2010 Dodge Caliber Rush

Usually, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That's not the case with the Dodge Caliber. Take a look at the equipment list of our fully optioned test car, and you'll find almost all of the modern features that today's buyers expect: a sunroof, leather seats, a remote starting system, satellite radio, a 30-gig hard drive to store thousands of songs, an iPod connection, and a nav system. You also get a 158-hp four-cylinder engine mated to an optional continuously variable transmission (a 5-speed manual is standard).

With all of the above, however, the Caliber is not very satisfying to drive. Straight-line acceleration is no more than adequate, and any sort of aggressive driving will not be rewarded. As Rusty observed, it feels like you're driving a much bigger vehicle than the "small station wagon" the government classifies it as. It's high center of gravity, high beltline, and generally clunky styling make it seems more like an SUV than the company's only product that could conceivably carry the "small car" banner.

Having said that, its SUV-ness gives it a decent amount of cargo space behind the front seats to haul things, and the cars higher ride height gives the driver a decent field of vision in heavy traffic.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor

I have a friend who spends 100 days a year in rental cars. He not only reads about cars like you and me, he drives them all. He agreed with me that, hands down, this car was the worst production car, foreign or domestic, that he could name.Cheap plastic interior, groaning CVT, lethargic engine, handling out of an 80s Buick. But you will average about 20 mpg, so that's good. Mr. Marchionne must have scratched his head after driving one of these.
They should call it hush instead, that thing repeatedly finishes last in MT Comparo's all the time.
Do you still bang your right knee on the round piece of plastic under the steering wheel? I sat in a 2006, I had to fight to get in this thing, I bought a Magnum instead, yes that was a mistake.

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