1 Star Reviews for Dodge Caliber

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 1 through 10 of 634.00
  • Most Ridiculous Car Ever Made - 2008 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I cant believe this car was ever made. Its utterly ridiculous. First and foremost, the acceleration is practically non existent. The harder you push down the acceleration pedal, the slower the car accelerates. I think the issue is more with the automatic transmission than the actual torque, though, because it often feels like the car is starting from second gear and then realizes its not supposed to do that and jerkily downshifts to first. The suspension is a sort of princess and the pea situation with every little bump in the road translating into a spleen-rattling affair. From the outside, the Caliber looks like a spacious family car, but the inside is fully taken up with the dashboard, which is roughly the size of an eight-seat dining room table. The front seats have a fair amount of leg room underneath the dashboard, but any backseat passengers dont fare as well. And good luck fitting more than one kids car seat back there. You would think they could have taken a couple of feet out of the dash to provide more room for the back seats. I can only assume the engineer responsible for the Calibers design envisioned serving a large meal on the dashboard. There can be no other reason for that design. I have only two good things to say about this car. First, we have had to do no major repairs on it since we got it. But I think thats about to change. I believe the suspension and transmission will be requiring repairs before long. Second, the storage space is pretty decent, especially when you lay down the back seats. Overall, I wouldnt wish this car on anyone. Its two small perks do not compensate for a host of design failures and automotive mishaps. This car is actually really funny when you give it much thought. Its like the engineers planned it as a practical joke.

  • Horrible - DO NOT BUY - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    Awful car - Have paid over $7,000 to replace the whole front end (twice). Do not buy! DO not buy! Dodge does not help either.

  • Poor Ride - 2009 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I wish I would have bought something else. The gas mileage is terrible for this size car. I get about 24-28 mpg when the information I had said 33 mpg. I have only 36,500 miles on it and it has a terrible suspension noise and will need to go in shop next week. I have already told several people who asked me if I liked this car "DO NOT BUY THIS CAR”. The seating is comfortable for me but the interior is very awkward in its layout, everything is very tight. The car is OK for its exterior styling but the sheet metal is very thin. If you close the door with the window open it feels like the door is going to ripe off the hinges The CVT transmission makes odd sounds in slow traffic.

  • Never want to drive this again - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    The car was reliable up until recently. In the dealership for the same problem, fifth time now in 2 weeks! The gas mileage is WORSE than my Sebring Touring, and that had a V6 in it. The transmission (CVT) makes the engine gutless and terrible drive in the winter. It has no torque, a quirk which gives no power while on an incline at times, and cheap build quality inside and out. This car is a terrible vehicle and unfit to be driven. Its unreliable, is a chore to drive, and a pain in the neck to maintain. The styling is the least of its bad points.

  • DO NOT BUY THIS CAR - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    Bought my caliber Aug 2006. Was so excited I actually got one! Now I wish I had just walked away. Already replaced both outer tie rods, both struts, lower control arms blew and now the engine is dead. I am trading this in, taking a loss and getting a Honda. This was the worst mistake ever.

  • Lemons Are Us - 2009 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    This car is a dream lemon. If you love spending money; getting towed; frequently driving rentals and paying for them ... then this is the car for you. Ive decided to get the car painted lemon yellow as dreamy blue is a misnomer.

  • Buy Something else! - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    This vehicle cost more to operate than a Mercedes Benz which is why I dumped this car and went ahead and bought one. Dont waste your time or money on a Dodge Caliber unless you have time to spend at the repair shop and money to keep it running.

  • Huge Disappointment - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    I bought this car in October and have already traded it in. It was in the shop more than i drove it. Power steering hose, PC board, alignment, creaking noises, grinding noises are just few of the problems. I cant say anything good about this car, i went back to my Pontiac and love it.

  • What a Mistake - 2007 Dodge Caliber
    By -

    Know a good repair shop

Dodge Caliber Reviews By Year:
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