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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
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 695 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

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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Most Dependable Vehicle Ever! Great Value!

By on Wednesday, October 15, 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
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Price, Reliability, Value"

Cons: "Compact....may feel cramped if you are over 220 lb"

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

"This car has been nothing but reliable since day one! It starts every time and runs great at 80,000 miles. I've done a minimal amount of maintenance to it and it continues to purr like a kitten. The SXT 2.0 liter engine has plenty of acceleration when I need it and still gets 25mpg. This car has plenty of room inside for people or gear. I was skeptical about buying a Dodge, but am sold now. Overall, it's a great value for the dollar compared to other vehicles in its class."

This was a very good car. Lots of compliments.

By on Friday, October 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "glove compartment too small. No place to put trash"

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

"last year I had to get: new tires, new brakes and a battery. Also several problems with the front end. One problem was fixed while under warranty."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Good car but many small issues that lead to bigger

By on Tuesday, October 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 161,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "price, gas mileage"

Cons: "needed work, conveniences are not so convenient"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"*Alternator problems that should have been corrected by Dodge *Shocks should be warrantied *Space was good when the kids were little, teenagers and adults, a little tight *small items are breaking or need to be replaced due to age"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Dependable Car!

By on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "MPG, Reliability, Comfort, Fast"

Cons: "NO MAJOR CONS- Minor repairs when reached 80k"

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

"I bought my 07 Dodge Caliber SE when it was one year old and has 30,000 miles on it. I said $12,000 out the door for the vehicle. It was my first time having as car payment so it was a great deal for me. It now has 123,000 miles and is still going strong. I have driven it from Illinois to Florida and back with NO PROBLEMS! I have had to replace the struts, lower control arm. But for the $$ spent it was not that bad of a repair. I have driven this car hard, and have not kept up on the maintenance and it still drives good. The pick up is not as good as it used to be, and the bottom of the door is starting to rust. But overall I have loved this car and it always got me around safely. I am purchasing a new Dodge this week and decided to sell this car privately instead of taking the dealership's $1,000 offer because I believe she still has a lot of life left in her. I will be sad to see this car go."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Alki Beach!

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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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