Go

2012 Dodge Caliber

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

2012 Dodge Caliber Review

By

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)

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

Buying this car?

2012 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 5 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

Share this page
Advertisement
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

Buying this car?

Advertisement