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Many (most) reviewers, and a lot of owners, complain about the slow off-the-line performance of the Caliber due to the CVT, which apparently has a torque converter in it which some have attributed to being the reason the CVT takes time to "kick in".

I drove a Nissan Versa just a couple of days ago, which has a CVT made by their own subsidiary, which is the same company that makes the CVT's for the Caliber, and there is NO lag from the line. In fact, it is quite peppy from the line, and it only has 122 HP.

So, why do Caliber (and a POSSIBLE new Caliber owner like myself) have to put up with this lag when it is possible to have a CVT that does NOT have it and works quite a bit better than the Calibers (about 5 of them) that I have taken for test drives?

I prefer the Caliber, but the Versa, even with only 122 HP, is far more "zippy" around town, and the CVT seems far more refined than the one in the Caliber.

Both CVT's are made from the same design principle and have the torque converter between the CVT and the engine, so should we hope that Chrysler will either "re-tune" or actually order a slightly different CVT from Jatco (spelling?) so that it can have the same smooth performance as the Versa.

This is one of only a couple of prickly points that is keeping me away from buying the Caliber.

Does anyone have any inside information?

Greg

P.S. Please don't reply if you are happy with your Caliber's CVT. That's great! I'm looking for information for those of us who are NOT happy with the lag in the CVT, especially now that we know that the same company that makes the CVT has a better one in the car they are selling under their own brand name. Thanks.
 

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At first I did notice that it was not very peppy off the line, but at about 2000 miles after it is all worn in the acceleration off the line is very good I think.
 

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I've noticed accelleration keeps getting better and better as I put more mileage on my Caliber. Mine has 3500 miles on it now. Totally different than when I first test drove it.
 

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Yes, the Caliber has the lag. The Nissan Mirrono (sp) with CVT also has the lag. The torque available from a standing start compensates for the delay. Like wifey said, we don't plan to race anyone, or jack rabbit start much, so its a non issue in our opinion.

Want instant response? The Magnum R/T AWD delivers, as 2 x the price.

Your mileage may vary.
 

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My caliber used to have a slow start off the line, since then it has been to the dealer, they replaced the resonator and did a flash to the computer. Caliber has been zippy/peppy off the line ever since. Even more now that i have 4018k on it.

You have to understand, the Versa is lightweight. The Caliber is a heavyweight. Those lightweights move faster than heavyweights. :)
 

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I know you didn't want replies from happy owners, but I have to agree with those in the thread. My SXT has gotten better even only at 2000 miles, much peppier (is that a word?) than when I got it. There is definately a break in period as far as performance goes, and a learning curve for the driver.
 

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Sean said:
Yes, the Caliber has the lag. The Nissan Mirrono (sp) with CVT also has the lag. The torque available from a standing start compensates for the delay. Like wifey said, we don't plan to race anyone, or jack rabbit start much, so its a non issue in our opinion.

Want instant response? The Magnum R/T AWD delivers, as 2 x the price.

Your mileage may vary.
The Nissan Murano does not have the lag.

I have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of the Murano and it is much quicker off the line. This may be the result of considerably more power from it's V6, but at the same time it is also considerably heavier, regardless it is a much faster accelerating vehicle the the Caliber.
 

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At first i thought something was wrong with the engine, it didnt have that 'kick' when you excelerate. But the more i drive my caliber, the better it seems to excerlate. Passengers complained about my driving when i first got the car, but i assured them it wasnt my driving, it was the car breaking in. I have over 700KMs on it now, and it does seem to get better with every drive on the highway, city driving isnt having the same effect.

It is smoother now when i excelerate, and before i know it im up to speed with the rest of the drivers on the highway...

I love my Caliber, so this is not a complaint about it, since it is improving...
 

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I will have to say that mine to has improved over time. I figure that it is equal parts learning to drive a CVT, mixed in with breaking the engine in. I found that I can roast'em as well as anyone else when I drive the CVT off the tac, as opposed to just pushing and going. If I want to accelerate fast I push till the tac hits 3k and I stay there. It is nice because I know that the engine RPM's won't kick down on me so I get a nice steady jolt of power. I rarely ever have to push it above 2500 though to get good pick-up. Hopefully that helps you out. Sorry that I couldn't be more negative! :)
 

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ok mmm.... yea this "lag" also depends mostly (if not entirely) on driving style.... Almost all electronically controlled fuel injected cars decide how much fuel to inject at which RPM, in which gear, at which speed, based on your driving style. I was very skeptical when I bought mine because the 3 that I test drove all had the lag (all 2.0 sxt, all cvt). The salesman kept saying "punch it, punch it" and nothing would happen or the car would "lag" off the line etc. However, as soon as I got mine, I drove it with my driving style and over the first hundred miles or so the computer adapated. I have no issues now and am surprised at how much better the car is than those that I test drove. Reprograming the computer usually just requires disconnecting the battery main terminal for a few minutes. Then drive it how you like and the CVT/2 liter should respond accordingly.

As far as the versa goes.... no torque.... try weighting it down with a couple passengers or some cargo and see how zippy it is... the caliber holds its own while weighted down... (moved this weekend into new APT).
 

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p.s. mine is extremely zippy around downtown chicago. just gotta get the fat salesman out of the front seat and you'll see...
 

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ewitz said:
The Nissan Murano does not have the lag.
The one that I drove certainly did! Maybe over time, the lag dissappears? We have a total of 45 kms on the dial now, will check at 5000 and see if there is a difference.

Cheers.
 

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plumber said:
ok mmm.... yea this "lag" also depends mostly (if not entirely) on driving style.... Almost all electronically controlled fuel injected cars decide how much fuel to inject at which RPM, in which gear, at which speed, based on your driving style. I was very skeptical when I bought mine because the 3 that I test drove all had the lag (all 2.0 sxt, all cvt). The salesman kept saying "punch it, punch it" and nothing would happen or the car would "lag" off the line etc. However, as soon as I got mine, I drove it with my driving style and over the first hundred miles or so the computer adapated. I have no issues now and am surprised at how much better the car is than those that I test drove. Reprograming the computer usually just requires disconnecting the battery main terminal for a few minutes. Then drive it how you like and the CVT/2 liter should respond accordingly.

As far as the versa goes.... no torque.... try weighting it down with a couple passengers or some cargo and see how zippy it is... the caliber holds its own while weighted down... (moved this weekend into new APT).
If Dodge had included an adaptive leaning computer program they would have included it in all promotional materials.

A line of computer code is static. It processes the same command over and over until the code is changed. It does not matter how you drive, it just reads the code and performs a preset function. To think that they have included some AI into the Calibers PCM is just wishful thinking,
 

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As far as I know, the CVT in the Caliber is from Jatco, which is own by Nissan and Mitsubishi. So they're basically the same transmissions, but all the electronics that control the CVT are done by Chrysler.

Quoted directly from Allpar:

"The supplier of the transmission is JATCO, which is owned by Nissan and Mitsubishi; the transmission is apparently a new generation of one used in current Nissans."

So the only reason why they may act different is the electronics controlling the CVT.
 

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orangecalibersxt said:
As far as I know, the CVT in the Caliber is from Jatco, which is own by Nissan and Mitsubishi. So they're basically the same transmissions, but all the electronics that control the CVT are done by Chrysler.

Quoted directly from Allpar:

"The supplier of the transmission is JATCO, which is owned by Nissan and Mitsubishi; the transmission is apparently a new generation of one used in current Nissans."

So the only reason why they may act different is the electronics controlling the CVT.
Unless they are different transmissions:

Belt CVT for medium vehicles

JF011E
*Light and compact design

*High efficiency
*Wider variator ratio
*Main vehicles equipped with this CVT:
NISSAN LAFESTA, SERENA,
BLUEBIRD SYLPHY
MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER
DAIMLERCHRYSLER DODGE CALIBER

http://www.jatco.co.jp/ENGLISH/PRODUCTS/CVT_IMAGES/DL/JF011E_H.jpg
JF010E
Belt CVT for large vehicles

*Applicable up to 3.5L class vehicles. First in this class around the world.
*Wider variator ratio
*High torque capacity
*Main vehicles equipped with this CVT:
NISSAN TEANA, PRESAGE, MURANO
 

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ewitz said:
If Dodge had included an adaptive leaning computer program they would have included it in all promotional materials.

A line of computer code is static. It processes the same command over and over until the code is changed. It does not matter how you drive, it just reads the code and performs a preset function. To think that they have included some AI into the Calibers PCM is just wishful thinking,
It's not learning persay, it is more of all the belts and engine components wearing in.
 

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ewitz said:
If Dodge had included an adaptive leaning computer program they would have included it in all promotional materials.

A line of computer code is static. It processes the same command over and over until the code is changed. It does not matter how you drive, it just reads the code and performs a preset function. To think that they have included some AI into the Calibers PCM is just wishful thinking,
Non Caliber ralated byt, you do know that the 41TE has adaptive programming and they don't mention it on promo materials. However it does say in the manual that the first few hundred km's could be a bit rough due to it adjusting.

Therefore it's possible the CVT does have adaptive logic.
 

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You also have to look at the gear ratios of the two cars. Final drive ratios make a big difference on the off the line peppiness.
 

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I think it's a matter of low-end torque. Chrysler (and the rest of the "domestic" OEM's) love to advertise peak power numbers and end up giving up some low-end torque to get the top-end power. Sure, the Versa is "just" a 1.8L, but I'm betting it makes better toque below 3000 RPM than the DCX world engines and the Versa is 300+ lbs lighter.

Other folks make some good points as well regarding gear ratios (final drive) and there's also a possibilty that they're using a different torque converter (seems like the Caliber could really use a looser torque converter). All just speculation though....
 
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