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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just so ya'll know, the Caliber was mentioned in the news section of this last week's episode of Top Gear (download the .torrent of the show below)

http://www.finalgear.com/shows/topgear/8/2/

They talk about it briefly and introduce it ... but they basically think it's rubbish as it's neither a sporty hatchback or a utility 4x4. Oh well.

But, it's interesting to see the Dodge brand get underway in Europe... let's hope it doesn't become back-street fodder like the Chrysler brand over there. Describing the PT Cruiser, they said "it's a friendly face from the folks who brought you friendly fire" .... not good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Heh, I didn't realize that thread was referring to Top Gear since he sort of left out all mention of the show from his thread content :p

The rest of the episode is pretty good though; I wonder when US companies will find a way to regain some of that 'quality' edge against other brands. Even Japanese companies interiors feel like absolute garbage compared to the Euro stuff.
 

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holeydonut said:
Heh, I didn't realize that thread was referring to Top Gear since he sort of left out all mention of the show from his thread content :p

The rest of the episode is pretty good though; I wonder when US companies will find a way to regain some of that 'quality' edge against other brands. Even Japanese companies interiors feel like absolute garbage compared to the Euro stuff.
Just spent a week in a RHD Renault 407. I was not impressed. I'll take my 'Vette or Quest any day. Looking forward to the Caliber too if it ever gets built.

Unless you are driving a Cad or Lincoln, all the interiors are pretty similar for US cars. Plastic dash, velour headliner, short loop or short pile acrylic carpet. FWIW, I think the Caliber interior is slightly below average. No carpet in back and very little accenting. As to Euro cars, well if you get something @ $60K plus you get nice interiors, but even then they still have plenty of plastic and velour. Japanese cars are similar. The thing with Euro and Japanese models is they give more styling accents on the plastic so they have a little more bling.

IMHO If you want a truly high quality interior, get 'em redone, or fix 'em your self.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
irloyal said:
Just spent a week in a RHD Renault 407. I was not impressed. I'll take my 'Vette or Quest any day. Looking forward to the Caliber too if it ever gets built.

Unless you are driving a Cad or Lincoln, all the interiors are pretty similar for US cars. Plastic dash, velour headliner, short loop or short pile acrylic carpet. FWIW, I think the Caliber interior is slightly below average. No carpet in back and very little accenting. As to Euro cars, well if you get something @ $60K plus you get nice interiors, but even then they still have plenty of plastic and velour. Japanese cars are similar. The thing with Euro and Japanese models is they give more styling accents on the plastic so they have a little more bling.

IMHO If you want a truly high quality interior, get 'em redone, or fix 'em your self.

Yeah, the differences are pretty subtle for cars in the US, but it's very apparent to me after a brief time as a passenger or driver. The general feel of the steering wheel, the comfort of the seats after more than 5 minutes, whether or not you hear nothing but road vibrations or a subtle droan over a long drive, etc... all this adds up to slowly building up an appreciation for a car.

I guess on the US-side, the budget cars don't have much European competition. Civics, Mazda3s, Corollas, Cobalts, Calibers, etc usually escape the radar of people interested in a Golf or Jetta. But, the moment you hop up a bit into the 4-banger Camry, Accord, Impala, whatever realm, the sheer ride comfort of an entry VW (I'm purposely leaving the Beetle out of this because that car is just very sorry) just seems to put the competition's offerings to shame. I'm not talking about someone getting a B-Class benz or an Audi A3 - but the solid feeling of the interior of even the Budget German car becomes obvious if you sit in one long enough.

I can only imagine how the price hikes that European customers get on US-built cars affects this. IMO, the decision of interior build quality and ride comfort is even more obvious for those European customers. Bang on the dash of a friendly reasonably priced Japanese import and give the pieces inside a hard wiggle. You hear rattles coming through, and you feel the give of poorly affixed interior pieces. Yeah, the cars are great for initial quality, but they feel very worn in and tired very quickly. It's just that a lot of Americans will put up with a raspy motor and massive wind noise on their "last-forever" Imports. For me, hearing the raspy Toyota or Civic 4-pot will drive you mad after a while if you care about that sort of thing.

I've a long history of owning these budget cars (being poor does that)... and I'm absolutely fed up with the Civics/Corollas/Altimas (The Altima I had had the KA24DE motor and was around before the refresh that made it as large as the Maxima) due to their ability to just be horrible drivers' cars after a very brief time of ownership. I'm about to get really fed up with my Mazda3 as well. The car drives very well, but the road noise and seats are now absolutely untolerable for a car that has 20K miles.

I don't know how the Caliber will turn out; but since you spend more time inside your car behnid the wheel or as a passenger (as opposed to looking at it from the outside all the time), if the steering wheel, seats, and interior noise levels stay good - that'll be very important.
 
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