Dodge casts a wide net; its vehicles cover the automotive spectrum, everything from small and mighty to big and, well, mightier. The 2012 model year brings a host of lineup changes to two of the company’s most notable models, the Caliber and the Challenger.
The 2012 Dodge Caliber
This year, Dodge has decided to simplify the five-door Caliber line, replacing last year’s Express, Heat, Mainstreet, Rush and Uptown trims with the revised and more easily discernable SE, SXT and sporty SXT Plus models.
Packed with modern features, flexible options and a budget-friendly price tag, the new 2012 Caliber SXT is likely to be a particularly popular choice, as it offers the ideal balance of pure performance and penny-pinching value. In equipping the SXT, engineers started with the SE and integrated everything from halogen headlamps and power heated mirrors to folding seats and a Chill Zone™ beverage cooler. To kick things up a notch, Dodge gave the Caliber middle child 17-inch aluminum wheels, an upgraded touring suspension, foglamps, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a flat-folding front passenger’s seat.
The newest Caliber also gets a revised and improved continuously variable transmission (CVT) to accompany its standard 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder World Gas Engine. With the new, smooth-shifting CVT, the SXT inline-four makes a spirited 158 hp and 141 lb/ft of torque and delivers up to 32 highway mpg. The mid-model also comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, which accompany a Brake Assist feature, Electronic Stability Control and a Hill-Start Assist system. All in all, the revised Caliber lineup delivers real value, versatility and “vroom” to the compact end of the Dodge spectrum.
The 2012 Dodge Challenger
The 2012 Challenger four-door has undergone some model changes of its own. The fabled muscle car enters 2012 with SXT, SXT Plus, R/T (itself split into R/T Classic, R/T and R/T Plus) and SRT8® 392 models, all of which carry on the high-style and performance legacy the Challenger has solidified over many years and iterations, and all of which still carry the promise of customization and personalization.
Under their sculpted hoods, the new SXT and SXT Plus trims get a lightweight aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a 305-hp, 268 lb/ft of torque workhorse that delivers world-class performance and an impressive 27 highway mpg. R/T models come screaming out of showrooms with the iconic 5.7-liter HEMI® V8, along with 375 hp, 410 lb/ft of torque and 25 highway mpg. Fuel Saver Multi-Displacement technology allows for increased efficiency by switching from eight cylinders to four as needed.
The Challenger features a second-generation rear-wheel drive architecture with three suspension tuning and high-performance wheel choices. SXT and SXT Plus trims come standard with the Sport-Tuned suspension, aggressive 18-inch aluminum wheels and a Touring Brake Package; the Performance-Tuned suspension with Performance Brake Package is standard on the R/T and available for SXT Plus models, and 20-inch wheels are available on the R/T. A Super Track Pak, available for the R/T, goes a step further, adding 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires, monotube shock absorbers, a three-mode electronic stability control (ESC) system (with “ESC-off” mode) and high-performance brake linings.
Inside, the Challenger offers best-in-class spaciousness, particularly in the rear, as well as class-exclusive five-passenger seating, ensuring that it operates as nicely in your daily life as it does on the track. The impressively refined and modern interior now boasts an available 900-watt, 18-speaker harman/kardon® premium surround-sound system with high-performance GreenEdge® speakers and amps, as well as SIRIUS Satellite Radio, easy iPod integration and Dodge’s innovative Uconnect® Media Center audio systems with Garmin or Premium GPS navigation. SXT Plus models, and R/T models equipped with a five-speed Auto Stick transmission, get sporty new die-cast zinc steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters that bring you closer than ever before with the Challenger’s HEMI.
The 2012 Dodge Caliber and Challenger lineup is getting some big lineup revisions and feature enhancements for the new model year, all of which add up to even better overall value.