I'm worried about what is beginning to be called the 2.7 Club. It seems that many people have had their motors blow up unexpectedly or with only very little warning. For the Stratus, this results in a $3,000 to $7,500 repair.
Those with more knowledge than I say that the oil journals for the timing chain are too small. This results in oil traveling very slowly and it ends up cooking into sludge. The sludge then reduces or stops oil flow to the timing chain causing the tensioner to fail. In addition, the sludge gets into the oil pan and is circulated through the engine causing damage to other components due to a lack of oil pressure.
There are two warning signs and one possible prevention strategy. Observing a flickering oil pressure light at idle or sludge build up under the oil filler cap are the two most common warnings. Once the engine begins to tick, it is too late. The prevention lies in the use of synthetic oil. Synthetic is able to handle higher temperatures than natural base oil and can even remove any sludge that has begun.
Other than my worries about something that may or may not happen, the car has been very reliable. It starts instantly, gets good gas mileage, and has respectable performance. Considering that I went to this car from a Mustang 5.0L, that is a compliment.