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2007 Dodge Caliber Review

The 2007 Dodge Caliber was all new, and is promoted as a replacement for the Neon. However, the Caliber is nothing like the little Neon in size as it rides more like a wagon/minivan combo. The Caliber design includes the best elements from hatchback, wagon and minivans, delivering a vehicle that doesn't truly fit in any existing category. It is a five-passenger, five-door hatchback, with a choice of four-cylinder engines and a choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The Caliber has plenty of cabin space, and for a car in this price class, a lot of amenities. The Caliber fits in a class among the Ford Focus ZX5, Pontiac Vibe, Subaru Impreza wagon and Toyota Matrix. This Dodge comes in SE, SXT and R/T trim levels.

Caliber Powertrain

The 2007 Dodge Caliber offers a choice of three four-cylinder engines, a 1.8-liter rated at 148 horsepower, a 158-hp 2.0-liter, and a 165-hp 2.4-liter. The engines are very modern, with all aluminum with variable valve timing and flow-control valves in the air intake that help ensure complete, clean combustion at all engine speeds. The first two are available with a five-speed manual or an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission. In addition to increasing with engine size, the torque output also characteristically comes at lower engine speeds. The ratings are: 125 pounds-feet at 5,200 rpm, 141 pounds-feet at 5,000 rpm and 165 pounds-feet at 4,400 rpm for the small, medium and large engines, respectively. Disc/drum brakes are standard; four-wheel discs and antilock brakes with brake assist are optional in some cases.

2007 Trim Levels

The SE comes with the 1.8-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission. The 2.0-liter engine is optional, and both engines are available with the CVT automatic. The SE comes with cloth seats, tilt steering column, an AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers and an auxiliary input jack, a cell phone/MP3 player holder built into the front center sliding armrest, 60/40-split, folding rear seat, removable and washable vinyl cargo mat and all-season, P205/70R15 tires on hubcapped, steel wheels. The SE comes with manual roll-up windows and manual outside mirrors.

The SXT also comes standard with the 1.8-liter engine and five-speed manual, with the 2.0-liter engine and CVT optional, but the list of standard features expands dramatically. The features in the SE's Power Equipment Group are included, as is air conditioning with the Chill Zone, a 115-volt, AC power outlet, floor mats, a flashlight-like removable lamp that stows and charges in a receptacle in the rear headliner, height-adjustable driver's seat and fold-flat front passenger seat, a reclining, 60/40 split rear seat, and all-season P215/60R17 touring tires on steel wheels with hubcaps.

SXT options include the Leather Interior Group, which gets leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and a manual lumbar adjustment for the driver's seat. Seat heaters can be ordered for the cloth seats. A Driver Convenience Group adds a compass, an ambient temperature gauge, HomeLink, auto-dimming inside mirror and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The R/T comes standard with the 2.4-liter engine, the CVT, and all-wheel drive. Options include those above with adjustments necessary to accommodate features standard on the R/T; for example, the Leather Interior Group price reflects the fact the leather-wrapped steering wheel is among the. Standard features include the SXT features, the Sport Appearance Interior Group, cruise control, leather-clad steering wheel with audio controls, cargo cover, a sport suspension with performance steering and P215/55R18 all-season performance tires on aluminum wheels.

Inside the Caliber

The Caliber has room for five passengers. The front seats in the 2007 Dodge Caliber are comfortable, with decently bolstered back cushions. Front-seat headroom is impressive. Visibility out the front is good. Designed to compete with some of the nicer compact models on the market, the interior has decent-quality materials, a sophisticated design and two-tone color schemes, even in the base trim level. Be the transmission manual or automatic, the shifter juts out from the dashboard's center control panel. Some do not prefer this location, but it does free up some space by eliminating a floor console.  The instrument cluster and center stack are efficient, and the gauges are large, and simple. The cargo floor is plastic and easy to clean. Other stylish features include illuminated cupholder rings, an MP3-player holster and a center armrest that slides forward 3 inches for improved comfort. The glove compartment has upper and lower sections, the bottom of which can serve as the optional Chill Zone beverage cooler. Connected to the air conditioning, it chills up to three cans or bottles that rest on a contoured mat. MusicGate Power is Dodge's name for a Boston Acoustics premium audio system with two special speakers in the liftgate itself. They face forward normally, but when the liftgate is raised, they can be swung down to aim rearward and play at tailgate parties.  

Dodge Caliber Design

The Caliber is clearly a Dodge, thanks to the crosshair grille and the signature red paint that seems to adorn all Dodge models upon their introduction. The trademark crosshair grille dominates the front end. The 2007 Dodge Caliber's exterior is certainly innovative, yet somehow carries a retro feel at the same time. The Caliber has very large wheels for a car of its size and class: Fifteen-inch steel wheels with wheel covers are standard on the SE, but the SXT jumps to 17-inch aluminum wheels, and the R/T's are 18 inches. A black rail that runs from the base of the A-pillars and along the roofline to the taillights tricks the eye into seeing a lower, sleeker shape. Full-round door handles, either chrome-trimmed or body color, bridge scooped-out grip spaces. The roofline has a clean arc, and topping the arc but stopping at the top of the backlight (rear windscreen) is an unbroken, thick strip of black molding the Caliber's designers say is supposed to work with the arc and the truncated back end to impart a coupe look. Despite the look, the Caliber actually sits a bit higher than a common compact car. Massive headlights are notched into the leading corners of the front fenders. The side view of the Dodge Caliber shows strongly blistered fenders front and rear beneath a wedge-shaped beltline. The lower portions of the doors have longitudinal. The rear end, and especially the taillights, has an overall pleasant and modern effect.


In addition to the required airbags, the Caliber has standard side curtain-type airbags and a driver's knee airbag designed to keep the driver positioned properly for the primary restraints.

The new for 2007 Dodge Caliber takes the best elements from hatchback, wagon and minivan designs, and puts them in one to create an innovative design. Fuel economy range is estimated at 32 mpg Hwy, and 28 mpg City. The SE trim offers good, basic transportation. The SXT is fun to drive, and the R/T delivers affordable advanced technology with the assurance of all-wheel drive.  The Caliber is an excellent value with added style as a bonus.


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