2012 Dodge Caliber

The 2012 Dodge Caliber is a small car that most reviewers were pleasantly surprised with.

It ranks comparable to the likes of the Ford Focus and the Honda Fit as better vehicles.

The Caliber is for people who want a car that’s strictly utilitarian and can get them where they need to go and back with no fuss.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Wagon Base Price: $17,380.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.6 gallons (51l) MPG: 24 city / 32 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 173.8 in. (441.4 cm) Wheel Base: 103.7 in. (263.3 cm)
Height: 60.4 in. (153.4 cm) Width: 68.8 in. (174.7 cm)
Curb Weight: 2940 lbs (1333 kg) Ground Clearance: 7.6 in. (19.3 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 18.4 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 4 Cylinder DOHC Dual VVT Displacement: 2.0 Liter
Horsepower: 158 HP Max RPM: 6400 RPM
Torque: 141 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Available Trims & Engine
Option:SXT Plus CVT II MSRP: $18,730; MPG: 23 city / 27 hwy
Option:SXT CVT II MSRP: $18,765; MPG: 23 city / 27 hwy

Engine

The standard engine for the Caliber is a four cylinder 2.0 liter that delivers 158 horsepower and 141 pound feet of torque.

One of the Caliber’s biggest flaws is its engine. The engine lacks power, loud and has a continuously variable transmission that people disliked. Overall, the car gets 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

Performance

Some say that the Caliber is too heavy for its size which makes handling sluggish. Test drivers complained that it has a large turning radius and that the brakes didn't work with the smoothness they liked. They worked well enough, but were grabby.

Exterior

The reviewers appreciated that the unique look of the car makes it stand out, but its style is getting a little old. Most test drivers and reviewers agreed that the sheet metal need to be updated.

Interior

The 2012 Caliber’s interior is acceptable in terms of roominess and comfort, and the instrumental panel is easy to read. However, reviewers still found the interior less than riveting. Most believe that the Caliber’s competitors have much more stylish interiors.

It comes with the usual air conditioning and sound system and other bells and whistles like a 12 volt power outlet and a glove compartment that's climate controlled. But the trim seems largely made of hard plastic and looks cheap.

The car has a decent amount of cargo space, though the Fit has more. With the rear seats folded away, the Caliber can hold 47.4 cubic feet of cargo. When it has five passengers, it can hold about 18.4 cubic feet.

Safety

The Caliber received good safety scores from the federal government and other establishments that rate car safety. Test results from one institution ranged from marginal to good. Another institution gave it four stars for the front crash test and rollover test, three stars for the side crash test and an overall rating of three stars.

Reliability

J.D. Power gave the Caliber a 2.5 out of 5 rating for reliability. It has a three year or 36,000 mile basic warranty. It also comes with a five year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. There have been no recalls associated with the Caliber.

Pros

Reviewers appreciated some aspects of the interior, like the ease of using the stereo system and the rechargeable flashlight. They also liked the beverage cooler that was tucked into the glove compartment.

Cons

Most reviewers found most aspects of the Caliber uninspiring. The engine was weak and noisy, and the interior was dull. The car also rattles when it’s confronted with rough city streets.

Competition

The Chevy Cruze (MSRP $16,800; 25 city / 36 hwy), the Ford Focus (MSRP $18,300; 26 city / 36 hwy), and the Toyota Corolla (MSRP $16,130; 27 city / 34 hwy) achieve better fuel efficiency, and are among those that the Caliber can be compared to when it comes to price and performance.

Overall Rating
55 out of 100

What others say:

“There's plenty of headroom front and back in the 2012 Dodge Caliber, though the front seats themselves aren't all that comfortable.”Car Connection

“The 2012 model year will be the last for Caliber, as it’s being replaced by the 2013 Dodge Dart. Caliber has been built in the United States.”Consumer Guide

“This small four-door hatchback has a raised seating position similar to that of a small SUV. Interior fit and finish is subpar and the styling impedes visibility, but there are some clever interior storage features. ”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“If you need the fuel economy of small compact car, but the room and versatility of larger wagon, the 2012 Dodge Caliber hatchback has you covered.”KBB

“Despite some unique features, the versatile 2012 Dodge Caliber is compromised by lethargic performance. There are better hatchbacks to choose from.”Edmunds