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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Little background...

I've been driving the family mini-van for the past year, I just turned 17 today and in the past couple days my dad finally has begun talking about buying a car for me. Basically they would pay for it, it would be under their name, but I would be the only one using it, once I graduate I would pay them back for it (Atleast half) and keep it for myself.

The van I do drive is a Toyota Sienna 98... When I first started driving it had roughly 60,000 miles... 9 months later it's at 112,600 something. I play paintball and drive a lot. I've driven more in the time I've had my license/permit than most people have under the age of 21. I like the mini-van to be honest, I don't know a lot about cars... but the Mini-van is relatively "fast" from what I've seen, it has the same V6 3.0 liter that the Camry's have... nothing too amazing... but it works.

My dad showed me the Caliber one day, just all the small things we both liked, the cooler, outlet, mp3 plug-in. Small stuff like that we both wanted in cars for a long time but never saw it up until this.

I like hatchbacks/wagons a lot, I was looking mainly at Subaru's... I used to play rally games and would always pick out the impreza. I started to look at smaller SUV's too but we have never been to thrilled about SUV's. We went on a vacation to Florida last week for spring break, we got to rent an Expedition... I think it was an 05 or 06. What a joke. Cargo space was less than our van, we had to lift the bags up 2.5-3 feet. The acceleration was garbage, we would floor it and it would acceleration slower than anything I've ever seen.

My dad has a Mercedez... E 430 I think? It's one of their biggest sedans, barely fits in the garage. I drive that occasionally because he plays in a Jazz Band and takes the van. V6 or 8 I don't know. I just know it has what I think the Caliber can have which is auto-shift or something. Basically it's an automatic, but you can shift gears. So occasionally I downshift it to like 2nd or 3rd gear and just have some fun with the acceleration/power of the engine. It's pretty crazy. But I don't like driving that car. I'm scared as shit of damaging it and almost wrecked one time I had to drive over to Seattle around 11 at night because he forgot some of his band equipment and was about to play. I'm not a wreckless driver, but something about that car made me forget the rules of the road, or to not pay attention. The mini-van I haven't even gotten close to wrecking it, I drive it like a mini-cooper or something. Flooring it constantly, passing the slow drivers, taking off-ramps/on-ramps at twice the "recommended" speeds. Hey I'm 17... I'm supposed to be a stupid driver ;)

If you've read this far... hah... :)

Basically I want a car to haul my gear (Paintball) which basically is a massive duffle bag weighing 75-100lbs, and still have room for whatever (Wagons/Hatchbacks).

We originally said around $10,000, but he was looking at the Ford Escape and saw it around 15,000-17,000 and liked it a lot, small SUV, they would still be under warranty and Ford's are cheap to fix. Again, I don't know a lot about cars.

Now I looked at the Caliber again, I never looked at the price before, I assumed it would be out of the question. But now that I look again I guess I'm wrong!

I'll talk to him about it more, but I'm seriously considering the Caliber. Brand new car for a first car would be rediculous, but my dad worked at Microsoft almost since the beginning... He retired when he was around 45... he isn't pinching pennies... I'd be pretty happy about getting an 07 car... in 06... as my first car. I'm just wondering if this will last me 10 years of aggressive driving/low maintaince/decent gas mileage. I don't want to dump a lot of money into, maybe into the sound cause I listen to music a lot, and relatively loud (Oddly enough the Van has the best sound system out of any of our cars... 2000 Nissan Altima, 2003 Mercedez, 04 Toyota Solara). Sad how I like the car that has a $5000 trade-in value over the other 3 ;)

Anyways... this was a long first post, but I'm just trying to make the right decision on my first car. I realize I will get biased responses... mainly because it is a caliber forum, but I felt this was the best place to ask questions about this relatively new car.
 

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If you could afford it, get the 2.0L engine option with the CVT2 tranny. That's a great set up and enjoyable to drive.

Other than that, the 17" aluminum wheels are nice and the black-out B & D pillar treatment is good looking and the fog lamps are cool ( all those are part of the E24 sport package on the SXT). All the Calibers at the local Dodge dealer near me are SXTs with the 17" wheel option (so far only two had the E24 sport option).

The power to weight ratio on the SXT with the 2.0L is 19lbs/hp. That’s perfect for me as a daily-driver.
 

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+2 on GOT's statement.


In addition, the Caliber should last you a good amount, but no one knows for sure.. it's pretty new. The engine has been tested over and over and should hold. You're choice, but I think you're making the right one. :D
 

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You mentioned "fast" in your description of the van. I'm sure that some of the other Caliber owners will agree with me in that the Caliber doesn't "get away" with the CVT2. I thought that it was a great car for my son to drive because I wouldn't have to worry about him peeling out from dead stops. Now, I purchased the R/T with the autostick function. That went a L-O-N-G way towards the acceleration control. In general, it's "like" having a stick shift, thus allowing you more control over the acceleration compared to the CVT. You're used to that 6 cylinder that has a bit more pep than a 4 cylinder. As such, if you go the route of the caliber, DEFINITELY consider as a minimum the 2.0L SXT. If there's 'spare' change and Pop gives the nod, then I recommend the R/T with the autostick.

Where it comes to sounds...Caliber is TOPS. You'll definitely enjoy the MusicGate system. Take care to observe whether it is the base radio, or the upgraded radio. Only the base has the auxilliary input. <do a search on MP3 or auxiliary threads>. Since Pop is a musician, you may find that you end up with a passenger quite a bit because the musicgate sound system is BANGING!

My two-cents worth...and biased to Caliber. I had a Vibe prior to the Caliber. They are both in the same category, but the Pontiac Vibe was more expensive for the same perks/options.

Tyke
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well most people underestimate the mini-van ;) Sure as hell won't beat WRX's or anything... (My friend drives a WRX which I ride in every day... damn fast when he actually steps on the pedal ;) )

With the van I also didn't have to pay for gas because it wasn't my vehicle in a sense that he drove it a lot of the time too, so I would occasionally put in 20-30$ and he would fill it up all of the way. Either way I've put maybe $100 in gas, and used up $2000 worth ;)

I was leaning at the 2.0 more than the 1.8... a bit faster/more powerful. But still decent gas mileage compared to the R/T. I told him I wanted the R/T for the AWD and 2.4 engine but 20,000 was pushing it. We were looking at what local dealers got... a lot of them have SE's that have a lot of packages put into them, essentially making them an SXT. They have 2.0 engines, power lock/window stuff, 6-CD player, other stuff like that. Most of them don't have the music-gate option or A/C. And because I'll have to pay for my gas now, I was looking for something inbetween.

If I don't have work we're probably going to go around to a few dealers and check them out in person. I can bring my dad's nikon D100 camera (Very high quality...) and take a few pictures if anyone cares.

I mention it to my friends, a lot of them are into WRX's and like them a lot... they say the caliber is too new with too few reviews and none of the "kinks" worked out. I doubt anyone has hit 10,000 with theirs yet and he said the problems won't start coming out till 60-80 or more.

We'll see what happens :)
 
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