2.0-liter 16-valve World Engine with second-generation Continuously-variable Transmission (CVT2). MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet is $18,690 (including destination). Mainstreet is similar to the old SXT 24D package, with more standard features; it adds to the Express fog lamps, painted 17” aluminum wheels, bright grille, touring suspension, and folding front passenger seat.

The 2010 Dodge Caliber Uptown is similar to Mainstreet but with more luxury features; it takes the Express and adds CVT (automatic transmission), 17” aluminum wheels, fog lamps, automatic climate control, five-passenger leather seating, power six-way driver’s seat, and media center stereo with hard disk, MusicGate Power™ nine-speaker Boston Acoustics system, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, and two articulating liftgate speakers. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet is $20,625 (including $630 destination).

For a sportier ride, the Dodge Caliber Heat has the Caliber Mainstreet features with a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch polished-aluminum wheels, four-wheel Anti-lock disc Brakes (ABS), performance steering, color-keyed instrument panel and seats, B- and C-pillar blackout accents and five-speed manual transmission. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Caliber Heat is $18,625 (including $630 destination) and has the 2-liter engine. Caliber Heat is similar to the old SXT model with more standard features; an automatic transmission (most likely CVT) with AutoStick is available.

The 2010 Dodge Caliber Rush, which essentially replaces R/T but has more features, includes a unique five-speed manual transmission mated to a larger 2.4-liter World Engine with 172 horsepower (128 kW) and 165 ft.-lb. (224 N•m) of torque; while it was available on Jeep Compass, the manual/2.4 combination is new to the Caliber (an automatic CVT is optional). It has the SRT4 spoiler, and features from the Heat plus the media center / speaker package from Uptown and 18” chrome aluminum wheels. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Caliber Rush is $20,625 (including $630 destination).

Sources for pre-2007 Dodge Caliber information

Our source really came through — the Caliber is exactly what we were told it would be. Some of the more exciting items that were predicted: the Volkswagen diesel (for Europe, or so we’re told), and the continuously variable transmission calibrated to act like a six-speed automatic, as well as the choice of two or four wheel drive and the World Engine in three different configurations. Thanks to our 'Cuda-fan source and oh20.

We will have this from our ’Cuda fan: “The diesel should be available in the U.S. also. It's a Volkswagen diesel with a 6-speed manual! The block has 1.9/2.0 L cast in, with a Garrett turbo. Several Bosch components on the motor, with VW and Audi symbols on them!”

Features and models: 2007-2009 Dodge Caliber

oh20 wrote that the European Caliber will be released with these features:

2.0 liter diesel engine DOHC
6-speed manual trans
Antenna, removeable short mast
Battery, premium 700 amp
Brake assist
Cabin air filter
Euro lighting, seat belts, suspension, and power steering (firmer)
ESP (Electronic Stability Program)

 

Headlamp leveling system
Locking gas cap
Power heated mirrors
Premium security alarm
Rear fog lamps (be glad these won't be sold in the US)
Side repeater lamps
Continental tires
Tow hooks

Joint design details

  • The Dodge Caliber was being designed by Chrysler and Mitsubishi engineers. While both were working together on a common platform, the final cars are different in character. The Dodge and Mitsuibshi versions will have unique interiors and exteriors and different suspension tuning when sold in the same market.
  • The EVO was to have a Dodge version, with extensive Chrysler involvement in engineering in the two door version. The four door was to be primarily worked on by Mitsubishi engineers, though members of the Neon ACR team were helping them, thanks to their strong rally and SCCA success. (The Neon traces its pedigree back to the Shelby Dodges, partly through John Fernandez).
  • The Dodge Rebel ... what is it? Rebel was the name that won an employee contest; has it been discarded?
  • The GS vehicle platform on which the Caliber rides is called a Chrysler platform because of the extent of the modifications. The platform is engineered for left- and right-hand models. The platform originated at Mitsubishi for the redesigned Lancer and several other vehicles. Later Chrysler joined as a co-developer and modified such things as wheelbase, track and overall length.
  • The Avenger/Sebring’s JS platform is derived from the GS platform but is wider and longer. Chrysler can assemble the Sebring and Avenger at its Belvidere plant or can assemble the Caliber and its Jeep siblings in the Sterling Heights plant.

The name and the variants

Dodge CalibreWe were expecting the name Rebel to win out, because it won an employee contest; some sarcastic observers suggested that the treatment of the name (discarded) shows what Chrysler thinks of employee opinions. Rebel might have been applied to a now-cancelled coupe or sedan version.

Several sources said the Caliber would be the only Neon replacement, with one saying, “Chrysler put all their eggs on the mini-SUV thing. They are obsessed with the Toyota Matrix.”

Winter driving (thanks, redriderbob)

All-Wheel-Drive System: Electromagnetic coupling works on demand, driving only the front wheels until power to the rear wheels is needed to keep gas mileage high. All-wheel drive is also used on dry pavement between speeds of 25 and 65 mph to enhance handling during performance driving. The system provides added traction in the snow, ice and other low-traction surfaces automatically and seamlessly without having to be switched on and off.

Electronic Stability Program (ESP) enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. It provides the greatest benefit in critical driving situations such as turns and emergency lane changes, and is especially valuable when driving on mixed surface conditions such as snow, ice or gravel. If there’s a discernible difference between what the driver asks through the steering and the vehicle’s path, ESP applies selective braking and throttle input to put the vehicle back onto the driver’s intended path. (late availability)

All-Speed Traction Control System: Senses drive-wheel slip and applies individual brakes to the slipping wheel(s) and can reduce excess engine power until traction is regained.

MOPAR® Winter Accessories include an engine-block heater, remote start, rooftop ski carrier, slush mats, and splash guards.

Market research and such

In North America, Dodge Caliber will draw from the compact and mid-size car segments and appeal to first-time new car purchasers, including those whose first car may have been used. It also will draw from the small and mid-size sport-tourer segments. The compact car segment has held at a steady 10- to 12-percent share of the U.S. car market for the past few years, with approximately 1.9 million units sold annually. The sport-tourer segment is growing, with more than 800,000 units sold each year. Small sport-tourer sales account for 40 percent of the total sport-tourer segment and also continue to grow.

With the all-new Caliber, Dodge is targeting 20-something first-time new car buyers who earn a median income of $45,000. Thirty-five percent are college graduates. Dodge Caliber is also designed to appeal to forty-something parents buying a car for their children. These parents demand safety and consider the cost of ownership before buying a vehicle.

Outside North America, Caliber will spearhead the Dodge brand’s expansion into Europe and other global volume markets as a boldly styled, affordable entry into the competitive C-segment.

2010 Dodge Caliber repairs and problems

Early in the Caliber's production cycle, “Mr. Source” wrote: “Some Calibers are suffering from rattles and noises coming out from the dash, suspension, and other areas. There is problem in the welding of the "A" pillar, not easy to fix at the dealer.” An ex-Chrysler engineer responded: “I would think the issues are with the 3T spotwelds for the retention bracketry for the IP, not anything structural to the body. (3T means 3 layers of sheetmetal being spotwelded together into one assembly-the weld heat and time is critical over 2T to ensure adequate attachment.) About all the dealer can do is to use Sikaflex adhesive (something like Sika252) and possible Hucks to repair any spotwelds that are failing. Remember, this is only a guess and opinion!” (This was probably fixed early in the production run).

caliber and pt cruiser

oh20 noted the following service bulletins in 2006, which don’t indicate serious or widespread problems, but are advisories to dealers (they have probably already been fixed at the factory, or can be fixed easily by flashing the computer, or are simply information on how systems work):

  • 02-001-06 Swish Sound Heard From Rear Of Vehicle Over Low Speed Bumps
  • 06-001-06 Clutch Pedal Squeak
  • 07-003-06 High Pitched Tone from Engine Compartment At Temperatures Below Zero Degrees F (-18C)
  • RC-F29-06 Emissions Recall F29 Reprogram PCM - OBD Thermostat Monitor
  • 14-006-06 Under Flush Fuel Filler Door
  • 08-032-06 Water (Drip) Marks on Rear Window
  • 08-016-06 Intermittent Electrical Components Due To Ignition Off Draw (IOD) Fuse Not Being Fully Seated
  • 08-027-06 Flash - Rear Wiper Stops Operating with Diagnostic Trouble Codes B231B And B2215
  • 08-019-06 Speaker Static
  • 08-010-06 Flash: A.C. Power Inverter Does Not Operate after Key Cycle
  • 08-009-06 Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) Sensor Programming Methods
  • RC-F38-06 Customer Satisfaction Notification F38 - Engine Camshaft Cap Bolts
  • 11-003-06 Moan Sound At 2300 to 2500 RPM Under Moderate Throttle
  • 18-020-06 Warm Weather Spark Knock and/or DTC P2173 **and/or P0452**
  • 23-047-06 Cracked Windshield
  • 23-043-06 Water Leak From Headliner
  • 23-041-06 Exterior Lamp - Lens Fogging
  • 23-028-06 Clicking/Creaking Sound From Seat Or Looseness At Front Of Seat Cushion
  • 24-005-06 Chill Zone Does Not Stay Cold Or Chill Zone Mode Door Does Not Stay In Position
  • 23-029-06 Console Armrest Slides Too Easy Or Will Not Stay In Place
  • 23-024-06 Scraping, Clicking Or Squeal Sound From Seat Track
  • 23-016-06 Lower Door Hinges Make Popping/Groan Sound At Cold Temperatures

Specifications

  • Drag Coefficient 0.375 (original Neon: 0.34)
  • Curb Weight, lb. (kg) – 300-600 lb more than the second-generation Neon! But then, the Caliber has a lot more cargo space and higher safety ratings.
    • SE, 2966 (1345); SXT, 3039 (1378);
    • R/T FWD 3156 (1432); R/T AWD 3308 (1501)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity, gal. (L) 13.6 (51.5) – FWD, 13.5 (51.1) - AWD
  • Front overhang: 34.5 inches (876 mm)
  • Rear overhang: 35.5 inches (902 mm)
  • Track: 59.8 inches (1520 mm)
  • Couple (1-2): 31.3 inches (795 mm)
  • Tire and Wheel Size: 245/45R19, 19x 9 inches
F/R Dimension Dodge Caliber Dodge Neon
  Wheelbase 103.7 105
  Length 173.8 174.4
  Width 68.6 67.4
  Height 60.4 56
Front      
Headroom without sunroof 40.0 (1015.6) 38.4
Leg Room 41.8 (1061.5) 42
Shoulder Room 54.2 (1377.8) 53.4
Hip Room 52.2 (1325.3) 52.4
SAE Front Volume Index, cubic ft. (cu. m) 52.4 (1.485)  
Rear Seat
Headroom 38.9 (989.3) 37
Leg Room 35.6 (905.1) 35
Knee Clearance 0.9 (21.8)  
Shoulder Room 53.4 (1357.2) 53
Hip Room 49.6 (1260.8) 53
SAE Rear Seat Volume Index, cubic ft. (cu. m) 42.8 (1.212)  
SAE Interior Volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 95.2 (2.697)
Cargo Volume Indexes
Rear Seats Up, cu. ft. (cu. m) 18.5 (0.525) 13
Rear Seats Folded, cu. ft. (cu. m) 48.0 (1.36)  
EPA Interior Volume Index, cu. ft. (cu. m) 113.9 (3.225)
Liftover Height 27.6 (701.4)

Styling

The following gushing praise comes from Chrysler's press release.

Dodge Caliber is a five-door vehicle that combines a sporty coupe-like profile with the strength, stance and functionality of an SUV. Caliber's sheer surface treatment commands attention and evokes attributes that define the Dodge brand: bold, powerful, capable and street smart. 

“With its bold styling and clever packaging, Caliber is pure Dodge,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President—Design, Chrysler Group.  “The Dodge Caliber brings emotion to the competitive compact car segment,” Creed added.

There is no mistaking Caliber. The all-new compact car has Dodge’s imprint stamped into its DNA from the grille to the tailpipe. The signature crosshair grille gives Caliber the distinct face of Dodge and defines its strong, muscular front view.

Strong, sculpted fender forms, broad shoulders and a distinctive hood give Caliber its proud, powerful stance. Large, crystal headlamps and available fog lamps complement the Dodge grille and create an integrated look that completes Caliber's sporty appearance.

A black graphic design accent, which runs the length of the roof, melds into an integrated rear-roof spoiler, creating a coupe-like visual quality from the side view. New and unique glass-to-body proportions give the Dodge Caliber a tough, protective presence, and the forward sweep of the tailgate further emphasizes Caliber's sporty profile.

The rear view of the Dodge Caliber is as distinctive and powerful as the front. The black roof spoiler with integrated center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) and large modular crystal taillamps fill Caliber’s rear corners and provide distinct focal points of the Caliber’s rear-view design. Dodge’s “do more” philosophy is evident in Caliber's rear liftgate, which provides easy access to the vehicle’s spacious interior.

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