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2012 Dodge Caliber

Overview
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2012 Dodge Caliber Review

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When it comes to compact cars, Dodge doesn't exactly rule the roost. In fact, Dodge offers only one model, the 2012 Dodge Caliber, with dimensions that cross into mid-size sedan territory, and interior materials and an overall resale value that are arguably lackluster. It's a shame the cost cutters had their way with this one, because on paper the 2012 Caliber hatchback looks like a winner. It provides good use of interior space, has a versatile hatchback design and delivers good fuel economy. There are also a number of attractive features, such as the Chill Zone cooling storage compartment, removable rechargeable flashlight and articulating fold-down rear speaker bar that's perfect for blasting your favorite tunes at a tailgate party. But, the 2012 Dodge Caliber's execution is nowhere near as refined or buttoned down as that of the Mazda Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf or Subaru Impreza wagon.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need the fuel economy of small compact car, but the room and versatility of larger wagon, the 2012 Dodge Caliber hatchback has you covered.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a compact wagon with 35-plus MPG and a modern, upscale interior, you might find the 2012 Mazda3 or VW Golf TDI a better fit. If all-wheel drive is a must, the 2012 Subaru Impreza wagon makes a good choice.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Dodge Caliber compact hatchback is offered in three trims: SE, SXT and SXT Plus. More standard equipment is added to the base SE trim, while electronic stability control is made standard on all models.

Driving the Caliber

Driving Impressions While it's clear that the 2012 Dodge Caliber is more practical than performance-oriented, Dodge has still managed to create a car that is fun to drive. In the SXT Plus,...

we found the ride and handling above board, although the tepid performance of the 2.0-liter engine made us long for more power. Still, with the 5-speed manual and Sport suspension, the 2012 Dodge Caliber can be considered a worthy opponent to the VW Golf or Nissan Cube, although its performance is a far cry from the impressive Mazda3 hatchback, which features a much more fluid manual transmission, more horsepower and better fuel economy (Skyactiv model).
However, we are fairly confident that most consumers will probably choose the available Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), that offers an Auto Stick "manual-mode" that allows the driver to select any one of six "ratios" and thus hold onto that gearing step if necessary or desired.

MusicGate Speakers
As part of the 368-watt Boston Acoustics premium audio system, the 2012 Dodge 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 2012 Dodge Caliber's "gearless" Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) might seem counterproductive, the ability to control the transmission with ultra-responsive manual shifts is very useful.

2012 Dodge Caliber Details
Interior

While we find the 2012 Dodge Caliber hatchback to be rather roomy and versatile, we have a hard time warming up to the dated interior design and hard surfaces that make up the Caliber's cabin. A major overhaul last year brought a bit more refinement, but the Caliber's interior is definitely past its prime. If you're not turned off by its look, there is much to like inside the 2012 Dodge Caliber, from the available fold-flat rear and front-passenger seats, to the standard Chill Zone cooling glove box and available articulating rear speaker bar. Front and rear-seat comfort is fairly respectable, with good rear-seat legroom for taller passengers. Unfortunately, leather seats have been removed from the equipment list, leaving only a choice of cloth or premium sport cloth with color inserts.

Exterior

Despite its aging design, the 2012 Dodge Caliber hatchback remains visually appealing, with a tall greenhouse, large fender flares, big headlamp housings and the signature Dodge crosshair grille. Quite a bit a larger than most compact hatchbacks in this class, the 2012 Dodge Caliber hatchback appears almost SUV-like in its stance, yet the big wheel-and-tire combo of the SXT trims hints at a more aggressive driving experience than found with a similarly-priced Nissan Cube or Scion xB.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Along with a 2.0-liter engine and 5-speed manual transmission, a Caliber SE features front and rear side-curtain airbags, inflatable knee blocker, heated side mirrors, 1-year subscription service to Sirius Satellite Radio, cruise control, electronic stability control, keyless entry, 115-volt outlet, air conditioning, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) and power windows, mirrors and door locks. The SXT trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, CVT automatic transmission, touring suspension, 60/40-split reclining rear seats, tachometer, fog lamps, fold-flat front-passenger seat and a removable rechargeable flashlight. The SXT Plus adds 18-inch wheels, sport suspension and touch-screen audio with a 40GB hard drive.

Optional Equipment

Most of the 2012 Dodge Caliber hatch's equipment is bundled into packages and includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, 368-watt Boston Acoustic sound system with flip-down articulating liftgate speakers, power sunroof, heated front seats and steering-wheel audio controls. The Security Package adds remote start, security alarm, front side-impact airbags, daytime running lights, engine oil cooler and trailer-tow wiring harness.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Dodge Caliber hatchback offers only one engine choice: A 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder engine good for 158 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE, while the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is standard on the SXT and available on the SXT Plus. The SE can be ordered only with the manual transmission.


2.0-liter inline-4
158 horsepower @6,400 rpm
141 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 24/32 (manual), 23/27 (automatic)

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2012 Dodge Caliber Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.3
Out of 10

Based on 713 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

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."

1 person out of 2 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."

5 people out of 6 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

Comfortable,drives good,fuel economy is above epa

By on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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

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: "Very reliable good looking transportation"

Cons: "Could be a little quieter (road noise)"

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

"Outstanding looks,so many comments on the cars styling from just complete strangers.Fuel economy has been higher than EPA ratings, very comfortable ride for my 6'3" height,plenty of leg room,braking and handling are above what I expected,no major repairs,only scheduled maintenance has been needed."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

best value in a small car

By on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 190,000

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
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

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

"I purchased the car for $14k with 15k miles and after 7 years and 190k miles, it has been the best value of any vehicle. No issues and normal maintenance. Still runs great."

5 people out of 8 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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