Mitsubishi Motors (coupes only)
|Also called||Chrysler Stratus (Europe)|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive|
|Predecessor||Dodge Spirit & Dodge Dynasty (sedan)
Dodge Avenger (coupé)
|Successor||Dodge Avenger (sedan)|
The Dodge Stratus is a mid-size car that was introduced by Dodge in 1995, and was based on the 4-door sedan Chrysler JA platform. The Stratus, Plymouth Breeze, and Chrysler Cirrus were all on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1996 and 1997. It received critical acclaim at launch, but ratings fell over time. An updated version of the Stratus was introduced for 2001, with the Cirrus being renamed as the Chrysler Sebring, and a coupé model was also added to the range. However, production ended at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in early 2006 which had built 1,308,123 Stratus and Sebrings since 2000. The Dodge Avenger replaced the Stratus nameplate in early 2007 for the 2008 model year.
After the discontinuation of the Stratus sedan in 2006, the assembly line and tooling were sold to the Russian concern, GAZ, which manufactured 9,000 examples of a very slightly modified Stratus from 2008 through 2010 called the Volga Siber.
First generation (1995–2000)
The Dodge Stratus was the middle entry of the Chrysler JA platform (with the Cirrus being the higher-end model and the Breeze being the lower-end model). The three cars differed only in the front fascia, rear bumper, taillights, and wheels. The interiors also had little variation between the three models; being almost identical, save for the name on the steering wheel, and a few available options. The Stratus directly replaced the high-volume Spirit (United States only)
Second generation (2000–2006)
2001-2003 Dodge Stratus sedan
|Assembly||United States: Sterling Heights, Michigan (Sterling Heights Assembly) (sedan)
United States: Normal, Illinois (Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America) (Coupé)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan
|Platform||Sedan:Chrysler JR platform
Coupé:Chrysler ST-22 platform
Chrysler Sebring sedan
Chrysler Sebring coupé
|Engine||2.4 L EDZ I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L 4G64 I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L EDV/EDT I4 (t/c gasoline)
2.7 L EER V6 (gasoline)
3.0 L 6G72 V6 (gasoline)
4-speed F4A42/F4A51 automatic
4-speed Ultradrive 41TE automatic
|Wheelbase||Sedan: 108.0 in (2,743 mm)
Coupé: 103.7 in (2,634 mm)
|Length||Sedan: 191.2 in (4,856 mm)
Coupé: 190.9 in (4,849 mm)
|Width||2003–06 Sedan: 70.6 in (1,793 mm)
2001–02 Sedan: 71.9 in (1,826 mm)
Coupé: 70.3 in (1,786 mm)
|Height||Sedan: 54.9 in (1,394 mm)
2003–06 R/T Sedan: 54.4 in (1,382 mm)
2003–05 Coupé: 53.9 in (1,369 mm)
2001–02 Coupé: 53.7 in (1,364 mm)
In 2000, the Stratus became the last of the surviving Cloud Cars, with the Cirrus renamed as the Sebring, and the Breeze discontinued (along with the Plymouth brand). This generation of the Dodge Stratus was not sold in Canada, although 1999 was the last year for Dodge Stratus sales in Canada. 2002 models dropped the "DODGE" badges from the doors.
The Stratus and Sebring sedans for the second generation used a revised version of the Chrysler JA platform named JR. The coupe models with the same names were entirely different cars; they were actually based on the Mitsubishi Eclipse.
During this time, sales declined as its ratings from consumer and auto magazines fell below average among mid-size cars, while the sedan market had shifted and pushed the larger Intrepid and later Charger to record sales. 2004 brought styling revisions, which did not reverse this trend. The Stratus was discontinued in May 2006 (the Sebring name was continued).
In Mexico, the Stratus R/T came in a turbocharged version. The Stratus R/T's turbocharged 2.4 L engine went through some improvements in 2001, when power was increased to 215 hp (160 kW). This improved engine would later be used in the U.S. in the Dodge SRT-4 and PT Cruiser GT. Stratus R/T engines built from March 2004 and later generated 225 hp (168 kW) at 5200 rpm and 235 lb·ft (319 N·m) of torque at 4200 rpm. Stratus R/T models with the turbocharged engine could be recognized by a rear badge saying "Turbo".
For 2001, Dodge introduced the Stratus coupe, replacing the discontinued Avenger. This model along with the Chrysler Sebring coupe were built at the former Diamond Star Motors plant by Mitsubishi, using the ST-22 platform. Like its Chrysler counterpart the coupe models shared very little other than the name and a few exterior styling cues with sedan and convertible models. The Stratus coupe was restyled for the 2003 model year. The coupe was discontinued after 2005, one year before the sedan. The next midsize Dodge, the Avenger, did not include a coupe version.
The first generation Dodge Stratus received a "Poor" rating in the IIHS frontal crash test. It was actually a Chrysler Cirrus that was tested, but the results also apply to the Stratus, and also the Plymouth Breeze. The second generation Stratus and its twin, the Chrysler Sebring, received an overall "Acceptable" rating in the IIHS frontal test due to a possible injury to the right leg. On the side test, the Stratus receives a "Poor" rating without optional side airbags due to a serious neck injury, a weak side structure, possible rib fractures, and high forces on the shoulder and pelvis. Its seats and head restraints earn an overall "Acceptable" rating from the IIHS.
Licensed production in Russia
The license and production facilities for the second generation Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring sedans were sold in April 2006 to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, owner the GAZ company in Nizhny Novgorod, which builds the Volga automobile. The models were built by GAZ in Russia from late 2007 through 2010 as the Volga Siber at a price of approximately US$151 million (€ 124 million). The production facilities are planned to build up to 65,000 cars of both models yearly. Four-cylinder engines were to be purchased from Chrysler and made in Mexico.
- "Stratus and Sebring gone for good". Autoblog. May 21, 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
- Webster, Larry (December 2000). "Chrysler Sebring LXi Road Test". Car and Driver. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- "1996&ndash00 Plymouth Breeze". Consumer Guide Auto. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Winfield, Barry (February 2003). "2003 Dodge Stratus vs. Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Six More Mid-Size Sedans - Comparison Tests". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
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