Expensive to fix, but a solid, fun to drive and comfy car
Before I bought my 1998 Stratus, I took it to my mechanic to check it out. He said everything was in decent shape except the head gasket, which would have to be replaced and would cost up to $900 (good think I checked before I bought it!). At this point, I told the dealer that if they would fix that, I would take it. I figured a brand new head gasket and new belts (which they also replaced) would make the car last at least 4 years, which was all I wanted out of it. Very low miles for a 10 year old car.
Since I bought it a radiator hose blew out. The Stratus uses a custom radiator hose with a special metal fitting that had to be special ordered for $90, which is ridiculous. Other than that, minimal problems. The brakes are decent, but it needs new tires, other than that not much has gone wrong.
The car's interior is gargantuan. The interior is comparable to that of an Intrepid or Impala, while the car itself is much smaller. The trunk is huge as well, and everything is comfortable and well-designed.
The 2.4L 4-cyl is plenty powerful for this car and it hits 0-60 in less than 10 seconds, which is decent for an American family sedan. There's not a lot of low-end torque, so you're not super quick off the line, but it gets the job done. As long as your only drag races are against minivans and old Civics, you'll win easily.
Handles excellently, corners sharply. However, it does ride very low, and I've damaged my under-fender spoiler on the front already just from some oversized speed bumps.
The car also looks very modern considering its age. This Stratus design came out in 1995, yet still looks like it's only a few years old.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th August, 2009