Comfortable interior; smooth ride; innovative, unrivaled features; R/T model's sporty, well balanced feel
The Dodge Caliber lineup is mostly carried over from 2008, although standard equipment has been increased, option packages have been revised and there have been a few minor appearance changes. The MusicGate Power Sound package is now standard on the SXT Sport, and anti-lock brakes are now standard on the SXT. Floor mats have been made standard on the SXT and R/T, while Sirius Satellite Radio and a reconfigurable trip computer are newly standard on the SRT4.
All-wheel-drive models have been discontinued for 2009, so all Calibers now have front-wheel drive. All Calibers get more sound insulation to keep out engine and exhaust noise.
For all Calibers, new Dodge badging has been added, while SXT models get body-color door handles. Also in the color palette, Light Khaki Metallic and Steel Blue Metallic Clear Coats have been replaced by Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat and Light Sandstone Metallic Clear Coat.
The Caliber is Dodge's small-car line and is offered only in one body style, as a tall five-door hatchback. Caliber SE models with the five-speed manual transmission are estimated to achieve 30 mpg on the highway. The Caliber is offered at a very competitive price and stands out for its versatile interior and for the wide range of innovative features that are offered, such as the MusicGate tailgate speaker system, Chill Zone beverage storage and rechargeable flashlight. And for those who require more performance, the SRT4 has the hard-edged driving experience of a tuner car.
The Caliber remains offered only as a five-door hatchback but comes with four different trim levels and four different corresponding engines. The base SE and SXT come with a 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine but can be ordered with a 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The sportier R/T gets a 172-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. All Calibers are front-wheel-drive. All three are paired with a five-speed manual transmission or optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The R/T model and the SXT model with the Sport Package include an AutoStick feature for the available CVT automatic, which simulates six gears for more enthusiastic driving.
The Caliber SRT4 performance model has a completely different character than the other models, with a peaky 285-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter. The SRT4 is capable of dashing to 60 mph in around six seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph. With its upgraded brakes it can haul down from 60 mph in less than 125 feet. Along with various more aggressive styling cues and a more raucous exhaust, a reconfigurable "Performance Pages" trip computer is standard on the SRT4.
In SE, SXT or R/T form, the Caliber has good performance compared to other small cars in this class--especially when equipped with the R/T's 2.4-liter engine, which provides a little extra power but doesn't sacrifice much in the way of economy.
Interior features are the Caliber's strength. Base SE Calibers come quite simply equipped, but SXT models load on a wide range of popular features, such as alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, power windows, air conditioning and cruise control--for a price that's only slightly higher than the SE. SXT models also bring the Chill Zone beverage cooler, a rechargeable flashlight system and AC household-type power outlets. Then R/T models, in addition to sportier cues like fog lamps, a sport suspension, and chrome and blackout trim, add Boston Acoustic speakers and a subwoofer, heated front seats and other extras.
In either SXT or R/T trim, the Caliber can be loaded with options that aren't usually available on a mid-size sedan, let alone a small hatchback. Examples include the MusicGate tailgate speaker system and Chrysler's UConnect connectivity suite. The system has been expanded for 2009 to include UConnect tunes, which utilizes a 30-gigabyte hard-drive system for music, photos, or movies, and UConnect GPS, which combines those features with calling capability, navigation features, and real-time traffic functions. It's all controlled through a voice-command system or touch-screen. Chrysler's UConnect Web internet service is also offered as a dealer-installed accessory.
Vehicle Price: 17,090.00
*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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