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Used Dodge Caliber Overview And How To Buy At The Best Price
The Caliber reflects Dodge's response to the changing needs of a growing number of carbuyers with its emphasis on a more fuel efficient vehicle coupled with the growing popularity of the hatchback style. The end result was a relatively inexpensive, fairly capable and practical vehicle, yet undistinquished, with an array of versatile functions.
The Caliber was Dodge's new entry level car in 2007, replacing the Neon, and improving on it on just about every measure. It's a compact four-door wagon that can hold five passengers and is available with either front or all-wheel drive.
The designers succeeded in giving the Caliber a strong and very visible road presence. With a front end that's mindful of a big Ram truck, combined with its overall hatchback/wagon shape, the Caliber's distinctive appearance is very noticeable on the streets.
Originally coming in three trims, the Caliber was offered in SE, SXT and R/T models. In 2008, it added the sporty SRT4 turbocharged version which was also produced for 2009 before being discontinued.
All initial trims came with four-cylinder engines, however, there were three engine sizes available depending on the model.
The SXT and SE models came with front-wheel drive and a 1.8-liter engine that produced 148 horsepower. They were also originally available with an optional 2.0-liter engine that delivered 158 horsepower. The R/T model came with either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive and were powered by a 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine that was paired with either a manual or automatic transmission. Automatic Calibers also came with AutoStick for manually selected gear changes.
The base SE model is quite sparsely equipped, featuring 15-inch wheels and a CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. For more popular features such as air-conditioning or power accessories, you'd have to find a model that had them added as options.
The more appealing SXT came with standard features such as power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, keyless entry, 17-inch wheels, a 60/40-split rear seat that folds and reclines and a fold-flat front passenger seat. Used SXTs can also be found with options such as navigation, heated front seats, a sunroof, a color-keyed instrument panel, a 6-disc CD changer and an upgraded speaker package.
The R/T model was more performance-oriented with standard features such as 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and steering rack. It also came with most of the SXT's options. Options that can be found on some used SRT4s include leather upholstery and 18-inch chrome-plated wheels.
In 2008, Dodge added the high-performance SRT4 to the line-up. It came equipped with a 285-horsepower turbocharged offshoot of the 2.4-liter engine and produced 265 pound-feet of torque (it was also mated with a 6-speed manual transmission). With its more robust power, lowered suspension, upgraded brakes, sport seats and 19-inch wheels, the SRT4 added a "fun-to-drive" factor to the mix.
In fact, in performance tests, it's been timed from a standstill to 60 mph in a quick 6.2 seconds. Some can also be found with an optional display that shows performance metrics like braking distance and 0-60 times. Even so, its heavier weight and abundance of torque steer made it less capable overall than other high-horsepower hatchbacks.
Used Caliber shoppers should note that for the 2009 model year, the Caliber got additional sound insulation to decrease road noise, while new optional hard-drive-based music and navigation systems were added. In addition, the previously available all-wheel-drive (for R/T models only) was dropped.
For 2010, the Caliber was offered with a whole new line-up of "lifestyle" trims: from a value-based Express model to the sportier and top-level Rush. All models also received a needed interior upgrade, while the 2011 model made some steering revisions for improved responsiveness.
2012 Calibers were again renamed, but similarly to its origin with SE, SXT and SXT Plus models. Even the base model SE was fairly well-equipped with features such as full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and keyless entry. SXT highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, a firmer suspension, foglights and a 4-way power driver seat, while the SXT Plus added 18-inch alloys with performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension and four-wheel disc brakes.
The Caliber was dropped from the Dodge lineup for 2013 and replaced by the Dodge Dart.
Overall, we're not big fans. While the Caliber is roomy, fairly versatile and provides adequate transportation, its performance is so-so at best and its interior is still subpar despite recent upgrades. We think better choices would include the Mazda 3, the Scion xB, the Toyota Matrix, the Honda Fit and the Ford Focus.
How To Get The Best Price On A Pre-Owned Dodge Caliber:
There are actually several different ways to buy a used Caliber at the lowest price, and even at wholesale. You can click on the links to each of the following methods to get the specific instructions.
In addition, you can also try the Public Auto Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.