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First look: Dodge gets high with Caliber

Global Dodge: Caliber will be aimed at international markets like Australia.

Caliber concept previews entree to Dodge's possible 2007 Australian line-up

1 Mar 2005

CALIBER is Chrysler Group’s first Dodge to be aimed at a global market.

As such, the small five-door hatch concept - revealed at February's Chicago show – is expected to morph into a production car that may form part of an all-new Dodge range when the brand is relaunched Down Under in 2007.

As the fifth largest nameplate in the US with a 6.9 per cent market share, Dodge will use production versions of models like Caliber to enter large-volume sales segments in Europe next year.

Although Chrysler Group officials stress the Caliber, as well as the passenger car-based Nitro SUV also revealed in Chicago, are strictly concepts, they say both models preview the design direction of future Dodge models for international markets.

"With its bold styling and clever packaging, Caliber is pure Dodge," said Trevor Creed, senior vice president - design, Chrysler Group.

"This concept is a new slant on one of the world’s most competitive segments. The Dodge Caliber concept brings emotion to the C-segment sea of sameness and strongly hints at the future direction of Dodge in the global car market." Smaller and more utilitarian than Chrysler’s own 300C premium sedan due for release in Australia late this year, Caliber combines a coupe-like profile with the stance and functionality of an SUV in the small car category.

Painted in Sunburst Orange, the concept is 4414mm long, 1743mm wide, 1534mm high and rides on a 2635mm wheelbase. Wide 1520mm wheel tracks and massive 19-inch wheels help fill out heavily flared wheelarches at all four corners.

41 center imageWhile no engine specifications are forthcoming for Caliber, the Nitro SUV concept is powered by Chrysler Group’s existing 157kW/319Nm 3.7-litre SOHC V6 which, mated to a 42RLE four-speed auto, propels the 1867kg SUV to 60mph (97km/h) in a claimed 9.6 seconds. If it reaches production, the five-seater Nitro would be Dodge’s first medium SUV.

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