Liked the look of the car. Nice lines; kind of had a small integrated spoiler on the trunk, wider stance thanks to the wider/lower pro ES rims tires. Still got the odd "mom car/grandma car" comments from buddies!
Nice interior, all controls switches had a pretty good quality feel to them like an import. Fairly comfortable on long drives.
Bought it from original owner for only 2500$. Despite the high k's, he was religious with maintenance, and had a record logging everything down to the last oil change!
All ES options but the V6 engine. He ordered it with the 2L four. The car handled very well, very tight feeling, but obviously underpowered a little. That engine I think was the Neon engine for those years, and Neons are very peppy from what I've driven, but the weight difference was apparent.
I didn't buy it to leap off the line, I wanted gas mileage for highway travel, which is where I do 98% of my driving, and it did not disappoint!! Once on the open road, it was willing rev up quite happily, good for 4th gear passing, climbing BC mountain passes, Alberta foothill headwinds etc. Very stable around 160 km/h.
Consistently used 6L gas/100kms doing 120km/h, which I think is very good for a car that is not a little econo-box. I double checked this every road trip (not sure what the manufacturer's # are?).
The reason I gave it a low reliability rating, and the only thing that bothered me about the car, was that once in a while, I would lose power for a split second due to an electrical short of some kind (all lights, gauges etc would cut out for a "nanosecond"!). This started happening a month after I bought it, and became frequent to the point of almost stranding me! It was diagnosed as a cam sensor, fixed and never happened for a year. Came back again, but very random and infrequent (example; it would cut out 3 times in 20 km, and then not again for 3000 kms!!! Frustrating as hell). Not a good feeling when leaving on a 800k trip!! Mechanic said a lady with a 99 Neon had the same problem. I decided to sell.
Too bad. Dad swore by Dodges way back when, but I guess the same can be said for other domestics. That was in the days of slant sixes and no electronic gizmos. My old 71 340 Duster was bulletproof and was tight, but it didn't get 40 mpg either!
I had a couple 87 Sundances, that save for the tank like (yet rough/noisy) 2.2 engine and dirt cheap repairs, they were cheap crap. This Stratus was definitely light years ahead of them.
Maybe it was just one of those things. Maybe some tiny little thing my mechanic overlooked?
The new Dodges look so cool now. I wonder if the quality is even more improved.
From my experience, Chrysler is definitely catching up regarding quality, yet they always seem to have crappy rating in most reviews and consumer guides.