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2010 Dodge Caliber

Overview
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2010 Dodge Caliber Review

By

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 2010 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 commuter car to a well-equipped model featuring such unique items as a flip-down rear speaker bar, built-in iPod holder and a refrigerated beverage cooler, features you won't find on the Volkswagen Golf or MAZDA3. Then again, despite a modest upgrade this year, 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 2010 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, its interior plastics are still not up to the standards set by Volkswagen and Mazda. Interior sound levels and engine noise is also a bit on the loud side.

What's New for 2010

For 2010, Dodge offers just one trim, the SXT, but with five lifestyle-inspired variants: Express, Mainstreet, Uptown, Heat and Rush. All Caliber models receive a new interior with soft touch plastics on the doors and armrest, a new center console design and front seat active head restraints. A five speed manual transmission is standard on most trims, with two different CVT automatics are available.

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 sportiest model, the Rush. With its 172-horsepower engine, sportier suspension...

and five-speed manual transmission, the Rush is the model we'd choose to take camping – especially if the campgrounds were at the end of a curvy canyon road. While the five-speed manual is not the smoothest we've tested, it works well enough to make the drive somewhat sporting. Most consumers will probably choose the available Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that offers an 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.

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Auto Stick
While the idea of engineering artificial gearing into the Caliber's "gearless" CVT might seem counterproductive, the ability to control the transmission with ultra-responsive manual shifts is very useful.

2010 Dodge Caliber Details
2010 Dodge Caliber photo Interior

The 2010 Dodge Caliber is pleasantly roomy and functional, especially for a vehicle with such a modest price tag. With a fold-flat rear seat and available fold-flat front passenger seat, Caliber's hatchback design accommodates a variety of cargo and passenger configurations. Standard cloth seating can be upgraded to leather (Uptown), while all trims receive more soft touch padding on the door armrest, center armrest and dash. Overall, the newly upgraded interior is nicely designed and offers a variety of clever features, such as the standard Chill Zone cooling glove box and available flip-out rear speaker bar.

Exterior
2010 Dodge Caliber photo

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, but not as streamlined as the Toyota Matrix 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 2.0-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission, a base Dodge Caliber SXT Express features front and rear side-curtain airbags, inflatable knee blocker, UConnect Phone (Bluetooth), iPod Control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power windows, mirrors and locks, cruise control, keyless entry, 115-volt outlet, air conditioning and four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS). The top-of-the-line Uptown trim adds an automatic transmission, leather seating, heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system, power driver's seat and steering wheel audio controls. The sporty Rush and Heat models add larger wheel and tire packages, sport suspensions and upgraded interiors, while the Rush alone adds a more powerful 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine.

Optional Equipment

Most of the 2010 Dodge Caliber's equipment is bundled into one of its five available trims. The few available features includes a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and the Security Package, which adds remote start, security alarm, front side-impact airbags and Hill Start Assist (in manual transmission-equipped cars).

Under the Hood

The Caliber's two engine choices each have four cylinders and 16 valves. The base engine displaces 2.0-liters and is good for 158 horsepower, while the Rush model gets a 2.4-liter engine rated at 172 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the Express, Rush and Heat trims, while the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is standard on the Mainstreet and Uptown trims. The Express can only be ordered with the manual transmission, while the CVT with Auto Stick manual shift mode is available only on the Heat and Rush trim.

2.0-liter in-line 4
158 horsepower @6400 rpm
141 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 (manual), 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?

2010 Dodge Caliber Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 689 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

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

Love the Speed & Reaction but not for commuting

By on Monday, September 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, lots of space"

Cons: "not a commuter car at ALL"

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

Alki Beach!

"Well, I traded my 2007 Chevy Cobalt in for this car, initially went in to look at the Z's but ended up walking away with this because it still met everything I wanted for a great price but when it came to gas......I regret getting this car :( What I love about this car: 0-60 in 10 secs, the look, turbo, rims, GREAT sound system, so comfy, HUGE back that folds down (slept in this thing for 4 nights while on a road trip to Cali), when you want to go fast...you go fast in seconds! We went from 65 to 97 in 3 or 4 seconds I LOVE this car BUT i also have an hour and a half commute one way (only 30 miles one way) but still, sitting in stop and go traffic is not what this car is made for. If you live somewhere you can go fast or want a toy to take out on the town then this is your car but for commuting....NO WAY. I spend roughly 80-100 a week in gas :( But it has a plug in for auxiliary, the rear view mirror dims at night so it's not blinding you it like, goes greenish so helps your eyes. It's a manual which I do enjoy, but again in stop n go traffic every day it just is not pleasant, my knee is always killing me from shifting. Really, there's nothing bad at all about this car, I've had no mechanical issues with it at all, just keep up with everything and you're GOLDEN!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Alki Beach!

Looks nice, structurally problematic

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

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

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Looks nice"

Cons: "Suspension parts need replaced more than tires do"

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

"My family purchased the vehicle in 2008 because the price was reasonable and it was good on gas. We also liked the design of the vehicle. The body and interior of the vehicle are in very good condition today - no exterior rust, no visible wear on seats, etc. - but the suspension and drive train of the vehicle are shot. We have replaced front end suspension parts numerous times since 2008. The garage said we would need a bumper-to-bumper repair of the suspension which would cost approximately $3000. Blue Book value is approximately $3500. I am not a mechanic or engineer, but it seems that the design of the front end suspension system is faulty. Currently the car is parked. The front cross member is rusted through, and it's only a matter of time before it snaps completely. I would not recommend purchasing this vehicle. It's a nice looking car, but there are too many engineering issues with the suspension, in particular."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Lots of repairs

By on Thursday, September 04, 2014

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

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Subframe rotted within first 5 years. Replaced all tied rods, more than once. Spent over $7000 in repairs not including normal maintanence."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love My Caliber Heat

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,050

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "price the way it drives and handles turns"

Cons: "no power seats"

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

"I love my Caliber Heat! My husband and I shopped for about 6 months for a car for me and test drove many different cars and this is the one I kept coming back too. It had plenty of room and comfortable seats. It was priced right and well worth what we paid. I have had it for about almost 2 years and have not had any problems with it whatsoever!! It gets great gas mileage and I love the cooler in the glove compartment it works great!!I definitely would by another."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Entire Tranny Overhaul @ 35k

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "nice design"

Cons: "not reliable"

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

"Manual Transmission completely rebuilt at 35k. Like this car, like hatchback design and interior is nice, but not exactly confident that it will last or be reliable when tranny replaced at 35k! :("

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Reliable! a good deal!

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Underated and efficient"

Cons: "Plastic parts wear out."

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

"I purchased my 2009 caliber with 69k miles in Feb. 2013. I've put on it already 30K miles and I've no issues at all. Of course I service it every 3K miles and it has payed off. Good gas mileage ~28 mpg. I use it to commute to work and I enjoy it very much. There is good space also in the back sit for my daughter's car sit. Overall I've been impressed with the caliber's performance, comfort and efficiency."

5 people out of 6 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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