I've had one for about three months. It's great. Not thrilling, but:
(1) It is truly great on the highway - rock rock solid.
(2) The CV transmission is fantastic for not jolting you around.
(3) Nothing has gone wrong with it - I mean everything performs with good to above average satisfaction.
I've had lots of Honda's and they are good. But, for the money I like the Caliber because it's big and solid, and yet has decent gas mileage - about 26 miles per US gallon, better on the highway.
I like that my neighbour has one because it doesn't make noise shifting gears in the morning. That is one of the most annoying traffic noises.
You must have exceptional hearing if you can hear your neighbour's car shifting gears. I can't imagine ever hearing that.
I drove several Calibers when I was considering trading in 2007. I was very impressed with the value for the money. My biggest issue was the sluggish starts with the CVT. Once rolling it was peppy enough.
I looked at Calibers again in 2009, but discovered they had dropped the only sporty color they offered (yellow), and offered only dull and boring colors. For that reason we opted to buy something else. We buy all our vehicles based on appearance, and color is the main factor.
I am a lot attendant at a local dealership, and I had to drive a Caliber roughly 20 miles to follow someone in another vehicle.
The engine was almost as slow, but not as bad as my 2001 Camry with the 2.2L. The Caliber would rev up to 5,000 RPM to get to speed, and the brakes were below subpar.
The interior was strange. I am accustomed to driving Ford products (of the last nine vehicles in my family, six have been Fords), but the gauges were weird, and the blue inserts on the interior didn't help much. The Autostick looked cool until I realized that the car was too slow to use it.
The engine was coarse and loud. The Caliber loved to pulsate, and I can't imagine how low the gas mileage would be. Even to go at a red light, you had to SLAM the gas pedal, and other lot attendants complained about the Caliber, also.
My personal car is a 2011 Focus. If I hadn't gotten the Focus, I would have gotten a Hyundai Accent. We rented one last year, and it was excellent. Had I not gotten that, the Caliber was next on my list.
I'll stick with my Focus, thank you very much.
I've driven several of these as rental cars, and I really don't know what you guys are talking about with this "needed to rev it up to 5,000 rpm's before it would move" stuff. If you're a parking lot attendant, remind me to NEVER leave my vehicle in your hands.
The Calibers that I've driven have driven like, well, regular cars. There is no hesitation at stop lights, and they aren't slow. Unless you're drag racing your clients' cars, that is. In fact, the Caliber's CVT really impressed me as being able to zip right up hills without slowing, easily passing all the other vehicles that had to cope with downshifts.
However, I would agree that the engines are a bit loud and rattly, at least on the pre-2010 models. I've mostly had the R/T models with the 2.4, and had no complaints. In fact, I would buy one for my next vehicle if I saw a used 2008 R/T, because it's a practical AWD crossover. Too bad they don't offer the AWD anymore. The Focus isn't a bad car, but at least the Caliber would actually accommodate rear passengers. I had also checked out the Focus, and obviously the only reason they have back seats is to have someplace to strap a child seat, because they sure don't intend for anyone to ever sit there.
I had to drive the Caliber on the highway. I should have clarified the acceleration figure as merging on the highway.
As to the lot attendant part of it, I strictly adhere to the five-mile-per-hour speed limit. When my bosses walk beside me and I'm driving, they can almost pass me.