2012 Dodge Caliber

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2010 Dodge Caliber — Flash Drive

This 2010 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos

The Dodge Caliber certainly stands out in the crowded compact-crossover market. Its styling has always been edgy — but somewhat ugly, if you ask me — it offers decent room, and its tall stance provides good driver visibility. However, the interior is seriously dated, and Dodge has done little to refresh it for 2010. The dashboard materials are made from hard plastic and look bad compared with the competition. Fortunately, the Caliber performs at the pump, and I was able to get 26 mpg combined. I hope Dodge will refresh the interior and exterior for the next generation, because the Caliber is long in the tooth. –Joe Chulick

The Dodge Caliber is awful. There is an instant feeling of poor quality and construction that is disturbing. From the seat-belt latches that feel as if they came in a Happy Meal to the window cranks that look as if half the plastic is missing, the interior is terribly low-rent. The ride and handling are just as bad. With no compliance or road feel, the Caliber seems ready to slide off the road even in the best of conditions. The engine is the best part of the whole car, but it is barely mediocre. I have owned four Dodges, two Jeeps and a Plymouth over the years, and the new Caliber shows that Dodge has not improved in 30 years, unlike absolutely every other car manufacturer. Dodge should stick to building Jeeps, Ram trucks and rental cars; it has a long way to go before it should earn your passenger-car business. –Paul Hagger

Dodge designed the Caliber to cash in on SUV popularity with a compact 5-door hatch, but ended up with an awkward, homely design that hasn't aged well in just a couple of years' time. And the dysfunction doesn't end there. The high beltline, short windows and sloping roofline make the Caliber difficult to see out of in any direction, particularly to the rear corners. The engine is noisy and a little rough, and there is constant wheel spin and torque steer in wet conditions. The equipment list claims sport suspension and performance-tuned steering, but there is no crispness or dynamics to the driving experience at all — it's less than plain vanilla, if that is possible. The high points? Five-star frontal crash ratings and a 30 gigabyte hard-drive audio system. –Mike Meredith

I like Chrysler and want the company to succeed, but I don't think the 2010 Caliber will help the cause. Chrysler's smallest offering doesn't look bad, and even though the interior feels cheap, it does have a few nice features. There's plenty of cargo space, and the removable flashlight, cooled glove box and lighted cupholders are nice touches. But the Caliber just isn't nice to drive. The continuously variable transmission doesn't engage well; attempts at strong acceleration just send the revs up with lots of noise but not much action. The ride is stiff, and there is a lot of road noise. Observed fuel economy was in the mid-20s — not bad, but I expected better. Our tester was priced around $23K, and while it was well-equipped, there are a lot of better choices on the market for that price. –Perry Stern

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BB06 - 8/20/2014 12:34:07 AM