2011 Dodge Caliber Review

Pros & Cons

  • Practical interior
  • some useful features not available in competitors.
  • Lackluster acceleration
  • drab interior design.
Other years
2011
Dodge Caliber for Sale
2011
List Price Range
$4,281 - $5,458

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2011 Dodge Caliber models

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.

2011 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Dodge Caliber.

5(33%)
4(34%)
3(22%)
2(11%)
1(0%)
3.9
9 reviews
Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2011 Dodge Caliber Heat
Chris B,04/30/2016
Heat 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I have owned this car for about 3 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. The mileage of the car is affected by the heat of the outdoors-it gets much better mileage when its cold. UPDATE 3 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. *Update 2018: the car has been going without a problem (so far) and nothing to note at 68976 miles. Considering getting a Dodge Avenger due to having the same 2.0 liter motor which has proven to be dependable. The car has the same motor as 2003 Dodge Neon I had and it never gave me a problem either. I would like to mention that the 2011 Caliber runs MUCH better after I installed new NKG spark plugs (new type) with fancy tips on them. The Caliber has the same motor as the dependable Dodge Neon -A 2.0L steel timing chain equip motor (not belt) which makes this car much more dependable.
High Caliber Hatchback
Kevin V,05/17/2017
Uptown 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
We do a lot of hunting, fishing and outdoor activities and were looking for a vehicle that could get our gear too and from the woods and then take me too and from work during the week, while still getting decent gas mileage. The Caliber fit the bill!!! It averages around 24mpg and has hauled hunting gear to Utah, Colorado and Missouri without any issue. It handles well, fits my 6' frame and is still comfy for my 5'1" wife. The transmission and gearing work great in the snow and we've been more than happy with it after 52k miles, and look forward to another 100k! At 120k and the Caliber is still kicking and doing a great job. I'd still recommend it for any outdoormen, looking for a do-it-all vehicle.
Very average car
challenger9,01/28/2012
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 love my car so much it's probably unhealthy
bakergirl9,02/25/2013
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. 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.

Features & Specs

MPG
23 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
158 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
158 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
23 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
158 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
158 hp @ 6400 rpm
See all Used 2011 Dodge Caliber features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat2 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover15.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Marginal
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Dodge Caliber

Used 2011 Dodge Caliber Overview

The Used 2011 Dodge Caliber is offered in the following submodels: Caliber Wagon. Available styles include Mainstreet 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT), Heat 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M), Uptown 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT), Express 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and Rush 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Dodge Caliber?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Dodge Caliber trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet is priced between $5,458 and$5,458 with odometer readings between 101236 and101236 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 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) 2011 Dodge Caliber for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2011 Calibers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,281 and mileage as low as 101236 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned 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 Used 2011 Dodge Caliber.

Can't find a used 2011 Dodge Calibers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Dodge Caliber for sale - 8 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $9,236.

Find a used Dodge for sale - 3 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $25,213.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Caliber for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $13,577.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $22,749.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 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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