2008 Dodge Caliber from North America

Summary:

Good until it almost killed us

Faults:

Axle broke off while turning into the garage, breaking the tranny case.

General Comments:

We loved this car, and thought the American brands were making a comeback.

At 50,000 miles, the wheel bearings went. Not too worried but concerned, covered by warranty.

Now at 54,000 miles, I am scared for the life of my family. Last night while turning into the garage, the axle snapped off completely. Thank god my wife was home; a minute sooner and she would have been seriously injured or worse. No warning at all, no clicking or clunking, just snapped. Also causing a crack in the tranny case, so I need a whole new transmission.

I am back to my old thinking now, America makes inferior quality vehicles, despite all the new hype in design.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th February, 2012

2008 Dodge Caliber SE 2.0L from North America

Summary:

Drives well, takes a lot of abuse

Faults:

I purchased this car brand new on 12/21/07. The lowest-optioned one on the lot that still had air conditioning and an automatic transmission.

To give you an idea of how new it was, the truck had just dropped off the vehicle, and I test-drove a higher-optioned model while the dealership searched for the keys for this one. So it had very little prior use, even as a demo or test-drive vehicle, before I bought it.

The car had roll-up manual windows and locks. Only complaint about the manual windows was that my fiance's kids could put the windows down themselves from their car seats, sometimes when it was inappropriate to do so, like in the winter or during a rainstorm.

I proceeded to put almost 53,000 miles on it over the next two years.

In that time, I did not have to replace the brakes or the tires -- although the front tires were getting pretty worn by the time I was done. I did not rotate them as I should have, so while the rears had some tread, the fronts were nearly bald.

The only problems I had were:

1. Air conditioning/heater blower motor went out -- replaced under warranty, late 2008.

2. Brake vacuum booster went out in early 2009, replaced at the very tail end of the warranty period. It did not fail leaving me with no brakes, but developed a loud, sucking vacuum leak under the dash.

3. Air conditioning condensate drain tube got plugged with something and caused water to leak into the car, soaking the carpets -- $80 to fix at dealership.

I ran MobilOne full synthetic oil in this car starting with the first oil change, and changed it religiously at 3,000 miles, despite not having to change so frequently because it was synthetic oil. However, the engine had more than enough power, and was in excellent condition when I traded it despite the high mileage.

I traded it in on a 2006 Dodge Caravan in November, 2009, because I needed a larger car to help my fiance take her kids to day-care. I gave her the Caravan and I drive her old car now.

General Comments:

Car was roomy enough for my 6'3" frame, which was saying something, as most of the smaller cars I looked at seemed cramped.

Interior space of the car was deceptive. Because of the slant of the back trunk/gate window, you couldn't haul as much as you thought, and even a large TV once gave me trouble. There was plenty of floor space, but the height was an issue.

My fiance thought the car was kind of ugly.

I got two speeding tickets in the car, the only two in my 12+ years of driving.

Interior was durable and although sparse, was functional and held up well.

Gas mileage was excellent, and I regularly averaged over 30MPG, although the tank was a bit small -- I would have preferred a 15-20 gallon tank allowing me to go further between fill-ups. I only ever seemed to get about 10 gallons into the tank.

6-disc CD changer was standard, apparently, and I liked that.

Resale/trade in value was horrible, and when I traded, I ended up losing about $2,000.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2010