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2011 Dodge Caliber

Overview
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2011 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 2011 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 2011 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 are also a bit on the loud side.

What's Significant About This Car?

Dodge offers five lifestyle-inspired models of the Caliber: Express, Mainstreet, Uptown, Heat and Rush. For 2011, electronic stability control is standard on all but the Express, there is a new navigation sound system with Sirius Travel Link and the steering has been retuned for improved response. The Uptown model is available with 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, red and blue accent stitching is added to the leather seats with the Rush model, a six-way power driver's seat is standard with the Mainstreet model and there are six new colors.

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 the 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.

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.

2011 Dodge Caliber Details
Interior

The 2011 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 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

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 Express features front and rear side-curtain airbags, inflatable knee blocker, 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 2011 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, daytime running lights, engine oil cooler and trailer tow wiring harness.

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: 24/32 (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), 22/27 (automatic)

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2011 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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