Mama Mia! Alpha-Based Caliber Replacement Spied

By -

2006-Dodge-Hornet.jpgby Patrick Rall

We have known for weeks now that the Dodge Caliber hatchback will be replaced with a new vehicle to make its grand debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Now the first spy shots have leaked, as well as the rumored name of the model. Here’s a hint, it’s taken from the concept above. 


Previously, we had only known that there was a replacement for the
Caliber coming that had heavy influence from Fiat and Alfa Romeo, but
now we have a better look at what to expect when the sheets are pulled
away from the new Dodge C segment vehicle next January.

The
replacement to the Dodge Caliber will be based on a current Fiat
platform that has been stretched and widened for American tastes –
similar to the alterations made to the current US-spec Fiat 500.  This
platform, which is loosely based on the C-Evo platform that is home to
the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, has been named the Compact U.S. Wide or CUSW
for short.  The new C segment vehicle, which in the spy shots looks a lot like the Giulietta,
will be a sedan and hatchback designed to compete with the likes of the
Ford Focus, the Chevy Cruze, the Honda Civic, the VW Golf and the
Subaru Impreza.

giuletta.jpg

We
do not have any indication as to what to expect under the hood of the
Dodge Caliber replacement that hits the Motor City in Detroit next
January, but we can be assured that there will be a heavy dose of fuel
friendly Fiat technology.  Automotive News
reports that Fiat is preparing two new 4-cylinder engine families that
will use turbocharging and direct injection to offer comparable fuel
economy and performance to the other vehicles in the class.  Helping
those engines yield even better fuel economy will be the upcoming 8
speed and 9 speed automatic transmissions along with the new 6-speed
dual clutch automatic transmission.

The new Dodge C segment sedan
will be a huge test for Fiat and the Chrysler Group as this will be the
first vehicle heavily based on a current Fiat European vehicle with
US-friendly drivetrain alterations made to allow the new Dodge to
compete in one of the most competitive segments in the US auto
industry.  Fiat is betting good money on the success of this new CUSW
platform, with a full range of vehicles expected, including new models
for the Jeep and Chrysler brands in the near future.

The big
winner in the American C segment right now is the Chevrolet Cruze which
has even claimed the title of the bestselling car in American in recent
months.  Fiat and Dodge will certainly have their work cut out for them
in improving the popularity of their C segment offering against vehicles
like the Cruze and the aforementioned Focus and Civic, as well as the
Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra.  These are among the bestselling
models in the US for a variety of reasons but the biggest is their
superior fuel economy.  With the Dodge Caliber offering much worse fuel
economy than the current competitors, mpg and performance could prove to
be as important as price and styling.

Oh, and lest we forget,
the new model is likely to be called the Hornet, which is the name of a
hatchback concept from 2006. It’s unconfirmed, but apparently the Hornet was also the
inspiration for the Nissan Cube.

Is Dodge on the right track here? What else do they need to do to make the 2013 Dodge Hornet competitive? Sound off in the forums!

Comments ()