Now into it's fifth model year, the 2011 Dodge Caliber's most notable revisions include standard stabiity control, a re-tuned steering system and, for the first time, an available navigation system. These improvements, however, are not enough to elevate its low Total Car Score.
It's not that this hatchback is all bad, but it's simply not compelling when compared to many of the newer entries in this segment. Inside, there is adequate passenger space with plenty of headroom courtesy of the tall overall design. However, despite a makeover last year, the interior still houses plenty of hard plastic surfaces.
The Caliber does offer the utility of a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and flat load floor in the cargo area. And its maximum cargo capaciy of 48 cubic feet is impressive for a hatchback in this price range.
Out on the road, the Caliber offers a level of performance, ride and handling that is generally adequate, though not impressive. And while fuel economy isn't objectionable, it doesn't measure up to segment leaders.
All of which is to say, most customers interested in a compact hatchback will find they can do better.
The 2011 four-door Dodge Caliber hatchback is available in five trim levels: Express, Mainstreet, Uptown, Heat and Rush.
With the entry-level Express, customers enjoy a fairly well equipped package that includes a built-in beverage cooler. The Heat offers a sportier package with features like 18-inch alloy wheels and a specially tuned suspension system. And, at the very top, the Rush comes equipped with a larger engine as well as added amenities like leather-trimmed seats and a premium touch-screen audio system.
All trim levels except the Rush are powered by a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Rush is equipped with a 2.4-liter four that puts out 172 horsepower and is optional on the Uptown. The Express, Heat and Mainstreet trim levels feature a 5-speed manual transmission while the Mainstreet and Uptown versions are equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
EPA-estimated mileage ranges from 22/27/24 mpg for CVT-equipped models up to 24/32/27 mpg for the 5-speed manual.
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