I got this car used and it seemed like a steal 30,000 miles for $8k. It isn't bad with low mileage other than it struggles if you go up large hills like in southern Ohio. Mine gets about 24-27 miles a gallon. Once this car got over 100,000 miles it became garbage. I had to rebuild the transmission a month ago, now the engine cradle is rusting out, and I know there is more rust on the underside and in the wheel wells. If you get this car and plan on keeping it past 100,000 have some serious repair money set aside. If you don't plan on keeping it past 100,000 it is a good car.
The suspension on these cars are garbage. Mine is a manual. Shifting is terrible. Control arms, wheel barrings, shocks, everything I've replaced 2-3 times and now my sub frame is wrecked. The first thing to go was the master cylinder. I would never recommend this car to anyone. Money pit 100%
Nothing fancy, but great functionality. Reliable. Good acceleration (2.0). Loves to drive/ride at 75mph on highway -- it glides n sails. Has 93k miles on it. Bought it for $10.5k in December of 2009. Paid for -- resale value $5000 cash (dang good after 7years!). I changed the alternator ($1000- but that was probably because I drove it in salt-water puddles on the beach in Florida) 3 years ago. New tires ($450). Two batteries ($200). Windshield wipers ($25). That's it. Runs like a charm. I'm looking around for a new car, but no rush. Lucky me. Hope I didn't jinx myself.
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!!