2008 Dodge Caliber Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

7.0
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
6.0
Expert Rating
Performance
7.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
6.0
Expert Rating
Safety
7.0
Expert Rating
Features
9.0
Expert Rating
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The Caliber has a very practical layout and quite a few innovative features to get excited about, but it's lacking in driving enjoyment or refinement--even compared to its low-priced competition.

The car experts at TheCarConnection.com combed through the most authoritative reviews on the new Dodge Caliber to produce this conclusive review of the 2008 Dodge Caliber. TheCarConnection.com's editors have also driven this car and can add our expert opinion to help you decide whether the Caliber is the right car, as well as weigh it versus the competition.

The Caliber was introduced for 2007, replacing the Neon sedan as the small car in Dodge's lineup. Available only as a five-door hatchback, the 2008 Dodge Caliber comes in three different models and with three different engines: 1.8-, 2.0-, and 2.4-liter four-cylinders. An all-wheel-drive system is available only on the top Caliber R/T model and can send up to 60 percent of engine power to the rear wheels. At the top of the range is the high-performance SRT-4 model, which adds a 285-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbocharged four along with a bevy of high-performance equipment and a racier appearance, but it goes without all-wheel drive.

The Dodge Caliber is quite impressive at first glance and has some very clever and thoughtful interior features available, including a beverage cooler, an easy-clean cargo floor, and a setup that includes rear-facing speakers for tailgating. Seats are supportive, though their positioning is a little low, and there's a generous amount of space in back for combinations of passengers and cargo. However, the execution is lost in the details as many of the interior plastics and surfaces are (literally) rough around the edges.

Unfortunately, the Caliber's road manners are entirely unremarkable. Skip the 1.8- and 2.0-liter engines if you're considering the optional CVT automatic and go with the R/T model, but even then with the CVT, it's accompanied by a noisy drone. The R/T with the manual transmission is our favorite. The 2008 Dodge Caliber has a decent ride but doesn't handle as nimbly as most small cars. The SRT-4 wasn't as comfortable or as fun to drive as its 285 hp might suggest, due to a hard, unforgiving suspension that's out of place on rough roads. Across the line, fuel efficiency is very disappointing for a small car, with ratings as low as 21 mpg city for the R/T AWD model.

The 2008 Dodge Caliber gets mixed marks for safety and doesn't offer all the features that are standard on some competitors. Head-protecting side-curtain airbags covering front and rear occupants are standard, but torso-protecting supplemental side airbags are optional. Although it received five stars in the federal government's frontal and side crash tests, it was only rated "marginal" in the insurance industry's side-impact tests and in rear crash protection, which is based on seat tests and assesses neck and whiplash injuries. Electronic stability control is optional.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

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Saturday, August 15, 2015
2008 Dodge Caliber 4-Door HB SXT FWD

Good car - Until you hit 60,000 km

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I bought a used 2008 Dodge Caliber about 4 years ago. When I bought it, I loved it. It was the perfect car for me. The Caliber has a good amount of space and its a good little car if you're not looking into... + More »
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Thursday, August 6, 2015
2008 Dodge Caliber 4-Door HB R/T FWD

I hate this car.

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I personally own this car and the engine noise sucks the signals go out. every single time I change it just blows again there's something wrong electronically . Every month something goes wrong and it's only... + More »
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015
2008 Dodge Caliber 4-Door HB SXT FWD

I wish the car offered more features.

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My overall experience with the vehicle is good, but wished it had more features. It rides good and good gas mileage.
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