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QUALITY | 6 out of 10
New sound insulation for a quieter ride
Five-door configuration offers cargo-carrying versatility
Car and Driver
Colors of the plastic panels weren't uniform, further cheapening the interior
The 2009 Dodge Caliber is spacious enough to be comfortable, and the seats are adequate, but materials and build quality are on the extremely low end of the spectrum.
Cars.com describes the Dodge Caliber as a "five-seat, four-door hatchback," and while most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com describe it as a compact car, the interior is quite spacious. Edmunds reviewers report that, although the seating capacity is five, "putting three adults in back will likely result in grumbles about lack of comfort for the center passenger." Up front, Car and Driver says "the seating position is high," a notable plus, and ConsumerGuide measures "ample headroom and legroom." Unfortunately, "the cloth seats on non-SRT4 models lack a lumbar adjuster, and thus are short on lower-back support." MyRide.com observes that "the front seats that come standard are comfortable, but far from plush," while the "rear seat is a bench and leg room is somewhat cramped, trailing most competitors."
The Dodge Caliber makes efficient use of its available interior space when it comes to cargo storage, as many reviewers list this as one of the Caliber's stronger attributes. MyRide.com says "cargo capacity is one of the Caliber's big advantages," and notes the rear seats fold down 60/40 to reveal 48.0 cubic feet of cargo room." ConsumerGuide also observes that the "cargo area is larger than that of a typical hatchback" and the Caliber's "removable plastic load floor is easy to clean, but [it] allows objects to slide around." Edmunds simply calls the 2009 Dodge Caliber "pleasantly roomy and functional." Interior storage is aided by "cubbies all over," according to reviewers at The Auto Channel.
The 2009 Dodge Caliber has some redeeming qualities in terms of cabin comfort and overall space, but these are more than mitigated by the poor overall build quality. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the Dodge Caliber has major quality problems, as Edmunds reports the Caliber's interior "lacking in terms of materials and construction." ConsumerGuide is a bit more direct, noting that "low-rent hard plastics cover most parts of the Caliber's cabin," and although the "SRT4 has a slightly dressier cabin with better detail work than other Calibers... it still significantly trails the MazdaSpeed3 and Volkswagen GTI." Car and Driver asserts "the plastic is cheaper than that of most toys," while ConsumerGuide speaks to the build quality by pointing out that "the colors of the plastic panels weren't uniform" on one of their test Dodge Calibers, "further cheapening the interior appearance."
The 2008 version of the Dodge Caliber was known for being quite unrefined and noisy, so to address these complaints Dodge installed several new layers of sound insulation. The results, however, aren't that impressive, as ConsumerGuide still reports "mediocre suppression of road noise." Motor Trend describes the Dodge Caliber as "coarse and crude," and Car and Driver simply notes that "the engine is buzzy."
Cargo space is impressive for this category, but otherwise the 2009 Dodge Caliber falls well behind the pack.