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2011 Dodge Caliber

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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 New for 2011

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 739 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

very well maintained (aftermarket warranty)

By on Sunday, May 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "easy to drive in town or freeway"

Cons: "no race car;does very good on frwy"

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

"never late on oil change. seats work fine but upholstery fabric is rough due to my pets claws. Use seat covers; appearance problem solved. Rear taillight is cracked. doesn't leak and is not a problem. Noticeable only on very close inspection, if then. VEHICLE IS EXCELLENT MECHANICALLY/ recent intake manifold changed along with wheel alignment and bearings... a few dings/one scratch. NO SMOKERS IN CAR. AC is cold. All windows and phone charger work. I's a nice cushy ride. Drives very well."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

horrible transmission

By on Thursday, April 21, 2016

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "driver's compartment"

Cons: "transmission"

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

"The car drove well for the first few years, then the transmission began to slip and jerk. Dodge service department said that the transmission is the same design as a golf cart and there was no fix for the problem except to replace it. All other aspects of the car are great. Good fuel economy, driver compartment is great, motor has performed very well. No other issues."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Garbage Car

By on Sunday, March 27, 2016

I owned and sold this car
Reason: bad mileage

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "no pris"

Cons: "complete garbage and Dodge even agreed"

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

"This car is a piece of garbage and not worth $.50. I did not want this car but the dealership convinced my husband it was a great car. Not a great car, gas hog, ugly, uncomfortable, moldy and just plain not good."

5 people out of 19 found this review helpful

good price for a terrible ride

By on Thursday, March 17, 2016

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

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "low price, good mileage"

Cons: "terrible ride, awful transmission, ugly interior"

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

"I was able to buy a 3 year old caliber for a good price, but you get what you pay for. the manual transmission was rough when I bought it and the clutch burned out in 2 years, when I replaced the clutch, the transmission began to slip right away. the suspension rides like a pioneer wagon from the gold rush, and the interior is very bare."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Bought it for the wrong reasons

By on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "beautiful and good on gas"

Cons: "no room in the back seat, poor quality"

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

"I loved the look of this car but shortly after we purchased it we began to put alot of money into it. I still have it and it continues to have mechanical issues! And the back seat is not made with kids in mind, there is no room for their feet."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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 ."

14 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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