Dodge Caliber Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.05/5 Average
634 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

A replacement for the original Dodge Neon, the Dodge Caliber certainly had promise when it was introduced, boasting an innovative, space-efficient hatchback body and unique features like flip-down tailgate speakers and a dedicated iPod holder. Unfortunately, those good ideas were spoiled by sloppy execution.

Compared to rival economy cars, the Dodge Caliber was down on quality, refinement and appeal. Even with an interior update halfway through its life, the Caliber was simply not competitive with other compact sedans and hatchbacks. If you're shopping for a used hatchback or wagon, models such as the Mazda 3, Scion xB or Volkswagen Golf would be much better choices overall.

Most Recent Dodge Caliber
Built on a global platform also used for the Jeep Compass SUV and midsize Dodge Avenger sedan, the tall-bodied Dodge Caliber was produced from 2007-'12. It came only as a compact hatchback/wagon.

The rear seats folded in a 60/40 split, increasing cargo space to a maximum of 48 cubic feet. The front passenger seat also folded forward to make room for longer items. The Caliber had decent headroom and legroom in the front and back, but it was still a small car built to a price, so it came without luxurious accommodations.

Initially, there were three regular trim levels available: base SE, SXT and R/T. In 2010 and '11, there were a wider variety of interestingly named trims available (Express, Mainstreet, Uptown, Heat and Rush), but the available feature content was mostly the same. For 2012, the SE and SXT trim levels returned along with SXT Plus.

The base SE wasn't as bare-bones as you'd think, boasting air-conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, a USB audio jack and satellite radio. The SXT added bigger wheels, a power driver seat and a reclining rear seat, while the SXT Plus was a sport-tuned model with suspension, brakes and wheel upgrades. It should be noted that stability control was not offered on the SE (standard on other trims), and the antilock brakes feature rear drums on the SE and SXT. Discs were optional on the SXT and standard on the SXT Plus.

At the bottom of the Caliber's engine lineup was a 148-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which came standard on the base Caliber and the SXT. It was only available with a five-speed manual transmission, and was discontinued for 2010.

Those seeking more power and an automatic transmission should look for a Caliber with the 158-hp 2.0-liter four, which was equipped exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). There was also the R/T model (and later Rush) that was equipped with a 174-hp 2.4-liter inline-4, though Dodge discontinued it for 2012. All-wheel drive was available on the R/T model until 2009.

There was also a high-performance Caliber SRT4 produced for 2008 and '09. It boasted a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 285 hp and 265 pound-feet of torque, with a six-speed manual as the only available transmission. Aside from its big engine, it got 19-inch wheels, lowered suspension, upgraded brakes, a performance trip computer and sport seats. This may sound impressive, but it really wasn't. We found it underwhelming and overpriced compared to other affordable, high-horsepower hatchbacks, as well as burdened by excessive weight and an abundance of torque steer.

In road tests, our editors found the Dodge Caliber to be an adequate daily driver, though not much more than that. Its ride and handling just weren't as refined as its many competitors. None of the Caliber's available engines were ideal; all sounded coarse under load. We'd avoid the 1.8 given its mediocre power; the 2.0 will get you the same fuel economy. The best choice for power is the 2.4, though with either engine the optional CVT just exacerbated that coarse nature.

While any Caliber will offer respectable hatchback versatility, shoppers should note that models produced prior to 2010 had deplorable interior quality. These earlier models had hard interior surfaces, unappealingly textured plastic and questionable build quality. Compared to the accommodations in vehicles like the Mazda 3, the Caliber's furnishings were several steps behind. A notable Caliber change was for '09 when it received its available hard-drive-based music and navigation systems.

The Caliber's interior was greatly improved for 2011. The design was more appealing and materials were better, including soft-touch materials in areas frequently encountered by elbows. Still, the cabin quality was far from class-leading.

User Reviews:

Showing 21 through 30 of 634.00
  • Life saver - 2012 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    This is going to be sweet and to the point. My girlfriend has had this car for about a year now and the car has worked well and reliably this whole time. Its great on gas, has a refrigerator built in above the glove box, and has lots of capacity to carry people or items. The big reason i love this car is for today though. She got in a roll over accident at 45mph. The car rolled 2-3 times, every piece of glass broke and the car was a mess. But she came out with nothing but a pulled neck muscle and a bruised knee. I believe this car saved her life.

  • Putting a lot of miles on it - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    2007 Caliber, 2.0 SXT, CVT. I got this vehicle when I was hired in another city and drive about 550 miles per week. I am getting around 27MPG and love the ride. The car now has over 123,000 miles and Im hoping to get another 80,000 or so before trading it in. I am 62" and fit in the vehicle well. While I do wish the mileage was a little better, I am happy with the vehicle.

  • Good, basic, reliable transportation - 2008 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I purchased this car for my daughter back in 2010. It had about 30K miles on it. She drives 1.5 hours on the highway round trip everyday to school, so I needed good MPG, excellent safety and real reliability. The price was awesome ($10K) and this car has delivered. It has over 90K miles on it and all Ive done is change the oil, replace belts/tires/wipers and do brake jobs on a normal maintenance cycle. It has taken her through nasty weather without difficulty and protected her nicely through 2 occasions in which she has been hit by other drivers. For the price, its been a gem.

  • Nice Vehicle - 2009 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I dont know why so many people are giving bad reviews. I drive the 09 SXT CVT 6 speed & automatic, sunroof, & it had 70,000 ml, ground effects, fog lamps, the seats can fold over & not to mention the cooler, & have driven it to for very long distances, up & down mountains. I only wish that I wouldve been on top of my game to actually take a look at the brakes, the inner wall of the tires, & strouts, this summer the 4 of us had a family reunion & we literally packed it up & headed up to Nashville, Tenn. & came back with extra stuff. Its a very handy vehicle, I can fit a huge brand new trash can without folding seats, guess it depends on how you drive your vehicle. Respect it.

  • Ive driven better..... - 2009 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I am the second owner of my Caliber. It currently has 136k~ miles on it. Roomy car, love the exterior. Interior is nice, however the design hasnt aged well. A TON of plastic. Plastic is everywhere is there are NO soft touch materials except the headliner and seats. HORRIBLE suspension. Replaced lower control arms, ball joints, you name Ive replaced it. Luckily I bought a GREAT warranty. Drives great on the highway. Smooth and quiet. city driving is okay, hate the CVT especially in the city. Feels like it takes for ever to get up and go. (it is a larger car so I guess this is expected). Paint is still pretty good. I have black so it shows EVERY flaw.

  • Junk - 2009 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    First, the car is a total slug. Makes alot of noise and goes no where. If youre merging onto the highway, PLAN AHEAD. If there is a vehicle coming, let it go by to give you a LONG launch pad... The auto trans is the worst unit I have seen. Its variable = junk. Finally- the antifreeze problem. When I left the dealership, the car overheated 5 minutes down the road. The radiator was only a 1/4 full!!!! After that, I would have to fill it every week...No puddles under the car, no obvious leaks, clean oil.. So, where did the fluid go?!?! In closing, with exception of the gas mileage, this was the biggest auto purchase MISTAKE I have made!!!!

  • LOVED THIS CAR / Did its job! - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I bought it at 36,900 (mileage) and am now giving it to my daughter at 126,8000, and Ive never had a problem other than wear/tear except the fuel pump, which went at 50,000 miles. I think I replace an alternator too, around 90,000 miles, but it runs great, never stalled, never left me on the road or anything. I LOVE this car. Wish me luck with my new Dodge Journey! )

  • Caliber on Fire - 2009 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    Until now I have had no problems but 12 minutes into my commute to work on February 28th proved to be fatal for my car and the truck parked beside it. There was the odor of something burning so I turned of everything electrical that I could think of that might be the cause. After coming to a complete stop in the parking lot at my workplace, I noticed steam coming from under the hood and the odor of antifreeze. Three minutes later, the engine compartment totally engulfed in flames resulting in a total lose 20 minutes later. The fire was so hot that its color was almost white. Still waiting to hear what caused the fire. Only 28,600 miles on this ride!

  • I love my car so much its probably unhealthy - 2011 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I bought this car with 63 miles on it in December 2011. I love the orange color, how it looks like a transformer, and how the dash is set up. For what it is it is a great little car. I live in Colorado and have taken my little Caliber up Jeep trails without issue, so long as I have the clearance I have had no trouble. The manual transmission is really nice and makes it fun to drive. I love driving my car and it does decent in the snow. I have the most basic model you can get and it is comfortable on long trips. This is a fun little car but it is that, a little car. It is not a high performance sports car but it is fun to drive and has been totally reliable.

  • Dont buy if you do not have money to repair - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    Do not throw your money, have a good design on the outside, but beware, I bought with 72,000 miles, clear title, apparently worked well, but a week broke the throttle sensor, cost plus labor $ 550, I changed the spark plugs and the engine turned on the light, I had to replace the PCM $ 2,000, you have to use special and expensive antifreeze or breaks your engine is manufactured with the worst materials, the quality is terrible, and is so today I stopped producing this model, to complete my wife ran headlong into a post (in the middle of the car) in a parking lot, came to within a foot and a half, hopefully not more thing happened, but never opened airbags, must die to see if the bags work well or not.

Dodge Caliber Reviews By Year:
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