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Introducing the Dodge Caliber!
The auto world is abuzz over a new car just recently released. The Dodge Caliber, a five door hatchback replacement for the popular Neon, has finally hit North American showrooms. The wait has been long especially since the last Neons were built for the 2005 model year. Still, judging by the press hoopla and by what the car has to offer, the pause certainly has been well worth it. Introducing, the 2007 Dodge Caliber!
Part of the buzz surrounding any new car introduction is all the speculation that comes with it. Pictures are released, performance information and specifications supplied, and in some cases the pending model hits the auto show circuit first to fuel additional interest. All of these points have rung true for the Caliber as the pre-release build up was percolating for a number of months. On a personal note, I was able to see a Caliber at a recent car show but I couldn’t get near it as there were too many people gawking ahead of me -- such was the interest in the new model. Nevertheless, there are some things about the Caliber worthy of a mention:
Rakish good looks – Dodge’s now famous crosshairs grille is the first thing you notice about the Caliber. Take a walk around the car and you will see that some of the same styling cues found in the Magnum were included with the Caliber.
Maximum driveability – Prior to the Caliber, to find an all wheel drive version of a car of this size meant that only a Subaru could deliver on that promise. Parent DaimlerChrysler, anticipating that the car would be a world seller, had the presence of mind to offer front wheel drive as standard with all wheel drive as an option.
New powerplants – For the first time, a new Chrysler product is available with three different engines. All gasoline powered, the engines range in size from a 1.8L fuel efficient model to a sporty 2.4L engine. No diesels are offered for the North American market just yet, but European Calibers will have that option as they hit the market later this year.
Modern sensibilities – The complaint of many new car owners today is that some models are not keeping up with changing times. However, the Caliber adroitly satisfies those issues: a chilled storage bin is available inside of the glove box handy for holding cold drinks and the interior has been designed to have proper capacity for laptops, cell phones, and MP3 players. Additional “cubbies” as the Dodge sales material calls them, are found throughout the car.
Like the Neon, the Caliber has also been designed to hold five adults. Beyond that, there is absolutely nothing in common between the two models, exactly what DaimlerChrysler had in mind.
Prices for base models are competitive with Toyota’s Corolla, but fully loaded all wheel drive versions will market in the same price range as a Camry or a Honda Accord. Therein rests a problem that DaimlerChrysler will have to quickly remedy: offer a second cheaper priced entry level model to bring in young buyers. Fortunately, the latest Dodge Buzz has talk of a Mexican built Scion fighter showing up within the next three years.
Yes, the Caliber certainly is a departure from the Neon, a welcome one at that. Should unit sales match all of the hype, then DaimlerChrysler will truly have a winner on its hands. Here’s betting the good money on the Caliber!
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