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Old 08-07-2007, 09:08 AM   #1
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Focus SES vs. Dodge Caliber

OK - I know alot of you here are going to get emotional about this one - if you're already getting wound up to defend the beloved Focus save your breath/fingers - I don't need to get scolded I want honest-to-goodness opinions here. Maybe some of you recently ran these up against one another to buy...

I'm looking at a '07 Focus SES Sedan, Auto, Street Appearance Grp, that was a dealer demo. It has about 5K miles on it and I can get it for just under $15K

I'm also looking at an '08 Dodge Caliber, stick, 1.8L, with heated seats and a few other nice amenities incl. satellite radio. I can get into it for just over $16K

I'm seriously having a hard time here - I have poured over the details, done analysis of gas prices and cost-to-own, and still can't decide
My reason for buying is to save $$ - 60mi commute daily is costing over $100 a week in my current vehicle.
Gas - FF=30mpg CAL=26mpg
Styling - CAL wins... focus is an old design being redone for '08
Resale - CAL wins... same reason as above and '08 vs. '07 model year
Driving Experience - FF wins, much tighter on the road
Amenities - CAL wins, sat radio, better storage, etc...
Roominess - FF wins in legroom, but CAL wins in storage

There are many others - chime in and give me your thoughts... Thanks.


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Old 08-07-2007, 09:17 AM   #2
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From a purely practical standpoint, I think the Caliber wins.

I think the main qualms most will have with the Caliber are looks and "non-sportiness", if you will. In your opinion, the Cal wins on styling, so no problem there, and since this is purely a commuter, sportiness most likely becomes somewhat less important. The Cal is brand new and has better features. The Focus has 5k on the clock. Also I've heard of a lot of problems cropping up in the 07MY. Several members on this board have complained about getting lemons -- all the more reason not to buy a vehicle already 5k into its warranty.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:23 AM   #3
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Is there a particular reason you're limiting the comparison here? If you're not so wound up on the badge but are looking for a reasonable vehicle to use every day, there are a number of options.

I'm also wondering if you're set on a new vehicle. If I were looking for a reasonable car to drive every day and save some cash, I might look hard at a used ~2003 Focus, depreciation makes it a great buy, insurance isnt as bad as a Civic, it's better to drive than a Corolla, and it's not Korean - or if being Korean doesnt bug you, have you looked at an Elantra? Supposed to be real good value for money.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
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Actually I've heard that Korea has one of the highest quality standards of any country, including the US.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:46 AM   #5
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bacarl - thanks for the objective response, agreed on the non-sportiness ride of the CAL, but I hadn't seen the issues here on '07's - something I'll research, thank you.
SVT - I should have pointed out that I'm pretty set on buying American, so that's the main limiting factor. Other limiting factors and the buy new vs. used factor both are attributable to the employee pricing I get on all Dodge (also jeep & chrysler) vehicles. So I started looking at them new - however the focus made the cut because it is such a popular car - I lived in the EU for a while and was impressed with Focus' popularity and ability to compete in that market. Also, with the miles I pile on (25K+ a year) I wanted to be under warranty.
Blackjack - again, I'm tried n' true red white and blue. Korea won't do.

Keep em coming folks - I appreciate the replies
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:12 PM   #6
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Well, I'll respect your opinion there, though I have a little trouble with it.

I havent heard much good or bad about the Caliber, but I was originally a Dodge guy, so I have a soft spot for them. Interestingly enough, the chassis (and I think the drive train?) were a joint operation between Chrysler and, what, Mitsubishi and Hyundai? A couple of the Asian marks, the Caliber was new news when I got out of the Dodge a couple years back, my info is old.

What about a Jeep Compass? Same car more or less, but looks better if you ask me.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:26 PM   #7
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Love the jeep - but the compass isn't cheap enough - I'm on a mission... :) Cheapest car I can find!
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:38 PM   #8
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Drove a Calibre...I noticed that it feels a lot smaller inside than it really is. I was also disappointed that cruise was $500 option and the base models didn't come with a tach. Still, it rode nicely, the 1.8l had surprising jump for such a little motor, and it really was bigger than it looked. Plus IMHO it's better-looking than the '05-up Focus.

If I'd been able to order it - like in the old days - as a base model with manual windows, manual tranny, manual seats, am/fm/ cassette, cruise, tach, and the R/T 2.4l, I'd be driving one today. Possibly the same for the Focus if I could get a ZX/3 with the same equipment and a 2.3l.

It's a shame that base models + stand-alone options are going the way of the dodo bird.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:38 PM   #9
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You've already made your choice.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:34 PM   #10
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"Gas - FF=30mpg CAL=26mpg"

FF=2.0L CAL=1.8L

Kinda one sided to me. Plus there's always more options in the aftermarket dept for an 05-07 Focus.
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