Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Dodge Caliber is a compact car produced by the Dodge division of Chrysler. It replaced the Neon, and went on sale in the spring of 2006 as a 2007 model year vehicle. The Caliber has five doors and can be considered a hatchback, a station wagon (see Hatchback vs. Station wagon), or a CUV. It is roughly the size of a Neon, and it debuted globally at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. It features styling elements derivative of larger Dodge vehicles, such as a crosshair grille and large flared fenders. The Caliber is one of the first modern Dodge-branded vehicles for sale in the European, Asian, and Australasian markets. In North America, it was first shown on January 10, 2006 at the North American International Auto Show. Though not initially labeled a 'crossover', or CUV, the Caliber features many CUV-based nods that were further highlighted in the 2009-2010 models, such as a rough round back, irregular roof curve and lifted clearance, as compared to regular hatchbacks.
The car also features an optional electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system with variable torque at speeds of 25 to 65 mph (40 to 105 km/h) for optimal handling.
The Caliber rides on a heavily modified GS platform, co-designed with Mitsubishi Motors. The modified GS platform is now called the JS platform by Chrysler for mid-size cars and PM/MK for compact cars. It shares a portion of the platform with the Mitsubishi Lancer, but is most similar to the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. The Caliber has wheels that feature a 5-hole pattern with a 114.3 mm bolt circle.
The Caliber is built at the Belvidere Assembly (Illinois) plant, where its predecessor was produced.
The Caliber is an important vehicle for Chrysler in its quest to expand globally. The Caliber was one of Dodge's first modern offerings in Europe. Dodge also introduced the Caliber as part of its launch lineup in Asian markets such as Japan and Singapore, as it established new distribution channels there. It was introduced in China in 2008 as Dodge's second modern vehicle offering in that market. Dodge vehicles were last officially sold in China during the World War II era. The introduction of the Caliber has also marked the return of the Dodge brand to Australia, for the first time since the early 1970s.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Caliber an overall Good score in frontal crash testing. The Dodge Caliber comes standard with side curtain airbags but torso side airbags are optional. The IIHS scored the Caliber Marginal overall in their side impact test. However that Caliber was not equipped with the optional torso side airbag.
The SRT4 model, introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006, is a replacement for the original Neon-based SRT-4 produced by Chrysler's Street and Racing Technology group. It is a hatchback set to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and the Mazdaspeed3. It features a 2.4 L DOHC 16V turbocharged I4 with dual variable valve timing (DVVT). It produces 285 hp (213 kW) at 6,400 rpm, and 265 lb·ft (359 N·m) of torque at 5,600 rpm using the Mitsubishi TD04HL4S-20 turbo. Edmunds tested one on a chassis dynamometer and obtained 281 hp (210 kW) and 261 lb·ft (354 N·m) of torque at the wheels. Edmunds called the manufacturer's rating conservative; putting more power to the road than cars costing twice as much. The engine is mated to a Getrag six-speed manual transmission, and utilizes a front-wheel drive drivetrain. The Caliber SRT4 utilizes a high-performance MacPherson strut front suspension, and a performance-tuned multilink rear suspension. The SRT4 uses large 13.4 in (34 cm) vented front disc brakes (from the Dodge Charger Police Pack version) with dual-piston calipers and 11.9 in (30 cm) rear single-piston disc brakes. It features four-wheel ABS, with electronic assistance. The wheels are 19 in (48 cm), five-spoke, SRT-stamped, painted aluminum. The car features Goodyear RSA 225/45R19 tires. Package options include polished aluminum wheels, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, SIRIUS satellite radio with Kicker SRT livin' loud audio, EVIC with performance pages, Security alarm, and optional paint colors.