September 18, 2007

Horse 806 - Dodge By Name, Dodge By Nature

The 2007 Dodge Calber. 2.4L V6, 124kW, 4WD. Built with American know-how and some serious gremlins in both the transmission and the ignition.

If you're doing 70mph down the motorway, the car will "forget" which gear it's in and magically just lift. The problem lies in the fact that its continuous variable transmission was developed by Chrysler for a truck and so consequently, the software for fewer gears in a passenger car doesn't quite know what to do at times.
It has push-up-push-down varimatic "sports shift" which is essentially an override to the automatic transmission. I like this very much, as it magically dissolves the problem.

It features big and chunky pillars, which makes the car feel both solid and claustrophobic, often obscuring vision at times. One relies on the correct positioning of the rear view mirrors, but thankfully because Americans are used to motorway driving, they're more polite and will often let you in by just indicating.

The 2.4L V6 is a strong engine with plenty of low-down torque but feels a little wheezy at 60mph. Probably this is to do with the crap fuel that US Cars run on (Only 87 RON - Considering that standard pump petrol at 91RON is Super-Premium here, how would an STI go it it requires 98RON as minimum? They run best on 101RON).

From a styling point of view it looks corporately like its stable-mates the Avenger and the Charger. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be an SUV, or a hatchback or a wagon though. It certainly is not as stated a "Compact" because it's longer and more powerful than a Mazda 6.

Given that Yankee petrol is so cheap, it should have sold well here. The fact that it doesn't is more because, there are bigger and more important gas-hogs here. The Caliber does look tiny on occasion, though in Europe or Australia, it would be a behemoth.

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