bold look in a compact car size.
18th January 2006.
an air of crossover,
flexible and globally targeted. That's what the new Dodge
Caliber is meant to be.
It's ambitions are first American, for
the compact car
category (known as C segment in Europe) is promising a
continued growth in the USA. Since oil reserves are
getting closer and closer to the peak point where about
half the estimated ultimately recoverable reserves of oil
in the world would have been already produced, oil prices
are expected to keep rising from now on, especially with
the continually growing hunger for energy, not just from
the western world, but from industrial China and India
More. If oil prices are starting to
modify the car sales segmentation in the USA, with a
growing demand for small cars (Toyota
Yaris, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent
and others) and crossovers, at the expense of larger cars
and bulky SUVs,
petrol prices already play an important role in the car
segments repartition in Europe, through higher taxation at
the pump, since the first energy crisis in the seventies.
Add of course the narrower streets in "good old
Europe", and you get the main reasons why compact and small
cars are so popular in
air of crossover.
This leads us back to the global
ambitions of the 2007
which should reach Europe and close to 100
countries from the second quarter of this year. It will
be available outside North America with both right- and
left-hand drive models and an available turbo diesel
engine - an essential requirement for success in Europe.
Of course, if DaimlerChrysler is
betting on Europe to expand its Dodge
brand presence outside the US market, the same competition
which is eating GM, Ford and Chrysler share in the US car
market... is already doing the same in Europe, although at
a slower pace. Same story, with the "usuals", Toyota,
Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and its affiliate Kia.
Being oriented to a young audience, the
Caliber is certainly betting too on its personality as an
attractive product, one of the key elements in this
Caliber models feature a 2-tone interior
with dark and lighter shades.
Indeed, the five-door
comes with some sporty coupe-like profile and some stance
and functionality of an SUV.
look is not just due to design fancies, but more
practically because it shares the same front-wheel drive
platform with the... Jeep
prices) and Patriot.
To face other high
"calibres" such as the VW
Golf, Renault Megane, Peugeot 307, Fiat Stilo, Toyota
Corolla, Honda Civic... etc,
in Europe, Caliber will especially need its diesel
powertrains,not just the left- and right-hand drive
But before it reaches Europe, the
2007 Dodge Caliber will be launched in the U.S. in the
current quarter at a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested
Retail Price (MSRP) of $13,985 - including a $560
destination charge. That's $410 below the outgoing Dodge
with AutoStick: manual control with
simulation of 6 stepped gears.
Hence, the new Dodge
Caliber will try to play the entry-level game with value,
bold styling and a flexible interior. A package with the
versatility of a sport-utility crossover and the
affordability and fuel-efficiency of an entry-level
DaimlerChrysler count, the compact car segment has held at
a steady 10- to 12-percent share of the U.S. car market
for the past few years, with approximately 1.9 million
units sold annually. The sport-tourer segment is
growing, with more than 800,000 units sold each year.
Small sport-tourer sales account for 40 percent of the
total sport-tourer segment and also continue to grow.
With the Caliber, Dodge
is targeting "20-something first-time new car
buyers"... but (the Caliber) "is also designed
to appeal to forty-something parents buying a car for
their children". In Europe, the Caliber / Renault
Megane / VW Golf size is a good start for a young and
small family, as well as single-parent families or just
seats its driver and up to four passengers, with their
luggage in a good boot space of 18.5 cu. ft. (0.523 cubic
meter. More precision will be available later about the
exact extend of this measurement, if its is up to the rear
shelf or to the roof), and that's before folding any part
of the rear seat (60/40).
With the rear seat
completely folded, luggage space grows to 48 cu. ft (or
1.36 metre3), according to Dodge figures. On
top of that, the 60/40 rear seats both fold flat and
recline 12 degrees on SXT and R/T models.
Zone: an integrated instrument panel
On the technical side,
the 2007 Dodge Caliber features new engines and
transmissions developed for the already mentioned new
front- and all-wheel-drive platform (Caliber, Compass,
Patriot) destined for the global compact car segment.
For example, the Caliber
is the first Chrysler Group vehicle to offer:
- the full range of the
Group's World Engine family,
- a second-generation Continuously Variable Transmission
- a compact car to with
all-wheel-drive option and electronic ESP with traction
control (late availability).
engines will be available: 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.4-liter
(148 hp, 158 hp and 172 hp, respectively).
Technologies in the
Chrysler Group World Engine family include dual Variable
Valve Timing (VVT) and intake manifold design with flow
control valves, firsts for a Chrysler Group compact car.
Such features produce more power, better fuel economy and
smoother, quieter operation than engines without
Dodge Caliber’s CVT2
is a second-generation CVT that Chrysler Group engineers
have calibrated for pleasing engine response, precise
ratio control and an AutoStick® feature that allows for
manual control with the simulation of six stepped gears.
According to Chrysler
figures, CVT2 contributes to a fuel economy improvement of
6-8 percent compared with a traditional 4-speed automatic.
Dodge Caliber is also
the Chrysler Group’s first compact car with available
electromagnetically controlled all-wheel drive with
variable torque output and automatic operation.
lid with a flip to store a cell phone or a
dock for an MP3 player.
Dodge Caliber’s manual
and automatic transmission shifters are packaged in the
centre stack instead of the floor console, which is more
common in Japanese and European markets.
Line-up - In the
U.S., Dodge Caliber enters the market at $410 below the
outgoing Dodge Neon starting price. It is available in
Caliber SE, Caliber SXT and Caliber R/T
- At $13,985 (including $560 destination charge), the
Dodge Caliber SE comes with the 148 horsepower
1.8-liter World Engine and a five-speed manual
gearbox. Standard equipment includes side-curtain air
bags, a vinyl load floor, auxiliary radio input jack,
electrically lit front cup holders, 12-volt power outlet,
a centre console sliding armrest that moves forward 3
inches to accommodate shorter drivers. The armrest
lid features a flip pocket for storing a cell phone or an
features include a flexible 60/40 split-fold rear seats,
tilt steering wheel, dome and cargo lights. In the
standard equipment level, windows and locks are manual and
the 15-inch wheels are steel made.
Caliber SE features include the 158-horsepower 2.0-liter
World Engine with the second-generation CVT2 (it comes
with standard anti-lock brakes), six-disc radio with
cassette and MP3 CD play capability, Power Group (includes
driver one-touch power window, power locks, remote keyless
entry and power mirrors), body color liftgate appliqué,
air conditioning, Chill Zone® (an integrated instrument
panel beverage cooler included with air conditioning),
speed control, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Uconnect™
hands-free communication system.
and flexible luggage volume for a compact
Other options include
the trailer tow group, floor mats and MusicGate Power, a
nine-speaker Boston Acoustics premium sound system with
subwoofer that includes two articulating speakers packaged
in the liftgate. When the liftgate is open, the speakers
can swing down from the trim panel to face rearward for
tailgating and other activities.
- The SXT version features the same 148 horsepower
1.8-liter World Engine with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Its standard features add 60/40 rear seats that both fold
flat and recline, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a
dual-purpose re-chargeable/removable interior lamp, map
light, air conditioning, Chill
Zone®, power windows, mirrors and door locks, remote
keyless entry, 110-volt electrical outlet in the centre
console, manual seat height adjuster, floor mats, bright
silver IP bezels and switches.
The Caliber SXT’s
exterior features standard black dual power mirrors,
body-color body-side molding, chrome grille and 17-inch
features on the Caliber SXT include the 2.0-liter World
Engine with the CVT2, and, beyond options offered on the
SE, leather steering wheel with radio control options,
heated seats, power sunroof, fog lamps, 17-inch aluminium
wheels, a Security Group (includes tonneau cover, alarm
and air filtration system) and a Driver Convenience Group
(compass and temperature gauge, universal garage door
opener, electrochromic mirror and tire pressure monitor)
and a Leather Interior Group (leather seats, heated front
seats and manual lumbar adjuster).
Power: when the liftgate is open, the
speakers swing down.
A Sport Package also is
available on the SXT model and includes fog lamps, 17-inch
aluminium wheels and a Sport Appearance Package (includes
cloth seats with colored inserts, color-keyed PRNDL and
instrument panel bezels).
- The Caliber R/T with all-wheel drive features a standard
172-horsepower 2.4-liter World Engine with dual VVT
coupled with CVT2, anti-lock brakes, AutoStick, a
sport-suspension, performance steering and 18-inch
In addition to the
standard features on the SE and SXT models, standard
features on the Dodge Caliber R/T include leather steering
wheel with radio controls, tonneau cover, premium fabric
seats, silver bezels on the instrument panel and chrome
interior door handles.
The Caliber R/T’s
exterior features a chrome grille, body-color lower
fascias, body-color sill moldings, chrome plated body-side
moldings, body-color door handles and fog lamps.
with optional chrome wheels.
The Dodge Caliber R/T
models equipped with all-wheel drive can be specified with
optional 18-inch chrome wheels.
All 2007 Dodge Caliber
models will feature a two-tone interior color theme of
dark and lighter shades of Pastel Slate Gray or Pastel
Pebble Beige. An optional Sport Appearance Package
includes Pastel Slate Gray with red, yellow, orange or
blue seat inserts that coordinate with the exterior color,
centre stack and shifter bezels.
Full model details,
specifications and pricing for markets outside North
America will be released ahead of the vehicle’s launch
in each respective market.
- The Dodge Caliber is produced at the
newly refurbished Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant. The new
four-cylinder World Engines vehicle are built in the
state-of-the art Global Engine Manufacturing Assembly
(GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan. GEMA is owned equally by
DaimlerChrysler Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai