15th Nov 2007, 12:39

Please don't be insulted by this, but I think that American car consumers in general have a lower expectation of build quality and fit and finish, hence the fact not many American brands have taken off in the UK or Europe in terms of sales.

The same is true of ride and handling, as in my experience having driven in America and american cars, it's completely different, roads are much wider and straighter, and there are few windy country lanes which really test a cars suspension and chassis.

Your time will come with more fuel efficient cars however, hasn't a bill just been passed requiring them to be achieving 34 mpg on average by 2020 something? (seems a long way off!)

15th Nov 2007, 22:14

I have the Caliber with the most commentary in Carsurvey. We don't have the diesel in the U.S. By your review, it sounds like the diesel isn't the engine to have. My gas engine is sweet, smooth & non-intrusive, as all the gas engines are. I suspect your diesel engine, as well as general construction wasn't performed right because that isn't the way Dodge built the Caliber.

In conjunction with the CVT transmission, my Caliber gives an exceedingly excellent magic carpet ride. Although my Caliber ride is taut, the suspension is easy on my bad back & I ride in comfort all day long.

My Caliber, as well as many other Calibers at several Caliber websites is functioning 100%. Also, there is not one squeak, creak or rattle in 18000 miles of driving.

My Caliber overall averages 31.4MPG with the elegant CVT tranny.

16th Nov 2007, 03:40

Here in Europe fuel effectively is the name of the game. We currently have a number of cars that can get over 60MPG. The Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo can manage an average 64 MPG, and then VW has just launched the Blue-motion range, where the Polo is believed to average a massive 85 MPG. So in a world like that 36MPG for a diesel engine is pretty poor. Hybrids just cut emissions and therefore get you out of some of the UK tax laws.

16th Nov 2007, 06:35

I agree with the comment above. I do feel UK buyers have one of the highest expectations for car quality any where in the world, but that is because we pay higher prices. That’s one of the reasons why American brands don’t do so well over here.

I read somewhere that Alfa Romeo won’t launch in the US unless they are successful in the UK with their drive to improve the quality of their products. So it seems that they are testing the British to decide if their products will do well in the states.

16th Nov 2007, 07:52

I find it interesting that in Britain, people would be used to a higher standard of fit and finish, and yet European cars like MGs, Fiats, and Renaults, as well as the much touted Landrover Discovery, are notorious for constant repairs and break-downs. Something doesn't jibe.

However, I would tend to agree about handling and the differences in roads. Roads in the US are much better, and distances are much greater, so cars have been historically built to cruise smoothly in a straight line with no need of cornering ability at speed.

16th Nov 2007, 11:20

An interesting point about European cars like Fiat, Renault, etc. Please, however, don't forget Audi, Mercedes, Volvo all the way up to Rolls Royce, Bently and Range Rover! I think it's more of the 'feel' of the car more than the reliability specifically. The Jeep Grand Cherokee that I drive feels 'cheap' - the plastics are brittle and harsh for example, whereas the Volvo XC90 feels of quality and soothes you while you drive (for example). The little things just aren't there on the Jeep. If this is the case with most European/American cars then I can see the arguement. It is also important to remember that American made cars ARE cheap in America, but not once they reach our shores in the UK. This may explain the different feelings between countries?

19th Nov 2007, 04:32

You get what you pay for. A $15000 car in the states sells for about $22500 in the Uk, and yet still feels very much like a $15000 car.

19th Nov 2007, 13:19

I completely disagree about the comment made re the build/reliability on Fiat, Renault and Land Rover. Whilst this was perhaps true in the 70s, 80s and possibly very early 90s, they have come on leaps and bounds and all are today well made, generally reliable cars. The comment is perhaps several decades out of date! As for MG, they don't exist any longer except for a licence to build them in China, oh, and Ford own Land Rover, and they're American!

29th Feb 2008, 17:31

I live in the US and the Caliber is seriously a "CHEAP" car.

I mean it looks like plastic from the outside and even more plastic on the inside.

There are better choices for that price in my opinion.

1st Mar 2008, 09:19

I would disagree with Feb 29. I think the Caliber is one of the best looking compact cars out. The corners look bold and aggressive, and the boxy front gives it the illusion of a full-size car, instead of just another bubble-shaped "compact" car. There are a range of interiors, and some do look bland, while others are quite tasteful.

As for plastic, most cars now are using lots of plastic or polymers in the fenders and rocker panels. You just can't base on opinion on the "price leaders" that are the lowest optioned models, and neglect the more nicely optioned models.

17th Mar 2008, 23:46

I would disagree with the last comment. I hate the Caliber - it's ugly, very uncomfortable to sit in. And the European commenters are right: it's cheap in every way.

18th Mar 2008, 16:22

I see Calibers everywhere, and people love them. They look great, much nicer looking than other hatches.

30th Mar 2008, 01:15

I have a Caliber. Am not overly enamored with its looks, but don't think it's cheap. Why don't I think its cheap? Because it has some of the highest American car reliability statistics. It is proving itself to be a finely made car. If your car is a wonderful looking car, but in the shop all the time, you ain't got much.

The Caliber interior is one of the lower vehicles in regards to interior toxic emissions. Many cars with 'nicer' looking interiors have much higher toxic emission interiors.

24th Apr 2008, 10:32

The Caliber's interior materials are so cheap that the panels should have "Tupperware" logos printed on them.

The gasoline (petrol) engine is absolutely gutless, and the CVT transmission is INCREDIBLY annoying, both in sound and in feel.

From the outside, it looks like it was designed by a committee, and not everyone was on the same page. Jagged, awkward angles abound, and weird trim pieces are awkwardly affixed all over the place.

I'm in American, and I hate this car too. I drive a previous generation Ford Focus which utterly cleans its clock.

11th May 2008, 11:32

Yes, the Caliber IS a cheaply made vehicle. With that said, it is still a great value.

I test drove a lot of cars last year before deciding on a Ford. I drove the Cobalt, the Scion Tc, the Vibe, the Toyota Corolla, the Kia Spectra 5, the Kia Rondo, the Caliber, the Saturn Ion, and several others.

A fully loaded Caliber SXT with just about every option was still at least two thousand dollars less than anything with comparable equipment, except for the Kias (which were the slowest of the lot, and just as cheaply made). I realize there are sacrifices in building an affordable car, but in the area of reliability I feel the Caliber is a good value for a great price.

We've owned 3 Chrysler products before and all three were totally bullet-proof mechanically. The last one was sold in perfect running condition at over 200,000 miles, and had never had an engine or transmission problem.