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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

Caliber R/T AWD falls flat
Souped up Dodge lacks power, comfortable ride
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2007 Dodge Caliber R/T AWD
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Type: Front-engine, all-wheel drive, five-passenger hatchback
Price: Base, $19,985 (inc. $560 shipping charge); as tested, $23,885
Engine: 2.4-liter I-4; 172-hp; 165 lb-ft torque
EPA fuel economy: 23 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Where built: Belvidere, Ill.
Estimated 12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan: $1,705
Anita

Likes: Riveting design. Good safety features, including standard ABS and side curtains. Cool options, including MusicGate speakers and chrome wheels. Attractive white-face gauges.
Dislikes: Harsh, bouncy ride. Thick rear pillars restrict visibility. Noisy at highway speeds. So-so fuel economy -- same highway rating as Corvette Z06.
Paul

Likes: Rugged, distinctive exterior styling. Handy iPod jack. On-demand all-wheel drive. Roomy cargo bay.
Dislikes: Grossly overpriced at $24,000. 2.4L engine feels anemic. CVT makes a lousy performance transmission.
R/T badging is misleading -- there's nothing remotely sporty about this car. Interior looks cheap and spartan. Not much room in the rear seat. AWD makes it more difficult to park and maneuver in tight spaces.
Rating system
1. Unacceptable, 2. Subpar, 3. Acceptable, 4. Above average, 5. World class


What do you think of the 2007 Dodge Caliber R/T AWD?
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T he Dodge brand took an abrupt turn in the compact market when it replaced its sleek, curvy Neon compact earlier this year with the edgy Caliber.
The tall roof and four-door hatchback design of the rugged-looking Caliber hint at SUV themes, and the optional all-wheel-drive package on the top-of-the-line Caliber R/T drives the point home even further.
We tested a well-equipped 2007 Caliber R/T AWD with a bottom line of $23,885.
HE: I can sum up the Caliber R/T AWD in just a few words. Great concept, sexy design, lousy execution. And, in the case of our test vehicle, grossly overpriced at nearly $24,000.
SHE: I hate cars that keep me awake at night. The Jeep Compass was one of them. The Caliber R/T AWD, which is a sister vehicle to the Compass, is another. These are cars that you really want to like because they're homegrown products from Detroit and, at least on paper, they sound really cool. But when you get your hands on one, it's a different story. The Caliber R/T AWD, as we quickly found out, is no substitute for an SUV -- on any level. Even the fuel economy wasn't that impressive; the EPA highway number is identical to the Chevy Corvette Z06, which has a 500-horsepower 7.0-liter V-8. Go figure.
HE: That's only one of many anomalies on the Caliber R/T AWD. We should point out that earlier this year, we gave the base Caliber much higher marks -- partly because it was about $6,000 cheaper, so our expectations were considerably lower. But after having driven a new Volkswagen Rabbit with a sticker price of less than $21,000, the Caliber R/T AWD was an even bigger disappointment, in terms of ride comfort, handling and powertrain performance.
SHE: But you've got to admit the Caliber is still a riveting design with a lot of presence.
HE: No question. But you don't have to dig very far beneath the sheet metal to start uncovering flaws. The Caliber's big four-cylinder engine didn't feel nearly as peppy as the Rabbit's five-cylinder engine, even though the displacements are nearly identical and the Caliber actually has 22 more horsepower than the Rabbit. But the VW has more torque and, more importantly, was equipped with the company's optional six-speed automatic, which is light years ahead of the lousy continuously variable unit in the Dodge. Yuck. I'd can this slush box at the earliest opportunity, if I were Chrysler, and find a conventional automatic to replace it. The CVT is thatunpleasant.
SHE: There are things I like about the Caliber. Our test vehicle had standard antilock brakes, side curtain air bags for all outboard passengers and some really solid amenities, including a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, illuminated cup holders and a "chill zone" cooler in the instrument panel. Our test car also came with such options as Sirius satellite radio and a UConnect hands-free phone system.
HE: I still can't get past some of the basic flaws in the package, some of which are directly related to the all-wheel drive. The ride is harsh -- much more so than on the base Caliber. This car doesn't feel nearly as agile as the Rabbit either. The AWD system is bulky and clunky, and makes the Caliber more difficult to park and maneuver in tight spaces.
SHE: I have some issues with visibility -- those thick rear pillars are a big problem, especially when backing up or changing lanes. And the Caliber R/T AWD is noisy, particularly at highway speeds. Plus, I didn't like the feeling of being bounced around on rough pavement.
HE: Thank goodness the top-of-the-line Caliber carries over some of the same neat features as the base model, including that handy iPod jack in the dash and a roomy cargo bay with a washable floor mat. But that's not enough to justify a $24,000 sticker. So do yourself a favor. Save four grand and buy the Rabbit.
SHE: Or if you really need the AWD, buy a real SUV for the same money -- say, a Ford Escape or a Jeep Liberty -- and save yourself some sleepless nights.
He drove, she drove Anita and Paul Lienert are partners in Lienert & Lienert, a Detroit-

 

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What these guys (the he/she in the article) aren't telling you is that they wanted the VW to begin with and were biased in their opinions from the get-go. You can see this from the very beginning of the article.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
i know thats the whole point of posting this,proberly VW paid them to sell more Rabbit because they are scart of the competition;) click on the cyper survey and lett them know what we think about the caliber What do you think of the 2007 Dodge Caliber R/T AWD?
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I give them the dork couple of the year award! Thank God they didn't like it. I'd hate to see anybody that goofy looking driving a Caliber!
 

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Congratulations, tupmier. This is your first post without spelling errors. They must have a "english as a second language program" in Hamilton.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
xlimodriver said:
Congratulations, tupmier. This is your first post without spelling errors. They must have a "english as a second language program" in Hamilton.
:p you are so funny:D Buddy .But its tupmeier not tupmier.cheers thomas
 

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I apologize, tupmeier. I know we were allies during WW 2 but my German is as bad as my Finnish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
xlimodriver said:
I apologize, tupmeier. I know we were allies during WW 2 but my German is as bad as my Finnish.
where cool :D .hey we are allies again:p ,only different we are all canadians now :eek: ,cheers thomas
 

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IMO, negative reviews are necessary to figure out where to improve. I hate blanket glowing reviews just because of the nameplate or whatever. Granted, a high degree of bias exists in all reviews, but there's bias in positive reviews too - just have to sift through the underlying messages. But, as it is, I think these 2 reviewers smoke a bowl before writing their reviews. They really make no sense...

Comparing the fuel economy to a Vette... they don't mention that the Rabbit with the 5-cylinder motor gets the same highway mileage as the Caliber... this is just showing that a Vette is a great car for mileage.... or it's a knock against the Rabbit and Caliber simultaneously. Of course, all these cars beat out a Mazda3 in highway mileage (a car held as a benchmark for the 5-door segment in recent years).

Also, they really failed to actually test the car doing anything meaningful - most reviewers at least try to load/unload a car or actually *do* something that a normal driver would beyond just driving on a highway. I think these writers just imagined driving and then wrote about it. The Caliber is much more versatile and has more room to move substantial objects... it's almost as if they just counted the number of doors and then ended the discussion.

But, I think it's clear that the CVT is something that takes getting used to. Ford has the problem, Nissan has this problem, etc. Just assuing people will all happily work with the CVT (even over the entire ownership lifecycle... instead of just a few days for a review) is risky. The CVT really isn't that novel, and can feel underwhelming to people who hear that rumblin' V8 in the Caliber ads and are expecting a R/T to haul ass and be very sporty. I can see, if you spend a decent chunk of money (24K) on a smaller car that it should feel small and sporty... maybe the disconnect between what the R/T delivers with the CVT and what customers (and to a lesser extent-reviewers) expect is something that needs to be addressed.
 

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**** them.... and their article.
 

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Good post Holey. I think the problem is that people get into a Dodge with all the advertising for the powerful Hemi the last few years, and automatically think think every Dodge they test drive should perform the same. Also, as many have mentioned on here, the CVT makes the car feel very lack luster just because of how the CVT works without the firm noticable shifts. Put the Caliber side by side with thier beloved Rabbit in all out comparison test, and then let them come back with a reveiw. Maybe do one of the long term reveiws like MotorTrend does with select vehicles. I'll bet their opinion will change after either of those. Simply picking up a vehicle and driving it for a couple days isn't going to give you a true feel for the vehicle.
 
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