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#30

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $9,038 - $10,605
Original MSRP: $16,880 - $19,995
MPG: 23 City / 27 Hwy
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2010 Dodge Caliber Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most reviewers dislike the Dodge Caliber's performance. While some find it steady and stable on the road, most complain of sluggish power and poor handling.

  • "Heavy and clumsy. Test drive a Mazda 3 or Honda Civic first." -- Car and Driver
  • "Dodge likes to bill itself as a purveyor of fun-to-drive vehicles ('Grab life by the horns!'), but the . . . Dodge Caliber must not have gotten the memo. Driving a run-of-the-mill Caliber is not an especially pleasant experience, even by the standards of budget-priced hatchbacks and wagons." -- Edmunds
  • "Dodge seemingly wants people to consider the Caliber as a downsized Magnum, and to believe this makes it essentially a sporty mini-minivan-cum-compact station wagon. Nice idea, but the package doesn't quite do this." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "As competent around town and an on the highway as most of the competition." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

Standard for the Caliber's SE and SXT models is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower. It's mated to a five-speed manual transmission, though a continuously variable transmission is available. Optional on the SE and SXT models is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower. On the 2.0-liter engine, a five-speed manual transmission is standard, and the continuously variable transmission is available.

R/T trims come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 172 horsepower. It has a standard five-speed manual transmission and an available continuously variable transmission. Reviewers aren't pleased with the power from any of the Caliber's engines. 

According to the EPA, gas mileage for the Caliber ranges from 19/27 mpg city/highway to 24/30 mpg.  

  • "Only models with the 2.0-liter engine have been made available for testing. These Calibers are adequate at best." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Acceleration is unimpressive whether you stick with the base 1.8-liter or ante up for the 2.4-liter in the R/T model, and all of the engines have an unrefined power delivery that's magnified when the CVT is specified." -- Edmunds
  • "In everyday driving the Caliber has one of the most refined CVTs we've tried, adapting to changing demands quickly, especially in city traffic." -- Motor Week

Handling and Braking

Reviewers give the 2010 Caliber's handling and braking mixed reviews. While some are pleased with the Caliber's ride, others find it truck-like.

  • "Exhibits moderate body lean while cornering, but its modest-sized tires squeal early in fast turns…. Steering is nicely weighted but somewhat dull in road feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Its ride and handling fall short of expectations ... plowing through corners as if Dodge had benchmarked a full-size truck." -- Motor Trend
  • "On the highway the Caliber is uncannily stable, even at higher than posted speeds." -- Automobile.com
  • "Its stability is undeniable when compared to a truck, but one feels the car's height when flinging it around corners, especially in the SXT trim level, which has more compliant, touring suspension tuning and a bit more body roll." -- Cars.com

Next Steps: 2010 Dodge Caliber

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