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By Jim Flammang
September 1, 2005
Vehicle Overview Stratus sedans for 2006 come in SXT and R/T trim levels. Interiors have been freshened. Three special value packages are available for the SXT sedan: Leather, Chrome and Protection, the latter including antilock brakes, traction control and side curtain-type airbags.
The R/T sedan's exterior appearance has been updated for 2006, courtesy of body-colored ground effects and a racing-inspired rear spoiler that incorporates magnesium wings. Leather-trimmed bucket seats, antilock brakes, a performance suspension, 17-inch wheels and a 3-inch exhaust tip are standard on the R/T.
Chrysler offers a similar Sebring sedan, along with a convertible that's not available with a Stratus badge.
Exterior Chrysler's Sebring sedan uses the same roof and side panels as the Stratus, but the two have different front and rear styling. Like other Dodge models, the Stratus flaunts a distinguished crosshair grille.
Aluminum wheels on the SXT sedan hold 16-inch tires. The Chrome Value Package available for the SXT includes chrome-clad wheels, fog lamps and a body-colored spoiler.
Interior 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, remote keyless entry, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Sirius Satellite Radio is optional.
Under the Hood The standard SXT engine is a 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. A 200-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 is standard in the R/T sedan and optional in the SXT. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. In the R/T, the transmission incorporates AutoStick, which permits manually selected gear changes.
Safety Multistage front airbags deploy at one of three intensity levels. Side curtain-type airbags are optional. Antilock brakes with low-speed traction control are standard on the R/T and optional on the SXT.
Driving Impressions The Stratus sedan 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.
This 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.