People in the automotive industry, mostly people who make cars, often say "there are no truly awful new cars." Wrong! There have been, are, and will always be bad cars. What's the worst car you've ever driven?
The Dodge Calibert SRT4 was the first car I reviewed for Jalopnik and also the worst. I gave it two stars out of five and, in retrospect, that's probably two stars too many. I've driven some serious crapboxes in my time, but never a vehicle purposefully engineered to be so bad. Let's start with the Caliber itself. Chrysler replaced the Neon with a small car that looked like a fuel-gobbling SUV at almost the exact moment fuel prices ticked up. Better yet, it also wasn't all that fuel efficient given the competition. Genius! I mean, I can appreciate anyone bold enough to build a car only in a five-door hatch in the U.S., but this is where my appreciation ends.
Take all the faults of the Caliber (horrific plastic interior, questionable ergonomics, awkward design) and toss in a 285 HP engine. It takes a lot of work to build a FWD with that much power that works, just ask the people who built the 2010 Ford Focus RS. The Caliber SRT4 doesn't. It's way nose heavy. It's a torque- and under-steering little gremlin and it wants to kill you. Even worse, instead of a real diff theres an e-diff, which uses the brakes to regulate power delivery. Yep, it's as frightening as it sounds.
I've driven countless press cars since and there's never been anything as bad. There's maybe a compliment in there somewhere. I've forgotten a lot of cars I've had the "pleasure" of piloting for a week (ahem, Mitsubishi Galant), but few stick out in my memory.
Search the dark places of your soul and you will know the answer to this question.
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