2006 Dodge Stratus SXT 2.7 V6 from North America

Summary:

Money well spent

Faults:

Dodge should have gone with a better brake design. It always seems like they are pulsating.

Control arms had to be replaced at 98,000.

General Comments:

I really like this car, it has been extremely reliable for me and my family. It is very comfortable and roomy. My last car, a Chevy Malibu (We'll talk about that disaster in a different review) seemed to be about the same size, but had way less interior space than my Stratus.

I am finding out that the 2.7 engine has gotten a bad rap, but this car has never left me stranded anywhere and I have never had any mechanical problems with the engine at 130,000 miles. It's smooth, quiet, responsive, and good on gas. I have gotten 30mpg on the highway with this car. I just change the oil every 3000 miles with synthetic.

Handles very well in all weather. We live in Michigan and this car goes through snow very well.

Paint still looks good, and I actually still get a lot of compliments on what a nice looking car it is.

The only real expensive issue I have had were the control arms. The Dodge dealership was very pleasant to deal with though. My son will be driving soon, and I will hand this car down to him because I know I can trust it. Then I can buy my Charger that I've been wanting for a while now :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2010

2006 Dodge Stratus LX V6 from North America

Summary:

Not the worst, but not the best value for the money

Faults:

The brakes are terrible. Just bad design; nothing to be fixed at the shop, really.

General Comments:

I rented this car for a week, but did not buy it. I am/was considering purchasing a car. I've owned an older Dodge before (1987 Lancer) and I'm still driving an even older Mercedes now (1984 W123 series coupe). I like some of the new offerings by Dodge, so when I had the chance to rent one I did.

The quality and variety of the Dodge lineup improved notably since the K-Car era of the eighties, which doesn't say much to those of us unfortunate enough to have owned one of them. However, the interior components of the Stratus were much more durable and better arranged than in the (dodgy) Dodges of old. The association with Daimler-Benz might have paid some dividends after all. I have to wonder, though, how much longer Dodge can improve now that Daimler gave Dodge the axe after another year of billion-dollar losses.

Whatever improvements might have been bestowed upon the Stratus by Daimler-Benz, brakes are not one of them. The brakes on the Stratus are terrible! Drums in the rear and weak discs up front make for a very spongy stop, requiring extra distance in the California wine country hills where I drove the car nearly a week. The rotors were also slightly warped (at 29k miles), as evident from the mild shaking that occurred during braking at highway speeds. The brakes on my last Dodge did the exact same thing at a similar mileage point - not sure why Dodge chose the braking area to save some money on cost, but it's the wrong place to do it.

On the plus side, air conditioning is quite good, engine power is adequate, and cargo space is about expected for a car of this class. Road noise, however (not noise from the engine, just ambient tire, wind and other noise) is high, though it may be expected in a car at this price point. Nevertheless, the car felt chincy the more I drove it. Of particular annoyance is the habit of American cars like the Stratus to have doors with some cheap spring in the hinge, causing the door to bounce back and hit you in the face when opened from the inside. The purpose of this spring is to hold the door open, but it's useless and ought to be eliminated. The Japanese don't do it; neither should the USA.

I would have to compare a similarly priced Toyota or Honda to see if improvements could be made in this price range. Though I think the Stratus is a good value, there are probably better cars for the money and the Stratus probably wouldn't be my top choice. This isn't easy for me to write - I really want to start liking American cars again enough to buy them. (I mean real American, not "Japanese built in Ohio American")

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th August, 2007