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Dodge Stratus

L8_ApexL8_Apex Posts: 187
edited July 2019 in Dodge
Welcome to the continuation of the Dogde
Stratus/Plymouth Breeze Experiences
topic. Those
of you joining us from that topic are welcome to
continue your discussion. I dropped the Breeze
from the title because, well... the Breeze is being

If you're new to this topic, you may want to
follow the above link for additional archived


Sedans Host


  • For people entering a Stratus/Cirrus board for the first time, I'd like yot to know that there is a website that has a more extensive discussion on these cars from performance to trouble shooting. Also there is a company, that sells performance parts for Stratus and Cirrus models from 95-'01. Check out my website below.
  • I put my brand new 2000 Stratus SE through my regular car wash a few months ago, and the metal strip under all four windows discolored, turning purple and green. My friend has a Plymouth Breeze and it's the same. Is there a cleaning product out there that will take out the funky colors?
  • I own a 96 Stratus, 2.4l auto 65k miles. We bought a 2000 Caravan and are currently marketing the stratus. One potential customer really like the car but wanted her mechanic to check it out. I gladly agreed because it has been a great car and I had nothing to hide. Much to my surprise, the mechanic pointed out an oil leak on the back of the head where in meets the block and a broken trans mount. The trans mount doesnt bother me near as much as the head gasket leak. Now I am hearing rumors of a history of head gasket problems. Can these rumors be confirmed? What does it take to correct the problem? Also, when should the timing belt be replaced and are there other recomended parts that need replaced with the timing belt?
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Chrysler does have a design flaw concerning the head gasket on their 2.0 liter and 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engines built between 95-98. The problem more centers on the 2.0, but there has been problems with the 2.4 as well. The only way to correct the problem is to have the head gasket replaced with their new design. Chrysler supposedly warranties the gasket on the 2.0 for 100,000 miles, which your car falls under, and will fix it for $100. I'm not completely sure whether this warranty is extended to the 2.4 as well. Just go to the dealer and inquire about it. If you don't get a satisfied answer, call Chrysler directly. Let them know you just bought another of their products and I am sure they will want to keep you a satisfied owner. The timing belt should be changed at 105K I believe. So you are fine in that area. Hope this helps you out some. Good luck.
  • slockoslocko Posts: 109
    that has happened to me twice. both times the dealer replaced some sort of ac fitler that accumulates mold. don't remember exactly what it was.
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    one! How long have you had the car, how humid is your locale and how often do you use the A/C?

    If I may ask!

  • There is no filter,it´s called "evaporator". The bad odor happens to many cars,it happens when the "evaporator" gets contaminated by smog and pollution.
  • we have a 97 Grand Caravan that has a stinky ac, live out in the boonies with low humidity, smells like a musty basement, yeech.
  • Car is in great shape. See my ad in the marketplace. 9200 miles. Only driven on weekends. Color: Deep slate, 6 cycl 2.5l, alarm system, ABS, dark gray (agate) leather seats, power driver's seat. $14,500.

    I have to say I'm glad I bought the car despite some not so favorable reviews. The car hasn't given me one bit of trouble over the 2 years. So why am I selling? Well, I got that new job and I'm buying my bimmer.

    If interested e-mail: [email protected]
  • Do anyone out there have any maintenance horror stories? I'd like to compare notes.
  • slockoslocko Posts: 109
    It happened to me like 2 months after I had the vehicle. I never use the vehicle much, but maybe it got contaminated during my trip to washington dc!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think evaporator was the term used. I don't remember if they cleaned it or put some sort of deodorizer.

    After those two incidents it hasn't happened again. I also have had 3 blown amp fuses in the 3 years I owned the vehicle. Dealer can't find any reason and suspects it might have been the cellular cigarette adapter but I doubt it.
  • robnjrobnj Posts: 11
    The stinky A/C problem is common, especially if you park the car in a garage. The mold grows better in the damp garage. You can try to turn the fan on high and suck in some Lysol through the outside vents (turn off recirculate).
    The best fix is through the dealer. They have a wand they use that gets down into the A/C system and shoots the disenfectant right in there.
    The problem will come back, but I found a way to postpone it a little. For the last 2 miles of my trip I turn off the A/C and leave the fan on. I am trying to get the condensation off the evaporator. Since I have been doing this, the problem has not come back. I usually only do this on the way home, when it would sit in the garage overnight.
  • robnjrobnj Posts: 11
    I saw a post about someones window molding turning blue/purple. I have had this happen. Similarly, the mirrors will get a white film on them. You can remove both by using a good cleaner wax. Unfortunately, this is the only solution I know of. There is a TSB on the mirrors, but all it says is to tell the customer to use a wax product to clean it off. Not a big help there.
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    Gel-Gloss to remove oxidization from all the exposed black trim. It leaves behind a very clean surface with no swirl and no clouding (completely non-abrasive). It's available in most hardware and marine products stores.

    After they're stripped, the surfaces get a paste wax sealant. At that point, they look virtually brand new.

    I find I have to repeat the treatment about every eight to ten weeks; more frequently if I go to a conventional carwash. Whatever they use in those carwashes, it leaves behind splotches that annoy me no end. But sometimes, when you run out of daylight...

    Works on our '98 Caravan SE as well.

  • my daughter drives my 97 stratus at college - she reports that ocassionally while going up a hill she presses the accelerator and the engine revs to high rpms and the car doesn't go for a moment then grabs and goes on. dodge recall 21-07-98 had a recall in l998 for this problem. has anyone else had this problem?

    Also tsb 750 concerns front lower control ball joints. I had the right side one fixed at my expense. I received no recall on this problem. My service manager told me to get the vin # and he would see if that numbered car was on the recall list. so I'm going to do that. has anyone else had this problem?
  • We have a 1997 Stratus, ES with the 2.4L engine. The timing belt, well actually the idler pulley went at 43,000. We now have 53,000 miles on the car and we will be having a new head gasket put in early next week (first week of Oct.). The two dealers that I spoke to in our area didn't mention anything about an extended warranty on the 2.4L's. If anyone has gotten Chrysler to pay anything for their head gasket, please let me know at [email protected]
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Yes I noticed that sort of lack of response with the subsequent 'Oh did you want a down shift?' reaction from the transaxle. But I passed it off as a symptom of a cheap car since it was a rental.
  • leo70leo70 Posts: 1
    Hello, Im in the market right now for a used car. Earlier today, I visited a dealer in my city to look at some of the cars which they had to offer. I was amazed with one car inpaticular, a used 2000 Dodge Stratus SE 2.4. I was wondering if anyone out there had any info that might be usefull to me about this type of car. Im a college student which needs it to tow around friends, and for my personal driving. So it will be driven quit a bit. It has 23000 miles on it, but i have the option of purchasing an extended warranty for 36000 more miles. So it would have a 100% warranty until almost 70000 miles. I would greatly appriciate it if someone could help me out with some usefull info, and maybe even personal experience. Thanks a bunch,

    You could either post it or e mail me at [email protected] Again, thank you
  • I have a 1997 Dodge Stratus ES with 55,000 miles and I can't complain about my experience. I haven't had any of the problems described by others (no oil leaks, head gasket problems, or anything like that). I did have to get my ABS computer replaced when my ABS light came on, but it appeared to be a random problem. Thank goodness I got the 7 yr/100,000 mi. extended warranty. (Warranty Gold, fyi)

    I do have a bit of an odor with my A/C, so I think I'll have someone check that out. It's not horrible, but it's not how most ACs smell.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you prospective buyers that the 1997 ES (with 6 cyl autostick) is a pretty decent buy.
  • slockoslocko Posts: 109
    Mine has 29k miles with no problems yet. It's a pleasure to drive.
  • I love mine,it´s a 97,LOVELY,GREAT CAR!
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    '95 2.5L over 71K miles with zero issues. Just replaced an o2 sensor and the A/C high-side switch this month. That's it.

    Love this car.

    As always,
  • I just sold our 97 stratus,it was the best car we had,all of us fill bad. We will miss him a lot; we replace him for a new Neon.
    Our stratus was full loaded,and had the 2.4 l engine,the only minor problem was weak brakes,it had 4 wheel disc brake,and we think it needs more power.
    So far in more than three years it went back to the dealer to normal maintance,and to fix a noise coming from the rear brakes,and bad odor coming out from a/c three times.
    What a wonderful car,we are not sure today if we made the right thing selling the Stratus!
  • abaltoabalto Posts: 22
    That questions and technical advice web site...

    I have also looked for a good Dodge web site to ask questions and technical advice, opinions, etc. The best site I have found is This site is clearly the best in quality, with over 60,000 posts! Good luck either way Trevor!
  • jjv55jjv55 Posts: 20
    I have a '97 Stratus 4cyl. It now has 60,000 miles on it. I have been through three sets of brakes, replaced faulty sensors, experienced noises which no one could explain, a/c odor, and a radio which pops in and out of stereo. I have religiously maintained the car and now have a blown head gasket. The car has been nothing but trouble since the day I got it. I also have yet to find a Dodge dealer in the Chicago area that doesn't give me problems whenever I have to bring it in. Once I get the gasket fixed (which I'm definitely not paying for) this car is history (as well as the chances of ever buying a Chrysler product again)!
  • I have a 1998 Plymouth Breeze and has 45,000 miles. 2 weeks ago, as I was starting my car starting to make a horrible noise, I opened the hood and I saw a spark plug out of the head. I put it back in place and I had a friend start the car and the spark plug was shout out of the head. Took it to the mechanic, replace the spark plug, but the loud noise from the engine is still there and does not have enough power. Chrysler service shop suggests taking the head off to find out what the problem is. Another friend did some research on the internet and found out about Heli-Coils, being a long-term solution if the problems happens to be a stripped spark plug thread.
    Does anyone have any knowledge of this procedure?
  • robnjrobnj Posts: 11
    First, there is no possible way for the plug to just strip out itself. Odds are, the plug was not put in correctly. It must have been cross threaded and stripped from the last person to have them out. Even if the piston hit the plug, it would not blow a plug out. It would just smash the end of it.
    Anyway, a Helicoil is a good method of thread repair. It is approved by Chrysler and other manufacturers. You need a Helicoil installation tool and tap and the right assortment of coils. You also need the correct drill to match the coil you need to install.
    It is a fairly straightforward procedure where you find the coil that matches the thread size you need for the spark plug. You drill out the wasted threads with a drill that is matched to the coil. You then tap the threads with the appropriate tap size. Then you screw in the coil and set it in place by breaking off the tang on the end of the coil.
    The coil then becomes the new threads and they are just as good, if not better then the original aluminum threads. If done correctly, you will never have a problem with this plug again.
  • MOPAR "Move Over People Are Racing" - trading my '98 150hp 2.0 DOHC Neon and upgrading to the '01 200hp 2.7 Stratus. Anyone have the experience yet?
  • I have just purchase a 2001 Stratus ES loaded. The engine is strong. The style of the car is awesome compared to the older body style. My parents have an older Cirrus and have had some leaking tranny problems but thats about it. Reading alot of these postings really made me thing twice about buying the car. But, I have read some reviews about the car and have read nothing but good things. So far, I love the car and have got a lot of comments on it. The color is Inferno Red w/a deep pearl coat, it also has the chrome wheels and leather interior. The Infinity Premium stereo/CD changer w/120W amplifier is outstanding. I say go for it.
  • Thanks a bunch for the response. I also did a lot of research and had mixed feelings. In fact I went back to the dealer 5 times and drove 5 different models/configurations before deciding on this one. Anything quirky that I should be looking for post-dealer prep? I know sometimes they have a tendency to overlook things and it seems that patterns are consistent with model types.
  • No on the quircky items. The car is awesome. I drive in the car about 2 hrs a day minimum. The seats are very comfy (could use the heated seats though). I fell in love with it once I test drove it. If you get one, hope you enjoy it.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Last Friday I was forced to rent a Plymouth Breeze. Drove it to home in snow. Was scared to death and returned it about a hour later.

    First, the rear window heating was completely inefficient. It was fogged, and cleaned somewhat only after I opened two windows. Much better to drive with open windows in light frost, than without rear view. I immigrated from Russia, and the temperature is OK for me.

    But later, after some snow accumulated on the rear window, even this did not help. Used the side mirrors only.

    Second, the car does not hold a road covered by snow. Even while it was a thin layer, one inch at most, and the road itself was cold (sub-freezing).

    Even on the straight parts of roads I crawled at 20 mph at most, and turned at less than 5 mph. The drivers behind me were unhappy, some of them tailgated or beeped. Nevertheless, the ABS engaged a lot of times, probably ten to fifteen in one mile. By the way, when ABS works, the pedal pushed my feet rather strong. Like a small animal trying to get free. The first time or two I even stopped braking instinctively.

    I am surprised that such a car can be used legally on the public roads. I feel more secure in my old car, a 1988 Ford Taurus, without ABS.

    I also did not like how the transmission shifted, but this is not important.

    On the plus side, the styling is cute, the instruments are convenient, and engine purrs.
  • scotianscotian Posts: 1,064
    I was in a parking lot today when I thought I saw the back end of a black Intrepid, but it wasn't quite right. It turned out to be a new Stratus. Very nice looking! The old styling had some good points, but it really looks nice now. The back of the new Sebring, I believe, looks a lot like the 300M, and now the back of the Stratus looks like the Intrepid. Two fine posteriors!
  • i have a 2000 Stratus. bought it in Feb 2000, in Aug 2000 after a rainy day there was a puddle of water in the driver's side floorboard. after that it happened inconsistently. just had it fixed and the body shop said there was a 1 ft strip where the windshield wasn't sealed properly. has this ever happened to anyone before?
  • robnjrobnj Posts: 11
    Totally opposite opinion here. I have a '99 Cirrus LXi and it handles with no problems, other then typical wheel spin coming off a full stop. The car has 30K miles on the tires.
    We have had 20+ inches of snow/ice so far and it was a non-issue to drive the car. I drive on the a combination of unplowed backroads and highways that are poorly cleaned.
    ABS does come on, but only if you push it to the limit. (pedal noise is nowhere near some other cars I have driven)
    Clean the windows and mirrors once and they stay clean for the duration of the trip, if you use the defroster.
    I really do not see any issue, unless you decide to drive outside what is considered normal driving in the snow. I am completely confident I will get to my destination, when I drive that car
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Thank you!

    Concerning defroster:

    Now, several day later, I think that the rear defroster probably simply did not work. Was broken or something. The rear window did not defog at all, until I opened the windows, and a bit later snow accumulated on the window, while I drove.

    Cannot not know exactly with the rental car, if it is normal for the model or it was broken. Returned it without even trying to diagnose. But I definitely pushed the defroster button and it light up.

    Concerning the ABS:

    I did no complained it to be noisy. The GM cars have more noisy ABS. The ABS pushed my foot through brake pedal very strongly, but this not important. Every car have some idiosyncrasies. Just better to know and expect.

    What I did not like is how often the ABS engaged. At least 10 times, more probably 15 to 20, on one mile (the last), with at most 2 inch of snow accumulated. And the road was frozen, not warm, the snow did not melt underside.

    It means, every time when ABS engaged, the wheels did not hold road well when braking. They tend to slip too easily.

    I have three cars in my family: 88 Ford Taurus Wagon, 98 Chevy Malibu, and 00 Buick Regal. Malibu and Regal's ABS would engage at most one time in such road conditions, even while I drive them much more aggressive, than the rental car I do not know.

    With its narrow tires, Ford slips even less than the two other cars - but, without ABS, is more dangerous when slips.

    Additional info:

    A neighbor in our apartment building get into accident. with her Dodge Status this winter. The lost grip when turning on the snow, she lost control, car spinned 180 degree and hit a pole by the rear bumper and the rear-right fender.

    She rented a Malibu while her car was in body shop. We discussed the cars, share our impression recently on the parking lot.

    She do not like the Malibu in general, consider it to be too heavy. Likes her Dodge much better. Though, even she say that Malibu is holding road much better in the snow.
  • robnjrobnj Posts: 11
    Maybe the rental car had crappy tires, I don't know. I do know that the Michelins that my Cirrus has are very good. I have to plant the brakes down for the ABS to kick in. I basically have to try to make it happen. When we first drove it in the snow last year, I was trying to force it to come on to show my wife what it felt like. I would rather she knows what it feels like before she really needs to use it.

    Spinning a FWD car in the snow is not an easy task, unless you are on ice or going at high speeds. I think your neighbor was just simply going too fast or reacted wrong to the skid. She probably planted her foot on the brake in the skid (my guess). FWD cars just require you to power out of a slide. Point the wheels where you want to go and hit the gas. It will pull you out of the skid. Don't follow the old rule of steering opposite of the skid. That is for RWD cars only. ( I am not telling you specifically, just making a general comment)

    The only time I can get the Cirrus to come around is to kick on the parking brakes in a curve. Yes, I like to learn the limits of my vehicles. Right now I own 2 RWD, 1 FWD and 1 4WD vehicles. All I have driven in the snow and have learned how they behave.

    I think that more people need to go to a nice flat parking lot in the snow and practice how to drive. Just make sure it is an area clear of any manhole covers or concrete stop bumps. My wife though I was nuts, until I made her do it in the Cirrus. She probably still thinks I am nuts, but at least she understands how the car behaves in the snow.
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    one, just ONE, mind you, guy whose wife DOESN'T think he's nuts... ;-]

  • dean52dean52 Posts: 12
    My wife has a 2000 Cirrus with the Michelin mx4's. Great handling on dry and wet road but not good in snow. I think the Manufactures should use some common sense when selling cars to parts of the country that are prone to snow. Should have an option for more aggressive tires. I went to a tire store and bought 2 new steel wheels and Cooper winter treads for the front. What a huge difference! My wife thought I was nuts when I took it in my yard after it snowed 6-8 inches last weekend. Never got stuck.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    How much was each steel wheel? Thanks.
  • dean52dean52 Posts: 12
    I bought my steel wheels from the tire dealer for $53 a piece. Dodge wanted anywhere from $85-$105 each. I tried to get used ones, but its hard to find 15" steel wheels for Cirrus. Most have alloy wheels. It would be a lot easier to find 14" for a Stratus.
  • jmaterojmatero Posts: 253
    I had a 1998 ES V6 and it was very reliable... I thought... until an old lady ran a stop sign and when I tried to stop, by brakes failed. I hit her broadside at 45mph and NEITHER airbag went off. I'm lucky to be alive. Then 2 weeks after getting the car back from the shop and the "OK" from chrysler that the brakes and airbags were fine, a drunk driver pulled onto the parkway in the wrong direction with NO LIGHTS ON. I came around a corner and again, the brakes failed and head-on. And, Again, NO AIRBAGS. So, at the advice of a friend, I checked out the consumer complaints area of and there are zillions of complaints about failed brakes and airbags not going off... even in 2000 models. My advice, don't waste your money. And I wouldn't buy a new one until they are crash tested... Chryslers are the worst in that regard.
  • robnjrobnj Posts: 11
    Sorry to hear about your encounters. Sounds pretty scary.
    The car was not totaled after hitting someone at 45MPH? How about after the second time? There is not exactly a lot of material in the front end of a Status to absorb that kind of impact. Any physical damage to yourself?

    When you say the brakes failed, what happened? Pedal to the floor, lack of assist (hard pedal)? Just curios. Did you have the ABS option? I am just trying to put an image in my mind as to what happened mechanically.

    I know that one time that someone stopped dead in front of me on the highway, I had to stop from ~70MPH to 0 real quick. I planted the down the brake pedal and the car stopped incredibly fast. I do have 4 wheel disc ABS. The front rotors did warp a little from the panic stop, but that was the only problem. Considering I smelt my brakes cooking after I stopped, I was not surprised. I was just glad the guy behind me swerved and missed my rear end.
  • Well folks - some of my enthusiasm is now dead. Dead and rotting on the street and mostly at the dealer. Less than 500 miles on the car and a variety of "lemon" flavored events. Still trying to make lemonade out of it but so far not very promising. Here it is - my story part deux...

    Drove the car at the dealer and all seemed well with the world. Was looking forward to the next 42 months on a lease getting to know what I thought was going to be a fun family ride.

    Drove the car going to a party some 180 miles roundtrip and suddenly my front right tire (Michelin) developed a bubble on the side wall along with some other unusual noises at the front end.

    Brought car back to dealer and they had to order a new tire. I also asked them to check the front end for the unusual sounds of the jungle I was experiencing.

    3 Days Later...
    Got car back with new tire and also the assortment of front end noises.

    Next Day (Day 7)
    Called dealer and expressed my concern that noises were still present. Dealer sent me to a local STS shop to check tires again. Both front tires required rebalancing and the STS technician identified the additional noises as possible factory f'ups. Unconfirmed yet, but he contemplates that it could be the transmission mounts, or the engine mounts or just a crappy transmission. He also suggested I promptly bring vehicle back to dealer.

    Day 8
    Brought vehicle back to dealer who seemed surprised to see me once again. The sales manager was very courteous but did not acknowledge whether there was any communication between sales and service as to whether they checked to see that my issues had been addressed.

    I also mentioned to him that there were significant paint blemishes I suddenly noticed on the inside of the doors and the rear right passenger door in particular, actually looked like it was only partially painted since much of the primer/undercoat (light brown) was prominently showing. He suggested that is the case with most inside door paint. I suggested that this is the first new car (and I've had 6) where this was actually noticeable to the point of being a nuisance.

    Day 9
    No call yet as to the status of the vehicle, but frankly I expect the worst...

    All comments/replies/help/thoughts welcomed...
  • jmaterojmatero Posts: 253
    Hi, well the first time I was traveling at about 45mph and an elderly woman ran a stop sign and crossed into my path... she then "froze" and stoped moving and I had no where to go.. I hit the brakes (abs, front disc/rear drum) and the pedal went to the floor, the wheels screeched and there was no abs vibration and BANG. Fortunately, I hit the rear side of her car and she flung around like a top (a civic; her trunk lid, back window and bumper were OFF of the car). My car was crushed halfway back to the windshield. The front doors wouldn't open and the car had to be flat-bedded away. I hurt my back and leg slightly but I was OK. The second time was worse because the person had just started accellerating and his nose was up. Again, the brakes went to the floor, the tires screeched and no abs feel/sounds. This time the hood was pushed back to the windshield and again, the front doors were stuck shut. Also, both times the airbags didn't go off. Check out I'm by no means alone with regards to the brakes and airbags. Cirrus/Stratus commonplace on there.
  • slockoslocko Posts: 109
    That is the smartest thing you can do. Document every single phone call, conversation. Look at all your service invoices and make sure they have detailed descriptions of what was done to the vehicle.


    that is very disturbing. considering my wife drove my stratus many times during her pregnancy. why don't you look into suing them? that is horrible!
  • The saga continues -

    Feb. 2nd - after a grueling week of talking to the dealer's service department, they are still waiting for replacement parts to fix what they described as an "unusual" problem. The front left strut was either damaged or simply missing some parts (possibly rubber bushings). They were not specific as to which, and it looks more and more like this car may have been assembled from "left-overs". Could be that Daimler Benz had all but drained Chrysler of money so this is the result of it or maybe the Stratus is just a lousy car. The NHTSA already has a half dozen recalls on the 2001 (although none applied to my vehicle) and the other night one of the network channels did a show on the best and worst cars to withstand 5 mph bumper damage. The 2001 Stratus seems to be at the bottom of the list -- funny enough so was Mercedes.
  • tom_tom_ Posts: 25
    The all new Dodge Stratus & Chrysler Sebring sedans received the highest rating in a federal government crash test.

    To se results follow this link...
  • read my comments posted in the Coupe version of the comments. I have had some really major issues with the 2001 RT that I bought, but nothing like that ever happened with the 95 2.0L stratus ES that I had...goes to show, even the German's can screw things up!

    My brother just bought a new one (an SE 4Dr, with the V6 and all sorts of options, including side airbags...) so we will see how this one is, considering that the '95 ES was awesome. I put 132000 miles on it, and still traded it in for $700, considering I had been in a major accident with it, which caused the power steering pump and rack to be useless. Nonetheless, I did not have any major repairs, beyond the norm, except for the head, and the timing belt. Once, the wiper switch died, initially, but the dealer fixed it promptly.

    Anyway, check out my posts for the R/T coupe! Maybe you won't feel so bad after that! Enjoy,
  • We have a 1997 Stratus with over 80,000 miles on it, and it still rides/drives like a brand new car. We love it for its pick up and great gas mileage. It also looks sporty even though it is a 4 door. From reading the posts on here, unfortunately you can get a lemon in anything.
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