A surprisingly decent economy car
So far, nothing.
I've liked the styling of this car ever since it came out, but never had the courage to buy one because of all the problems Chrysler went through.
I decided to test drive a 2011 a few months back, and was stunned at how decent a car it was. With Chrysler's vast improvements since the Fiat merger, I felt comfortable pulling the trigger on a 2010, and have zero regrets.
It's certainly not going to win any races, but it's a solid choice for somebody who wants something economical and practical, without the jellybean appearance every other economy car has. The car feels solid and substantial. I have the 5-speed manual, and acceleration is quite acceptable. Clutch feel is great... it's the smoothest clutch I've ever used. Shifter is decent... not the best nor worst I've come across. Turn signal stalk is a little cheap feeling though.
The HVAC/radio controls are blissfully straightforward and work well. The seats are comfortable, and the folding rear/front passenger seats make the car quite versatile.
My last car was an '09 Pontiac Vibe GT (aka: Toyota Matrix), which is quite similar to the Caliber. You'd think the Vibe would trump the Caliber in all respects (especially being a GT), but the Caliber actually fares quite well in comparison. The Vibe is faster, but the Caliber is quieter and rides a whole lot smoother. Some controls are nicer in the Vibe, others in the Caliber. Caliber's exterior styling is way better (IMHO). Caliber is also a better value on the used car market.
Some reviewers make a big deal about the outward visibility of the Caliber. Rearward visibility is a problem, but it's the same problem every 5-door hatchback has. Proper use of side-view mirrors negates the issue.
So overall, if the Caliber interests you, you should absolutely take one for test drive. There's nothing inherently wrong with this vehicle. I honestly think that most of the people who dump on the Caliber, are people who rented one for a day 5 years ago, and have never spent any appreciable time driving a 2010 or newer Caliber with the updates Dodge made to it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th April, 2012