Compact car; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,200 – $16,000*


2007 Dodge Caliber


2007 Dodge Caliber


2007 Dodge Caliber


2007 Dodge Caliber


2007 Dodge Caliber

Pros:
  • Acceleration (SRT4)
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy
Cons:
  • Acceleration
  • Quietness
  • Rear-seat comfort

Like the similar-concept Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe, Caliber boasts a different look and greater utility than the traditional compact station wagon. Noisy, weak engines on most versions are drawbacks, and the budget-grade cabin decor wins no prizes. Against those demerits, count available all-wheel drive, smart packaging, and some clever convenience features. SRT4 promises the most go-power and was priced reasonably when new. On the down side, it’s far less refined than such “hot hatchbacks” as the MazdaSpeed 3 and Volkswagen GTI.

Overview

Dodge’s new entry-level vehicle for 2007 was a compact five-passenger, four-door wagon, available with front- or all-wheel drive. Caliber replaced the long-lived Neon sedan and was about as long overall, but 4.5 inches taller. It had a liftgate and split-folding rear seats. Competitors included the Mazda 3, Nissan Versa, and Pontiac Vibe, as well as the retro-styled Chevrolet HHR.

SE, SXT, and R/T models were offered. All used a four-cylinder engine, but three engine sizes were available. SE and SXT models had front-wheel drive and a 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine (with manual transmission). The optional 2.0-liter developed 158 horsepower. Caliber R/T wagons came with either front-drive or all-wheel drive, powered by a 172-hp 2.4-liter engine. The 1.8-liter engine teamed with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 2.0-liter worked with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which contained no conventional gears. R/T Calibers came with either transmission. AutoStick for manually-selected gear changes was an option for automatic R/Ts.

Antilock braking was optional on SE and SXT models, and standard on the R/T, where it came with rear disc brakes instead of drums. R/T wagons had a sport suspension and unique trim. Traction/antiskid control and front side airbags were optional. All Calibers had curtain side airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.

Available features included a fold-flat front passenger seat, refrigerated glovebox, and removable cargo light/flashlight. Optional on SXT and R/T were a navigation system, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. Caliber’s basic design also was used for the Jeep Compass and Patriot; Dodge and Jeep were divisions of DaimlerChrysler (now known as Chrysler LLC).

Yearly Updates

2008 Caliber
A new high-performance SRT4 model joined the SE, SXT, and R/T for 2008. Equipped with a turbocharged 285-horsepower offshoot of the 2.4-liter engine and a mandatory six-speed manual transmission, the SRT4 gave Dodge an entrant into the “hot hatchback” category. Otherwise, a few features and option packages were shuffled for 2008. Newly standard 17-inch aluminum wheels went on SXT models, while the R/T added heated front seats.
2009 Caliber
Caliber lost its only all-wheel-drive model, the AWD R/T. Newly available for 2009 was Chrysler’s uconnect multimedia suite, which could include a wireless cell-phone link, 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing pictures and digital music files, and a navigation system with real-time traffic information.
2010 Caliber
The 2010 Dodge Caliber lineup lost its high-performance SRT4 variant. Also, all models gained a redesigned interior and new designations; offerings included Express, Mainstreet, Uptown, Heat, and Rush trim levels.
2011 Caliber
The 2011 Dodge Caliber sees only minor trim changes following its model-year 2010 freshening.
2012 Caliber
Trim-level names for the 2012 Dodge Caliber were changed to SE, SXT, and SXT Plus, and the available 2.4-liter engine was dropped.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

For a compact car, Caliber has had a bewildering array of four-cylinder engine choices, even excluding the turbocharged SRT4 edition. That 285-horsepower 2.4-liter came only with a six-speed manual gearbox, and was dropped for 2010. Other engines mate with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a gearless, continuously variable transmission (CVT). Non-SRT4 engines came in three sizes: 1.8-, 2.0-, or 2.4-liter. Manual-shift Calibers got the 1.8-liter; CVT models, the 2.0-liter. Caliber R/Ts used a 172-hp 2.4-liter engine, with either manual shift or the CVT. All-wheel drive was available on the R/T model until 2009. The 2010 Dodge Caliber lineup lost its high-performance SRT4 variant.

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 148
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 125
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

23/29

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 158
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 141
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

23/27

24.8

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 172
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 165
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
CVT automatic
23/29
12/25
23.6
Turbocharged dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 285
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 265
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

21/26

22

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Acceleration with regular Calibers is adequate at best, regardless of powertrain. A test manual-transmission SE took 9.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. The manual transmission has required frequent shifting for best acceleration, and suffered slightly notchy action. In CVT-equipped models, throttle response is good around town but lackluster at highway speeds. One test SE suffered from ragged throttle response while the engine was warming up. It went away once the engine reached normal operating temperature. AWD R/Ts feel especially sluggish. As expected, SRT4 is the exception. Dodge claimed the SRT4 could accelerate to 60 mph in under 6 seconds, but it doesn’t feel quite that quick. Also, an SRT4 needs high engine rpm for best acceleration, and some turbo lag interrupts the power flow.

Fuel economy scores high. A test manual-shift SE averaged 21.9 mpg in driving that included gas-eating performance runs. An SXT with the CVT averaged 24.8 mpg, and an AWD R/T averaged 23.3 mpg. An extended-use SXT with the CVT managed an average of 25.2 mpg. Even the SRT4 has proven relatively frugal, averaging 21 mpg. Calibers use regular-grade fuel, except for the SRT4, for which premium is recommended.

Ride quality could be better. A Caliber SE is busy with poor bump absorption, resulting in minor vibrations felt through the steering wheel and gas pedal. SXT and R/T models are more compliant overall, but still a bit jittery over broken pavement. Stiffest of all is the SRT4, though its suspension is never unyielding.

Handling traits vary with the model. An SE exhibits moderate body lean while cornering, but its modest-sized tires squeal early in fast turns. The SXT’s larger tires quell cornering noise and improve traction. Steering is nicely weighted, but somewhat dull in road feel. Brakes have good pedal feel. An AWD R/T scores better on all counts, with slightly less body lean, sharper steering response, and firmer brake-pedal feel. Best-handling of the lot is the SRT4, despite lack of all-wheel drive. Even so, SRT4 traction in quick starts and aggressive cornering ranks as subpar among other sporty compact cars.

Wind rush is moderate, but Calibers suffer mediocre suppression of road noise. Engines intrude during acceleration-especially the SRT4’s turbo. The 158-hp version is the quietest overall, but that’s not saying much. Tire noise is also much louder in the SRT4.

Large gauges are easy to read. Most models have a large speedometer in the center of the instrument cluster, but the SRT4 puts a tachometer there and moves the speedometer to a smaller dial at the right. That makes its speedometer tougher to read at a glance. Large, simple audio and climate controls are within easy reach, though the manual transmission’s shift lever can block access to climate dials. Available fold-down speakers in the liftgate, if installed, are a plus for picnics. Test-drivers have been deeply split over cabin decor. Hard plastics prevail, and come off as price-appropriate to some testers, but low-rent objectionable to most. Not a single padded surface can be found. The SRT4 has a slightly dressier cabin with better detail work, though it still trails the MazdaSpeed 3 and Volkswagen GTI by a wide margin. Inside an extended-use SXT, colors of the plastic panels were not uniform, further cheapening interior appearance.

Front riders get ample head- and legroom, but cloth seats lack lumbar adjustment and are short on lower-back support. The height-adjustable driver’s seat aids driver positioning, but has been unavailable on SE models. The center console’s armrest slides fore and aft, and the cover flips to reveal built-in holder for a cell phone or MP3 player, though it interferes with the manual gearbox’s shift lever. Thick roof pillars restrict outward visibility to all directions, especially to rear corners. Entry and exit can be a battle for six-footers. The SRT4 has leather-trimmed sport buckets with prominent side bolsters. While they’re more supportive, those bolsters can make it tough to shift smoothly. Seats are also thick enough to constrict access to levers for height and lumbar adjustments.

Decent backseat headroom is matched by great foot space. Legroom is acceptable for those under 6-feet tall, even with front seats nearly fully aft. Unfortunately, the back seat is uncomfortably soft and flat. The seatback reclines on SXT and R/T models. Narrow door openings make it hard to get out of the rear compartment.

Caliber’s cargo area is larger than that of typical hatchbacks, but smaller than some compact wagons. The removable plastic load floor is easy to clean, but allows objects to slide around. When open, the liftgate won’t clear a 6-footer’s head. Split rear seatbacks are easy to fold, but don’t lay flat if the front seat is all the way back. Small-item storage is impressive, thanks to a large two-tier glovebox and moderate-size console box, though door map pockets are too small to be really useful. Air-conditioned models include a chilled glovebox compartment.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2007 Caliber SE w/CVT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 50

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.7 173.8 68.8 60.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
48.0 13.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 38.9 41.8 35.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Dodge Caliber 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: In cold weather, the A/C compressor can get damaged from liquid refrigerant slugging, requiring replacement of the compressor with one that has a larger diameter drive pulley. (2007)
Air conditioner
Description: A/C compressor may rattle due to slugging with liquid refrigerant during spirited driving requiring improved compressor, condenser, lines, etc. (2007)
Blower motor
Description: Noises when the blower is running caused by debris requires cleaning the blower and installing a screen on the air intake duct. (2007)
Keyless entry
Description: The remote start feature may not work intermittently and commands from the remote keyless entry may work intermittently on vehicles fitted with a remote start kit at the dealership. (2007)
Keyless entry
Description: The engine may not crank (nor start) and the remote keyless entry may not work due to a damaged wireless control module in the vehicle caused by static electricity discharge when the key is inserted into the ignition. (2007-08)
Electrical problem
Description: In dry conditions (winter) static discharge can damage the wireless control module causing intermittent no-crank or no-start. (2007-08)
Electrical problem
Description: The Hard Drive radio may lock up with only volume control function requiring reflash. (2008-10)
None
Description: The chill zone may not stay cold and the fix is to apply some foam tape to the mode door. (2007-08)
None
Description: May handle poorly, ride rough and may have leaking front struts which must be replaced along with new jounce bumpers. (2007-09)

Recall History

2007
Description: ABS control module software on some vehicles may cause rear brakes to lock up during certain braking conditions.
2007 w/all-disc brakes
Description: Length of rear hub mounting bolts may prevent actuation of parking brake.
2007 vehicles manufactured from March 7 through May 19, 2006
Description: The pivot bushings in vehicles with oversized accelerator pedal bearing pockets may become dislodged and potentially cause the accelerator pedal to bind or stick. Should the pedal bind or become stuck, it can be overcome by smart brakes which override the accelerator pedal in certain conditions. Chrysler will notify owners and dealers will inspect and replace all affected accelerator pedal assemblies free of charge.
2009
Description: A new adhesive used in the power train control module (PCM) manufacturing process can cause the printed circuit board to break. This can cause the engine to stall and cause a crash without warning. Dealers will replace the PCM free of charge.
2010
Description: Some vehicles may have been built with an incorrect door lock rod in the right front door. An unlatched door could increase the risk of an unbelted front seat passenger being ejected from the vehicle. Dealers will inspect and replace the front right door lock rod as required free of charge.
2011 Caliber
Description: Vehicles may have been built with a missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet. This could compromise the ability of the steering column to support the occupant loads in the event of a frontal crash, decreasing the effectiveness of the frontal impact safety system. As a result, the condition may increase the potential for injury in a frontal crash. Dealers will inspect for rivet presence and alignment and repair the steering column pivot as required, free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.