If you think to buy a new car, the Dodge Caliber may look comfortable and practical, but it has one major fault - poor visibility.
For 2010, the Caliber dropped its high-performance SRT4 model, as well as its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine option. It also employs a new naming convention this year: the trims were changed to Express, Heat, Mainstreet, Uptown and Rush.
The biggest news, is that the Caliber got a completely redesigned interior for 2010, and that work was well-done. If the Caliber's interior is an indication of what the company will do in the future, it's a promising sign.
If you're going straight ahead on a flat, farmland road, visibility in the Caliber is OK. However, if you ever have to turn or move in reverse, you're going to be in trouble.
The pillars block your view of anything and that's a big problem.
The view out the back of the Caliber is the worst, though. Folding the rear seats down helps visibility - marginally.
If the visibility out the car is a huge downside, the interior is now one of the Caliber's strengths. Dodge completely redid the interior for 2010, and that work has paid off.
The whole interior is cohesive. It looks like someone sat down and thought of the interior as a unit, where everything should look and feel similar. All the materials looked to be of decent quality, too.
The Caliber has been all but unchanged on the outside since it debuted, and it's starting to look a bit familiar. It has a lot of Dodge styling touches. It's by no means the best-looking hatch/wagon on the market, but Dodge did a good job making something that has a lot of its styling DNA, but that doesn't look like any other Chrysler product.
Because it's a hatchback, it's natural to expect a decent amount of utility.
Even though Dodge dropped some engines and trim levels from the Caliber lineup, you still have a choice of engine/transmission setups.
The Caliber wasn't designed to be a sports car, but it does get moving pretty well, but it also tends to run out of steam quickly - around 30 mph.
One thing you will have to pay attention to is the amount of road and tire noise, because you'll hear a lot. I think Dodge would be wise to add a bit more soundproofing.
The Caliber gets the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest rating, Good, in its frontal crash tests.
Standard safety equipment includes side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag, in addition to the required front airbags. Antilock brakes are standard, but an electronic stability system is optional on higher trims and not available on the Express (that's the base) Caliber.
As you'd expect from a car with a variety of engine and transmission options, mileage varies depending on what you choose.