While you may either love or hate the looks, the hood and nineteen inch wheels certainly attract attention. It was easy to drive around town, the turbo spooled quickly and the exhaust note was present but not annoying. A suspension that hops the whole car airborne over bumps. Front side airbags and stability control are part of the Security Group package. Good enough to send the Caliber down the 1320 in only 14. The Mopar engineers have done an excellent job transforming the this plus sized traditional two box hatch into an extremely aggressive pavement pounder. If straight line speed is what you crave, this is just what you are looking for.
The MacPherson strut front suspension had new suspension knuckles and tuned dampers with revised spring rates, along with unique front and rear sway bars. An underhood presentation showcasing the latest plastic molding advancements. A pointless feature in my eyes. The six-speed manual transmission had a dual-mass flywheel made of two flywheels sandwiching internal springs, tuned to reduce noise and vibration. It has power when you need it regardless of which gear you are in. All the available engines are inline-fours. The red accents continue with the shift boot and steering wheel.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer In the mood for crude? Absolutely incredible and always on the edge. Criminally heavy steering and shifting. For the record, that engine—a 285-hp, turbocharged 2. The high curb weight and center of gravity demand a lot from the tires, and without a limited slip differential it can be hard to extract all of that performance—unless you're in a burnout contest, that is. The only problem in this case is that the basic Caliber is far from a good starting point. You can buy those from Mopar.
It is wider than the standard model and features a stepped design that not only continues the lines of the Mopar, but also channels the air that does manage to get underneath the vehicle into the rear diffuser creating even more grip for the high-performance Caliber. That is a serious bargain for the amount of performance you get. Unlike other Calibers, the shifter had a lift ring to engage reverse, and a leather-finished shift knob. Thick A-pillars, high side windows, and a small windshield create an uncomfortably claustrophobic atmosphere in the cabin. It didn't feel nearly as quick as the horsepower ratings would suggest, due in part to the high curb weight and the lack of useful traction in first gear.
In the 2003-2005 model years, more than 25,000 were sold — far more than the projected 7,500 per year. The car did exhibit torque steer which is to be expected from any front wheel drive car with the Calibers helping of horsepower and torque. The block was specially machined for increased water and oil flow. The crankshaft also used tri-metal bearings for durability. The German built hot hatch features a more refined interior, but comes at a higher price, and none of the competitors offer as much cargo capacity. On the day of the autocross I loaded up the car with my helmet, painters tape, beef jerk, and water. I'm not really sure who personifies the market for this high-powered quasi-trucklet.
The plastic is cheaper than that of most toys, the engine is buzzy, and the ride lacks refinement. Robots made necessary tool changes automatically, within cycle time, in about 45 seconds. The truth is, cars like this are about to disappear, so this may be your last opportunity to scratch your itch for crude. The free-flow exhaust had two catalytic converters — one immediately downstream from the turbo, and another further along the 3-inch single-pipe exhaust system. Aside from being functional the seats are also stylish. As I followed Tom down I-95 the ride was smooth, the ac was cool and the wind noise was low.
The power plant is actually a product of the Global Engine Manufacturing Association. The hood is another muscular touch, not only is made out of aluminum for weight savings, but the forward facing scoop and vents on either side hint at the bygone days of classic Mopar muscle cars. Dampers were shortened to provide some of the jounce travel lost in the lowering. A throttle that hangs open when you lift off the gas. Unique cast pistons were cooled by oil squirters; forged connecting rods with tri-metal bearings helped reliability. Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive Engine: 2.
Interior Impression The seats are the first thing that you notice, and feel, when you get into the car. If this depreciates like most Dodge products it may be a steal on the used car market. I was impressed with the sound system which featured a quick release subwoofer and fold down speakers on the rear hatch. It was pretty much a point and shoot affair with wheel spin. Equal-length halfshafts, along with wheel hubs and bearings, were sourced from mid-size cars. I did admire some facets of this jewel in the rough.
It spun the tires and plowed a bit when pushed but overall there was no excess body roll or twitchiness in transitions. Consider: The world-class torque steer. Again this is a departure from what I am used to with my cars. A large integrated spoiler above the rear glass is tuned for smoother air flow and lift reduction. Paint could be black, sunburst orange, silver, and red.