Boasting a firmer suspension, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and some added appearance and cabin bling, the 2012 Dodge Caliber SXT represents the priciest trim in the Caliber lineup. Besides 47.4 cubic feet of total cargo room, a standard rear spoiler and heated power-adjustable mirrors, this 5-passenger, 5-door compact hatchback sports a chrome grille, body-color exterior trim moldings, 17-inch painted alloy wheels, premium cloth upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat, reclining rear seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat. Of course, air conditioning and the touted cooled beverage container are delivered aboard this top-shelf trim, while cruise control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and tilt-wheel steering also come standard. Entertainment, finally, comes via a 66-watt audio system boasting Uconnect voice-activated convenience, an MP3-capable single-CD player, 4 speakers and satellite radio.
Options-wise, the 2012 Caliber SXT remains eligible for upgraded Uconnect infotainment, with Bluetooth hands-free calling, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, rear-seat DVD entertainment and a 30GB hard drive. Additionally, navigation and a power sunroof can be delivered as standalone options.
Package-wise, the available Driver Convenience Group comes with heated front seats and a universal remote garage door opener, as well as a vehicle information center and a 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Finally, a pair of available Security Group packages offers, in the more elaborate selection, daytime running lights, front side-mounted airbags, remote engine start, a remote antitheft alarm and a trailer wiring harness.
Standard power in the front-wheel-drive-only (FWD) 2012 Caliber SXT remains a 2.0-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) inline 4-cylinder engine. Under the management of the marginally reworked CVT, this mini-hatchback will put out 158 hp and 141 lb-ft of torque, with mileage estimated at 23 mpg city/27 highway. Towing, meanwhile, remains maxed out at 1,500 pounds when this little hatchback is properly equipped.
Standard safety features in Dodge’s midlevel compact hatchback include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front head restraint whiplash protection and front and rear head airbags. Front fog/driving lights are standard, as well, with either of the available Security Group packages offering some extra safety equipment, along with an available remote antitheft alarm.