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By Cars.com Staff
September 29, 2011
The Caliber is a five-seat, four-door hatchback. It's offered in three trim levels for 2012: SE, SXT and SXT Plus. Competitors include the Mazda3 hatchback and Toyota Matrix.
New for 2012 A simplified model lineup features SE, SXT and SXT Plus trim levels, and an electronic stability system is now standard. The Caliber's available continuously variable automatic transmission has been recalibrated to deliver better launch acceleration, smoother deceleration, improved pedal response and lower engine noise, Dodge says.
Exterior The Caliber is clearly a Dodge, thanks in part to its crosshair grille. A black rail that runs from the base of the A-pillars and along the roofline to the taillights tricks the eye into seeing a lower, sleeker shape. Despite the look, the Caliber actually sits a bit higher than most compact cars. Exterior features include:
Standard 15-inch steel wheels with silver-painted wheel covers
Available 17- or 18-inch aluminum wheels
Body-colored front and rear bumpers, optional body-colored door handles
Optional power sunroof
Interior Front bucket seats and a split-folding backseat give the Caliber seating for up to five people. Interior features include:
Standard illuminated cupholder rings
Standard cloth seats
Standard power windows, mirrors and locks
Standard Chill Zone beverage-cooling bin
Standard CD stereo with MP3 jack
Optional fold-flat front passenger seat
Optional navigation radio
Optional rechargeable flashlight that stows in cargo area
Optional Boston Acoustics premium stereo with flip-down liftgate speakers
Under the Hood The Caliber comes standard with a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It teams with a five-speed manual or a CVT. Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard, but all-disc brakes are optional. Mechanical features include:
158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 141 pounds-feet of torque
Engine runs on regular gas
Optional clutchless-manual feature for CVT
Safety The Caliber comes with a unique-for-its-class standard driver's knee airbag designed to keep the driver positioned properly for the other primary restraints. Other standard safety features include: