Used 2012 Dodge Caliber
Pros & Cons
- Practical interior
- useful features not available in competitors.
- Lackluster acceleration
- droning engine with CVT
- subpar interior craftsmanship
- bland driving experience.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Despite some unique features, the versatile 2012 Dodge Caliber is compromised by lethargic performance. There are better hatchbacks to choose from.
The 2012 Dodge Caliber starts with a unique proposition, which is that a small sedan can be more like a practical utility vehicle and less like a bland transportation module. It's a good idea, but the Caliber doesn't execute the concept well enough to match up against the competition in this crowded segment of small cars.
On paper, this compact four-door hatchback gets all the basics right, with a reasonably fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and a practical interior filled with a nice array of standard features. The problem is, the Caliber feels lackluster on the road. This is less a matter of sportiness -- nothing says a small car must be sporty -- but instead, a general lack of refinement to the mechanical package.
The passenger cabin is another letdown. This is a practical hatchback configuration, and the combination of split-folding rear seats and easily accessible cargo space is a real asset in a small car, plus there are clever details like a built-in beverage cooler and available speakers that flip down from an opened tailgate to provide a soundtrack to picnics or sporting events. Unfortunately, the fit and finish of the interior still seems like a step behind the competition, even though improvements have been made since this model's introduction.
Overall, we think there are many cars in this category that offer more in terms of function, performance and quality. Notable among these are the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, or more similar sized hatchbacks like the Ford Focus, Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf. You can do better than the 2012 Dodge Caliber.
Dodge Caliber models
The 2012 Dodge Caliber is a compact four-door hatchback that's offered in three trim levels: SE, SXT and SXT Plus.
The entry-level SE's standard features list includes 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt-only steering wheel, a rear cargo area cover, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Step up to the SXT and you get 17-inch alloy wheels (optional on SE), a firmer suspension, foglights, a chrome grille and body-color outside mirrors, a four-way power driver seat (manual height adjustment), fold-flat front passenger seat, a reclining rear seatback and a removable cargo area flashlight.
The top-of-the-line SXT Plus adds 18-inch alloy wheels and performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and sportier trim details inside and out, including upgraded cloth upholstery. The SXT Plus can be equipped with a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics premium sound system that brings with it a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
The SXT and SXT Plus are eligible for a number of options. The Driver Convenience group (SXT/SXT Plus only) includes heated front seats, a compass and a tire-pressure-monitoring message display. The Security group adds antilock brakes, an engine oil cooler, trailer-towing wiring harness, an alarm, a remote ignition (CVT-equipped models only), front-seat side airbags and hill start assist (manual transmission models only). Other options include a touchscreen sound system interface, a navigation system and a sunroof.
Performance & mpg
The front-wheel-drive 2012 Dodge Caliber is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE and SXT Plus. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional on those trims and standard on the SXT.
Fuel economy is decent across the board, though mileage isn't quite as good as you might expect 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.
Standard safety features for the 2012 Dodge Caliber include a driver-side knee airbag, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and antilock brakes (front discs/rear drums on the SE and SXT; four-wheel discs for the SXT Plus and the SXT with Security Group). Stability control isn't even offered on the SE, but it's standard on the SXT and SXT Plus. Front-seat side airbags are only available as an option on the SXT and SXT Plus as part of the Security group.
In government crash tests, a Caliber with front side airbags earned an overall rating of just three stars (out of five), including four stars for overall frontal protection and three stars for overall side protection. Results were mixed in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, with a top "Good" rating in the frontal-offset crash test, a next-to-lowest "Marginal" rating in the side-impact test and a second-best "Acceptable" rating in the roof-strength test.
The 2012 Dodge Caliber is better to use than to drive. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood produces decent horsepower, but acceleration is leisurely at best, while the CVT dulls the response from the powertrain even further and produces a droning engine note during acceleration. The suspension action feels a bit harsh and there's more body motion than we would prefer. It all adds to an overall impression that the car lacks the kind of refinement it should have, even in this segment where a low price is a key attribute.
Despite a makeover two years ago that added some soft-touch materials in key areas, the Caliber's interior is still made up of large swaths of hard plastic that's subpar for even this segment of inexpensive compacts. Head- and legroom are fine up front, but the high, SUV-style seating position feels somewhat unnatural to us in a small car. The reclining rear seatbacks on the top two trim levels are a definite plus. At the same time, rear seat utility is compromised by cupholders that jut rearward from the center console between the front seats and make the center seating position in the rear virtually useless.
The layout of the driving controls and gauges is good. Practical features like the convenient beverage cooler built into the glovebox and the handy rechargeable flashlight in the cargo area are nice touches not available elsewhere.
Cargo room is decent enough, with 18.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Fold those seatbacks down and cargo capacity grows to 47.4 cubic feet. This is pretty good, but other hatchbacks hold much more, especially the cavernous Honda Fit.
|Overall||undefined / 5|
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Trending topics in reviews
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Most helpful consumer reviews
Despite what you may have heard or read, I can only say, that the Dodge Caliber SXT is a vehicle you have try for yourself. Being the first to review here, and after 3 weeks of shopping and test driving other vehicles within the same price range, the Caliber SXT had me sold. Most impressive was its handling, 32mpg highway, quiet motor, and over all, a total solid feel of the vehicle while offering the most outstanding acoustic noise barrier. It feels rugged - like a jeep or truck, while at the same time, comfortable like a four door sedan. I've always been a dodge owner from trucks to sedans, and Dodge spared no expense by simply bringing it all together in one small hatchback.
This is going to be sweet and to the point. My girlfriend has had this car for about a year now and the car has worked well and reliably this whole time. It's great on gas, has a refrigerator built in above the glove box, and has lots of capacity to carry people or items. The big reason i love this car is for today though. She got in a roll over accident at 45mph. The car rolled 2-3 times, every piece of glass broke and the car was a mess. But she came out with nothing but a pulled neck muscle and a bruised knee. I believe this car saved her life.
I have owned this car for about 2.5 weeks, and so far I think it is a great car. I have 2012 caliber SXT. the only complaint that I have is I AM ONLY GETTING 18 mpg not like I was told That I would get 24 city 34 hwy. I sure hope it gets better. But other than that this car is worth the money.
I’ve owned my Caliber for about 4 years now. I have had absolutely no issues with it, completely dependable and handles well in bad weather and rugged terrain.(gravel, mud, Unpaved roads). The engine is quiet and you can’t hear much outside noise when all the windows are up which is great while I’m using my blue tooth. The stereo system is great for being stock. My husband drove this car across the country with no issues in the middle of summer. Cons- Has no get up and go, seems to have a harder time accelerating when the AC or heat is on. It’s small for me personally having 2 kids and 2 dogs. It being small however has its advantages, just time for this family to upgrade. Too bad 2012 is the last model, it’s a great little car.
Features & Specs
|SXT Plus 4dr Wagon|
2.0L 4cyl 5M
|MPG||24 city / 32 hwy|
|158 hp @ 6400 rpm|
|SE 4dr Wagon|
2.0L 4cyl 5M
|MPG||24 city / 32 hwy|
|158 hp @ 6400 rpm|
|SXT 4dr Wagon|
2.0L 4cyl CVT
|MPG||23 city / 27 hwy|
|Continuously variable-speed automatic|
|158 hp @ 6400 rpm|
NHTSA Overall Rating 3 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
|Frontal Barrier Crash Rating||Rating|
|Overall||4 / 5|
|Driver||4 / 5|
|Passenger||4 / 5|
|Side Crash Rating||Rating|
|Overall||3 / 5|
|Side Barrier Rating||Rating|
|Overall||4 / 5|
|Driver||3 / 5|
|Passenger||5 / 5|
|Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings||Rating|
|Front Seat||2 / 5|
|Back Seat||5 / 5|
|Rollover||4 / 5|
|Dynamic Test Result||No Tip|
|Risk Of Rollover||15.5%|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
|Side Impact Test|
|Roof Strength Test||Not Tested|
|Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint|
|IIHS Small Overlap Front Test||Not Tested|
|Moderate Overlap Front Test|
Is the Dodge Caliber a good car?
Is the Dodge Caliber reliable?
Is the 2012 Dodge Caliber a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2012 Dodge Caliber?
The least-expensive 2012 Dodge Caliber is the 2012 Dodge Caliber SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $17,380.
Other versions include:
- SXT Plus 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $18,730
- SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $17,380
- SXT 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) which starts at $18,765
What are the different models of Dodge Caliber?
More about the 2012 Dodge Caliber
Used 2012 Dodge Caliber Overview
The Used 2012 Dodge Caliber is offered in the following submodels: Caliber Wagon. Available styles include SXT Plus 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and SXT 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT).
What do people think of the 2012 Dodge Caliber?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2012 Dodge Caliber and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2012 Caliber 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2012 Caliber.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2012 Dodge Caliber and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2012 Caliber featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2012 Dodge Caliber?
Which 2012 Dodge Calibers are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Dodge Caliber for sale near. There are currently 3 new 2012 Calibers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,600 and mileage as low as 88889 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2012 Dodge Caliber.
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Find a new Dodge Caliber for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,733.
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Why trust Edmunds?
Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.
Should I lease or buy a 2012 Dodge Caliber?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
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