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2007 Dodge Caliber: Model range comparison (Video)

2007 Dodge Caliber: Model range comparison (Video)
Jul 6, 2006
2007 Dodge Caliber: Model range comparison (Video)
by Michel Deslauriers , Auto123.com

You want choice? You got it.

2007 Dodge Caliber SXT Sport (Photo: Philippe Champoux, Auto123.com)
It's always a pleasant moment for us to see the new models arriving on the market. However, certain among them spike more interest than others. This applies to the 2007 Dodge Caliber, which seems to get people's interest and attention. Obviously, the media's too.

We immediately notice that the company has worked hard. Only one body style is offered, but we count four trim levels, three engines, two transmissions, three wheel dimensions, nine colours... um, you get the picture. And, I'm not even including the SRT4 model that will be introduced later on.

But which one would be best for you? That's also what the Auto123.com staff wanted to know. So, we knocked on DaimlerChrysler's door, and after a long period of negotiation, argumentation as well as a little arm wrestling, horseshoe and croquet tournaments, we convinced them to lend us a quintet of Calibers in order to present you a side-by-side comparison. The candidates: two SEs (manual and automatic), an SXT, an SXT Sport and an R/T AWD.

Styling

2007 Dodge Caliber (Photo: Philippe Champoux, Auto123.com)
What's obvious is that these cars distinguish themselves from the competition. Dodge has created a car that looks like a wagon, a SUV and even a truck, all in one. The sometimes tough, sometimes delicate look of the Caliber is within centimetres of its opponents, but looks more imposing.

It's a question of taste, but we prefer the chromeless grille of the SE, and the R/T should further set itself apart from the others, since it's the sportiest version. The exterior finish is satisfying; space between body panels is a little wide, but everything seems bolted on tightly, and the paint is applied well.

In general, we like the macho, half-car half-truck look of the Caliber, and should especially please the American market. Everywhere we went, we turned heads, particularly while we were grouped together.

Interior

When you sit inside the Caliber, the first impression is not the good one. We meet a dashboard made of hard plastic. Certain drivers' right knee rubbed against the centre portion of the dash. We quickly get used to it, but we were expecting more in the R/T. However, we appreciate the colour combinations, and the instruments are easy to reach and use. In our Caliber SXT Sport, we're treated to colour-keyed centre stack and seat inserts, which is pretty nice. The center armrest slides on a track; we
2007 Dodge Caliber SE (Photo: Philippe Champoux, Auto123.com)
grumbled about not being able to lock it into position, but after three days, we forgot about it, and we appreciated the functionality of the instrument panel.

The ergonomics of the car are good. Besides the back doors that open wide enough, and a noggin or two that got bumped on the top of the door openings, we had no difficulty getting inside the Calibers. However, a woman in the evaluation team reminded us of the door sills' wideness, which makes entry and exit in a dress a little ungraceful. I'll take her word for it, since I didn't try it myself...
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