In the mood for crude? Your ship is in. The SRT-tuned Caliber has the unsophisticated feel of something amateurs created under a tree with hand tools. It's quick but terminally quirky. Consider: The world-class torque steer. A suspension that hops the whole car airborne over bumps. A throttle that hangs open when you lift off the gas. Criminally heavy steering and shifting. An underhood presentation showcasing the latest plastic molding advancements.
I did admire some facets of this jewel in the rough. The boost gauge, red-stitched front bucket seats, leather-wrapped wheel, and simulated carbon-fiber shift boot are delightful. The sound system rattled my ears free of waxy buildup. And there's a commendable amount of bang here for not many bucks. The truth is, cars like this are about to disappear, so this may be your last opportunity to scratch your itch for crude.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor