Dodge Caliber impressions

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I just saw the Dodge Caliber today. And just for a few minutes. I didn’t get to actually drive it.
The one I saw was a Sport model with a few options for around $17 000.

I really like the exterior design of the car. It is actually not that small in person.
And it is really roomy inside.

Of course, the interior is what people criticize the most.
And it is pretty cheap looking. But it is actually not that bad for the price range.
Hard plastics, sure. But it is very convenient, and doesn’t look boring.

My main complaint was the weird, out of place red plastic on the console of the car I sat it.
Most models have a regular, and much better looking, silver finish.
The bright color looks too much like an after thought. A desperate attempt to make the interior more interesting.
The cloth covering the seats is OK for the price.

And the doors don’t sound cheap when you close them.

With the rear seats folded, it becomes a roomy wagon. And it seems to be able to carry about as much stuff as a compact SUV.

I am actually looking forward to driving one.
In a sea of boring looking small sedans, this is a pretty refreshing car.

Conversation 11 comments

  1. Hasn’t arrived over here yet. But it looks way too plasticky for me,however it has an aux port so it’s nice,plus it’s a hatchback.But that CVT tranny might be a pain in the ass after a few miles. Still it doesn’t leave a dent on the Mazda 3 or a Civic.

  2. the mazda 3 you kids always rave about is crap.
    the caliber is a much better car.
    it means the beginning of the end for all foreign car makers in the us
    the caliber proves to the worls we can make better small cars than enyone else on the planet.

  3. well, probably not the most refined car in the segment, but i still dont get it, how is it a neon replacement when the neon is a sedan sub compact, and this is a wagon/hatchback? well, i think it should be an addition for dodge, and just redesign the neon

  4. I give Dodge credit for actually trying a little…but it’s still a Dodge. They should’ve called it the Shadow and given Plymouth a rebirth of the Sundance!

  5. Sat in one at the Toronto Car show, and I have to disagree with the doors. The back two felt solid, but the front two were really weak, and hollow sounding.

    I was really looking forward to this, and maybe even considering one, but I just can’t get past the hard plastic interior. Even my girlfriend brought up that there was a lot of plastic in there.

    I probably still give it a drive, but I think that the interior might hold it back from a really solid seller.

  6. The interior might be “plasticy” but it’s put together really well.Hell, even the Honda Pilot has hard plastic everywhere.

    Yes the Mazda 3 is nice looking, but not worth the price they ask for it.

  7. I just want to add that I actually like the interior better than I thought I would.
    It is plasticky, but lots of new cars are…
    At least it is interesting.

    I have to say the interior of the 300/Magnum is also far from the best quality for the price. But the drive is so great that I tend to be forgiving.

    I am looking forward to driving the Caliber. It might just be the same.

  8. the caliber seems to have a lot of great storage features (iPod holder, cooled glovebox compartment, adjustable speakers for tailgating) but the interior design and quality really bugs me. cheap materials are fine for this price class but you need to make up for it with design and not just features.

    i’m probably biased against the caliber since i’m not a fan of the new dashes in some DCs (giant block with the audio and climate controls in the middle of the dash) like the caliber and pt cruiser. it doesn’t harmonize at all with the rest of the interior.

  9. I gotta admit, I like the new Caliber, but it does have a shortcomings compared to the MAZDA3. The interior quality leaves more to be desired, the air vents are extremely cheap (and felt like they could break…hard to describe), the front headrests are uncomfortable, no adjustable rear headrests, no projection headlamps (it’s 2006 DCX, wake up!), and a WHIP MAST! However, I love the feature available, and hope it does well for Dodge.

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