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2010 Dodge Caliber R/T Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Dodge, Test Drives

Dodge set its eyes on the small car market a long time ago and was very successful at providing decent transportation at a time when Japanese competitors were really kicking some butt. With the latest Dodge Caliber R/T Dodge attempted to do it once again in a very competitive market and slower economic state.

The new 2010 Dodge Caliber R/T that we had a chance to evaluate was a very simplistic vehicle. With its supple ride and no-thrills performance it provides your basic transportation for those who do not seek the finer things in life. Instead, if you look for simple movement from point A to point B then this is your ride.

We attempted to find something exciting about the Caliber R/T especially since it has the moniker “R/T” slapped on the back of it. Usually when we think of Dodge R/T badged vehicles we get something a bit more exciting over the base model or maybe styling that sets it apart from the rest of the line-up. The Caliber R/T only does this in a couple areas such as the 18-inch chrome wheels and accents. Otherwise, there is really not much else to write home to momma about here.

The 2010 Dodge Caliber R/T is powered by a 172hp/165 lb-ft of torque 2.4-liter 4 cylinder and the power is delivered to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The 2.4-liter is a decent engine but it does not have a good partner in the department of the CVT transmission to work with although it is an improvement over the standard Caliber 2.0-liter. The CVT in the Caliber does not mesh very well with the engine leaving you out of a prime power band for longer than expected which in return does not make the Caliber the fastest thing on your street. Otherwise, jumping into traffic from a standstill requires a little skill on the driver’s part. The CVT transmission in the Caliber is not as performance oriented as those from other makes such as Nissan.

Outside of the 2010 Caliber R/T you will find just a tad of excitement with the flashy chrome wheels and polished exhaust tip. Don’t get all excited on me yet. The rest of the styling is a notch above a normal Caliber but to many it’s just another one of those “neat” little cars on the road.

Where the 2010 Caliber R/T shines is the list of standard features for a starting price of $20,555 and the option of completing the list with items you really want. You get a built-in media center radio system and SIRIUS satellite radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a chill-zone for your drinks as standard equipment. Unfortunately, in the department of safety, electronic stability control, brake assist and seat-mounted airbags are part of an optional package. Our test vehicle came equipped with this ‘preferred’ package which added to the enjoyment of the Caliber R/T. To double our fun, the customer preferred package included a 30GB hard drive media center with a 6.5-inch color LCD display, GPS navigation, iPod control, leather seating and power sunroof. I must admit, to a certain degree, the stereo/entertainment system was the most exciting thing about the Caliber R/T.

The fit and finish of the Caliber R/T was okay. Chrysler still needs to do some work with the way things feel such as the blinker. Click the blinker and you think you are going to break it. What is good about the interior of the Caliber is they used plastics in a manner as to make them appear no-so cheap. The chrome accents around the cluster and lighted cup holders add to the interior styling. The Calibers close relative, the Jeep Patriot, may be a better alternative for those wanting a bit more styling but Jeeps are supposed to be rough around the edges which is an excuse the Caliber R/T can’t really use.

Copyright: 2010


Price: Base R/T $20,555 As-Tested $26,730
Type: Compact Wagon
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Small Station Wagons


Length: 173.8 in.
Width: 68.8 in.
Height: 60.4 in.
Wheel Base: 103.7 in.
Ground Clearance: 7.7 in.

Front Head Room: 39.8 in.
Front Hip Room: 52.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.4 in.
Rear Head Room: 38.9 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 53.4 in.
Rear Hip Room: 49.6 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.8 in.
Rear Leg Room: 35.7 in.
Luggage Capacity: 18.4 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 47 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 4
Base Engine Size: 2.4 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 172 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 165 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4400 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 1500 lbs.
Drive Type: FWD
Turning Circle: 37.2 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.6 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
CVT: 21 mpg / 25 mpg / 23 mpg
Range in Miles:
CVT: 285.6 mi. / 340 mi. / 312.8 mi.


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