Safety » 7
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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Five stars, front impacts; five stars, side impacts
Good, frontal offset impact; Marginal, side impact
Unique-for-its-class driver's knee airbag
The 2010 Dodge Caliber looks pretty fierce, but it's little more than a paper tiger in some safety tests.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have tested the Dodge Caliber. Their results differ in some important areas, however. The Caliber earns the highest possible rating, five stars, in every single NHTSA crash category. The IIHS, however, gives the Caliber top honors for its front impact protection, but no praise at all for its side impact protection-for which it awards the Dodge Caliber a rating of Marginal, or second-worst. That rank reflects the Caliber's poor record of safety in crashes when it is not equipped with side-impact airbags, which are offered only as an extra-cost option. "Measures taken from the dummy indicate that rib fractures and/or internal organ injuries would be likely," says the IIHS in deeming the Caliber's safety only marginal.
Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are negative on the topic of safety features offered on the 2010 Dodge Caliber. While the right collection of features is available, many are not standard. To start, anti-lock brakes are optional with the manual transmission in the SE and SXT. Car and Driver says that "front, curtain, and driver's-side knee airbags are standard," and Cars.com adds that "an electronic stability system and traction control are optional on most models."
As for driver visibility-an important but sometimes overlooked facet of overall safety-the 2010 Dodge Caliber racks up more demerits. ConsumerGuide is the most critical of all reviews, saying that "outward visibility to all directions is restricted by thick roof pillars, especially to the rear corners."
Safety features remain a low priority on the list of equipment that comes standard on the low-cost 2010 Dodge Caliber.