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2009 Dodge Caliber Photo
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Trevor Wild
Author, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$15,498
BASE MSRP
$16,460
Quick Take
The Caliber has a very practical layout and truly innovative features to get excited about, but it's lacking in driving enjoyment or refinement—even compared to its low-priced competition. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features

Tricks the eye into seeing a lower, sleeker shape

Cars.com »

Do yourself a favor and spring for the Sport Appearance package

Car and Driver »

Large, simple audio and climate controls are within easy reach

ConsumerGuide »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$16,460 $24,840
4-Door HB SE
Gas Mileage 24 mpg City/30 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 1.8L
EPA Class Mid-size
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
7.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

Editors at TheCarConnection.com have driven the 2009 Dodge Caliber and offer their expert opinions on how the Caliber compares to other vehicles. TheCarConnection.com has also researched the latest reviews on the Caliber in order to bring you this conclusive report.

The Dodge Caliber debuted in 2007 as Dodge's replacement for the Neon small sedan. The Dodge Caliber is available exclusively as a rather sleek five-door hatchback, though it comes in three different models, each featuring a different engine; 1.8-, 2.0-, and 2.4-liter four-cylinders are available on the 2009 Dodge Caliber lineup. While the Dodge Caliber previously offered an especially fuel-sucking all-wheel-drive R/T trim, that option has been discontinued for 2009. The top-end Dodge Caliber SRT4 packs a 285-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbocharged engine under the hood and includes a bevy of high-performance equipment and styling changes.

Most shoppers will have a positive initial impression of the Dodge Caliber, which is understandable considering it is packed with clever features, such as a beverage cooler, an easy-clean cargo floor, and a setup that includes rear-facing speakers for tailgating. The cabin is also comfortable, featuring supportive seats and a surprisingly large interior that affords plenty of space for both passengers and cargo. Unfortunately, a closer inspection reveals questionable interior materials, including rough plastics and poor finish throughout the interior.

Despite its aggressive appearance, the Dodge Caliber is decidedly docile on the road. An available continuously variable transmission (CVT) for the 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines is underpowered and noisy with either engine, while overall handling performance is disappointing. The SRT-4 isn'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. Fuel economy isn't what you might hope for a small car, with the SRT4 getting as little as 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. TheCarConnection.com has seen figures in the low 20s in SXT and R/T models.

The Dodge Caliber certainly isn't atop the heap when it comes to safety either, as it fails to offer all of the standard features that some competitors do. For example, while anti-lock brakes and side curtain airbags are standard, side impact airbags will cost you extra. NHTSA does rate the Caliber a perfect five stars for both front and side-impact protection, but the IIHS gives the Caliber a second-worst rating of "marginal" in side impact tests.

Likes:

  • Roomy interior with impressive flexibility
  • Good seats
  • Awesome, innovative options

Dislikes:

  • Tepid acceleration in SE and SXT
  • Engine noise with CVT automatic
  • Subpar interior materials
  • Sharp edges of center stack
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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