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Dodge Stratus



  • 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: 107
    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.
  • fastlinefastline Posts: 7
    Finally running without any noticeable problems!!!

    Total tally:
    -Car back to the dealer a total of 12 times
    -Replaced front left strut 1 time
    -Replaced 2 front tires (Michelin MX4 205's)
    -Rotated tires 2 times
    -Rebalanced wheels 2 times
    -Tightened/adjusted??? front-end 2 times
    -Pending - Reordered front calipers (rusting/leaking???)
    -Pending - repaint inside of doors (summer)

    Folks - this car had 7 miles on it when I leased it in January 2001 - it now has 1300 miles on it - what a nightmare...
  • cruisingcruising Posts: 9
    I replaced the burnt out trunk light in my 2000 Dodge the light stays on all the time. Had to remove the light bulb so that it doesn't drain the battery. Where is the switch that controls on/off operation of light?
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Morning group... I own a 2000 Intrepid ES which I purchased after driving a variety of rental Intrepids. Since I just finished my second extended experience with a 2001 Stratus SE sedan rental, I thought I'd share with those who might be buying or interested..
    In both instances my experiences were positive. The first SE had a few more features than my most recent rental--but both were satisfactory. I was impressed with the ride, handling, space and structural feel of both cars. Base stereo was solid--considerably better than the base unit in the Intrepid SE. The stats suggest that the sedan lost about 2 cubic feet of interior space in the redesign. I'm convinced damn near all of it is out of the front headroom--but at 6'3" and a former linebacker, I can't blame the car for my gene pool. The headlights are strong, the climate control worked well. NVH seems much improved. My advice would be to forego the 2.4 DOHC four for the V-6 if possible. It's certainly adequate (I drove mine in Florida with the AC running), but a V-6 I test drove seems better suited. Good trunk space and hauled a few folks in back who commented on the space in back.
    Have a close friend with a 1996 Cirrus which is bumping up against 100,000 miles. His experiences have been quite positive with no significant reliability or mechanical problems. His experience is very similar to that of my aunt whose 1998 Stratus is doing well. Fortunately or "un", I can't hop on the "Chrysler sucks" bandwagon so prevalent at some topics. My experiences have been positive--NOT perfect--but positive. My mother's 1994 Intrepid continues to soldier on with no significant problems--though it is garage kept and fairly low mileage. Although very new my 2000 Intrepid ES has been flawless--except for a "skipping" four disc CD changer.
    Hope my experiences with the Stratus are helpful for someone contemplating the vehicle. Take care..
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    The problems described indicates the car had to go over a curb or hit something hard. I find it an unusual coincidence that the tire, alignment, and front strut were all damaged from the factory. Those are all classic signs of curb-hopping at a high rate of speed. I know you bought it with only 7 miles, could a valet or someone have driven it early on?

    I do tend to avoid 1st year cars, regardless of make. My 2000 Intrepid R/T was it's third model year, and the assembly seems quite good.

    Good luck, but I can tell you are not thrilled owning this car right now.
  • tom_tom_ Posts: 25

    What did you think about rearward visibiltiy in the new Stratus? How do you compare the visibilty with your Intrepid? How do you compare it with the older generation JA models your friends/family drive?
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Mixed bag Tom... Preface all comments by saying that I'm 6'3" and a former linebacker--a bit of a "Wide-Trac"--so to speak. I sit much more easily in the Intrepid, despite the impression of being "down and in". Rearward visibility was definitely superior in the Stratus however--more so, I suspect because I felt I was sitting higher up. As I mentioned, very limited headroom in the 2001 Stratus--adequate but no room for "big hair".. I notice that the older JA's seemed to have more headroom--my buddy is 6'5" and does just fine in his Cirrus. However, that being said, I"m aware that the power seat options seems to offer up an inch or more in either car when you motor it into the down position. I've noticed that in my Intrepid vs. the non-power seat on a base I had as a rental. Perhaps it's the same with the power seats vs. the non-power I had on my Stratus rental. Hope this helps...
  • tom_tom_ Posts: 25
    Thanks for the helpful comments.
  • illustr8illustr8 Posts: 1
    My 1996 Stratus is a really reliable car and runs today (with 155,000mi) like it did in 96. I am experiencing a problem with the AC (It doesn't work). Anybody experience an AC failure---What did you do. I was told by one garage that it would cost approx. $800 for a new compressor or something like that. WOW! Think I'll get another opinion. Also, I've experienced a moaning in the steering from the day I bought it. This usually gets really load when the steering is stressed (i.e. Hi-Speed turns). Anyone else?? I had the steering unit replaced 3 times...To no avail. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL CHRYLSER WISES UP A PRODUCES THE NEW STRATUS SE SEDAN V6 WITH A MANUAL TRANS. HEY GUYS, WHAT ABOUT US SPORTS SEDAN LOVERS???? WHO WANTS A SPORTS SEDAN WITH AN AUTOMATIC TRANS.????
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I do not have a Stratus, but did have a bad AC experience. One mechanic told me it needed a new compressor (about $800.00). Another mechanic said why not try a flush and fill. The flush and fill worked.

    As to the second point: I wonder why no R/T version yet?
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    ES v6 had an AC failure. It was the high-side AC switch that went out at about 72K miles. Cost about $150 to fix.

    75K miles and six years! It's an awesome car!

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