2008 Dodge Caliber Owners Manual – 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 more significant 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.
2008 Dodge Caliber Model and Price
The 2008 Dodge Caliber offers a choice of four models, all with four-cylinder engines. A 148-horsepower 1.8-liter is standard in SE and SXT, a 158-hp 2.0-liter is optional for SXT, a 172-hp 2.4-liter is standard in R/T, and the SRT4 has a 285-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter. The 1.8 is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 2.0 comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The 2.4 is available with the five-speed manual in the front-drive R/T and the CVT in the all-wheel-drive R/T. The SRT4 comes only with a six-speed manual.
The SE ($13,925) comes standard with the 1.8-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission. The 2.0-liter engine is optional ($150), and it must be ordered with the CVT automatic ($1000), which comes with antilock brakes. (All NCTD prices are MSRP, do not include destination charges, and can change at any time without notice.)
2008 Dodge Caliber Walkaround
Picture a Dodge Magnum as it might appear in a theme park’s House of Mirrors, and you’ll have a good idea of what the Dodge Caliber looks like. Yes, it’s shorter and narrower and taller (the latter by two inches), but it’s still a station wagon with four doors, five counting the rear liftgate, and it wears all the styling cues of the Magnum.
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The trademark crosshair grille dominates the front end; depending on the model, this is either body color or trimmed in chrome. Massive headlights are notched into the leading corners of the front fenders. A pouting lower lip-like bumper separates the grille and headlights from a slimmer, lower air intake and (uplevel) fog lamps.
2008 Dodge Caliber Interior Features
Step inside the Caliber and the Dodge legacy is loud and clear. If function tops your list of must-haves, this is good. If glitz is your thing, this is less good.
The instrument cluster and center stack are the pictures of efficiency. Gauges are large, round and gleefully legible with black markings on white backgrounds. In the SRT4, the central criterion is the tachometer instead of the speedometer; a change Dodge says it made because the SRT4 is a driver’s car. To the left of the steering wheel in the SRT4 is a turbo boost gauge; this area serves as a small cubby in other models.
2008 Dodge Caliber Driving
Dodge seemingly wants people to consider the Caliber as a downsized Magnum, and to believe this makes it virtually a sporty mini-minivan-cum-compact station wagon. Excellent idea, but the package doesn’t quite do this. Everything it does, it does well, but aside from the SRT4 model, it doesn’t quite achieve the sporty part.