Dodge added a Sport Appearance Package to the SXT trim level of its midsize Stratus sedan for 2005. The package includes chrome-clad wheels, fog lamps and a rear spoiler.
Fresh interiors are available in the SXT and R/T sedans, while SE and ES models are now available only to fleet buyers.
Stratus sedans got a restyled front end for the 2004 model year, which included a monochromatic grille for the sporty R/T edition. The Stratus coupe is built from a different design.
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Chrysler offers a similar Sebring sedan and coupe, along with a convertible that's not available with a Stratus badge.
The sedan's styling resembles that of the Stratus coupe even though the two body styles share no sheet metal. Chrysler's Sebring sedan uses the same roof and side panels as the Stratus, but the two have different front and rear styling. Dodges flaunt a distinguished crossbar-style grille.
The tires measure 16 inches in diameter on the SXT. The R/T sedan features a rear spoiler, a specially tuned suspension and 17-inch tires.
Five-passenger seating includes two front buckets and a 60/40-split folding three-place rear bench. Trunk volume is 16 cubic feet, but the opening is rather small and high. An abundant standard-equipment list includes air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt steering column, and power windows, locks and mirrors.
Under the Hood
SXT sedans hold a 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and a 200-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 is standard in the R/T sedan. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Multistage front airbags deploy at one of three intensity levels; side curtain-type airbags are optional. Antilock brakes are standard on the R/T and optional on the SXT. Traction control is available, and a BeltAlert system warns the driver to buckle up.
Expect no surprises from the Stratus sedan, which delivers a pleasant driving experience but doesn't try to be more than a family car. The V-6 engine is potent and quiet, but the four-cylinder performs eagerly enough to satisfy most owners.
The Stratus sedan is easy to drive and maneuver. It offers a spacious interior, comfortable seating and a large trunk. Harsh pavement can produce some unpleasant reactions, but the ride is generally smooth.
Dodge gave its compact Stratus coupe a muscular face-lift for 2003 that included new front and rear fascias, a bolder grille, and revised headlights, taillights and side sill moldings. New 17-inch aluminum wheels were installed on the R/T edition.
Unlike the larger sedan, the coupe versions are based on the platform used by the Mitsubishi Galant, which is built in Illinois. Despite appearance similarities, the coupe is built from a different design with its own sheet metal and qualifies as a compact rather than a midsize model.
Except for two new colors, little has changed for 2005. Stratus coupes are available in base SXT and sporty R/T trim levels, with either a Mitsubishi-built four-cylinder or a V-6 engine. The R/T coupe includes a specially tuned performance suspension, a tuned exhaust system and 17-inch tires. Side-impact airbags are optional.
The Stratus coupe is an impressive road-going machine that also displays a noticeably shapely physique. Unfortunately, the low-slung design makes entry and exit a little difficult for less-agile occupants. The front seats are comfortable, but rear knee room and headroom are snug.
With its potent 3.0-liter V-6, the R/T coupe takes off in a hurry and moves with a high level of refinement. Even though it's a trifle balky and even inclined to grind now and then, the R/T's manual transmission yields satisfying gear changes. Pleasant clutch behavior makes up for some shifting difficulty.
Coupe passengers endure no significant penalty in ride comfort from the taut, confident suspension, which is quite absorbent. Steering is rather quick. Even in basic form, the Stratus coupe grips the pavement securely through curves yet delivers a smooth ride. Back to top
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