Rider Review: 2010 Dodge Caliber SXT

The car pictured is not the one in which I rode

9w ago

From 2014 to 2020, my Dad had a silver 2010 Dodge Caliber SXT. I'm tremendously thankful that he has replaced it because the riding experience was truly miserable.

I knew nothing about the car when it was purchased and I considered it incredibly cool because it was the first time in my life that our family had purchased a new car. However, as it's appeal waned, I began to notice the yawning panel gaps, the body panels that flexed when pushed, the doorhandles that felt as though they didn't go back into place properly after being pulled, and the rubber bottom of a storage cubby on the dashboard that could be removed far too easily.

Though the front seats were well-bolstered, they were unsupportive and lacked adjustable lumbar. The dashboard buttons looked and felt cheap, especially the radio presets, which were misaligned. Furthermore, the A/C, volume, and tuning dials flexed when rotated and looked tackily disproportionate to the rest of the buttons. Literally everything inside looked and felt cheap.

On the bright side, the Caliber had a feature in the glovebox called "Chill Zone"; a blue slider enabled a cooling feature and the upper shelf was shaped for putting drinks inside. However, the slider was completely unmarked, making it impossible to tell whether the feature was on or off. To make matters worse, the glovebox lid and handle were misaligned, it closed with a horrible sound, and it was shaped in a needless way that minimized storage space. On top of that, cabin storage elsewhere was minimal.

Nothing compared to the awfulness of the rear seats, however. There was plenty of space back there and the front passenger seat folded flat as a footrest, but the footwells were narrow and the seatbacks were flat. That may not sound too bad, but the fixed, thinly padded headrests were angled forward to allow the seatbacks to fold flat, which meant that people over five feet tall had to rest their heads on an uncomfortably sharp point. Dad once had to perform an emergency stop when I was back there and it hurt considerably.

Then there's the center seat, which had no headrest, and the hump in the footwell was taken up by two fixed cupholders, which were too small and shallow to hold any drinks and too inconveniently-shaped to hold anything else. Also, neither of the window switches were labeled or lit, the thick pillars restricted visibility, and the ceiling and the dome lights flexed hilariously. Even worse was getting in and out--the sills were high, the ceiling was low, and the door opening was awfully narrow.

Once on the road, things deteriorated further. The ride was jittery and got harsh over larger bumps, noise levels were excessive, and the engine droned annoyingly.

Overall, riding in the Caliber was uncomfortable and loud, and simply sitting in it made it feel poorly engineered. I am thankful that Dad replaced it with a 2017 Ford Fiesta S sedan, which feels tremendously better in every way.

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