Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dodge Set to Make Big Impact on UK Market

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dodge Set to Make Big Impact on UK Market

Article excerpt

Byline: By Robin Roberts

Those who remember how the Japanese came into the UK market must be very apprehensive about the arrival of Dodge from the US.

Starting with just a very small model base, Dodge has designs on the lucrative UK market which it wants to develop with a full model range in due course.

If the Japanese makers' experience is an indicator, then rivals to Dodge have every right to be worried.

But not for now. The Caliber is the first Dodge car imported in modern times and it shares mechanical features with its parent's Mercedes-Benz brand but it's not a rebodied C or E-class.

It is a big five-door hatchback available with a range of petrol and diesel engines but it has been tuned for European driving tastes and roads.

The equipment level is very good and in this respect represents value for money which is almost unheard of these days, but which was pace-setting when the Japanese arrived in the UK some 40 years ago.

Standard SXT items include powered mirrors and windows, air-con, cruise control, leather upholstery, CD player and a host of safety features including multiple airbags and electronic stability control. A matching European model would cost another pounds 5,000 or more.

The Dodge is also a medium sized car which will take five very easily and its nominal boot space of 525 litres rises to 1,360 litres with the split folding seats dropped.

At the other end, the Caliber's two-litre engine is not so strong a selling point if you are seeking performance. Its acceleration is modest because it is moving 1,560kg but even so it seems tuned for economy at 46mpg rather than outright speed.

It cruises easily on the motorway but takes some time to get there and loaded it drags itself along.

The engine is a willing if slow performer and it becomes noisy when pressed towards its upper limit but it is composed on the motorway and at moderate revolutions. …

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