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2009 Dodge Caliber

Overview
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2009 Dodge Caliber Review

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As fuel costs continue to fluctuate, small cars are increasingly required to be more than just frugal commuters. Few vehicles better epitomize this trend than the 2009 Dodge Caliber, a combination hatchback, wagon and SUV. 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...

Changes for 2009 are minor, adding body-colored door handles to SXT models and improvements in interior sound reduction across the line. Anti-lock brakes are now standard on the SXT, while uconnect gps navigation is made available for the first time.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Whether you're looking to get some versatility with your economy or some economy with your versatility, the 2009 Dodge Caliber throws in a little attitude as well.

What's New for 2009

Changes for 2009 are minor, adding body-colored door handles to SXT models and improvements in interior sound reduction across the line. Anti-lock brakes are now standard on the SXT, while uconnect gps navigation is made available for the first time.

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 the Auto Stick "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.

CVT2 Auto Stick
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.

2009 Dodge Caliber Details
Interior

The 2009 Dodge Caliber is pleasantly roomy and functional, especially for a vehicle with such a modest price tag. 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 rear side-curtain airbags, inflatable knee blocker, 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 manual windows, door locks and mirrors. The SXT adds anti-lock brakes (ABS), air conditioning with Chill Zone storage compartment, split folding rear seats, cruise control, Stain Repel stain resistant seat fabric, 115-volt outlet, 17-inch aluminum wheels, removable cargo light, and power functions for the 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 (CVT2) with Auto Stick and all-wheel drive (R/T). Typical optional equipment includes leather seating, a power sun roof, front-seat side-impact airbags, uconnect tunes audio system with 30-gigabyte hard drive and uconnect gps with real-time traffic updates. Unique extras include a chilled glove box, uconnect Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and a Boston Acoustics nine-speaker audio upgrade with flip-down tailgate speakers.

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: 24/30

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: 23/29 (manual), 21/25 (automatic)

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Buying this car?

2009 Dodge Caliber Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.3
Out of 10

Based on 716 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    7.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    7.5/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

OK car, but had to replace too many parts

By on Sunday, April 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "look of it, how the 2WD when in the snow"

Cons: "had a lot of repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I owned my 2008 Dodge caliber for three years. It was a 5 speed, so I loved driving it. I had a blue interior and I loved the way it looked. I had it through three winters, and with studded tiers, I never had a problem! My biggest problem was it was made cheep, and I had to replace most of the parts in the front end. I have had 4 vehicles, and have never had to replace so many parts. I would not recommend this car to anyone, because of how many parts I had to put on it."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Overall very reliable car.

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "it has been nice to drive, handles road well."

Cons: "Just the one issue with headlights."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"The only issue I have had is with the headlights. The Low Beam lights stop working and more than one mechanic having trouble getting part to fix it. Cost so far $300.00 and still waiting on parts for three months. Cannot drive after dark due to this issue. Has been very annoying."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Solid, reliable car with space for family

By on Thursday, April 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "safe, reliable, affordable to run, good design"

Cons: "much plastic inside, would get more hp next time"

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

"I purchased the basic model in a 5-speed manual. It has taken across the United States four times, including over the Rocky Mountains each time. It has always started, no matter the weather, and has been a steady, safe car for our family. I feel this car was excellent value for money. We serviced it every 3,000 miles, which helped, but the only major repair was a new battery and replacing the brakes when they wore down. It has better gas mileage that other much newer car."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Cute and reliable car

By on Sunday, March 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "exterior appearance, good value"

Cons: "vision"

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

"Have been drive a 2007 caliber for 4 years. Very reliable and valuable car. Footprints expand from Yellowstone to Boston, from lake superior to Niagara, from east coast metropolitans to Pennsylvania mountains, from North Dakota cold to raining summer night. never had any problems except regular maintenance. It is pity that Doge stopped this model. Vision is not great but ok. Hope it had more power."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great, attractive vehicle

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

Dodge Caliber 2010

"i really love this car, I payed it off and it's mine, I really enjoy the economic value of having good gas mileage and a dependable ride. I've had this car for several years and I have had no problems, the interior is close to perfect for me, the only thing I would change is the seating comfort, I think the could have put more effort I the comfort of the seats, there ok but they really could have made that better. But it's a great car and it'll be hard to part with if I ever do. I don't understand why they don't make them anymore I think if they did and made some quality improvements I would probably buy another one."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Dodge Caliber 2010

Love the car. Just need a newer model car.

By on Thursday, February 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good gas mileage, comfortable, plenty of room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Have enjoyed the car! Met all my needs for hauling big dog crates and large amount of cargo. Plenty room inside and comfortable. Drives great."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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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

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