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STYLING | 6 out of 10
Tricks the eye into seeing a lower, sleeker shape
Do yourself a favor and spring for the Sport Appearance package
Car and Driver
Large, simple audio and climate controls are within easy reach
The 2009 Dodge Caliber, with its bold, upright styling, stands out on the road as a truly American take on the hatchback design. The interior, however, could use a little European refinement or Japanese quality control.
The 2009 Dodge Caliber is the third model year for Dodge's small car, and once again it is available in four trims. Edmunds reports that "SE, SXT, R/T and SRT4" versions of the Dodge Caliber are on dealer lots, and there won't be any mistaking the SE for the SRT4. Car and Driver says "the look, echoed by Dodge's 'anything but cute' advertising tagline, is a purposeful departure from the Caliber's predecessor, the bug-eyed Neon." Road & Track calls the system "a two-box design a la Toyota Matrix," while reviewers from The Los Angeles Times contend that it draws from "the bruised-knuckle machismo of the Durango and Magnum station wagon." The Dodge Caliber SRT4 is even more impressive, as Cars.com remarks that it "has been turned into a serious-looking muscle machine, carrying itself with a swagger that even some of the bigger SRT models, like the 300C SRT8, would be hard-pressed to match." For those looking for even more visual effect, Edmunds asserts "available 18- and 19-inch wheels only add to the Caliber's swagger."
The 2009 Dodge Caliber boasts a strong, look-at-me exterior, but the interior styling isn't quite as catchy. Cars.com says the interior "loses points for its lack of uniform graining on the dash plastic and unremarkable fit-and-finish," while also noting that "one SRT-specific cue is a turbo-boost gauge on the left side of the steering wheel that looks pretty cool, but it isn't optimally positioned." ConsumerGuide reports that "the transmission shifter can partially block access to the climate dials," but some aspects of the layout deserve mention. ConsumerGuide points out that the "large gauges are easy to read," and MyRide.com remarks that "the center console is well laid out and within easy reach."
The 2009 Dodge Caliber looks good from the outside, but the interior styling is disappointing.