• Jun 25, 2007
It's taken about a year and a half to get the Dodge Caliber SRT-4 to market, but by September the newest and smallest SRT vehicle will be available for purchase. Chrysler's turbocharged 2.4-liter world engine will still boast a best-in-class 280 HP and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. All that power to the front wheels will be kept under control by an electronically-tuned brake lock differential that controls throttle, spark advance, and boost, while a Getrag six-speed manual transmission will round out the powertrain. To make sure the Caliber SRT-4 holds the same value quotient of the Neon SRT-4, Dodge is working hard to deliver a stripped-down model at just under $20,000.

When we heard that the Caliber would be FWD and have 300 HP, we were skeptical that such a light vehicle would be able to handle that much grunt being sent to the front wheels. 280 HP isn't a drastically lower number, but Dodge engineers are at least trying to keep the prodigious understeer in check. If Dodge can deliver a budget hot rod under $20,000 that boasts 280 useful horsepower and a road-holding suspension (plus those trick 19" SRT wheels), then the Mazdaspeed3 and VW R32 are going to be in for some stiff competition.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I miss the Neon. It drove and looked better than the Caliber does. They should have just updated it instead of replacing it with this trucklet/SUV/hatchback/PTCruiser abomination. This might wind up faster in a straight line and cheaper than the 'speed3, but I doubt it will handle better. Even if it does, I still wouldn't consider it due to looks and quality. Why must every Dodge vehicle look like and weigh the same as an SUV? If you're going to make a hatchback, make it lightweight and look like a hatchback!
      • 7 Years Ago
      That front end is a bit too subtle. Maybe add a couple of scoops at the very front of the hood, larger headlights, bigger air intake, wider wheel flares.

      The porches under the headlights are just right. Practical, too--you can set a picnic spread there. Wait, make that a few BK value meals.

      Jerry Springer fans, your car is ready! Cheap, ugly, loud. Did I mention cheap? Enjoy!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Anyone who would compare this thing to the R32 might need something to control the understeer between his ears.
      • 7 Years Ago
      haha no they're not in for stiff competition, this car will be awful. Just look at it. It looks like a sick puppy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Can't wait to test drive this model, already drove the speed3 and gti and so far i like the speed3 better. Under 20grand is nice. But reliability, uh oh. build quality, cheap looking interior. We'll see.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i dunno, ive been reading alot of articles on this car by people that actually know what they are talking about and have driven alot of different cars and they all seem to love it. and as for it being ugly, did any of you ever see a wrx? everyone loves those and they are probably, hands down, the shittiest looking cars around.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think I'll still go for the Mazdaspeed if I want a car that doesn't look like crap inside and out.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Exactly. No way will this junk hold up with the 3. I drove a rental last week and all i can say is yuckkk.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I didn't like the speed it felt too strung out and not enough low torque. Plus it's no faster than the old SRT-4.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think it's a good concept, but yeah... the Caliber = as ugly as the devil's face.

        Also, we had one as a rental in New Orleans a few years back, the thing has such an icky tranny (and engine) whine to it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How many of the people here commenting on this car has even driven one? No, not the rental base caliber, but the SRT-4? Since I am on the rental Caliber part, did you know that it had a CVT, so you might have perceived the transmission as slipping or you don't feel acceleration like you do with a regular manual?

      The Calibers I drove are light years ahead of the Neon in NVH and build quality. The SRT-4 can not be judged by the driving dynamics of the other lesser models since the drive line and suspension will be unique to the model.

      The auto manufacturers build what they think will sell. If Dodge wanted to they could focus their budget on touchy-feely stuff like a nice soft dash with pleasing lines that produce a general sense of well being. As for me, I rather want great power and great handling with a unique look. I don’t think this is bad looking: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/dodge-caliber-rally/
      • 7 Years Ago
      Had a regular Caliber as a rental last year... one of the worst things I've ever driven. I would not recommend it to anyone. Ever. And the idea of them putting 280hp into it and some 19s... that's just plain laughable... especially when it was just compared to the 3 and the R32! You guys are funny...
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you think all they do is put in a bigger motor and bigger wheels...you're an uninformed import lover, obviously. I don't think it would have taken an extra year and a half to do that. They have totally tweaked the suspension and other parts to make it competitive in the world market. Now...please think before you open your biased mouth.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This car rocks! It also looks great and will sell very well. All you folks that think all American cars are crap, should just stop posting on here and get a life. The US builds the best cars in the world hands down. This car will beat anything in its class. Also, has anyone brought up the 2nd stage turbo? Add that and it will be in a higher class than it is now. This car weighs a lot because it has a well built frame. If you punish this car it will hold up better than your Civics or Mazdas.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If I had the choice of 3 free cars, R32 would be 1, the Mazda3 would be 2, and the Caliber would be a distant 3. If, however, after options the R32 was $35,000, the Mazda3 was $26,000 and the Caliber was $23,000 the R32 would come in 3rd. I feel very strongly that the R32 will be a far superior vehicle, but the price difference is more chasm than anything and it's more than 95% of all 35 and unders will be able to pay.

      If $35k wasn't a lot of money for me to spend, I wouldn't pick the R32...ever. I can get a T5 S40 AWD for about $4,000 less after incentives and lower overall price and it looks better IMO. I could also get an 08 CTS in a few months for $35k or a G35. $35k for any compact VW is a very hard pill to swallow. The Caliber will be competition not based on 280hp, but on price and 280hp plus 19's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is about time, long delay it seems from concept to reality with the Caliber SRT4.

      http://www.caliberforums.com has some coverage on it as well..
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