Functional, Performance-oriented Exterior Design
Because there is only one chance to make a first impression, the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 makes the most of it with muscular exterior styling.
"From the very first sketches of the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4, we wanted an aggressive, SRT-signature look," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President—Design. "For example, because the intercooler is positioned so high behind the front grille, we moved the fascia slightly forward and extended the walls of the grille. The result is a much more aggressive look than the standard Dodge Caliber."
An all-new front fascia below the signature Dodge crosshair grille incorporates functional performance features including ducts that direct air to cool the brakes and a wide center inlet that provides air flow to the radiator. Fog lamps are also set into the fascia, alongside brake ducts. The 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4's hood incorporates a functional scoop that brings cooling air into the engine compartment and a pair of extractors that exhaust hot air.
"Exterior design that works as well as it looks is a requirement for all SRT vehicles," said Creed. "The hood design includes the functionality of bringing cool air in and getting hot air out."
The lowest portion of the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4's fascia, which acts as an air dam to direct air around the front of the vehicle, wraps around to visually integrate with the radiused wheel wells and lower side-sill moldings.
The rear fascia continues the muscular, functional character of SRT vehicles, with lower vertical strakes that direct underbody air flow out the back of the vehicle, contributing to more stability at speed. A single, 3.5-inch exhaust tip exits from the right side of the fascia.
Aerodynamic efficiency is also aided by an integrated spoiler above the rear glass, which incorporates the Center High-mounted Stop Light (CHMSL). This spoiler, which is nearly 60 percent larger than that on the standard Dodge Caliber, is tuned for smoother air flow and downforce while maximizing the rear view.
Four exterior colors will be available on the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4: Brilliant Black, Sunburst Orange, Bright Silver and Inferno Red.
Race-inspired Interior Appointments
In the "business office" of the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4, a new interpretation of traditional SRT themes is carried out.
"The 2007 Dodge Caliber interior is unique with sophisticated and contemporary appointments," said Creed. "When we enhanced it with SRT cues, we followed design themes that had been successful with the previous Dodge SRT4, including the graphic design of the instruments, separate boost gauge, and silver finish on the center stack and interior trim.
"Overall, our strategy was to infuse the interior with performance-oriented enhancements to complement the Dodge Caliber SRT4's aggressive exterior," Creed added.
Unique SRT touches include sport seating with aggressive bolstering and performance fabric inserts to hold occupants during spirited driving, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a "carbon fiber" pattern on the upper portion. The seats, steering wheel and leather shift boot feature contrasting stitching. Also unique to the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is an "alloy silver" finish on the instrument panel and shift bezel, and bright aluminum pedal pads that feature rubber studs for enhanced grip.
The center-stack-mounted shifter includes a lift ring to engage reverse, unique to the Dodge Caliber SRT4, as well as a leather-finished shift knob.
The instrument panel features three gauge "tunnels" outfitted with performance-oriented instrumentation, including a tachometer, 200-mph speedometer and water temperature and fuel gauges. A turbocharger boost gauge is located on the left side of the instrument panel.
For the enjoyment of audiophiles, the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is equipped with a standard AM-FM radio with a multi-disc CD changer control. An available SRT/Kicker high-performance audio system includes 13 speakers in seven locations, powered by a 322-watt amplifier and 100-watt subwoofer.
Two communication options are available on the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4: UConnect™ Hands Free Communications System and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
The UConnect system uses Bluetooth® technology to provide hands-free wireless communication between the customer's compatible cellular telephone and the vehicle's outboard receiver. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless networking technology that is used to connect two or more devices together.
SIRIUS provides 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 customers with more than 120 streams of the best music, entertainment and information, coast to coast. SIRIUS channels include 100 percent commercial-free music, the most play-by-play sports, world-class news, as well as talk, comedy, women's, family and kids' programming, traffic and weather.
The interior of the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is offered in Dark/Light Slate Gray.
World-class Ride and Handling
Another hallmark of SRT's balanced approach to performance is ride and handling characteristics that make a smooth transition from street to track.
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 rides on SRT-unique19-inch cast aluminum wheels with 225/45R19 W-rated Goodyear tires. Wheel hubs and bearings on all four corners are adapted from Chrysler Group mid-size cars for strength.
Upgrades to the standard 2007 Dodge Caliber's MacPherson strut front suspension include new suspension knuckles and tuned dampers with revised spring rates. Unique front and rear sway bars keep body roll to a minimum during hard cornering.
The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is uniquely calibrated for the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 to provide excellent directional stability in all driving modes. In addition, stability is enhanced with a ride height one-half inch lower than the standard 2007 Dodge Caliber.
Rack-and-pinion power steering is tuned to produce easier low-speed maneuvering, without compromising performance at speed. The overall steering ratio is 18.0:1.
Benchmark braking is another ingredient in SRT's performance recipe.
Although it's a compact car, the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 benefits from braking-system components designed for much larger, heavier cars. For example, front brake calipers were sourced from a premium brake system developed for the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum and Dodge Charger, while rear calipers were sourced from Chrysler Group mid-size cars. However, all are painted in signature Dodge SRT red. Vented brake rotors for the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 are 340 x 28mm in front and 302 x 10mm in the rear.
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) was uniquely calibrated for the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4's performance to maintain directional stability without wheel lockup.
Street- and Track-tested Quality
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 was designed and engineered under the Chrysler Development System (CDS), the comprehensive, coordinated and disciplined product-creation process that improves quality and speed-to-market while reducing costs and encouraging practical innovation in new vehicles.
CDS emphasizes systems engineering, design and up-front planning to avoid time-consuming and costly trial and error, or changes during the later phases of the product development cycle. With CDS, all product and process planning is completed and fully integrated before production tooling begins.
2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 development also encompasses actual conditions, both on the street and on the race track.
To simulate real-world conditions, the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 will have logged nearly 2 million customer-equivalent road miles by the time vehicles begin appearing in dealerships.
To ensure its track-ready character, extensive durability testing of the Dodge Caliber SRT4 will take place at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix; Texas Motorsports Ranch in Ft. Worth, Texas; and Nelson Ledges in Garrettsville, Ohio.
Process, Productivity Key to Manufacturing Excellence
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is built at the Chrysler Group's Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant on the same assembly line with the Dodge Caliber SE, SXT and R/T models.
Previously the home of the Dodge Neon, the plant recently underwent a multimillion-dollar upgrade to prepare for Caliber production.
A new body shop and other upgrades are part of a total program investment of $419 million that was announced in January 2005. The robotic body shop can build the Dodge Caliber SRT4, Caliber and potentially three other vehicles with no negative impact on production. Robots can make necessary tool changes automatically within cycle time, in about 45 seconds.
The 3.7 million-square-foot Belvidere Assembly Plant has approximately 1,700 employees represented by United Auto Worker's Union Locals 1268 and 1761. The plant began production of the Plymouth Fury and Dodge Monaco in 1965.
(Published Feb. 8, 2006)