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STYLING | 6 out of 10
Looks like it's spent a lot of quality time at the gym
Car and Driver
Those who favor styling with an aggressive edge will enjoy its looks
A long way from the cute, pudgy Neon
A two-box design a la Toyota Matrix
Road & Track
The 2008 Dodge Caliber definitely makes a statement with its strong exterior styling. Unfortunately, that statement loses some of its appeal once you sit down inside.
The 2008 Dodge Caliber is in its second year as Dodge's primary small car, and for 2008, Edmunds says that the Dodge Caliber is available in "four trims: SE, SXT, R/T and SRT4." The exterior differences between the trims of the Dodge Caliber lineup are noticeable, especially on the SRT4, which Cars.com describes as a "serious-looking muscle machine" thanks to its "unique grille that gives it a much more aggressive appearance than the regular Caliber." Car and Driver adds that the SRT4 Dodge Caliber gets "molded-in ducts for brake cooling," while "the hood is distinguished by a functional air scoop and a pair of decorative vents," and the back gets "an oversized parasol wing over the rear hatch." Aside from those trim pieces unique to the SRT4, the entire Dodge Caliber lineup shares what Road & Track calls "a two-box design a la Toyota Matrix." Car and Driver remarks the Caliber "looks like it's spent a lot of quality time at the gym," while MotorWeek thinks it's "a long way from the cute, pudgy Neon" that Dodge sold in past years. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com approve of the overall styling theme, with The Los Angeles Times reviewer contending that he "[likes] the way it looks, with the bruised-knuckle machismo of the Durango and Magnum station wagon." In terms of exterior styling options, Edmunds notes "available 18- and 19-inch wheels only add to the Caliber's swagger."
The exciting, muscular exterior of the 2008 Dodge Caliber should conceal an equally impressive interior, but unfortunately, it looks like Dodge designers spent a bit too much time crafting the outside. The Auto Channel reviewers are disappointed to find "wind-up windows" inside the Dodge Caliber SE, and they report that the instrument panel is "a return to basics with a speedometer, fuel and water temperature gauges" but "no tachometer." Mother Proof finds fault with the "overly plastic interior," and Edmunds declares that the interior simply "looks and feels too cheap." The few positive reviews of the interior styling on the Dodge Caliber come from Cars.com, which remarks that "the all-black interior" on their test SRT4 gives it "a purposefulness that fits the car's performance aspirations"; however, while the "turbo-boost gauge on the left side of the steering wheel" does look "pretty cool," they note that it "isn't optimally positioned."
The 2008 Dodge Caliber sports a tough look but disappoints on the inside.