The standard 148-horsepower 1.8L four-cylinder engine for the SE and SXT Calibers achieves 24 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, which should make the economy-minded happy. A 2.0L engine is optional on these styles, and boosts power to 158 horsepower. The R/T comes with a 2.4L inline four-cylinder, and is available in either front- or all-wheel drive. It also gets flashy exterior treatment, with 18-inch aluminum wheels, more brightwork, and front fog lights. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE, SXT and R/T in front-wheel drive, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on the R/T AWD and optional on SE, SXT, and R/T FWD models. The new SRT4, with a 285 horsepower turbocharged inline four-cylinder, puts its power to the front wheels through a six-speed Getrag manual gearbox. It rides on standard 19-inch wheels.
Power windows, locks, mirrors, and keyless remote are options for the Caliber SE and standard on the SXT, R/T, and SRT4. Audio upgrades include the Boston Acoustics nine-speaker system with two articulating speakers in the liftgate, an in-dash six-disc CD and MP3 player, and DVD-based navigation. The Chill Zone, an option on the SE but standard elsewhere, is an innovative four-bottle beverage chiller inside the glovebox.
All models but the SE have an air filtration system, leather interior package, and removable flashlight/lamp mounted in the rear headliner. The R/T gets standard performance steering and sport suspension, while the SXT has touring suspension and the SRT4 gets a highly tuned performance setup. Additionally, the SRT4 comes with electronic stability control and electric brake assist. Both the R/T and SRT4 come with standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Standard equipment and options for the R/T FWD and AWD editions are identical except for the number of wheels getting power, the CVT transaxle in the AWD model, and red seat inserts.
All 2008 Dodge Calibers come standard with advanced multistage front air bags, as well as supplemental side curtain air bags front and rear.