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Discussion Starter #1
Allow me to start by saying that this car is excellent. I absolutly love it. It drives great and it looks even better.

First Impressions Break down time!

Performance:
Well I'm still breaking in the engine, so I haven't gone out and just mashed the pedal. Since that would be bad and all. But I have rev'd it up a bit. Acceleration is smooth and constant thanks to the CVT. I wouldn't call it a race car acceleration wise, but it is not slow by any stretch of the imagination. If you mash the pedal, you're going somewhere for sure.

Engine:
The engine is very quiet and very smooth. Dodge did a great job with the world engine. No jittering or hesitation at any rpm.

Exhaust:
I would have really liked it if Dodge had given the R/T a tuned exhaust of some kind. As it sits it sounds about like the old neon did. Unimpressive. A little whiney.

Intake:
It's uhh.... very small. The air intake is literally 1"x3". Now call me crazy, but my old Echo had a 3" circular intake with a 1.5l engine. It only seems logical that a 2.4l would need a larger intake. Maybe I missed a secondary intake hole, I haven't exactly gone over the engine compartment with a fine tooth comb or anything, but as it is the intake is very very small. A CAI or at least a modified intake would potentially be beneficial.

Engine compartment layout:
Lots and lots of plastic. Everything is covered save the fluid reservoirs. There is a nice open space near the back with a conveniently placed heat shield. Seems like the logical place for a turbo charger.

Handling:
I must say I am pleased by how it handles the road. To put it simply, it grabs on. I haven't given it a proper handling test yet. But the little bit I have done, I've liked.

Brakes:
Here is where I am VERY impressed. This car stops on a DIME. The large front discs, moderate rear discs, ABS, and emergency brake assist thingy all mesh to make for a "omg where'd my face go" stopping experience. 35mph to 0mph was very very short. I basically waited until I couldn't see the limit line over the dash, and THEN hit the brakes. The car stopped before crossing the limit line.

Exterior styling:
As other have said on the forum, this car will grow on you. Now, I liked the styling of the car before I purchased it, and now that I've had some time to sit and look at it in person. I like it even MORE. The car looks good.

Interior:
I LOVE the interior. Everything is placed in such a way that it is easy and intuitive to get to. The audio controls on the back of the steering wheel are well within finger reach. The only control that I'm not 100% pleased about is the uconnect controls. Maybe I'm missing something with the controls, but the only place I know of to control it is via the rear view mirror. It's not bad, but it could be better if it was say... on the front of the wheel. The color matched center console is disgustingly gorgeous. What a teriffic contrast, I highly recommend EVERYONE to get the color keyed interior. The seats are very comfortable, and the seat heaters... Wow those were $250 well spent.

Uconnect:
If you have a phone with bluetooth, you NEED uconnect. It is an excellent system. My only gripe is that it cannot use the phone book in the phone itself. However it does recognize phone numbers when speak, and has a 32 entry phone book. Connecting the phone and the uconnect system is 100% painless and will take you less than a minute. The voice recognition is very good, not quite great, but very good nonetheless.

Music Gate sound system:
The sound system is incredible. Crystal clear at ALL volume levels, even full blast. At high volume the high's are not painfull, and speaker response is excellent all around. The only thing I wish it had was a more punchy woofer. It does fill in the low end just fine, however it doesn't quite have the punch in the gut feeling that I'd come to love about my Elemental Designs 13kv.2. I might swap out the BA woofer for an 8" 9kv.2 from Elemental Designs.

Here are some crappy camera phone pictures to sate your appetites until I get home and get the real camera.



 

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Very nice!! Once again congrats. Looking forward to some more photos. Could you get any improvement in the sound system base with EQ/Tone controls? You sound very knowledgable re: audio so are probably aware recording or source quality is important as well. Your car looks great:D
 

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Base should have read Bass:)
 

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One other thing...using the autostick manual mode, any benefit re: performance or seat of the pants acceleration telltales?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: sound system bass, you can turn up the bass adjustment, but that turns up the bass in all of the speakers. What Dodge should have done was give a seperate subwoofer control. That would give you a lot more control over the sub bass, which is what gives you the good punches. However, the system does have 3 EQ variables, Bass, Mid-Range and Treble. I've basically left it all at 0 with bass at +2.

Re: autostick mode. It's an interesting feature. I haven't used it too much and it tends to keep the RPM high, and in the engine break in period, you don't want it to get all that high for very long. Basically all it does is simulate 6 gear ratios. So it makes the car feel more like an old fashioned automatic. Jerks and all.

As a side note, the CVT is very fast in it's response. The autostick mode is a great example of that. The ratio change is almost instantaneous.
 

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Very nice review of the R/T AWD!! I am glad that you finally recieved the car and actually driving it, you waited long enough! Now I can't wait until FWD R/T, sounds soo cool!!
 

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YOU ARE SO LUCKY ...


GREAT REVIEW, lets just say i am desperatly waitin for mine nice to it grew on you cause i have to say the more i see them on the road the more it grows on me

sad to hear about the exaust

i just smashed my 2004 neon rt wich had a nice note to it (snif snif ) ill wait for my replacement ...

i'm sure the autostick will grow on you once you will be able to take it to higher rpm

my rt is built but held at plant "kzoa" :)confused: )


have fun fun with it

TAKE INSIDE PICS

DCX ROCKS
 

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they grow on me but once i see the back end, i cringe, i just cant get past that
 

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Cool deal, congrats Amandyke! Cool the hear about the R/T. Is yours four-wheel drive (I don't know if the FWD models are out yet)?
 

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havent gasesed it cuz ur breaking it in and that would be bad??? dude do we live in 1930??? u dont break in modern engines. they have been stress tested at the factory. and more than that, if u want the most PERFORMANCE and LIFE out of the motor u need to drive it hard from the start so the rings seat right.

i no everyone on this forum is new at cars so its cool that u didnt no that, but spread the word. an d punch it quick or ur car will get used to running soft, end up sluggish, and when u start to drive it hard, it will cause damage.
 

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KnightRiders said:
...if u want the most PERFORMANCE and LIFE out of the motor u need to drive it hard from the start so the rings seat right.
What? "drive it hard from the start so the rings seat right."??? In the manuals of the last two brand new cars I've purchase it specifically says to take it easy by not driving it at one speed for long lengths of time and not tagging it past a certain RPM and a couple of other things.

KnightRiders said:
i no everyone on this forum is new at cars so its cool that u didnt no that, but spread the word. an d punch it quick or ur car will get used to running soft, end up sluggish, and when u start to drive it hard, it will cause damage.
I'm no gear-head but that just doesn't sound right.
 

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In reply to KnightRiders:

Excuse us if we don't 'no' as much about engines as you do. I've done a little research since you posted and from what I've found online, doing what you said is the worst possible thing you can do.

http://member.rivernet.com.au/btaylor/BMWText/technical/EngineBreakInPeriod.html

That link has a really good technical/mechanical discussion about why breaking it in by never going above 4000 rpm's for more than 2-3 seconds is correct. At least for the first 300 miles or so. The way it is explained, it makes perfect sense.
 

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dbsynergy said:
In reply to KnightRiders:

Excuse us if we don't 'no' as much about engines as you do. I've done a little research since you posted and from what I've found online, doing what you said is the worst possible thing you can do.

http://member.rivernet.com.au/btaylor/BMWText/technical/EngineBreakInPeriod.html

That link has a really good technical/mechanical discussion about why breaking it in by never going above 4000 rpm's for more than 2-3 seconds is correct. At least for the first 300 miles or so. The way it is explained, it makes perfect sense.
And this one tells you why you want to do a certain amount of hard acceleration to properly break in your engine: http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm

Take your pick...
 

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Also bear in mind that the World engine uses an aluminum block and not steel. Whether or not it makes a difference for a break in, I don't know. :)
 

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KnightRiders said:
havent gasesed it cuz ur breaking it in and that would be bad??? dude do we live in 1930??? u dont break in modern engines. they have been stress tested at the factory. and more than that, if u want the most PERFORMANCE and LIFE out of the motor u need to drive it hard from the start so the rings seat right.
Completely Incorrect.

Every vehicle we sell requires a proper break-in period for optimal engine life, including ALL SRT vehicles. Here is the exact wording from page 59 of the Caliber Owners Manual.

ENGINE BREAK-IN RECOMMENDATIONS
A long break-in period is not required for the engine in your new vehicle. Drive moderately during the first 300 miles (500 km). After the initial 60 miles (100 km), speeds up to 50 or 55 mph (80 or 90 km/h) are desirable.

While cruising, brief full-throttle acceleration, within the limits of local traffic laws, contributes to a good break-in. Wide open throttle acceleration in low gear can be detrimental and should be avoided.

The engine oil installed in the engine at the factory is a high quality energy conserving type lubricant. Oil changes should be consistent with anticipated climate conditions under which vehicle operations will occur. A new engine may consume some oil during its first few thousand miles (kilometers) of operation. This should be considered as a normal part of the break-in and not interpreted as an indication of difficulty.

Dan
 

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DodgeInfoCenter said:
Completely Incorrect.

Every vehicle we sell requires a proper break-in period for optimal engine life, including ALL SRT vehicles. Here is the exact wording from page 59 of the Caliber Owners Manual.

ENGINE BREAK-IN RECOMMENDATIONS
A long break-in period is not required for the engine in your new vehicle. Drive moderately during the first 300 miles (500 km). After the initial 60 miles (100 km), speeds up to 50 or 55 mph (80 or 90 km/h) are desirable.

While cruising, brief full-throttle acceleration, within the limits of local traffic laws, contributes to a good break-in. Wide open throttle acceleration in low gear can be detrimental and should be avoided.

The engine oil installed in the engine at the factory is a high quality energy conserving type lubricant. Oil changes should be consistent with anticipated climate conditions under which vehicle operations will occur. A new engine may consume some oil during its first few thousand miles (kilometers) of operation. This should be considered as a normal part of the break-in and not interpreted as an indication of difficulty.

Dan
Actually you dont know one way or another.... im verging toward the mototune method myself... run it hard, just at varying rpms. I race a 1st gen neon (laugh it up) and am getting VERY good power #'s for my engine type using the mototune break in method. this comment about hi throttle use at low RPM stands for any engines, not just during break in.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok everybody, that's enough about engine break in discussions. If you want to continue, make a new thread.

I appreciate all of the research going on, it only helps the community. However Nate, concerning the motoman method, I can see the benefit of it. But, aren't engine's tested *BEFORE* they are installed into a vehicle? So wouldn't that mean that they've been run through different RPM ranges at varying throttle loads? And in doing so, doesn't that negate motoman's recommendation of running it hard during the first 20 miles? Logically it would seem like your engine comes broken in. Especially since you are never the first person to drive it.

Personally I am going to follow what the manual says to do. Especially considering that right after I first got the car, I brought it onto the freeway with a wide open throttle. So if anything I followed motoman's basic recommendation, but I will not be running the engine hard until after it's first oil change. Which I will have done at around 500 miles or so.

Also, got a chance today on the way to work to play with the autostick. It's quite good actually. Very nice if you want to keep the car at a certain RPM range, say like when you're breaking it in :).

Anyway, the car pulls very hard from 3-4k rpm. It is quite nice.
 

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Im sorry, that car is UGLY. I love a 4 door hatch and the mazda3 and gti are on the top of my list.
I came here to research the caliber and theres no way I could live with that. The front end looks like a caravan or suv. Not sporty at all. and what the hell is the goofy plastic that starts at the windshield and goes all the way back?
Reviews all say that the r/t isnt any faster than the sxt, and thats not fast by any stretch. Every review complains that all the models are too heavy and too slow.
From what I've read handling is nothing to brag about either. Stable enough for a utilitcar but not sporty, not even the r/t.
 

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btw-- the thing with the cars accelleration, is ya cant feel it.. thats why it doesnt feel sporty to some people. And about the engine-testing on-site; they usually do that w/out the transmission attatched.


here ya go.. complementary sig ;) (i even lowered it for ya. lol)
 
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