|Manufacturer||Chrysler LLC (2008-present)|
|Assembly||Belvidere Assembly (Belvidere, Illinois, USA)|
|Body style(s)||5-door hatchback|
|Layout||Front engine, front-wheel drive / four-wheel drive|
|Platform||Chrysler PM/MK platform|
|Engine(s)||1.8 L GEMA I4|
2.0 L GEMA I4
2.0 L Volkswagen diesel I4
2.4 L GEMA I4
Jatco CVT2 CVT
|Wheelbase||103.7 in (2635 mm)|
|Length||173.8 in (4415 mm)|
|Width||68.8 in (1800 mm)|
|Height||60.4 in (1535 mm)|
SRT-4: 59.7 in (1516 mm)
|Curb weight||3,052 lb (1,384 kg)|
The Dodge Caliber is a compact car produced by the Dodge division of the Chrysler Group. It replaced the Neon, and went on sale in the spring of 2006 as a 2007 model year vehicle. The Caliber is a five-door hatchback roughly the size of a Neon, and was first shown at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. It features styling elements derivative of larger Dodge vehicles, such as a crosshair grille and large flared fenders. The Caliber is one of the first modern Dodge-branded vehicles for sale in the European, Asian, and Australasian markets. It debuted publicly on January 10, 2006, at the North American International Auto Show, amid jokes by David Spade. The base price is US$13,985.
The Dodge Caliber offers a continuously variable transmission (dubbed CVT2 by Dodge) sourced from Jatco (a Nissan subsidiary), the second DaimlerChrysler model to employ this technology after the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It uses a four-cylinder 1.8–2.4 L GEMA gasoline engine, heavily based on a prior Hyundai engine.
The car also features an optional electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system with variable torque between speeds of 25 and 65 mph (105 km/h) for optimal handling.
The Caliber rides on a heavily modified GS platform, co-designed with Mitsubishi Motors. The modified GS platform is now called JS platform by DCX for mid-size cars and PM/MK for compact cars. It shares a portion of the platform with the Mitsubishi Lancer, but is most similar to the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.
The Caliber is an important vehicle for Chrysler in its quest to expand globally. The Caliber was one of Dodge's first modern offerings in Europe. Dodge also introduced the Caliber as part of its launch lineup in Asian markets such as Japan and Singapore, as it established new distribution channels there. It will be introduced in China in 2008 as Dodge's second modern vehicle offering in that market. Dodge vehicles were last officially sold in China during the World War II era. The introduction of the Caliber has also marked the return of the Dodge brand to Australia, for the first time since the early 1970s.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Caliber an overall Good score in frontal crash testing. The Dodge Caliber comes standard with side curtain airbags but torso side airbags are optional. The IIHS scored the Caliber Marginal overall in their side impact test. However that Caliber was not equipped with the torso side airbag.
Three models were available at the Caliber's launch, with a fourth available in mid-2006.
The base SE model features front-wheel drive and a 1.8 L 148 hp (110 kW) GEMA I4 attached to a Magna Drivetrain T355 5-speed manual transmission. A 2.0 L 158 hp (118 kW) version of the engine paired with the CVT2 transmission is available as an option.
The standard configuration for the SE lacks air conditioning, and does not have power windows, door locks, or mirrors. The grille surround is body-colored, while that of all other models is chromed. There is no tachometer, and no assist handles. 15 inch steel wheels with wheel covers are standard. Some options are not available on the SE.
The SXT has the same engine choices as the SE but many more features are available as standard. Air conditioning is standard equipment at this level, including the Chill Zone beverage cooler inside the front lower glove compartment. The gauge cluster gains a tachometer and an (optional) trip computer. The driver's seat adds height adjustment, the passenger seat folds flat for load-carrying, and the rear seats recline. Power windows, locks, mirrors, and remote keyless entry are included. The grille surround is chromed and 17-inch steel wheels are standard, with 17-inch aluminum wheels as an option. The cargo area light includes a removable and rechargeable flashlight while the front dome light incorporates two reading lamps. The center console includes a 115-volt 2-prong power outlet, two illuminated cup holders for the front passengers, and two non-illuminated cup holders for the rear passengers (which are standard on all trim levels).
Some Dodge publications mention a SXT Sport model, while others (e.g. the Dodge website) list a SXT "E" package with identical features. This consists of 17-inch aluminum wheels, color-keyed cloth seat inserts, color-matched instrument panel trim, and fog lamps.
The UK SXT Sports model gets 18 inch alloy wheels, color-keyed cloth seats and instrument panel, and a 9-speaker audio system as standard; early UK models do not have the chrome grille. The UK SXT Sport is also available with a Volkswagen 2.0 L diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
The R/T model has 172 hp (128 kW) 2.4 L version of the GEMA engine, equipped with the CVT2 transmission, and programmed with an 'AutoStick' feature giving six simulated fixed ratios in a clutchless manual mode in addition to the standard CVT 'Drive' mode. All-wheel-drive was an option on the R/T model until 2009. 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard, while chromed are an option. At launch, the CVT2 with all-wheel drive was the only powertrain combination available for the R/T. A front-wheel drive variant with the T355 5-speed manual transmission commenced production in late summer 2006. ABS is standard, and the suspension and steering are tuned for performance.
Externally, the R/T is distinguishable by body-color/chrome door handles (replacing black on other models), a chrome side molding, chromed exhaust tip, and front fog lights as standard, as well as R/T badging.
Internally, the car comes as standard with color-keyed fabric seat inserts, leather seats being an option as on the SXT. Color-keyed instrument panel trim is also standard, as is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and speed control, and a cargo area cover (all options on the SXT).
The SRT-4 model, introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006, is a replacement for the original Neon-based SRT-4 produced by Chrysler's Street and Racing Technology group. It is a hatchback set to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and the Mazdaspeed 3. It features a 2.4-liter DOHC 16V Turbocharged I4 with dual variable valve timing (DVVT). It produces 285 hp (213 kW) at 6,400 rpm, and 265 lb·ft (359 N·m) of torque at 5,600 rpm using the Mitsubishi TD04HL4S-20 turbo. Edmunds put it on the dyno and it resulted in 281 hp (210 kW) and 261 lb·ft (354 N·m) of torque. The engine is mated to a Getrag six-speed manual transmission, and utilizes a front-wheel drive drivetrain. The Caliber SRT-4 utilizes a high-performance MacPherson strut front suspension, and a performance-tuned multilink rear suspension. The SRT-4 uses large 340 mm (13.4 in) vented front disc brakes (from the Dodge Charger Police Pack version) with dual-piston calipers and 302 mm (11.9 in) rear single-piston disc brakes. It will feature four-wheel antilock brakes, with electronic assistance. The wheels are 19 inch, five-spoke, SRT-stamped, painted aluminum. The car will feature Goodyear performance 225/45R19 tires. The SRT-4 base price will be $22,435, with lot-availability starting in March, with orders being taken at dealerships as of November, 2007. Package options include polished wheels, GPS navigation, bluetooth, a block heater, and rear hat-rack.
|2007–present||1.8 L||GEMA I4||148 hp (110 kW)||125 ft·lbf (169 N·m)||Manual transmission only|
|2.0 L||GEMA I4||158 hp (118 kW)||141 ft·lbf (191 N·m)||CVT2 only|
|Diesel||2007–present||2.0 L||turbocharged I4 from Volkswagen List_of_Volkswagen_Group_diesel_engines#134-170_hp_2.0_TDI||138 hp (103 kW)||229 ft·lbf (310 N·m)||Europe & Australia only|
|R/T||2007–present||2.4 L||GEMA I4||172 hp (128 kW)||165 ft·lbf (224 N·m)||AWD/FWD|
|SRT-4||2008–present||2.4 L||GEMA turbocharged I4||286 hp (213 kW)||260 ft·lbf (353 N·m)|
The Chrysler Group announced a marketing plan for the first year of the car's production. The plan included 20% of the budget going towards online marketing, a blitz of print ads and a number of television ads.
Dodge is marketing Caliber in a way that contrasts the Neon's introduction to the buying public. With Neon, the advertising campaign was based around its personable, appealing, "cuddly" looks. Examples of ads typically constituted a shot of the car front-on with a simple "Hi" hovering above it. In contrast, Caliber has been labeled as "Anything but cute" in its advertising campaign, with taglines or statements of "It's [the car] neither cuddly nor wuddly" or more bluntly "it scares the <bleep> out of me", stated by a fictional "cute" monkey named Binky.
- "Dodge Caliber: Small car offers big opportunity for Belvidere". Rockford Register Star. http://www.rrstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060111/BUSINESS05/101110017. Retrieved on January 28.
- Tony Swan. "Preview: Dodge Caliber SRT4". Car and Driver (May 2006): 40–44.
- "Dodge Caliber SRT-4 on the dyno". http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=122859#8.
- Dodge Caliber Official Website
Dodge road car timeline, United States market, 1970s–present
|Sport compact||Daytona||Avenger||Neon SRT-4|