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MSRP Range: $14,965 - $23,350
Fuel Economy: 24 MPG city / 29 MPG highway

New SRT4 model joins lineup.

Introduction
The Dodge Caliber was launched as a 2007 model. For 2008, the high-performance Dodge Caliber SRT4 joins the lineup.

The Dodge Caliber is classed as a compact car, though it's larger than the Neon it replaced. A five-passenger, five-door, the Caliber isn't easily categorized, combining elements from hatchback, wagon and minivan designs. Though very popular in Europe, hatchbacks, especially five-door hatchbacks, have not caught on in American garages. The five-door hatch is a practical design, but most Americans prefer the styling of a traditional sedan with a separate trunk. Maybe that's changing, however. We certainly like hatchbacks.

A choice of four-cylinder engines is available, along with a choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive makes the Caliber a capable winter vehicle.

Relatively affordable, Caliber starts below $14,000 retail, and fuel economy is respectable, achieving 24/29 City/Highway miles per gallon in its most frugal form, according to EPA estimates.

At the other end of the scale, the new SRT4 version has a turbocharged engine generating 285 horsepower. With a starting price of $22,435, it is a performance bargain.

The mid-level Caliber SXT model with the 2.0-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission is among the more enjoyable of the standard models, but the Caliber is no sports car. For driving excitement, the SRT4 is the choice.

The front seats are comfortable, with lots of head room, and there's a large amount of cargo space here. Packaging is functional, with folding rear seats that have an optional reclining adjustment and an optional fold-flat front passenger seat to make room for a ladder or more likely, a surfboard. A couple of innovative options, especially for a car in this price class, are an air conditioned compartment in the glove box to chill water bottles or sodas and a swing-down stereo speaker panel attached to the liftgate that converts the back end to a sound stage for beach parties or tailgating.

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