Dodge Caliber Forums banner

1 - 20 of 70 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
439 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
June 2006

First Look: 2007 Dodge Caliber
An aggressively styled and versatile hatchback that cuts corners in the interior



Overview. The new five-passenger Dodge Caliber is a versatile hatchback with bold styling, available all-wheel drive, and flat-folding rear bench and front-passenger bucket seats. It takes the place of the lackluster Neon sedan in Dodge's lineup and shares its platform and drivetrains with the new Jeep Compass and Patriot. All three vehicles use four-cylinder engines co-developed with Mitsubishi and Hyundai.

The Caliber offers three engines: a 148-hp, 1.8-liter; a 158-hp, 2.0-liter; and a 172-hp, 2.4-liter. All-wheel drive is optional only with the larger engine. The three trim levels include the budget-priced SE ($13,985), the SXT ($15,985), and the sportier R/T with the 2.4-liter ($19,985). (A high-performance, 300-hp Caliber SRT4 will expand the range later in the 2007 model year.)

We bought two Calibers for testing: a well-equipped R/T AWD with an as-tested retail price of $23,860 and a 2.0-liter SXT that totaled $19,015.

Initial impressions. The Caliber rides and handles reasonably well, but it is noisy. It has less interior space than the exterior might suggest. The seats are comfortable, and it has a few unique convenience features. However, the cheap interior detracts from the ownership experience.

The ride is firm and controlled, yet it is sufficiently absorbent even with the large 17-inch SXT or 18-inch R/T wheels. Handling is sound but unexceptional. Electronic stability control is not offered.

The engines are probably the most refined four-cylinder Chrysler power plants we have tested, but they don't provide a lot of thrust in this relatively heavy vehicle. Off-the-line oomph is lacking. Their performance falls short of the best in class. The standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) works well. In the R/T, to give the car a slightly more responsive feel, the driver can shift the transmission into "manual" mode and select one of six predetermined gear ratios. Engine buzz and wind noise are pronounced.


Many of our gripes so far focus on the interior packaging. The thick door trim and wide center console, for example, make the Caliber feel smaller than it is. The cabin is finished with a lot of hard plastic, some with sharp edges. Access is easy, but the sloping rear window and substantial roof pillars limit visibility. The rear seat is relatively roomy, though less so than in the similar-sized Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix twins

One handy feature is the two-level glove compartment, in which one compartment is cooled and accommodates 20-oz. bottles. Both of our Calibers also have liftgate-mounted speakers that can flip down to facilitate an impromptu beach party.

To see how both the all-wheel and front-wheel drive Calibers stack up against direct competitors such as the Toyota Matrix and Mazda3 hatchback, read our full road-test report on ConsumerReports.org in August or in the September issue of Consumer Reports magazine, on sale Aug. 7.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I disagree on two points. Both myself and everyone I've given a ride to have noticed how quiet it is, even on the highway.
Second point, everyone has mentioned how cool the interior looks. This may be because I have the sport package with the blue accents. In any case, for Dodge's least expensive vehicle, what do they expect?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
TimSax said:
I disagree on two points. Both myself and everyone I've given a ride to have noticed how quiet it is, even on the highway.
Second point, everyone has mentioned how cool the interior looks. This may be because I have the sport package with the blue accents. In any case, for Dodge's least expensive vehicle, what do they expect?
The problem with CR is that they're absolutely in love with Japanese interiors. They love the Honda/Mazda look with lots of smooth black plastics and a little chrome and all the round dial controls that make the car look spacey and all the reviewers can go "wheee! I feel like i'm in star trek!" It's really quite annoying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
ah, there's just no pleasing some people. I think the Caliber has one of the coolest interiors around with the EL lighting and all. plastic stuff, duh. I fit in the car real good, I like the ergos, the folding seats. I like the way the windows are it's like a sportscoupe though it's a mini hatch wagon mobile. griping about off the line in a 2.0 liter, give us a break, please? it's not the perfect thing since sliced bread ok, I don't think it was meant to be. but what I saw I liked, I rented one and then bought one the next day! best in class IMO, kudos Dodge. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,734 Posts
At times i have thought Honda and Toyota owned consumer reports, so take things with a grain of salt. IF all they can find to complain is the plastics used on the interior and you happen to like it, than who cars.

I haven't been in a Caliber yet as I am waiting for the SRT4 to go for a test drive, however my most recent vechile was a 2004 Toyota Matrix XRS which they are comparing the seat room in the back against. I would be interested to know (if at all) how much tighter it is in the back, since the matrix was rather roomy
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
76 Posts
Face facts. Consumer Reports is un-biased.

They do not participate in press junkets.

They do not use specially prepared test vehicles.

They simply call it as they see it. They find faults with the Caliber. They don't make this stuff up. You are looking at your cars through rose coloured glasses. Once the novelty of the vehicle wears off for you, you too will be able to judge the car and it's faults as fairly as consumer reports.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
nah it's ok. on day 2 I added a wide angle mirror to help with the blindspots on the move. I know what I got already and probably pissed some off with the polishing a turd comment (but was made purely tongue in cheek!). I trust CR, am a subscriber too. let them call it as they see it and we all make our own shots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
ewitz said:
Face facts. Consumer Reports is un-biased.

They do not participate in press junkets.

They do not use specially prepared test vehicles.

They simply call it as they see it. They find faults with the Caliber. They don't make this stuff up. You are looking at your cars through rose coloured glasses. Once the novelty of the vehicle wears off for you, you too will be able to judge the car and it's faults as fairly as consumer reports.
Consumer reports TRIES to be unbiased, but face these facts: everyone has a bias. A predisposition to favour one thing over another. In the case of CR, and this particular vehicle, they talk about the "cheap interior plastics". I don't think the plastics are cheap, I just think they don't like the way they look, and I don't think that's really a pertinent point to review. Aesthetics is personal and should not be reviewable. It's like saying "The Caliber is an ugly looking car.. don't buy it." I don't think that the interior of the Caliber is of a significantly inferior grade to another car in the same class, but because of the way they've chosen to style it, CR says it looks cheap. I like japanese cars. I have nothing against them. I had a hard time choosing between a Caliber and a Mazda3, but it came down to the fact that the Mazda3 had the absolute worst trunk space I have ever seen in a hatchback. Now that is a reviewable feature. It's measurable and comparable. I still like the Mazda3, it just wouldn't work for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
901 Posts
Regarding the "cheap interior plastics" -- did you know that the big Ram trucks use it too????

During my recent repair when I had a rental car, the first rental I got was a Ram truck. A smaller car came in later that day (Malibu) and I switched. But I did notice the Ram has the exact same door plastic panels AND an almost identical steering wheel - like ours has that rubbery center cover over the air bag area? Yeah, Ram has that too.

So, is CR gonna call Ram cheap now too? bah. You'd think they were trying to convince the general public that Caliber is the new Yugo or something.

And I love it when people think it's a $30K vehicle.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
76 Posts
I think that CR is referring to the cheap plastic that covers the armrests on the doors and console. Would it have killed them to use a padded plastic?

That is just cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
CR is very often biased. People tend to think CR gets 100% of its revenues from magazine subscriptions and other public services. Their income is far more complicated.

I stopped paying attention to them when they wrote about the Suzuki Samurai and Isuzu Trooper being prone to rollovers. The issue I had with CR is that their test was designed specifically for those two vehicles and were not performed on other SUV's. The tests were designed with the intent to show them rolling. It was a biased test to produce a set outcome. Learning where the money trail starts and stops on this one matter convinced me to tune out CR. They do have bias. Just my opinion though!

I love the Calibers interior. I would prefer cloth inserts in the doors, better quality seat fabrics etc. My only prior small car I've owned was a 1993 Nissan Altima. It's interior was a soft velour, much better quality and the use of hard plastics was more limited. When shopping for a car I looked at other comparibly prices small cars. Nothing grabbed my attention except the Caliber. Now have 1000 miles on it and love it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,734 Posts
Huff said:
CR is very often biased. People tend to think CR gets 100% of its revenues from magazine subscriptions and other public services. Their income is far more complicated.

I stopped paying attention to them when they wrote about the Suzuki Samurai and Isuzu Trooper being prone to rollovers. The issue I had with CR is that their test was designed specifically for those two vehicles and were not performed on other SUV's. The tests were designed with the intent to show them rolling. It was a biased test to produce a set outcome. Learning where the money trail starts and stops on this one matter convinced me to tune out CR. They do have bias. Just my opinion though!

I love the Calibers interior. I would prefer cloth inserts in the doors, better quality seat fabrics etc. My only prior small car I've owned was a 1993 Nissan Altima. It's interior was a soft velour, much better quality and the use of hard plastics was more limited. When shopping for a car I looked at other comparibly prices small cars. Nothing grabbed my attention except the Caliber. Now have 1000 miles on it and love it.
Opinions can be bought, agree that they are far from objective with their tests and reviews. If you like the interior that you win since they liked everything else, so move on and be happy lol :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Before I ordered my R/T, I checked out other "similiar" autos (vibe, M3, etc.)
They are crap compared to the Cali.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,734 Posts
BlackLeatherR/T said:
Before I ordered my R/T, I checked out other "similiar" autos (vibe, M3, etc.)
They are crap compared to the Cali.
And your opinion is based on? I've had a Toyota Matrix XRS since October 2003 which is besides the body kit identical to the pontiac vibe. I can't speak for the Mazda as I don't own one, but I'd be interested in knowing why the Vibe/Matrix is "crap"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Unoriginalusername said:
And your opinion is based on? I've had a Toyota Matrix XRS since October 2003 which is besides the body kit identical to the pontiac vibe. I can't speak for the Mazda as I don't own one, but I'd be interested in knowing why the Vibe/Matrix is "crap"?

Testdrove the Mazda hard bumpy "shakey" ride, thin cheap seats (even on the leather int.) yuk! outdated looking interior. (if that makes any sense)

Vibe was equally unimpressive at the "look"... (just my .02...no offense)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,352 Posts
Rap on the top of the dash on any new Suburban, Yukon XL or Cadilac 'Slade, sounds like a empty beer can. The only padding is on the grab bar in front of the passenger seat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I personally would never waste 2 cents of my money on Consumer Reports. Although they may not be biased to certain cars, they ARE biased to only looking at certain aspects of a car. I have over the years found CR to be totally useless as a tool to decide what to buy or not to buy. Normally they hone in on a few useless aspects of an item that I could not care any less about.

Walter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
it's very clear by reading CR that they are definately biased towards Asian vehicles. They RARELY give any American vehicles a good rating. I don't believe that domestics are nearly as bad as CR would lead you to believe. They will say that something is horrible on a domestic and then turn around and say the exact same feature is incredible on a foreign vehicle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
OH...and my Neon is NOT lacluster ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
911 Posts
I currently have a 2004 Stratus R/T Coupe and it has hard plastics everywhere as well. No padding anywhere really. I think CR forgets this is Dodge's low end car here, not the Chrysler 300C series.

I think the Caliber has one of the best interiors out there. Its one of the reasons I bought the Caliber. Its very sporty inside. I thought it actually looked the opposite of what CR said as far as size. To me this inside looked very roomy and easily sat in both the front and rear seats.

With Consumer Reports, if its not a Honda/Toyota, its crap. Just look at a magazine that has car reviews, you'd think the japanese paid them to put them on top. If the Caliber was a Honda Caliber, this article would be entirely different.

Oh and BTW...they said ESP wasn't available, when it is now available. They actually should have done a little RESEARCH and saw that ESP would be available later in the model year along with some other new features/options.
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top