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Dodge Caliber aims at Golf

2006-01-13 09:30

Wilmer Muller

The new Caliber was the Chrysler Group's final unveiling at the Detroit Motor Show and it is to become an important product for the American carmaker as it has the task to become a major player in the European and other global markets.

And the Dodge Caliber is heading to South Africa soon too! According to Chrysler's South African marketing head, Guy Franken, the Caliber will hit showrooms in June. It will be sold alongside Chrysler and Jeep products at existing DaimlerChrysler dealerships but will have dedicated floor space.

Franken also described the new Caliber to Wheels24 as a "man's hatchback". "Dodge is a muscular brand and with the Dodge Caliber we are mostly going to target male buyers," he said at the Detroit Motor Show.

This new American hatch will compete against hatchbacks such as the VW Golf, Opel Astra and Renault Megane.

The Caliber will also be sold as a "value for money" car and Franken said that buyers can expect to get a high powered vehicle with a host of standard features for about the same price of a 1600 hatchback.

However, the Dodge is no ordinary hatchback and features crossover styling as it has some SUV design cues too. It is also pumped up with Dodge DNA and appears in your face, powerful and sporty.

The car's bold styling and typical Dodge design elements, such as the prominent signature crosshair grille, gives the Caliber a distinct Dodge face. Yes, in the metal it is easy to spot that the car is the little brother of the intimidating Dodge Ram pickup trucks.

And despite the fact that the Caliber's is Dodge's smallest car it appears strong and muscular.

According to DaimlerChrysler the Caliber will appeal to up-and-coming buyers looking for a compact car that stands out from the crowd and gives them the flexibility to do more in terms of seating friends and storing gear. In short, the Caliber has the versatility and flexibility to accommodate their lifestyle.

It is available with three petrol engines: 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4-litre, while a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine is also on the cards. But it seems as if only the 2.4-litre petrol and 2.0-litre turbodiesel derivatives are destined for South Africa.

The Caliber basically succeeds the Neon as Chrysler's entry-level model but the Caliber looks and appears more exciting and to quote American comedian David Spade, who was on stage at the Caliber's Detroit unveiling, "Anything looks good when you compare it to a Neon."


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