|Dodge Caliber Concept Car shown earlier in 2005.|
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber will be the first Chrysler Group car to offer a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the new World Engine family of four-cylinder gasoline engines, and a new electronic all-wheel drive system, along with a new 2.0-liter diesel engine.
The combination of the CVT and the new 4-cylinder gasoline engines are estimated to provide a combined 11%–13% improvement in fuel economy over comparable, current-generation systems.
Continuously variable transmissions provide an infinite number of gear ratios, allowing the engine to stay in its most efficient operating range.
The Dodge CVT2 transmission uses two V pulleys and a steel push belt to vary the input speed to output speed ratio instead of traditional discrete gear ratios activated by clutches or bands.
Through the use of electronic controls, the CVT2 provides a 6%–8% improvement in fuel economy compared to a traditional four-speed automatic transmission.
Eliminating upshifts allows the transmission to engage the torque converter clutch almost immediately when accelerating and to keep it engaged throughout speed changes. This eliminates torque converter slippage common in stepped transmissions and results in more efficient operation, especially during city driving.
Optimized gear ratios, especially in the 30–60 mph range, improve passing maneuvers and contribute to a responsive feel. For example, drivers will experience an appropriate rise in engine RPM during acceleration rather than an instant rise to the maximum engine RPM.
Chrysler developed its 4-cylinder family of World Engines with Mitsubishi Motors and Hyundai. With more than a combined US$ 700 million invested in the engine plant, production begins next month. The World Engines are targeted to improve fuel efficiency by five percent compared with the engines they replace.
The 2007 Dodge Caliber will be available with all three displacements in the World Engine family: 1.8-liter (140 hp / 104 kW), 2.0-liter (150 hp / 112 kW) and 2.4-liter (170 hp / 127 kW). For non-US markets, Dodge is offering a new 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine (which is built by Volkswagen).
The 2.0-liter diesel is a direct-injection turbo diesel with high-pressure fuel injection, a variable geometry turbocharger and four valves per cylinder. The injectors are electronically controlled, allowing precise management of each combustion cycle with the optimum quantity of fuel. This system can operate at pressures up to 2,000 bar, leading to finer atomization of fuel, high power and torque and improved fuel efficiency.
The turbo diesel engine is expected to position the Dodge Caliber sold in Europe among the best in its class for power, torque and towing capacity. Maximum power is estimated at 134 hp (100 kW), and peak torque is estimated at 229 lb-ft (310 Nm).
The 2007 Caliber will also offer the first electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system with variable torque output ever offered on any Chrysler Group passenger car. The system works on demand, driving only the front wheels until power to the rear wheels is needed, which optimizes fuel economy. All-wheel drive is also used between speeds of 25 and 65 mph to ensure precise handling during performance driving. All-wheel drive will be available on vehicles sold in North America.