Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caliber Leads a Return for the Dodge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caliber Leads a Return for the Dodge

Article excerpt

Byline: By Malcolm Robertshaw

US motor giant Dodge is probably best remembered here for the Charger, a powerful machine which the Dukes of Hazzard raced across our TV screens back in the 1970s.

Perhaps this was because, after Chrysler's takeover of the Rootes Group in the 1960s, the name Dodge appeared primarily in the UK on light commercial vehicles such as Commer or Karrier.

Reintroduced to Europe last year, Dodge is working hard to re-establish the brand with the Caliber hatchback heading the marque's expansion programme into volume markets outside North America, ahead of the Nitro SUV and Avenger Saloon which are about to arrive in the UK.

The Caliber is a compact hatch designed to target models like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, SEAT Leon, Honda Civic, Citroen C4 and Renault Megane.

Three engine options are offered to power this family motor - which claims to boast the capability and versatility of a sport utility vehicle - petrol power coming courtesy of a 1.8-litre 148bhp 16-valver and 2.0-litre 154bhp Autobox CVT.

There's also a 2.0-litre 138bhp diesel, while trim levels are S, SE, SXT and SXT Sport.

Standard kit is generous, the entry level S model coming with ABS braking and Traction Control, remote central locking, front and side curtain airbags, single-shot electric windows all round, powered folding door mirrors, CD sound system, illuminated cupholders and 12-volt power outlet.

The SE model adds flexibility in the shape of 60/40 split rear seats that fold flat and recline, a fold flat front passenger seat which can double as a table, retractable cargo cover, glovebox cooler, map reading lamps and air filtering. The tested Caliber 2.0-litre diesel model also gets the Electronic Stability Program to help keep the driver on the right track.

Driver, passengers and their assorted stuff are well looked after with efficient and flexible occupant space.

Head, shoulder and legroom are in good supply within a well laid-out cabin. With all seats taken, a generous 525 litres of stowage space is available in the boot, while, with the rear seats folded, the cargo area extends to 1,360 litres. …

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