Dodge Caliber Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
439 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dodge targets younger buyers with new entry-level compact

BY JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
May 13, 2006

There's little question who DaimlerChrysler's target audience is for the 2007 Dodge Caliber compact, which is replacing the venerable yet modest Neon.
Gadgets in the Caliber include an MP3 player plug-in, cell phone holder, cooling rack for drinks, Sirius satellite radio, and optional audio system with huge speakers built into the rear door to blast tunes while tailgating.

All this and priced from $13,900, to $23,230 fully loaded.

"Kids will flock in for this one," said William D. Thompson, general manager of Rick Hendrick Dodge in Charleston. The car is "priced right," he said. "They put a lot of extras in it."

But while Dodge is aiming the Caliber at Gen X and Y, it maybe the baby boomer generation that winds up as a key customer, too. That's because the model has a practical side that should appeal to more mature drivers.
The Caliber gets up to 28 miles per gallon of gas in the city, 32 mpg on the highway. With a 13.6 gallon tank, it can go 435 miles on trips without refueling. The top-end R/T edition comes standard with all-wheel drive, a rarity for a compact car. A $1,000 extra, the Continuously Variable Transaxle system, is designed so that the automatic transmission is at its most efficient.

Trims include such exotic colors as Sunburst Orange and Inferno Red but there's more conservative exterior pigments too, such as black and stone white.

"They expected people buying them would be younger," Thompson said. But Dodge has also found the compact is popular with customers in the 30- to 50-year-old range "because it's practical," he said.

There are three Caliber styles with four-cylinder engines of varying power. The base SE has a 1.8 liter, 148-horsepower motor. The mid-range SXT, which starts around $15,000, has a 2.0 liter engine generating 158 hp. And the R/T, available for less than $20,000, has a 2.4 liter, 172 hp engine.

Customers can purchase extras such as sunroof, leather seats and 18-inch rims. The dealership got its first shipments about 45 days ago and expects to receive about 40 models before the year is out, Thompson said. Those totals should rise in 2007. "I'm sure by next year, we will have a good selection," he said.

In a quick test drive of the Caliber SXT this week, the mid-range version proved to be a comfortable, pleasing ride. The trendy Sunburst Orange exterior gave the four-door compact a sports car-like appearance.
The CVT transmission accelerated nicely in stop-and-go driving on Interstate 526 during speedy rush hour traffic. The car steered well, although the turning radius could have been tighter when backing and circling on a subdivision street.

Power windows and rearview mirrors were a convenience, but drivers need to be careful not to rest their arm on the buttons or they may accidently open the rear windows. The driver side window on the test model had a squeaking noise when raised or lowered.

One cool accessory especially for an entry-level model was rear window wipers and spray. The interior and cargo area have storage compartments tucked all over. The air conditioner was easy to use and cooled off the interior rapidly. The system also provides the chill to a beverage cooler in the glove compartment, another feature with "wow" appeal.

The test SXT did not have Dodge's optional MusicGate speaker system, but had a solid audio package. The few dashboard controls were not hard to figure out.

Despite a few minor glitches, the new Caliber should be expected to give Dodge that rare, yet highly sought after blend of sex appeal and economy.

2007 Dodge Caliber
Type: compact
Styles: (base) SE; (midrange) SXT; (top-line) R/T
Price range: $13,900-$23,230
Engines: SE (four-cylinder, 148 horsepower); SXT (four-cylinder, 158 hp); R/T (four-cylinder, 172 hp)
Wheels: 15-18 inch
Colors: Inferno Red, Marine Blue, Solar Yellow, Sunburst Orange, Black, Light Khaki Metallic, Stone White, Bright Silver Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic
Fuel economy: Up to 28 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway
Features: All-wheel-drive on R/T model, Sirius satellite radio for $195, CVT automatic transmission for $1,000.
Safety: Standard equipment includes driver, front-passenger and side-curtain air bags; child protection rear door locks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Hey, I'll tell you what. I am 26 years old and I have two kids ages 2 and 3. I have done the mini van thing and felt like an old lady. I am convinced the Caliber was MADE for ME! :) It has plenty of room for me and the kids. Worked well with the strap on the headrest type DVD player. (They need to offer one of these lol) It also has the cargo room to allow me to still get what I need home. The Caliber is a product that came from a Ram and a Neon "getting together" (Sorry, my bestfriend says that :D )

Needless to say I have finally found a vehicle that I can have kids in and still feel good about myself in. I can add mods to this and fulfill my urges for messing with my car. Minivans just don't look good powdered rims and blacked out windows :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
The Caliber gets up to 28 miles per gallon of gas in the city, 32 mpg on the highway. With a 13.6 gallon tank, it can go 435 miles on trips without refueling. The top-end R/T edition comes standard with all-wheel drive, a rarity for a compact car. A $1,000 extra, the Continuously Variable Transaxle system, is designed so that the automatic transmission is at its most efficient.
I hate to be a basher, but 435 miles? Mine gets 390Km!! I would love to have the 435 miles, maybe thats for the diesel?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
My dad is 46, and he wants one also. Like I've said earlier, possibly 2 to 3 in the family within a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I'm 51 and chances are about 98% that I will be getting one in May when the lease runs out on the car I now drive.:)

Here in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, I believe I've seen just as many people OVER 40 driving the Caliber as under 40. Dealers can't keep them on the lots here.

And you don't have to be in your twenties to want, as I do, tinted windows, strut bar, catback exhuast, cai, etc.:p :p :p

I probably won't be able to afford the catback, but the tint, strut and cai are definitely going to go on. :D

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
GregoriusM said:
And you don't have to be in your twenties to want, as I do, tinted windows, strut bar, catback exhuast, cai, etc.:p :p :p
I hope not... I'm just out of my twenties and I tinted mine :D and I want the other items you mentioned and I am getting 18" wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I am 41 and the first day I saw the Caliber I said "I HAVE TO HAVE THAT CAR" It was love at first site! I had a Durango for a few years and LOVED it..traded it because I was going through mid life crisis I guess and needed to feel young again so got a Convertible. Well I have found that with 2 very active teens in the house..I need more storage for instruments and what not that when I saw the Caliber it reminded me of a "Mini SUV" that is actually good on gas. I haven't seen to many young kids here in Florida with the Caliber..they are all my age or older in all seriousness...but it definately is a BEAUT..My sister-in-law has one and absolutely loves it! We will have twin cars soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
187 Posts
I'm 60 but before you make the mistake of thinking me an old man you have to know that I'm as alive as when I was 18. Possibly more so. Being a soldier in Vietnam and surviving more than 20 rocket attacks gives you an appreciation of life more so than most others around you. Not looking for sympathy, just illustrating that people my age are from am active generation who are not even close to slowing down. I have to be constantly challenging my mind. (See what an old man does in his spare time at my website newsvideo dot com and then click on my name). The Caliber is the car I like the best of all that I've owned. I like it even better than my '67 VW Beetle, which I didn't think any car would ever replace. I'm on the Caliber forums every day looking to learn something new about it. I'm looking at the mods and the add-ons. More tellingly, the day my dealer got a group of Calibers in stock was like sale day at the ladies apparel store. You've seen the video where the doors are unlocked and the women swarm in and fight over the dresses. That was me, fighting off all the other old farts trying to buy one of the few Calibers available. I actually picked a Caliber only to have another salesman duck in between my salesman and I to get in the car and drive it off. He said he had already sold it. Grabbed another dress, er, Caliber, before anyone else could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
donsmith said:
I'm 60 but before you make the mistake of thinking me an old man you have to know that I'm as alive as when I was 18. Possibly more so. Being a soldier in Vietnam and surviving more than 20 rocket attacks gives you an appreciation of life more so than most others around you. Not looking for sympathy, just illustrating that people my age are from am active generation who are not even close to slowing down. I have to be constantly challenging my mind. (See what an old man does in his spare time at my website newsvideo dot com and then click on my name). The Caliber is the car I like the best of all that I've owned. I like it even better than my '67 VW Beetle, which I didn't think any car would ever replace. I'm on the Caliber forums every day looking to learn something new about it. I'm looking at the mods and the add-ons. More tellingly, the day my dealer got a group of Calibers in stock was like sale day at the ladies apparel store. You've seen the video where the doors are unlocked and the women swarm in and fight over the dresses. That was me, fighting off all the other old farts trying to buy one of the few Calibers available. I actually picked a Caliber only to have another salesman duck in between my salesman and I to get in the car and drive it off. He said he had already sold it. Grabbed another dress, er, Caliber, before anyone else could.
You and my Papa would get along great. He was Army Pilot during Vietnam. And even though he finally retired as an Army Test Pilot over 12 years ago, he's been going non-stop. He is a master Carpenter. He can make anything from toys to frames for a house. He and my Nana are also full time MAPS. That's a church organization for retirees to go around the country and build up churches, church properties, etc. Their latest is working on playgrounds for Churches that can't afford the fees for a full construction crew. Anyway, they're trying to decide if they're going to pull a new Mini or the Caliber R/T behind their rig. hehe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
901 Posts
Me, I'm 39. I paid attention to the reports of the upcoming Caliber that started about a year ago. When I saw it and read the features, the only thing standing in my way was a test drive. I was on the build-and-price feature about once a week while it was still sort of a "survey" format. My Stratus was just about the perfect size, but when its lease was up, I knew I wanted something to ease up on my budget a bit. I don't think I fit at all into the "expected" demographic for this car - but it still suits me perfectly.

My 33 old brother saw it this spring, drove it, and likes it better than his fancy-shmancy-"keeping up with the (Doctor) Joneses" Land Rover Discovery. But he won't buy a Caliber.... He claims he NEEDS to buy a vehicle that weighs over 6000 lbs so that he can get a tax writeoff, claims that what he gets back in taxes is more than the difference in payments throughout the year. (Maybe. I haven't done the math so maybe its true. But I think you'd be saving even MORE money to pay tons less for a car to begin with.) So OK, so he's a bit of a snob.... LOL It gives me something to tease him about, as a big sister should.

My 62 yr old mom took my Caliber out for a test drive too. She LOVES it. Her Toyota Camry is paid for though, and running quite well, so she's not in the market for a new car at the moment. But if she was, Caliber is at the top of her short list.

Dad has yet to see the car - he lives 400 miles away. But he is succumbing to all the sort-of negative press reviews. He believes them 100%. grrrr. But I'm convinced that once he sees the car in person he'll be won over too!! (although his Mercury Sable is more to his upscale refined taste. He's like tv's Frasier. 'nuff said. LOL)
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top