2012 Dodge Caliber Review
The 2012 Dodge Caliber may be a decent commuter car, but test drivers agree that it’s overshadowed by rivals that offer better quality and performance at about the same price.
While the 2012 Dodge Caliber offers good cargo space, test drivers agree that it falls short of its utilitarian aspirations. “The 2012 Dodge Caliber starts with a unique proposition, which is that a small sedan can be more like a practical utility vehicle and less like a bland transportation module,” says Edmunds. “It's a good idea, but the Caliber doesn't execute the concept well enough to match up against the competition in this crowded segment of small cars.”
The problems start under the hood. The Caliber’s engine is underpowered and noisy, a problem that’s exacerbated by an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) that reviewers don’t like. Additionally, the Caliber is heavy for a small car, which makes for lackluster handling when combined with its high center of gravity.
Reviewers also say that its styling is getting dated. Although the Caliber’s interior was updated last year, its quality still trails similarly-priced rivals. And while its unique exterior design may make it easy to find in a crowded parking lot, fresh sheet metal would help the Caliber’s visual appeal. Since so many affordable small cars offer more features and better quality for the same price, critics find it hard to recommend the 2012 Dodge Caliber.
Other Cars to Consider
If you want a small car with even more trunk space, consider the Ford Focus hatchback. The Focus hatchback will cost you a bit more than the base Caliber, but reviewers love its athletic handling, aggressive styling and high-quality interior.
Another option that’s fun to drive but doesn’t skimp on cargo space is the Honda Fit. The base Fit costs thousands less than the Caliber and impresses test drivers with its spacious rear seats and enjoyable driving dynamics.
Dodge Caliber: The Details
The Dodge Caliber receives a revised continuously variable transmission (CVT) and is available in three trim levels for 2012: SE, SXT Plus and SXT. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission come standard on SE and SXT Plus models, while the SXT gets a CVT as standard equipment. See the full 2012 Dodge Caliber specs.
- "The Caliber is uninspiring in every way, and it seems like every bit of refinement has been cut out of it to keep a low base price." -- Car and Driver
- "This Dodge continues to lag its rivals in power delivery, handling, and overall refinement. Other small hatchbacks are more worthy of your consideration." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2012 Dodge Caliber starts with a unique proposition, which is that a small sedan can be more like a practical utility vehicle and less like a bland transportation module. It's a good idea, but the Caliber doesn't execute the concept well enough to match up against the competition in this crowded segment of small cars." -- Edmunds