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It was suggested over at Dodgeforums that I repost this here, nice site btw!

Well, I believe I am a few days short of actual month, but its long enough. This Friday should be the one month.

Anyway, just a recap for those that may not know:
Caliber R/T
Driver Convenience Group
Security Group
Sunroof
All the other R/T stuff.

Likes:
Great handling

Acceleration gets better and better. Just did the first oil change and put synthetic in it, and it is very quiet and smooth. The acceleration has improved A LOT, more than any other vehicle I have owned through a break in period. I am guessing its because of the new engine and the CVT takes time to adjust. It also takes time for the computer to "learn" your driving style.

Gas mileage is better than advertised in the city. I get 24.8 or better all the time, that included pretty heavy footed driving.
Highway I have had some trouble with though. At 70 MPH at under, I have been able to average 28-29 MPG. But go above 70, and the MPG drops like a rock. I was getting 21-22 at 75-80. Kind of a disapointment considering my 4.0L 4x4 Sport Trac got 23 making the same trip last year, doing 80 too.

Great having the cargo area. I have a big storage bin back there I throw my school stuff in so it isnt sliding around the back seat. I also had the rest of a case of oil from the oil change, and managed to fit a bunch of groceries we went and got so we would stop eating out so much. :p. All if it fit in the cargo area with no need to put anything in the back seats.

All the seats are very comfortable, and the height adjust on the R/T is great to have.

Speakers are good for the base system. I dont have the soundgate package and just the standard radio.

Sirius rocks, but I knew that going into it.

The sunroof is great. Very low wind noise when fully open, and it doesnt let too much air in. Its damn near perfect IMO, everyone should get one.

The AWD is nice and responsive, as well as smooth. I had it kick in just last night driving back from Indiana. We hit a really bad storm and there were some big big puddles. Well going through them caused for some loss of traction to the front tires, and you could feel the car shift over to AWD for a bit. Car went through the puddle with no drag to either side and was like a tank. Great job by Chrysler.

The CVT is a lot of fun, and Autostick adds a whole new world of performance to the car.

Fits full grown adults over 6'2" perfectly, not bad for a "compact".



Cons:

That cooling system in the glove compartment is kind of annoying. You pull back this tab thing that is supposed to open it up to let cold air in, but anytime you stop, especially if it is heavier braking, the thing seems to close again. It is very loose and does not seem to want to stay open. A big PITA.

The power inverter plug (AC plug), as cool as it may be, is only a two prong, and gives no wattage rating on it. Any power inverter you buy has a three prong connection. I dont understand why its only two. I tried getting info on the watt rating, and the lady said it was 115 Volts and 115 Watts, that seems convenient... I hope she is right.

So because of its lack of three prong and lack of info on whats its capacities are, it has only been used once.

I hate. HATE. My NUMBER 1 complaint about this damn car, is the fact that the power points dont stay on when you shut off the vehicle and get out. What a useless "Feature". Makes it really hard to let your cell phone, iPod, whatever, charge when the vehicle is off. Because of school and work, I dont get to spend a lot of time near outlets, so sometimes its easier to just let the plugs stay in the vehicle for the DC sources and charge my stuff. That way its all set and I dont have to carry around AC plugs everywhere. Well thanks to the geniuses at Dodge, I cant do that anymore. It cant be about battery rundown either because EVERY Ford vehicle I have owned had a rundown sensor in it and if the power levels dipped too much it THEN cut off the power to the vehicle so you could still charge it. Even then I have never had that have to kick on, an iPod does not take that much to charge...

Man that bugs me.

The highway gas mileage is annoying too. My big 4x4 Sport Trac's and Explorer should not be getting better highway MPG than this car above 70 MPH. I dont know what the deal is there, but its ridiculous.

The use of hard plastic in the interior makes it tough, but they could have put SOME padding on the center console and the driver/pass door handles. I have always rested my elbows there, and still do, and the lack of padding can make for some more painful longer trips. Never seen a vehicle that lacked padding. Its void everywhere in this car except the seats.

We went to get a new oil filter for the car, and nowhere in the manual does it state the oil filters part number. It gives a long part number, at least we think its a part number, but we cannot find what it means anywhere. Googled it, called Chrysler, it doesnt show up. So we think its the standard Chrysler S16 oil filter, but just like the AC plug, this cars manual is very void of information. There isnt even a section on the AWD.

The tires kind of suck in the rain, I read this before I got the car from someone on this forum, but it is very true.



Those are the bullet points of the major things I like and dont like about the car.

Some of them that I dont like really stand out, and it sucks that the stuff I dont like is in some cases more important than all the Pro's because I use that stuff more. But whatever, I hope when the modding community takes hold there are some work arounds to these issues.

Thanks for reading! I plan to add to it as I remember stuff.
 

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cool dude! looks like it still a pretty good car with only a few minor things that could be fixed...the power points could be rewired to stay on all the time...beware of draining the battery if u do. Maybe we can get sivlerfox to do a review on his as well and any other new owner too. thanks guys! the more info we have the better!
 

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boostdog said:
cool dude! looks like it still a pretty good car with only a few minor things that could be fixed...the power points could be rewired to stay on all the time...beware of draining the battery if u do. Maybe we can get sivlerfox to do a review on his as well and any other new owner too. thanks guys! the more info we have the better!
Silverfox doesn't have his SXT anymore, he was moving to LA, and I think I remember a thread about swapping fuses to make the lighter "live"may have been in the Chrysler 300 group.........gonna miss that crazy Silverfox.....:-(
 

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pacerman said:
Silverfox doesn't have his SXT anymore, he was moving to LA, and I think I remember a thread about swapping fuses to make the lighter "live"may have been in the Chrysler 300 group.........gonna miss that crazy Silverfox.....:-(
man that sucks...well anyone else review away...sorry for the hijack. :D
 

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Good story, detailed:)
Do you or anybody else happen to know correct acceleration numbers (0-60, or 1/4mile for 2.4 R/T? Has any magazine maesured those numers in their roadtests etc? Tried to look but couldnt find...

Timo
 

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It's nice to be missed. :D It's not like I'm disappearing from the boards entirely. I still have a lot of knowledge regarding the Caliber I can share, evne if I drive a Ford. :p

You can swap certain fuses to make the lighter active instead of passive. I can't remember which one you do but I know it can be done.

You can lock the ChillZone vent in place. Slide it back as far as it can go with a firm tug and then **** it to one side slightly. This will prevent it from sliding forward. :D
 

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Well, this has been the most helpful review (for me) on the Caliber so far. I really appreciate it. That mileage thing really gives me something to think about. You can bet, when/if I get one, I'll post a writeup on keeping the power outlets on without the key.... it was one of my favorite mods to my Cherokee.
 

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Glad to hear the MPG with AWD is good. I have been considering the Caliber, but 1 feature I wish they would leave out is that damm Chill Zone.
Aside from the fact it does not get cold enough (45 degrees I have read), I don't like the way it operates. It takes away from the cold air going into the passenger compartment and has to run even if you don't have the need for A/C.
I also going to be looking at the Jeep Compass for this reason. It will have the Chill Zone as an OPTION. Dodge should done the same thing with the Caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info SilverFox and Amandyke, I am glad to see that it is not hopeless! I cant wait to see if that works with the cooler, if it does then I will be much much happier.

If anyone finds out the exact info on the fuse, I would greatly appreciate it. I find it hard to believe Dodge would not put a Battery Rundown Sensor in the vehicle, as I said my Ford's had them, even my Ranger, which is about Caliber level when it comes to the Budget vehicle of its line.

By the way SilverFox, what Ford did you get? My mom and step-dad work at Ford World HQ, and my dad works for Chrysler (hence the Caliber), but before the Caliber I had three Sport Trac's, a Ranger, and an Explorer. Right now we have a Fusion and an Escape.

Pretty much had everything in the past, Lincoln LS's, Jaguars, etc, so I was curious what you went with.

Thanks for not bashing me for having an opinion on the Caliber too everyone. I have been many places where if you have a problem with something on a vehicle, its best not to say it at a forum for that vehicle if you want to walk away.

Nice to see a grown-up attitude here!
 

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JohnC said:
Glad to hear the MPG with AWD is good. I have been considering the Caliber, but 1 feature I wish they would leave out is that damm Chill Zone.
Aside from the fact it does not get cold enough (45 degrees I have read), I don't like the way it operates. It takes away from the cold air going into the passenger compartment and has to run even if you don't have the need for A/C.
I also going to be looking at the Jeep Compass for this reason. It will have the Chill Zone as an OPTION. Dodge should done the same thing with the Caliber.
In defense of the Chillzone, it keeps drinks VERY cool/cold. I put a Coke and a root beer in there on the trip back from Indiana, it was more than cold enough for a good drink, and great for something built into a car.

And when you slide the tab forward it cuts off air into the coolzone so it does not affect the amount going to the rest of the vehicle, so it is like shutting it off, and the tab seals it quite well.

Also, its difference in airflow allowance to the rest of the vehicle is minimal. We did a lot of testing on the drive back seeing what gives it the best airflow, and nothing we did really made any noticable change to the air going into the actual "living" space.

Its really not a bad feature at all, and can be very nice on longer trips.
 

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The ChillZone is an option. It can be removed by request. Without it, the space becomes another storage compartment. Don't want cold air in the cabin but you want to keep drinks cold? Close all four vents on the dashboard and run the ChillZone. Giving cold air only one exhaust port will make it more concentrated. :)

VulnoX, I bought a 2006 Ford Taurus SE. If you've got anything up your sleeve that'll make my move to LA easier, I'd love to hear it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Timo said:
Good story, detailed:)
Do you or anybody else happen to know correct acceleration numbers (0-60, or 1/4mile for 2.4 R/T? Has any magazine maesured those numers in their roadtests etc? Tried to look but couldnt find...

Timo
0-60 I read in Car and Driver, I believe it was, to be 8.5 Seconds on the R/T. The 1/4 mile I dont know though.

I dont know what difference to the 60 foot the AutoStick would make, I find it is faster for acceleration to use the autostick when getting up to 60, so it might be better than 8.5 using it, no official numbers that I have seen though.

The base model gets a 10.5 Sec 0-60 from Dodge though, but thats not for the R/T.
 

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Amandyke said:
The AC plug is 15watts. Just enough to charge a cellphone or ipod.
That is not enough to run the blender, how am I sposed to make Margaritas on long trips.


Seriously though, only 15 watts, that wont quite run the DVD plater for the kids and the iBook. Glad I did not throw away the convertor.
 

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And the cigarette lighter is only a 20amp fuse. So 20 amp x 12 volts = 240 watts. Just be aware how much you're plugging into there too.

As an option you can always run a line directly off the battery. That's what I did with my old Echo. Ran a 400 watt inverter in the trunk off of that. Only pain was having to turn it on and off when I wanted it. But that wasn't too big of a deal.
 

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VulnoX, thanks for that very complete review. I hope to provide my 1 month review in about three weeks. I've already noticed the same pos/neg quirks. Hopefully, I'll not parrot what has already been said. Makes me yearn to find other positives!

Tyke
 

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VulnoX said:
Thanks for not bashing me for having an opinion on the Caliber too everyone. I have been many places where if you have a problem with something on a vehicle, its best not to say it at a forum for that vehicle if you want to walk away.

Nice to see a grown-up attitude here!

You're stupid! The caliber is infallible! Go troll somewhere else!

blah blah blah *insert fan boy dribble here*
 

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Silverfox,
Looking at the Caliber brochure,it says the Chill-Zone is included with the A/C.
So what you are saying is that I have to request that the Chill Zone NOT be included?
 

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Wow, really? Everything I'd seen up until now said it was an option. :( Guess they've got it coming with the A/C now. As far as I know, you can request to have it removed not not added. I might be wrong, though.

Of course, if you don't want it, you can seal it shut and remove the mat. :)
 
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