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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
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 701 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
    7.7/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

Good little car and served me well

By on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price. Sharp looking car (silver)."

Cons: "Driver's seat unsupportive. Lacks engine power."

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

2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet

"Decent gas mileage, compact yet has cargo area for hauling things. I'm not crazy about the engine dynamics and the way it accelerates. At times it feels as if it doesn't have enough get up and go. It's been a great little car and served my needs well. Stylish looking. I down sized from a Durango and miss the supportive seats of the SUV. The passenger and back seats are comfortable and roomy for the average size person. My 6'4" son has a hard time riding in it comfortably."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet

great,reliable, adaptable, economical. loud on hy

By on Friday, November 07, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "practical city runabout, reliable, economical,"

Cons: "noise, poor rear seat comfort,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Really liked owning this car since june of 06. Handy size with fold down real seat for camping and other gear. Nice styling, always proud of the looks even as it ages. nice paint quality held up well over years. handles great and cvt is smooth and reliable. good mpg. at about 26. combined. bad Gas cap caused some of the biggest diagnostic bills for engine light. back seat very uncomfortable... flat seat and straight up back rest..even though you can adjust the back rest tilt. poor wind tunnel design ... cannot open back windows driving 30mph without intense oscillating air pressure wave ...enough to hurt your ears. worst feature of a nice little car is the unbearable road noise on the hyway...almost so loud you opt not to have the radio on at hyway speeds..... except on the smoothest of new pavement."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Has been dependable

By on Friday, October 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "fun to drive and the price was good"

Cons: "ride is not the smoothest and a little noisy"

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

"The car is easy to handle and park. It has been very dependable and gets good gas mileage. It has had some brake issues but they were taken care of. All in all we like the vehicle. It is not the quietest car and the ride is not overly smooth but we have enjoyed the car"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Just like my Journey - which I love --loved it

By on Sunday, October 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good second car"

Cons: "Road noise"

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

"Maneuvers easily - good gas mileage-- Back seat goes down to give very good carrying space. Even length-wise. Back window wipers. Automatic transmission as well as other kind - stick shift."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Reliable

By on Friday, October 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fairly decent gas mileage"

Cons: "can't think of any"

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

"I've had this car for a few years now and I've taken it through a lot of highway miles, road trips, and my four year old. It's super reliable, comfortable, and a good ride. The two tone seating looks really nice and interior still feels and looks like a brand new car."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Best 2011 Dodge possible

By on Friday, October 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "great gas milage in city 22.5 MPG"

Cons: "none"

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

"Dodge driven carefully by 2 senior. Mostly in Hemet. Oil and filter change every 6 months about every 1400 miles per 6 months. Always parked in our garage. Tires rotated at 8,000 miles. Polished every year. Spare tire never used."

7 people out of 9 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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