Goodbye Neon, hello Dodge Caliber. Dodge's new, entry-level rocker had its close-up earlier this week. With an MSRP of $13,985, including destination, it's actually cheaper than the erstwhile Neon at base, though we'd imagine Dodge will offer a million ways for buyers to boost the price well into the $20,000s. An unusual blend of utility and econobox, the Caliber is no beauty, but it's sorta handsome in the way a well-designed pair of channel-lock pliers look in a toolbox. The model range starts with the Caliber SE, which includes a 148 hp 1.8-liter four linked to a five-speed manual tranny and goes up to the R/T (don't get excited, it's not Hemified), which gets a 172-hp 2.4-liter four with dual VVT, continuously variable CVT2 transmission with AutoStick, anti-lock brakes, sport-suspension, performance steering and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
First Calibers Roll Off the Line [internal]