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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
2010 Dodge Caliber loses its all-wheel-drive model
Not up to the caliber of the segment
Dodge offers the 2010 Dodge Caliber with a pair of engine options, both with four cylinders; the smaller puts out 158 horsepower from 2.0 liters, the larger 172 horsepower from 2.4 liters. ConsumerGuide states that the Dodge Caliber SE and SXT have "a 158-hp 2.0-liter engine" and the Dodge Caliber "R/T has a 172-hp 2.4-liter"
ConsumerGuide contends that "Calibers are adequate at best," as "a manual-transmission SE did 9.8 seconds 0-60 mph in our test."
There are two transmissions options to go, along with the pair of engine choices on the 2010 Dodge Caliber. Car and Driver reviewers say that SE and SXT models "come standard" with a five-speed manual, and "a continuously variable transmission is optional." A five-speed manual is also standard on the Dodge Caliber R/T. Reviews of the manual are inoffensive-though ConsumerGuide warns that the five-speed suffers from "slightly notchy shift action, but overall it works well enough." As for the CVT, ConsumerGuide notes that "throttle response is good around town but lackluster at highway speeds."
Fuel economy is one of the main reasons for buying small hatchbacks and compact sedans, but the 2010 Dodge Caliber is thirsty for its segment. The official EPA estimates for the Caliber are that the 2.0-liter returns 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway when fitted with the five-speed manual transmission, with highway mileage falling to 27 mpg if you opt for the CVT. With the larger 2.4-liter engine, the five-speed model achieves 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway, and the CVT gets an unimpressive 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway.
Handling prowess is weak. The heavy steering takes a lot of muscle to maneuver, and ConsumerGuide reports that the Dodge Caliber "SE is busy with poor bump absorption," while the SXT "is more compliant overall but still a bit jittery over broken pavement." Motor Trend chimes in, agreeing that "the ride quality is loud and flinty." On the other hand, braking is a strong suit.
The 2010 Dodge Caliber is just adequate in most respects, with average handling and notably unimpressive fuel economy.