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 733 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    7.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    7.5/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

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 ."

Fun and fast

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

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

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
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fast, comfortable, feature rich, not too expensive"

Cons: "Torque steer"

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

"I've enjoyed my SRT4 since I bought it new in 2008. The 285hp engine being the highlight, my kids and friends always squealed as we sailed through the gears. The 6-speed Getrag trans is rock solid and really fast shifting. The bluetooth worked with all phones I've had (Motos, Blackberrys, Iphones), but not my LG G3. The tires have been awfully expensive, but expected with the T rating. The F1 tires barely lasted a disappointing 20k. The exhaust system is huge. The interior is a nice mix of leather/cloth/plastic, great except some of the painted surfaces have worn a bit. The car has a cool set of timers for 0-60, 1/4-mile and such. Nice seats, moon roof, cold air and cruise control makes my commute a dream. My only wish? AWD."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

dependable car

By on Tuesday, December 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 146,832

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great gas mileage"

Cons: "idle's high"

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

"Has great gas mileage, comfortable and small. it does have a high idle. brand new brake pads. air breaks never have to be replaced, just the pads. It's very reliable. I've never had any problems with it and it's great for first time drivers. Pricing will be negotiable."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Has been a really good car

By on Monday, September 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Style, utility, comfort, reliability, features."

Cons: "Not a one!"

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

Taken shortly after I bought it.

"I bought this car in November of 2007. It was part of a fleet return and had 10,000 miles on it. The only problem I had was with the cruise control. It did not work when I bought it and was repaired under warranty. So, okay, it has a lot of plastic in it. As far as I am concerned, that is not a problem.To this day, I think the car really stands out, style wise. I've used the 110V outlet and especially the cooler on long trips. Ever had to change a flat at night with no street lights? The flashlight is valuable. Comfort? I took a non-stop drive from Orlando, Florida to Woodstock, New York. The seats offer great lower back support. Utility? We've done a lot of work in our house. With the rear seats folded down, I cut to fit a piece of carpet for the whole rear of the car. Brought home, over the years, tile, laminate flooring and marble baseboards. The Caliber has really good suspension, especially the rear. Why then am I getting rid of it? I'm 75 and in failing health. I'd like to have one more, my last, nice car. Something along the lines of our other car, which our son now owns. A 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix, loaded. Am looking at a Ford C- Max as I'd like to own a Hybrid. Oh, one last thing. The turn signals. When you turn to the left or right with the turn signal on, the corresponding daytime running light turns off. A good safety feature."

12 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Taken shortly after I bought it.

Pretty grateful for this car

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 197,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price. Low engine maintenance needs."

Cons: "Lower front control arms changed multiple times."

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

"I bought this car with 46 miles on it in 2007. I've been the only owner and have been very stingy about who I let use it beside myself. It was base model with standard engine. I can't complain. It's not a fussy car, and the upkeep has been pretty easy. Only reason I wouldn't buy another is because where I live the terrain wears out my lower front control arms fast. I've had to replace them almost every year these last few years. I'm not against others buying this, but I would advise to be aware of this issue if you live in an area that would be hard on your axles. I still drive the car and plan to give it to my son this coming year when he gets his license. It a good car to grow with."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

versatile, reliable, cheap thrills

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "versatile, cheap to maintain, reliable"

Cons: "CVT transmission, low quality interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I've had my sxt caliber with 2.0L and CVT for 120k miles and counting. This car has been reliable, cheap to run/maintain and is very versatile. I regularly get 30+ mpg. With rear seats down, I can fit plywood, a desk and even a full size wood pallet nearly flat on the floor (not all at once). It's very easy to keep clean and has required only minor unscheduled maintenance. Ball joints and tie rods needed replacing after 60k miles and a wheel speed sensor replaced at 100k. The interior is cheap, yet comfortable and functional and easy to keep clean. While the CVT is a smooth transmission, it does put a damper on performance. A 5 speed stick may be more fun with the 2.0L. I absolutely love this car. Sure, it's cheap but it just keeps going, like a tough little donkey."

6 people out of 7 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