Economy pricing with personality; lots of gadgets for less money; AWD and CVT availability
The Caliber is available in several trims, all of which include standard front and side curtain air bags, plus an auxiliary input jack, and flat-folding rear seats for extra cargo space.
Power windows, locks, mirrors, and keyless remote are options for the base vehicle and standard on the SXT and R/T. Audio upgrades include the Boston Acoustics nine-speaker system with two articulating speakers in the liftgate, a six-disc CD and MP3 player. The Chill Zone, an option on the base style, is a standard feature on the SXT and R/T.
The SXT ($15,425) and R/T ($17,670) models also have an air filtration system, leather interior package, and the removable flashlight/lamp. The R/T gets standard performance steering, sport suspension and four-wheel disc ABS, while the SXT has touring suspension. Standard equipment and options for the R/T FWD and AWD editions are identical except, obviously, for the number of wheels getting power. Also, the AWD variant is only available with continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Dodge currently offers three four-cylinder engines on the Caliber: the 1.8L 148-hp base model and the 2.0L 158-hp engine in the base and SXT, and a 165-hp 2.4L in the R/T. All three are available with CVT or the standard five-speed manual. The SRT4, due later in the year, will have a 300-hp 2.4L turbocharged engine that can sprint to 60 mph in under six seconds. The SRT4 is expected to have a limited-slip differential, uprated brakes, and a six-speed manual transmission. To complete its image, it will have a 13-speaker sound system with a subwoofer.
Dodge's replacement for the Neon keeps the low price and high mpg rating, but trades in the Neon's familiar design for a more aggressive-looking five-seat, five-door crossover hatchback.
The standard 1.8L four-cylinder engine for the base and SXT Calibers, achieves 28 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, which should make the economy-minded happy. A 2.0L engine is a $100 option on these styles, and boosts power by 10 hp to 158. The R/T comes with a 2.4L inline four-cylinder, and is available in front- or all-wheel drive. It also gets flashy exterior treatment, with 18" aluminum wheels, more brightwork, and front fog lights.
But what sets the Caliber apart are the gadgets: models with air conditioning have a four-bottle beverage chiller inside the glove box called the Chill Zone, an auxiliary input for digital media, a sliding arm rest, neon rings that illuminate the cup holders, a removable flashlight mounted in the rear headliner of uplevel trims, and an audio system with two of nine speakers mounted in the liftgate, where they can articulate out for tailgate parties.
The base Caliber costs $13,575, which is $225 cheaper than the last iteration of the Neon. It comes standard with a slew of air bags and a smattering of gadgets. This price point places it squarely in the middle of the entry-level market it's targeting, but with more cool-factor styling and available options than many of its rivals. Buyers who opt for higher horsepower, more speakers, and all-wheel drive can still spend less than $21,000.
Vehicle Price: 14,410.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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