A good quality, capable car at a reasonable price
There have been no problems with the vehicle.
I wanted a solid commuter car that would give good fuel mileage at a reasonable price. It appears that Dodge has built that with the Caliber.
My fuel mileage for my 70 mile round trip commute (nearly all 55MPH 2 lane highway) is averaging 32 MPG (verified with a Scangauge). I expect that to increase some as the engine fully breaks in and I switch fluids to synthetic. I can get 34MPG with my wifes Subaru Outback Sport when I take it to work and drive carefully, so that should be doable with the Caliber.
I'm 6'3" and find the cabin very comfortable. I like the brightness of the interior materials-the previous vehicle had black leather and it felt like a dungeon at times. Seats are comfortable and tend to sit higher than many cars. For me it's a more comfortable seating position. It feels more spacious than the Cherokee did, but that may be an illusion.
There is plenty of headroom and with the seat all the way back I have to stretch to reach the steering wheel and pedals. The controls are well laid out, but I think the small buttons for the rear window defrost, AC and air recirculation could have been better located.
The interior also has some nice touches. I like the cell phone holder and the adjustable center arm rest. I don't expect to use the "chill zone" beverage cooler, but it's a good idea for those who would. I like the lighted cup holders.
I have no problem seeing out the back window, but my wife doesn't care for it. The rear window is a little small, but it doesn't bother me.
The engine seems to be well matched to the CVT transmission. The sound of the engine is difficult to get used to-I still expect to have it shift at times. But it seems to work well and the newer CVT's seem to be pretty reliable. I like the simplicity of the engine bay. I do most of my own maintenance and this should be easy to work on.
Overall it's a very competent car. I don't expect it to perform like a sports car or ride like a Lexus. The interior is a bit spartan, but I prefer that. The interior materials are decent, but not Lexus or Mercedes quality. However I didn't pay a Lexus or Mercedes price either. All in all I like the car and hope that it will prove reliable in the long run.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st June, 2007