The Dodge Caliber, the car that was “anything but cute,” will be ending production on November 23, 2011, according to documentation recently sent to dealers. Those who want Redline 2 paint or power express sunroofs can get them starting in October, shortly before the end.
The Caliber was launched in 2006 as a 2007 model, accompanied by official putdowns of the Dodge Neon, which had been so popular in 1994 that many dealers had waiting lists. Early Neons had numerous quality issues, due largely to cost-cutting, though these had been dealt with by 1998; however, it was late to get a four-speed automatic, and endured questionable gearing and styling choices starting in 2000.
While Caliber was to ride the SUV gravy train, many were turned off by its engines, which needed to be revved high for power, and by the tuning of its early CVT (later revised). The interior was later slammed, as well; the interior was restyled in 2010.
Gas mileage and acceleration for the Caliber were both considerably lower than that of stick-shift Neons, though it was competitive with the more popular Neon automatics, and the Caliber was larger than the Neon had been. Numerous features were available or standard, including side airbags, nine-speaker MusicGate sound system with speakers incorporated into the liftgate (for tailgating), a removable flashlight, glowing cupholders, and a beverage cooler. The Caliber was the first Chrysler vehicle to use the World Engines, to have dual variable valve timing, and to have electromagnetically controlled all wheel drive (with variable torque output).
A new Dodge compact is expected to appear during calendar-year 2012. This car will have a choice of turbocharged Fiat 1.4, the existing 2.0 four, and the 2.4 liter four — possibly in Tiger Shark form. The CVT will likely be dropped for a choice between a stick-shift, conventional automatic, and Fiat automated-manual transmission. (Thanks, MooseEater, for the tip.)
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has long expressed his desire to slash the number of Fiat and Chrysler platforms, emulating Volkswagen’s “back to the future” move of putting just about everything onto a single platform. Mr. Marchionne has allowed major exceptions; the combination of an over-ambitious plan and a grip on reality delayed the Jeep Renegade and some other cars, because the [...]
Some time ago, Sergio Marchionne, head of Fiat Chrysler, said that the only way to reboot Alfa Romeo would be by amortizing engineering costs with Dodge. That’s gone down the memory hole, now. It had to. The Alfisti will have fitsies if they overtly share with Chrysler. The D-RWD platform is now Giorgio, an Italian name for something developed largely in Auburn [...]
We may have the first clear 2017 Chrysler Town & Country minivan spy shots, adding to a small “phone pic” shot posted some time ago. The vehicle, parked with the Chrysler Technical Center in sight, has camouflage and padding, but you can clearly see the openings for the side and front door handles. The photo gives some idea of the relatively length [...]
The Ram 1500 faced down the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 and new Chevrolet Silverado in Motor Trend’s half-ton truck shootout. The three contenders were put through a broad array of testing, including a 260-mile drive through California and Arizona. Measurements included: Testing without load: 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip (Ram was Limits-handling without load: closed-course cornering, braking, [...]
This year’s winners of the prestigious Ward’s Top Ten were (in alphabetical order) the BMW 5-series electric motor, the Corvette Stingray’s 6.2 liter V8, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat V8, the Ford Fiesta three-cylinder, one-liter turbo, Hyundai Tuscon fuel cell vehicle, Mini Cooper 1.5 turbo three cylinder, the Ram 3-liter VM diesel, Subaru WRX four-cylinder turbo, VW Golf 1.8 liter [...]