Yep, it's a car. There may be plenty of what might be called Dodge Ram pick-up DNA in the frontal styling of Dodge's Caliber concept vehicle, but despite the big guy front-end looks, this is a mid-sized car.
The Caliber concept is a look at the sort of vehicle Dodge will sell in world markets as it reinvents itself as a global brand. There are echoes of the similarly laid-out but bigger Chrysler Charger in the Caliber's five-door sedan with a coupe-like fastback rear end. But the Dodge designers have gone a step further and deliberately given their car the "stance and functionality of an SUV."
The designers say the Caliber reflects key Dodge brand attributes - bold, powerful, capable and street smart. They aimed the concept, painted Sunburst Orange, at buyers looking for a compact car that stands out from the crowd and gives them the flexibility to do more in terms of seating friends and storing gear. Chrysler Group design boss Trevor Creed says the car is a "new slant on one of the world's most competitive segments. (It) brings emotion to the segment's sea of sameness and strongly hints at the future direction of Dodge in the global car market."
The Caliber wears the new face of Dodge, the signature crosshair grille that accentutates the muscular frontal styling.
Strongly-defined wheelarches house 19-inch alloys and the car's broad shoulders and bulging bonnet give it a powerful stance.
The large headlights have a crystal look, and a black graphic applique runs the length of the roof and melds into an integrated spoiler, creating a coupe-like profile.
Creed says the Caliber's unique glass-to-body proportions give the it a tough, protective presence. C hrome door handles and body-side mouldings add a sense of style and polish.
The Caliber's rear-end styling is equally dramatic. Highlights include a black roof spoiler with centre high-mounted stoplight, the chrome exhaust tailpipe, and large, modular crystal taillights.
Creed says the Caliber's "bold, graphic design and inherent interior functionality shatter the conventional definition of a compact car. It strongly hints at what Dodge can do to appeal to global markets."Caliber clips
How big? Well, though it looks big, the Caliber is about the size of a Holden Vectra. Its 4414mm overall length is 182mm shorter than the Holden's; width is 55mm less, but the Caliber is significantly higher than the Holden. The Caliber is 1534mm high, the Vectra 1460mm.
Dodge sold more than 1.4 million vehicles worldwide in 2004. Its international offering currently include the Viper supercar and the Ram pick-up truck. With a 6.9 per cent market share, Dodge is the fifth largest nameplate in the United States and will arrive in volume in international markets from 2006.Dodge Caliber specifications:
Type. Five-door, five-passenger, hatchbackDimensions:
Front track 1520mm
Rear track 1520mm