The Caliber SRT4 performance model has a completely different character than the other models, with a peaky 285-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter. The SRT4 is capable of dashing to 60 mph in around six seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph. With its upgraded brakes it can haul down from 60 mph in less than 125 feet. Along with various more aggressive styling cues and a more raucous exhaust, a reconfigurable "Performance Pages" trip computer is standard on the SRT4.
In SE, SXT or R/T form, the Caliber has good performance compared to other small cars in this class--especially when equipped with the R/T's 2.4-liter engine, which provides a little extra power but doesn't sacrifice much in the way of economy.
Interior features are the Caliber's strength. Base SE Calibers come quite simply equipped, but SXT models load on a wide range of popular features, such as alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, power windows, air conditioning and cruise control--for a price that's only slightly higher than the SE. SXT models also bring the Chill Zone beverage cooler, a rechargeable flashlight system and AC household-type power outlets. Then R/T models, in addition to sportier cues like fog lamps, a sport suspension, and chrome and blackout trim, add Boston Acoustic speakers and a subwoofer, heated front seats and other extras.
In either SXT or R/T trim, the Caliber can be loaded with options that aren't usually available on a mid-size sedan, let alone a small hatchback. Examples include the MusicGate tailgate speaker system and Chrysler's UConnect connectivity suite. The system has been expanded for 2009 to include UConnect tunes, which utilizes a 30-gigabyte hard-drive system for music, photos, or movies, and UConnect GPS, which combines those features with calling capability, navigation features, and real-time traffic functions. It's all controlled through a voice-command system or touch-screen. Chrysler's UConnect Web internet service is also offered as a dealer-installed accessory.