UPDATED with comments from Dodge Australia.
Chrysler Australia has introduced a mid-life update for the 2010 Dodge Caliber, featuring a completely restyled interior and a new single-vehicle model structure.
The instrument panel and centre console have a more modern appeal and do away with the sharp, boxy design of the previous model. Chrome highlights and a larger central display screen replace body-colour metal and harsh black plastics.
A padded split-lid central armrest provides extra storage space while the door-trim panels now feature soft-touch materials.
The 1.8-litre engine has been replaced by the carried-over 115kW/190Nm 2.0-litre engine as the new entry-level offering. Teamed with Chrysler’s CVT, the 2.0-litre Caliber returns combined cycle fuel consumption figures of 8.0 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 190g/km.
Chrysler Australia’s Dean Bonthorne confirmed the range-topping 2.0-litre diesel engine and manual transmission have been dropped from the local line-up, as well as the lower-spec SX petrol.
“We’ve consolidated the range down to one model, added the most popular options and made them standard on the SXT,” Mr Bonthorne said.
Standard features on the upgraded Caliber SXT include front and side-curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints, stability control, 18in alloys, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, illuminated cup holders, fold-flat front passenger seat and integrated front and rear fog lamps.
Manufacturer’s List Pricing for the updated 2010 Dodge Caliber SXT starts from $29,990, representing a $1000 price reduction from the model it replaces.
Sales of the previous model Caliber struggled in the first half of 2010. Dodge sold just 77 between January and June, exactly 50 percent fewer than the same period in 2009, although Mr Bonthorne said he was not concerned by the downturn.
The Caliber’s share of the sub-$40K Small segment is just 0.1 percent so far for 2010.