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
I have owned this car for about 2 years and it has not been a problem (so far). I had expected more mileage from the car being as small as it is-it is a daily commuter and 20 minutes one way and I am about 6' tall and slightly cramped while driving. If you want great reduction in road noise this car requires the best made tires in order to get it, I installed Michelin Defenders and it made the noise acceptable level. Rear hatch has modest areas for groceries but you will need to get creative in the placement of the boxes in order to do a full days shopping with it if you leave the rear seats up while using them. I like the 120volt outlet the car offers in the middle console for utility purposes. I put 225mm Michelin width tires all around the car and it handles like it is on rails and rain and snow are much better now as opposed to the slightly skinnier tires they recommend. Albeit the mileage took a hit some but that is worth the trade to me. Overall, I think the mileage is somewhat unacceptable for the size and weight of this car. That is my biggest complaint about this vehicle. Other than that I have no problems-so far. UPDATE 2 years from review above: * I average 29mpg on summer blend gas with the tire pressure running 34psi around all tires. I notice on winter blend the gas mileage go back to 26.5->27i'sh for some reason. I also had a temporary issue with the throttle body indicator light coming on the instrument panel and running rough after changing the battery. This was resolved after I removed the battery again (terminals) and let the capacitors empty out and the EPROM reset while pressing the gas peddle to the floor all the way up and down to teach the computer the limits of the throttle. This solved the rough idle issue and made the warning light go out...after reconnecting the battery. Plan on keeping the car after I realized how sensitive it is with mid to low tire pressure. Keep about 35psi in the tires and it will average almost 30 if you keep the RPM below 3500.
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. Edmunds asked me to update this. I have had my car since I drove her out of the showroom in 2011. It's now Feb. 2016 and I have only ever done routine maintenance on this car. I got almost 64,000 miles on the original spark plugs. I have driven her from Colorado to New England and all over New England. She handles snow, crappy roads (oh boy are the roads in RI crappy), and everything else like a pro. I love this car still. My only complaint is that the dash is large enough that she isn't comfortable for my very tall (6' 3") boyfriend. The gas mileage could be a little better for the size but I'd take her heft in the snow over gas mileage any day. Asked again to update, I traded her for a Nissan Xterra because I needed an off road capable vehicle. As of March 2017, I only did routine maintenance on the Caliber and would recommend that car to anyone shorter than 6' tall.