Go

2008 Dodge Caliber

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Dodge Caliber Review

By

Small cars are becoming increasingly more versatile, and few vehicles better epitomize this trend than the 2008 Dodge Caliber, a combination hatchback, wagon and SUV. Although Dodge's most affordable offering, the Caliber is no bargain-basement car. Models range from a fuel-efficient economy car to a powerful all-wheel-drive variant and include such appealing options as a flip-down rear speaker bar, built-in iPod holder and a refrigerated beverage cooler, features you won't find on the Volkswagen Rabbit or Mazda3. Then again, the plastics used to form the interior are not as sophisticated or handsome as those inside the VW and Mazda, an important issue for many savvy young buyers.

You'll Like This Car If...

Whether you're looking to get some versatility with your economy, or some economy with your versatility, the Dodge Caliber throws in a little attitude as well.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Dodge Caliber's base sticker price is hard to beat, it doesn't include air conditioning and power windows and door locks. A fully-loaded Caliber R/T can top $24,000.

What's Significant About This Car?

Chrome trim is added to the interior door handles, locks and ventilation knobs, while the R/T receives heated front seats as standard equipment.

Driving the Caliber

Driving Impressions While the Caliber's mission in life is decidedly more utilitarian than performance oriented, we managed to have some fun in an all-wheel-drive R/T model. With its 172-horsepower engine, sportier suspension...

and continuously variable transmission, the R/T is the model we'd choose to take camping---especially if the campgrounds were at the end of a curvy canyon road. The continuously variable transmission offers a "manual-mode," which allows the driver to select any one of six "ratios" and thus hold onto that gearing step if necessary or desired. As for the more modestly-motivated Calibers, we found them as competent around town and on the highway as most of the competition.

MusicGate Speakers
As part of the 458-watt Boston Acoustics premium audio system, the Caliber's rearmost speakers flip down from the open liftgate to project outward for tailgate parties, picnics and other outdoor activities.

CVT AutoStick
While the idea of engineering artificial gearing into the Caliber's "gearless" continuously variable transmission might seem counterproductive, the ability to control the transmission with ultra-responsive manual shifts is very useful.

2008 Dodge Caliber Details
Interior

The Dodge Caliber is pleasantly roomy and functional, especially for a vehicle close to $14,500. With a fold-flat rear seat and fold-flat front passenger seat (SXT and R/T), Caliber's hatchback design accommodates a variety of cargo and passenger configurations. Standard cloth seating can be upgraded to stain-resistant cloth or leather. A sport appearance package features a shifter bezel, dash trim and seat inserts coordinated with the vehicle's exterior color. Overall, the interior is nicely designed and offers a variety of clever features as either standard or optional equipment.

Exterior

With unique proportions, sharp-curve styling and Dodge's signature crosshair grille, the Caliber is perhaps the most distinctive five-door/crossover/wagon offered in the sub-$20,000 arena. It's bigger than the Mazda3 and Volkswagen Rabbit, not as streamlined as the Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe and has none of the retro vibe of the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevrolet HHR. Up-level Calibers are distinguished by chrome side moldings and grille, fog lights and bigger, aluminum wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Along with a 1.8-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission, a base Dodge Caliber SE features front and side-curtain airbags, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/AUX sound system, sliding armrest with cellphone/MP3-player holder, tilt steering, illuminated cup holders, rear-window defroster and wiper, 15-inch covered steel wheels and non-power windows, door locks and mirrors.

Optional Equipment

Dodge Caliber's powertrain options include 2.0- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive. Typical optional equipment includes leather seating, a sun roof and audio system upgrades that include a six-CD changer and premium speakers. Unique extras include flip-down tailgate speakers, a chilled glove box, 115-volt wall-style electrical outlet, UConnect Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and a removable and rechargeable flashlight. Optional items that some competitors include as standard equipment include power windows, door locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, traction control and antilock brakes (ABS).

Under the Hood

The three engine choices each have four cylinders and 16 valves. The base engine displaces 1.8 liters, makes 148 horsepower and is matched with a five-speed manual transmission. Up from there is a 2.0-liter version of 158 horsepower, and then a 2.4-liter version rated at 172 horsepower. Both of the larger engines are matched with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). On all-wheel-drive models, the CVT can be manually "shifted" through six simulated gears. With an optional trailer package, the 2.4-liter R/T model is rated to pull up to 2,000 pounds.

1.8-liter in-line 4
148 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 24/29

2.0-liter in-line 4
158 horsepower @6400 rpm
141 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 23/27 (automatic)

2.4-liter in-line 4
172 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 (manual), 21/25 (automatic), 20/24 (AWD)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Dodge Caliber Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.3
Out of 10

Based on 733 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    7.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    7.5/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

best car i have ever owned so far

By on Monday, January 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great price"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"this car is nice runs well no complaints gas mileage is great and very dependable . excellent in snow also i have this car about 3 months now and i plan to have it a long time all you have to do is give it a little tender loving care . and dont drive like a clown . but many people can not do this . because they are all in a hurry to go no where . i love my dodge ."

Fun and fast

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fast, comfortable, feature rich, not too expensive"

Cons: "Torque steer"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've enjoyed my SRT4 since I bought it new in 2008. The 285hp engine being the highlight, my kids and friends always squealed as we sailed through the gears. The 6-speed Getrag trans is rock solid and really fast shifting. The bluetooth worked with all phones I've had (Motos, Blackberrys, Iphones), but not my LG G3. The tires have been awfully expensive, but expected with the T rating. The F1 tires barely lasted a disappointing 20k. The exhaust system is huge. The interior is a nice mix of leather/cloth/plastic, great except some of the painted surfaces have worn a bit. The car has a cool set of timers for 0-60, 1/4-mile and such. Nice seats, moon roof, cold air and cruise control makes my commute a dream. My only wish? AWD."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

dependable car

By on Tuesday, December 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 146,832

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great gas mileage"

Cons: "idle's high"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Has great gas mileage, comfortable and small. it does have a high idle. brand new brake pads. air breaks never have to be replaced, just the pads. It's very reliable. I've never had any problems with it and it's great for first time drivers. Pricing will be negotiable."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Has been a really good car

By on Monday, September 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Style, utility, comfort, reliability, features."

Cons: "Not a one!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Taken shortly after I bought it.

"I bought this car in November of 2007. It was part of a fleet return and had 10,000 miles on it. The only problem I had was with the cruise control. It did not work when I bought it and was repaired under warranty. So, okay, it has a lot of plastic in it. As far as I am concerned, that is not a problem.To this day, I think the car really stands out, style wise. I've used the 110V outlet and especially the cooler on long trips. Ever had to change a flat at night with no street lights? The flashlight is valuable. Comfort? I took a non-stop drive from Orlando, Florida to Woodstock, New York. The seats offer great lower back support. Utility? We've done a lot of work in our house. With the rear seats folded down, I cut to fit a piece of carpet for the whole rear of the car. Brought home, over the years, tile, laminate flooring and marble baseboards. The Caliber has really good suspension, especially the rear. Why then am I getting rid of it? I'm 75 and in failing health. I'd like to have one more, my last, nice car. Something along the lines of our other car, which our son now owns. A 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix, loaded. Am looking at a Ford C- Max as I'd like to own a Hybrid. Oh, one last thing. The turn signals. When you turn to the left or right with the turn signal on, the corresponding daytime running light turns off. A good safety feature."

12 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Taken shortly after I bought it.

Pretty grateful for this car

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 197,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price. Low engine maintenance needs."

Cons: "Lower front control arms changed multiple times."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car with 46 miles on it in 2007. I've been the only owner and have been very stingy about who I let use it beside myself. It was base model with standard engine. I can't complain. It's not a fussy car, and the upkeep has been pretty easy. Only reason I wouldn't buy another is because where I live the terrain wears out my lower front control arms fast. I've had to replace them almost every year these last few years. I'm not against others buying this, but I would advise to be aware of this issue if you live in an area that would be hard on your axles. I still drive the car and plan to give it to my son this coming year when he gets his license. It a good car to grow with."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

versatile, reliable, cheap thrills

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "versatile, cheap to maintain, reliable"

Cons: "CVT transmission, low quality interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I've had my sxt caliber with 2.0L and CVT for 120k miles and counting. This car has been reliable, cheap to run/maintain and is very versatile. I regularly get 30+ mpg. With rear seats down, I can fit plywood, a desk and even a full size wood pallet nearly flat on the floor (not all at once). It's very easy to keep clean and has required only minor unscheduled maintenance. Ball joints and tie rods needed replacing after 60k miles and a wheel speed sensor replaced at 100k. The interior is cheap, yet comfortable and functional and easy to keep clean. While the CVT is a smooth transmission, it does put a damper on performance. A 5 speed stick may be more fun with the 2.0L. I absolutely love this car. Sure, it's cheap but it just keeps going, like a tough little donkey."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?


Advertisement