RIP Caliber: Substandard Subcompact Superseded By Dodge Dart

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2011 Dodge Caliber

2011 Dodge Caliber

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Ding, dong, the Caliber's dead.

That news will probably come neither as a surprise nor much of a shame to many of you, as Dodge's baby hatchback hasn't exactly set the market on fire and has been representative of a time before American carmakers cared about making competitive compacts.

Detroit News has revealed that production of the Caliber ended last week, and is set to be replaced by the much more promising 40-mpg 2013 Dodge Dart, due to be revealed in full at January's 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Intended to replace the Dodge Neon, the Caliber attempted to cash in on the crossover boom, but was uncompetitive even against some pretty average rivals.

According to Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics LLP, the Caliber was "the last of the American bottom-feeder compacts," also referencing the previous Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cobalt as "cynical thinking" products.

Hall says the Big Three were wrong to assume that consumers purchasing entry-level vehicles wouldn't know better if the products were sub-par.

Even the tire-smoking R/T model drew no more than faint praise, and Dodge will be hoping the upcoming Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Dart will be better suited to tackle talented new rivals like the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.

Hall expects the Dart to triple Caliber sales, and green-thinking consumers will be happy with a predicted 40 MPG rating from the Fiat 1.4-liter, turbocharged MultiAir engine.

Two other engines handed down from the Caliber will also power the Dart, a 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter. The latter will also carry Fiat's efficient MultiAir technology. A choice of transmissions, both manual and automatic, will be offered.

Chrysler is clearly keen to distance the Dart from its predecessor though, going as far as to market the Dart as having "Alfa Romeo DNA".

For further details on the 2013 Dodge Dart, head over to our details preview.


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