2009 Dodge Caliber

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22 CITY / 27 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • UConnect Tunes hard-drive radio and UConnect GPS navigation system now offered
  • All-wheel drive (AWD) no longer available
  • SRT4 adds UConnect Tunes, Sirius satellite radio
  • Insulation added and exhaust system tuned to reduce noise
  • Anti-lock brakes (ABS) standard on SXT
  • SXT's Sport package adds MusicGate sound system
  • Minor equipment shuffling in various option packages
The 2009 Caliber, a 4-door, 5-passenger wagon, is Dodge's entry-level model. It replaced the Neon 4-door sedan in 2007, though it is considerably bigger than the Neon. The Caliber is offered in three standard line models, plus the high-performance SRT4 (SRT stands for Street and Racing Technology). With its 285-hp, 2.4-liter turbocharged and intercooled engine, the SRT4 is a pocket rocket in an economy car, capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in the low 6-second range, according to SRT. SRT4 competition includes the Chevrolet HHR SS, MazdaSPEED3, Mitsubishi Evo, and Subaru WRX STI. Non-SRT4 Caliber competitors include the standard-line Chevrolet HHR, Toyota Matrix, Scion xB, and Mazda3 Grand Touring, according to the automaker.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Dodge Caliber model lineup consists of the SE, SXT, R/T, and the high-performance SRT4. All are offered only with front-wheel drive (FWD). The AWD system that was offered on the R/T is no longer available. Standard equipment on SE models includes cloth upholstery; front bucket seats; tilt steering wheel; electroluminescent instrumentation; AM/FM/CD stereo; auxiliary input jack; 60/40 split-folding rear seats; outdoor temperature gauge; and P205/70R15 tires on steel wheels. The SXT adds power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; fold-flat front passenger seat; air conditioning; interior air filter; cruise control; stain-resistant seat fabric; 115-volt electrical outlet; driver's seat-height adjuster; ChillZone cooled glovebox; retractable soft tonneau cover; rechargeable/removable flashlight; and P215/60R17 tires on aluminum wheels. The SXT is offered with a Sport package that includes fog lamps; cloth seats with color-keyed inserts; body-color grille; body-color instrument panel bezels; and Dodge's MusicGate Power Sound system with 9 Boston Acoustics speakers, 6-disc CD changer, Sirius satellite radio, and two fold-down speakers in the tailgate. The Caliber R/T features the items in the Sport package, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; chrome body-side molding and exhaust tip; body-color door handles; performance steering; sport suspension; heated front seats; and P215/55R18 tires.

The Caliber SRT4 has heavily bolstered sport seats; silver trim on the SRT race-inspired instrument panel and shift bezel; leather-wrapped steering wheel; turbo boost gauge; front fascia with functional brake cooling ducts; larger grille opening; functional hood scoop; rear spoiler; UConnect Tunes hard-drive radio; and P225/45R19 Goodyear 4-season tires on aluminum wheels. The SRT4 is also offered with Goodyear F1 Supercar 3-season tires on polished aluminum wheels.

There are four engines available for the 2009 Dodge Caliber family. Standard on SE and SXT models is a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder, dual overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve engine with dual variable valve timing (VVT) that generates 148 hp at 6500 rpm and 125 lb.-ft. of torque at 5200 rpm. Power is transferred through a 5-speed manual transmission, and EPA fuel-economy estimates are 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway. A 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, DOHC 16-valve engine with dual VVT is optional for the SE and SXT. It delivers 158 hp at 6400 rpm and 141 lb.-ft. of torque at 5000 rpm. Power is transferred through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with Dodge's AutoStick manual shiftgate and 6 preset gear ratios; EPA fuel-economy ratings are 23 mpg city/27 mpg highway.

The Caliber R/T has a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, DOHC 16-valve engine with dual VVT that produces 172 hp at 6000 rpm and 165 lb.-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm. It comes with the 5-speed manual transmission or the CVT. With the manual transmission, the R/T gets 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway; with the CVT it gets 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway.

Powering the 2009 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is a turbocharged and intercooled, 2.4-liter, DOHC 4-cylinder engine with aluminum block and heads that generates 285 hp at 6000 rpm and 265 lb.-ft. of torque between 2000-6000 rpm. The engine has an 8.6:1 compression ratio, dual counter-rotating balance shafts, and variable valve timing. Power is put through the front wheels courtesy of a dual-mass flywheel to a Getrag 6-speed manual transmission, through a brake lock differential, and on to the 19-inch front wheels. The SRT4 has a coil-spring, multi-link independent rear suspension, along with specifically tuned dampers and stiffer springs than a regular Caliber, Dodge says. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway.

The 2009 Dodge Caliber comes standard with advanced multi-stage front air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags for both seating rows; inflatable knee blocker; and a tire-pressure monitor. ABS with brake assist is standard on all but Caliber SE models, and torso-protecting front side air bags are available for all models.

In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Dodge Caliber received perfect 5-star ratings for the driver and front passenger in frontal impacts, and for the driver and rear passenger in side crash tests. In rollover testing, Caliber received a 4-star rating. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Caliber earned a \"Good\" rating (the Institute's highest) for frontal offset crash protection, a \"Marginal\" rating for side-impact protection, and a \"Marginal\" rating for rear crash protection.

The 2009 Dodge Caliber SRT4 features a Reconfigurable Display with exclusive \"performance pages\" that shows such gearhead information as lateral and longitudinal G-force, quarter-mile and 1/8-mile time and speed, and 0-60 mph time and distance. Also available are UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS. Both combine information and entertainment features, and UConnect GPS adds a navigation system. Centered on a 6.5-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display with touch-screen capability, both versions use a 30-gigabyte hard-drive and can be controlled with voice commands to manage audio, video, and personalized picture files, and with UConnect GPS, navigation functions. UConnect GPS also offers real-time traffic information and comes with Dodge's UConnect Phone wireless cell phone link.


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