2011 Dodge Caliber Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Dodge Caliber Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Dodge Caliber Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 158 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 24/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Dodge Caliber

  • Despite having some unique features, the versatile 2011 Dodge Caliber is hamstrung by lethargic performance. There are better hatchbacks to choose from.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Practical interior; some useful features not available in competitors.

  • Cons

    Lackluster acceleration; drab interior design.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Dodge Caliber receives improved steering feel, additional functions for the navigation system and standard stability control for most trim levels.

Full 2011 Dodge Caliber Review

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Dodge Caliber receives improved steering feel, additional functions for the navigation system and standard stability control for most trim levels.


A while back, Chrysler revived one of its earlier slogans that boldly stated: "In the car business, you lead, follow or get out of the way." Obviously, the brand's marketing execs were hoping to convince people that they're leading. But with vehicles like the 2011 Dodge Caliber, it's still very much a case of following.

Based on specs, the Caliber would seem to be very much in the mix. In terms of size, this entry-level Dodge model resides in a sort of middle ground between hatchbacks and small crossover SUVs (though it's still classified as a compact four-door hatchback). A choice of two four-cylinder engines is offered, and the Caliber can haul about as much cargo as other hatchbacks. But in actual execution, it still ends up being pretty mediocre.

Disappointingly, the Caliber lacks the lively performance characteristic of this category. Handling ability and power output from either engine are middling at best. Even some of the Caliber's unique features -- a built-in beverage cooler, rechargeable flashlight and flip-down liftgate speakers -- seem more like curious novelties than enticements. The quality of the interior is also a bit of a disappointment, despite it undergoing a makeover last year.

We recommend looking at segment leaders like the 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring, 2011 Mazda 3, 2011 Scion xB, 2011 Toyota Matrix and 2011 Volkswagen Golf before settling on the 2011 Dodge Caliber. All of these alternatives offer significant performance and interior quality advantages. In the end, Chrysler's tag line has rung true, but perhaps not in the way the company intended.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Dodge Caliber is a compact four-door hatchback offered in five trim levels. The entry-level Express model comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, heated outside mirrors, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, full power accessories, remote keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, an in-dash beverage cooler, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth connectivity and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary audio/USB jacks and satellite radio.

Stepping up to the Mainstreet trim level adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille, a sportier suspension, foglights, a tachometer, a power-adjustable driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, reclining rear seatbacks and a rechargeable flashlight.

The Uptown model gets you rear disc brakes (versus drums), automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and a premium nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with steering-wheel-mounted controls and flip-down speakers in the liftgate.

The sporty Caliber Heat takes the Mainstreet model's equipment list and adds 18-inch polished alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, sport-tuned suspension and steering, rear disc brakes (versus drums) and specialized cloth interior trim.

Building on the Caliber Heat is the Rush, which adds a larger 2.4-liter engine, 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, automatic climate control, leather upholstery and a premium audio system with a touchscreen interface and 30-gigabyte hard drive.

Many of the options found on the upper trim levels are offered as options on the lower trims. Additionally, a sunroof and a navigation system are also available.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2011 Dodge Caliber is offered with a choice of two different four-cylinder engines. A 2.0-liter engine rated at 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque is standard on all trim levels except the Rush. The Rush gets a 2.4-liter that makes 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. This engine is optional on the Uptown. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual for the Express, Heat and Rush, while a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard on the Mainstreet and Uptown. The CVT with manually controlled simulated stepped gears is offered on the Heat and Rush as an option.

Fuel economy is decent across the board, though mileage suffers slightly with the CVT. The 2.0-liter engine returns EPA estimates of 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined with the manual transmission, and 23/27/24 mpg with the CVT. The larger 2.4-liter engine is nearly as good, with EPA ratings of 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined for manual-transmission-equipped models, and 22/27/24 for versions fitted with the CVT.


Standard safety features for the 2011 Caliber include a driver-side knee airbag, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and antilock brakes (rear drums for the Express and Mainstreet, four-wheel discs for the other trims). Stability control isn't available on the Express but is standard on the remaining trim levels. Front-seat side airbags are offered as options for all but the Express trim.

The Caliber has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) resulted in a perfect score of five out of five stars in both frontal and side impacts. Results were mixed in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, however, with a top "Good" rating in the frontal-offset tests and a next-to-lowest "Marginal" rating in side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Among competing hatchbacks and crossovers, the 2011 Dodge Caliber's interior ranks midpack. There are plenty of hard plastics inside, but a cabin makeover last year added cushioned materials in key touch points. A decent amount of head- and legroom ensures comfort for front and rear passengers, while the driver benefits from good outward visibility, legible gauges and intuitive controls.

More noteworthy is the Caliber's practicality, with 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks and a flat load floor to accommodate bulky items. All but the Express trim models (with its flat-folding front passenger seat) can accept longer items, like surfboards or lumber while still being able to close the rear liftgate. Maximum cargo capacity is 48 cubic feet, which is comparable to other hatchbacks, but considerably smaller than some compact crossovers. The Caliber also features some road-trip convenience, adding a beverage cooler built into the glovebox that holds four 12-ounce cans.

Driving Impressions

One word to describe how the 2011 Dodge Caliber drives: mediocre. It neither impresses nor really offends behind the wheel. Acceleration is listless with the base 2.0-liter engine and only slightly improves with the 2.4-liter. Either engine, however, is further hindered when saddled with the CVT.

The Caliber's ride quality is generally acceptable, though the sport-tuned suspension in the Heat and Rush models may be too rough for some. Handling, too, is adequate but drivers seeking excitement should look to other hatchbacks or crossovers.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

I love my car so

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Caliber Express 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car with 63 miles on it in December 2011. I love the orange color, how it looks like a transformer, and how the dash is set up. For what it is it is a great little car. I live in Colorado and have taken my little Caliber up Jeep trails without issue, so long as I have the clearance I have had no trouble. The manual transmission is really nice and makes it fun to drive. I love driving my car and it does decent in the snow. I have the most basic model you can get and it is comfortable on long trips. This is a fun little car but it is that, a little car. It is not a high performance sports car but it is fun to drive and has been totally reliable.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

Very average car

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT)

I recently purchased a relatively new 2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet for $12,900 it had only 600 miles. I am relatively happy with ownig this car. However, I found that this car to be very slow, the 4cyl, 158 hp engine with the CVT transmisson is very weak. The engine lacks power for changing lanes and going up hills it makes long distance driving very difficult. Extremely poor gas mileage about 20- 24 mpg. Cheap interior and uncomfortable seats. Positive things are exterior styling and interior room. I would never buy this car at retail at $21,000. Howeve, if you can find one at a discounted price I would buy it. They are good commuter cars for providing basic transportation

19 of 77 people found this review helpful

Dodge forgot about quality

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT)

This car was purchased in February 2011 and 3 month into owning the vehicle i notice rust, paint chips, and the rear window started getting a weird diamond pattern. Also, the car started to run rough.

Talk About The 2011 Caliber

2011 Dodge Caliber Discussions See all Started By

I was having a senior moment when I said I had a 2012 Caliber.Actually it was a 2011.That happens when you get old....

i personally hate these new transmissions. i was driving the nissan versa for a bit, it was so much better on gas than my caliber, but the transmission drove me insane. the caliber has one too but its...

yes, my husband bought me a dodge caliber in 2006 brand new car remind you.i have 63000 miles on this car. i have had to have the altornato, the struts, the battery and the tire rod replace. got it ou...

Gas Mileage


  • 24
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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