I can't believe this car was ever made. It's utterly ridiculous. First and foremost, the acceleration is practically non existent. The harder you push down the acceleration pedal, the slower the car accelerates. I think the issue is more with the automatic transmission than the actual torque, though, because it often feels like the car is starting from second gear and then realizes it's not supposed to do that and jerkily downshifts to first. The suspension is a sort of princess and the pea situation with every little bump in the road translating into a spleen-rattling affair. From the outside, the Caliber looks like a spacious family car, but the inside is fully taken up with the dashboard, which is roughly the size of an eight-seat dining room table. The front seats have a fair amount of leg room underneath the dashboard, but any backseat passengers don't fare as well. And good luck fitting more than one kid's car seat back there. You would think they could have taken a couple of feet out of the dash to provide more room for the back seats. I can only assume the engineer responsible for the Caliber's design envisioned serving a large meal on the dashboard. There can be no other reason for that design.
I have only two good things to say about this car. First, we have had to do no major repairs on it since we got it. But I think that's about to change. I believe the suspension and transmission will be requiring repairs before long. Second, the storage space is pretty decent, especially when you lay down the back seats.
Overall, I wouldn't wish this car on anyone. Its two small perks do not compensate for a host of design failures and automotive mishaps. This car is actually really funny when you give it much thought. It's like the engineers planned it as a practical joke.
Yes, it has lackluster acceleration, but overall, I LOVE my car!! Perfect size for driving daily to and from work alone, but also, easily fits 4-5 people without too much complaint. Great hauling capability with the fold down seats (although the angle of the back hatch has gotten in my way a time or two). Gas mileage is spectacular, even as it gets older, still holds well! Have had minimal maintenance (other than normal oil changes, new tires, etc.), two months ago was the first time I had to have something fixed, power steering pump lines had a hole and entire pump wasn't working correctly, but $400 later (the most I have spent on any repair or maintenance), brand new pump, and it is driving as good as new!!
Acceleration could be better, and it is not a fan of going up in to the Rockies here in Colorado, but overall, I would say this is a great car, has been great for me, and I love it!!
This car was definitely not my first choice, but at the time I was still in college and dad pretty much decided for me. But I'm so glad we went with the Caliber! Yes, it lacks many of the bells and whistles of a more expensive car/brand. It doesn't have heated seats, or a fancy interior. But my major repairs have been few and far between (and by major i mean nothing totalling over $300). This car is 7 years old and is still going like a champ! It's been so good to me and in turn i've been good to it. I'm constantly surprised by how well it's held up over all this time considering it doesn't have the best reputation. The Pros, in my opinion: Cruise control is an awesome plus. It also hasn't required many major repairs. I don't consider it a very noisy car, and the sound system is pretty good too. My favorite thing about this car is the storage. All the back seats fold forward and i've been amazed at what i've been able to fit in this car! It's only proven to me that I want to continue buying hatchbacks if i can. The couple "complaints" i have are: Lackluster acceleration, feels light enough to fly off the road if i'm going too fast (road holding?), doesn't do all that well in snow (totally fine in rain, though) and like i said, no bells and whistles. The one major repair I had other than the breaks is that the cord(?) connecting my shifter to the transmission broke, so my car wouldn't recognize what gear i was in. That was a $300 repair, and that was this year (so after 7 years). Overall I'm extremely happy with this purchase, especially for the money we paid. I might sell it this year but that's only because i'd like to get at least a little money for it! But if money weren't an issue, i'd continue to drive it until it died.
We have not had a good experience with our 2008 Caliber. We were told it had air-conditioning and told the salesman how important it was we had air- conditioning in California. Didn't have it. Now the Clutch Cylinder has went out twice since we have purchased it.We have only had this car not even 2 years and what a problem..The cheap plastic features inside are falling of and scratch so easy. Will never by another Dodge due to the problems we have had and the dealers not helping with the Air conditioner problems. We could put one in ourselves for $ 2,000 And the salesman admitted telling us it had air!!we signed the papers and thats how we were treated. Oh they would trade it but for $8,000.
It's hard to have a favorite feature with the problems we have had.
Find out why there are clutch cylinder problems. Also its hard for a short person to see over the hood.
I bought my caliber used in Nov 2009 with 32k miles. I am the second owner of the vehicle and have put over 20k on it. The caliber has the interior space of a small suv with compact car gas mileage. My 2.0 4cyl w/CVT regularly averages 31 mpg per tank. Outside of routine maintenance I've not had to do a thing to the car. The car rides comfortably, handles great, and with decent tires it performs well in inclement weather. I chose the caliber for the fuel economy, interior/cargo space, unique styling, and price (mine was sub 10k). I test drove many vehicles in it's class (cobalt, versa, matrix, fit) and the caliber won out in most categories for me.
I am 6'1" and drive constantly for work. The ample legroom and bolstered seats are great for long drives. On curvy the roads the sharp handling can make driving very fun. With the back seats folded down the amount of cargo space is unbelievable.
The plastic interior isn't the best but expected in this price range. However there does seem to be more interior fit and finish problem than other models. If you want good acceleration be warned that the CVT is definitely efficiency-minded so the 5 speed would be a better option.