regfootball

MY CALIBER INSPECTION

66 posts in this topic

nice looking on the outside, nicely packaged as far as height, etc.

could not get inside, but the plastics looked awfully cheap. The dash is boxy and plain, but everything seems laid ok pretty good. Leg room looked spacious and the height of the seats seemed to be appealing. The gray color scheme was a bit dreadful. Cabin is at least airy.

cargo area looks small. It doesn't appear as though you can get items with much height or width back there.

forget what it was priced at but it seemed decent.

I will give it a pass since it has all new chassis and powertrains and at least in the seating areas seems to provide comfort. The user controls seem well laid out. The exterior styling is a hit, IMHO.

I would consider buying one if I was looking in that class of vehicle.

A solid B. The SRT version would be a hoot. Can't wait to sit in one at the auto show!

As an aside, my guess is the Vibe has as much seating room and more cargo room. Of course, the Vibe has the cheesy Toyota 4 in it. I'm thinking the HHR has as much room for seating and more for cargo as well. Who cares about the useless Tuscon, its ugly and is plan crap. The Outlander has a nicer interior and likely has equal room or a tish more as well.

Edited by regfootball

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Go check one out at the autoshow (like you said I know...) because sitting in it and seeing all the features might shock you... The 300 Hp SRT4 is pretty insane as well...

I don't think it is my cup of tea but I do believe that it has a bang for the buck that a LOT of HS/College student's parents will like...

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nice looking on the outside, nicely packaged as far as height, etc.

could not get inside, but the plastics looked awfully cheap.  The dash is boxy and plain, but everything seems laid ok pretty good.  Leg room looked spacious and the height of the seats seemed to be appealing.  The gray color scheme was a bit dreadful.  Cabin is at least airy.

cargo area looks small.  It doesn't appear as though you can get items with much height or width back there.

forget what it was priced at but it seemed decent.

I will give it a pass since it has all new chassis and powertrains and at least in the seating areas seems to provide comfort.  The user controls seem well laid out.  The exterior styling is a hit, IMHO.

I would consider buying one if I was looking in that class of vehicle.

A solid B.  The SRT version would be a hoot.  Can't wait to sit in one at the auto show!

As an aside, my guess is the Vibe has as much seating room and more cargo room.  Of course, the Vibe has the cheesy Toyota 4 in it.  I'm thinking the HHR has as much room for seating and more for cargo as well.  Who cares about the useless Tuscon, its ugly and is plan crap.  The Outlander has a nicer interior and likely has equal room or a tish more as well.

im glad that for once you hade positive things to say about a dodge.

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I'm still leary of a CVT, and as far as I've seen from Dodge's "build and price" situation at their site, that's the only way an R/T comes, at least so far. They need to have at least a manual transmission available with all 3 engines, if not a stepped automatic to hedge on, in case the CVT proves unreliable. Also, after test driving an ION with CVT, I don't like the way they behave.

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I'm still leary of a CVT, and as far as I've seen from Dodge's "build and price" situation at their site, that's the only way an R/T comes, at least so far.  They need to have at least a manual transmission available with all 3 engines, if not a stepped automatic to hedge on, in case the CVT proves unreliable.  Also, after test driving an ION with CVT, I don't like the way they behave.

Yeah, they said until they get them fully intro'd and then maybe a couple of more months, the RT will only first come as an AWD model with CVT. But then FWD and a stick will soon come standard, once they get everything rolled out.

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I think Dodge did a great job styling the Caliber, it looks much more aggressive than most other cars in the segment. The interior design looks alright, way better than a Neon anyway. The SRT-4 looks sweet, should be a blast to drive too. Two things I wonder about the Caliber though: 1.Iis any of the interior besides the seats soft to touch? I can't really tell from pictures, but everything from the dash to the armrests looks like they're made of hard plastic. Wish they weren't if they really are. 2. Since the stereo head unit is identical to what's in the Magnum/Charger, wouldn't it be wise to offer the Nav system in it? I mean, Honda is doing it already with the Civic, if Dodge jumps in now with a Nav, they'll be the only domestic compact with the option. Seems like a smart idea to me; if/when I get a new car a Nav system would be nice. :scratchchin:

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2. Since the stereo head unit is identical to what's in the Magnum/Charger, wouldn't it be wise to offer the Nav system in it? I mean, Honda is doing it already with the Civic, if Dodge jumps in now with a Nav, they'll be the only domestic compact with the option. Seems like a smart idea to me; if/when I get a new car a Nav system would be nice.  :scratchchin:

I don't think Americans are prepared to pay high enough prices for cars like the Caliber that have Navigation. I bet they will offer it in Europe, like Mazda does with the 3. Some cars in this class are considered premium vehicles in Europe, and the people are willing to pay higher prices for stuff like navigation. Don't expect to see it in Caliber in the US though.

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I don't think Americans are prepared to pay high enough prices for cars like the Caliber that have Navigation. I bet they will offer it in Europe, like Mazda does with the 3. Some cars in this class are considered premium vehicles in Europe, and the people are willing to pay higher prices for stuff like navigation. Don't expect to see it in Caliber in the US though.

You have a point about people in Europe willing to pay more for compacts, supposedly this is why in America we're still stuck with the original Ford FOcus, since the new one is considered a "premium compact" and would cost a lot more than the current Focus if Ford brings it stateside. Stil, if there's demand for it, Dodge may stick it on the options list later on. Who knows.

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I saw one at a local dealer last night and was overall impressed. Surprisingly, I was quite a bit more impressed with the interior than I expected to be and somewhat less impressed with the exterior. First of all on the outside, I thought the Caliber had sort of a retro PT Cruiser/HHR feel to it, where in photos I thought it looked modern. As for the interior, which a lot of people have voiced problems with, I thought it was actually very good. If you have no problems with the Magnum/Charger and 300 (like I do) you're going to like the Caliber just fine...the feel is very, very similar to the larger Dodges. The example I saw was an SXT with the color inserts on the interior...not perfectly executed IMO, but a nice upgrade none the less. For the time I got to sit in it, the interior seemed a little more tight than I expected. I'd definitely echo Reg's comments that the cargo space isn't outstanding for a hatch but that's the price you pay for the fastback look as with the Magnum.

Fortunately for me, this is exactly in the class of vehicles I'll be looking at when shopping this spring/summer. Not sure if it will be at the top of the list when it's said & done, but regardless this is bound to be a very big hit for Dodge and will help to solidify the resurgence of hatchbacks.

I have yet to read a review of this car that isn't either positive or glowingly positive.

Edited by PeterJ

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Agreed on the plastics being "cheap" in that they are rock hard, but guess what- so are the Cobalt's!

Seems rather nice, sat in one at NAIAS, and it was an SE with a stick, and I liked the way it moved through its pattern, not rubbery like the Suzuki Forenza's of Chevrolet Aveo's, or even the Neon's.

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I saw a Caliber on the road today.

I like it. It's got a bit of a 'pissed off dunebuggy' look to it.

Chrysler scored on the styling of this one.

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I sat in a Caliber yesterday at the Rochester show and let me tell you, it is appallingly bad. Hideous, badly grained plastics that flexed like crazy (especially the door panels). The door handle was the worst, though. It was just a little plastic tab on the door with nothing around it, and it was extremely flimsy. The doors also made an extremely cheap little "pop" when you opened them. Nice looking out the outside, pretty roomy, but man what a bad interior. Everyone there was commenting on how rough and ugly the plastics were.

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but the low end calibers are cheap with new engines and a great seating position.

I would take one over a Vibe. maybe.

I suppose my wife's old Omni had a nicer interior though.

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I suppose my wife's old Omni had a nicer interior though.

Here is something that baffles me about today's compact car interiors (and even some midsize). I have a 1989 Dodge Shadow. It's no luxery car but the dash, door armrests and center armrest are all made of soft-touch materials, and the doors themselves are covered in soft fabric. The hard plastic portionson the pillars and lower dash are nicely textured, at least I think they are. So why is it that an 80's subcompact has nicer materials than most of todays?

I wanna go and take a look at a Caliber up close, and poke around for myself still though.

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a great seating position.

Since when is a more upright seating position good? Did I miss a memo?

Note: I am not commenting on the Caliber directly but since when does good seating position refer to seating that feels like it belongs in a mini-van or a truck?

Sorry - random rant over..

Go check out the Caliber in person - I still say it is quite a good package overall that will sell well.. :pbjtime:

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this is why in America we're still stuck with the original Ford FOcus, since the new one is considered a "premium compact" and would cost a lot more than the current Focus if Ford brings it stateside.

I always considered this a bull$h! excuse from Ford.

If Mazda can build a (relatively) affordable small car on this VERY platform (Mazda3) why can't Ford bring the European Focus over here?

Even base Volvo S40s (same platform) start at as low as $25K MSRP......and Volvo is considered a "premium" brand!

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Chrysler has the balls to do something different, and do what no other American automaker is doing. All hail the Five-Pointed Star!

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I thoroughly checked out the Caliber at the autoshow yesterday.

I think they pretty much have hit it spot on. Its a neat package at a good price. EXCEPT......

some glaring flaws........

1. really cheap hard plastic on a lot of the inside. The graining is not overly nasty I guess, but this stuff is CHEAP. In the tan its not as obvious. And, I realize the car is cheap....but man, this just continues the recently Chrysler tradition of cheap interiors and brings it to the next level. In tan, I could accept it but the graytones are bad. The natty grained stuff is better than the adjacent pebble grained stuff. GM has been doing a better job with their plastics and Chrysler always seems to get a pass while GM and others get ripped on continually.

2. the folding rear seat has a fuzzy carpet like finish shile the cargo floor has a durable hard surface. Why doesn't the seatback match?

3. they could have moved the climate controls up so they weren't behind the shifter. who was the dumb ass that approved that? the shifter is tight against the control stack.

4. i didn't like how the structure intrudes on the door openings. Its tough to get in and out of because of the restricted size doors.

5. The interior feels incredibly confined with an extremely high cowl and mailslot windshield view and this to me, is the DEALBREAKER on the car. Someone made the comment sitting in the HHR that it felt confined and I agree to apoint (I tested an HHR and it did feel claustrophobic) but the cowl is so high and constricting on the Caliber along with the small side windows it feels like a prison. I do not like that. AT ALL. The seats are good and all seating positions are nice but then they botch it with a constricting interior! Vehicles like this are supposed to feel spacious and accommodating, not like a prison! The culprit is the high hood and firewall. WHAT IS IT WITH ALL THESE NEW CARS AND TALL BLUNT FRONT ENDS!?!?!!? is it the STUPID ASS EUROPEE ONS AND THE DUMB ASS PEDESTRIAN SAFETY STANDARDS? SCREW EM WHY ARE YOU CROSSING THE STREET ANYWAYS NOW I CAN'T SEE OUT OF THE CAR TO MISS YOU!!!!!

-so, the interior is a dealbreaker feeling so confined.

otherwise i liked the ipod holder (although i wonder if it allows it accept the bottom digital connection to the cable) and it fell right at hand and still allowed use of the armrest. BRAVO. the gauges were nice and the radio looks nice. the car is stylish and priced well. it has new engines.

Edited by regfootball

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… The Outlander has a nicer interior and likely has equal room or a tish more as well.

Outlander goes away soon (or at least as soon as they can get rid of the current inventory—maybe a year or so), the new model is a 5/7-seat midsize crossover very similar to the new SantaFe, Captiva and CX-7.

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Outlander goes away soon (or at least as soon as they can get rid of the current inventory—maybe a year or so), the new model is a 5/7-seat midsize crossover very similar to the new SantaFe, Captiva and CX-7.

After comparison, I still think the Outlander interior is a nicer quality with nicer seats and the trunk is larger, although the dash forms are dated. At one point last year, before I sold my Mitsubishi I could have gotten into a base Outlander with stick for around 13,500 new, except that ABS is not offered on that base model or with a stick. Plus the huge warranty.

I do think the Caliber is the right product for Dodge right now and it will be a hit I think, but its too bad they botched the whole visibility / confinement thing. The Vibe, HHR all benefit. The Maxx even begins to be a great option to a heavily optioned Caliber.

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The Maxx even begins to be a great option to a heavily optioned Caliber.

The Maxx is hideous, though not as bad as the Malibu sedan. Those are the ugliest things on sale in America right now. The revised front end helps a little, but it's still not a pretty car (and the sedan is still ucking fugly).

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The Maxx is hideous, though not as bad as the Malibu sedan. Those are the ugliest things on sale in America right now. The revised front end helps a little, but it's still not a pretty car (and the sedan is still ucking fugly).

the BU's aren't pretty, but I think a Maxx with its v6 and larger size and much better airy cockpit is a good option to the Caliber. I know the more expensive Malibus don't really compete but a low end Maxx in comparison to a high end Caliber is a realistic comparison for some shoppers.

There were quite a few Calibers I saw with stickers at about 20 grand. That's not far off a basic Maxx with some discounts.

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I highly doubt people would even cross-shop these vehicles.

They're in different segments, and aimed at different people. The Caliber is for younger, more hip sorts of people who want to look good in their vehicles. The Malibu is for boring people.

The Caliber reminds me of a mini-Pacifica, that's a good thing! The styling is more rounded in person, and that relieves me. The front has a subtle point and isn't as flat as some would have us to believe.

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