It’s a tough compact segment out there these days; give the 2012 Dodge Caliber some love by checking out what it’s about- right here, right now.
Dodge Caliber Trims and Feature Highlights
The Caliber is a compact 5-door hatchback that, for 2012, is offered in SE, SXT, and SXT Plus trim levels. Starting at just $17,380, the Caliber represents small utility and, like rivals Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, balances want with need in a nice little economic package. On the need side, Caliber offers a petite 4-cylinder engine (some say the 158 horses it produces is too petite) alongside decent fuel numbers- up to 32 highway MPG- and space enough to fit 4 comfortably (or 5 not so much), along with their things. Want features include a beverage cooler Dodge calls the ‘Chill Zone’ and standard extras like Uconnect infotainment on a 6.5” touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, and a DVD player. Unique features beyond the Chill Zone include illuminated cup holders and speakers that extend down from the liftgate- great for tailgating or impromptu traffic jam parties.
Ready to Buy? Your 2012 Dodge Caliber can be found at CarWoo!
Dodge Caliber Performance
Every 2012 Caliber is equipped with front-wheel drive and a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 141 lb.-ft. of torque. Dodge pairs the 4-cylinder with a 5-speed manual transmission on Caliber SE trims, while the SXT gets a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Caliber SXT Plus trims come with both manual and CVT options.
While many critics lament the tame engine and lack of an upgrade, it seems to fit Caliber’s economic mindset, and helps keep fuel economy above board.
Dodge Caliber Fuel Economy
EPA estimates for the 2012 Caliber with the 5-speed manual are 24/32/27 (city/highway/combined) MPG; CVT equipped Caliber models dip to 22/27/24.
Dodge Caliber Interior Highlights
Critics tend to describe Caliber’s interior features as ‘economical,’ meaning there are plenty of plastics to go around. Seating up front is comfortable enough, though there’s no telescoping versatility for the steering wheel, so some drivers may have trouble adjusting. Backseat comfort is made better by the reclining seats on SXT and SXT Plus trims. Caliber can accommodate 5 passengers, but most critics will tell you that 4 is the best fit, as the rear center seat is compromised by the way the center console extends back.
Despite the mixed reviews in terms of interior quality, Caliber does offer some nice extras. Semi unique features like the Chill Zone beverage cooler and swing down speakers on the liftgate provide a bit of versatility and fun.
Caliber offers good storage space, offering 18.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and up to 47.4 cubes with said seats folded down.
Dodge Caliber Safety
Safety standards for the 2012 Caliber include antilock brakes (4-wheel disc brakes for SXT & SXT Plus, front disc/rear drum on SE) with brake assist, stability control, and 2 row side curtain airbags. Front seat side airbags are offered as options for Caliber SXT and SXT Plus as part of the Security Group Package.
In crash testing, the NHTSA gives the 2012 Caliber just 3/5 stars overall, with scores of 4/5 for both frontal and rollover damage, and 3/5 for side impacts. The IIHS gives Caliber the highest rating of ‘good’ for frontal crashes, though side impacts rate a second place ‘marginal’ and roof strength gets a second worst ‘acceptable.’
Dodge Caliber Summary
Logic seems to make Caliber a good commuter car. It’s not exciting, but it’s got useful interior features, enough versatility to survive the week, and adequate fuel numbers. The problem is that nothing really stands out, though the under $20,000 price tag tends to do that to nameplates. In a crowded segment, Caliber’s talent lies in its ability to blend into the scene. Find the 2012 Caliber, or any member of the Dodge lineup, without the search at CarWoo!