• (4.1) 25 reviews
  • MSRP: $128–$6,548
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 24-28
  • Engine: 200-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic w/OD
2004 Dodge Stratus

Our Take on the Latest Model 2004 Dodge Stratus

What We Don't Like

  • Manual-gearbox operation in R/T
  • Ride comfort on rough surfaces
  • Side-impact crash-test rating in sedan
  • Resale value

Notable Features

  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Manual gearbox available for coupe
  • Mild face-lift for sedan
  • Optional side-curtain airbags for sedan

2004 Dodge Stratus Reviews

Vehicle Overview
Dodge’s midsize Stratus sedans get a restyled front end that includes a monochromatic grille for the sporty R/T (road/track) edition for the 2004 model year. The lineup also includes SE and ES sedans, as well as a value-priced SXT version. Audio controls on the sedan steering wheels are now available, and a newly optional electrochromatic rearview mirror helps in reducing headlight glare. Freshened interiors feature new door trim panels and seat fabric.

Sedans not equipped with antilock brakes now have front-disc and rear-drum brakes, and models with ABS have a four-wheel disc setup. Traction control is available, and a new BeltAlert system warns the driver to buckle up.

Stratus sedans are manufactured in Michigan. Chrysler offers a similar Sebring sedan and coupe, along with a convertible model that is not available for the Stratus.

Exterior
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. Both models feature Dodge’s distinguished crossbar-style grille.

The tires are 15 inches in diameter on the SE sedan and 16 inches on the ES. The R/T sedan features a rear spoiler, a specially tuned suspension and 17-inch tires.

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, and power windows, locks and mirrors.

Under the Hood
SE and SXT sedans hold a 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission. A 200-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 is standard in the ES and R/T sedans. Only the R/T can be fitted with a five-speed-manual gearbox.

Safety
Multistage front airbags deploy at one of three levels; side curtain-type airbags are optional. Antilock brakes are standard on the R/T and optional on the other models.

Stratus Coupe
Dodge has not yet issued information on changes for 2004 to the Stratus coupe, which qualifies as a compact rather than a midsize model. A substantial face-lift took place in 2003. 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 and with their own sheet metal.

Stratus coupes are available in base SE and R/T trim levels and come with either a Mitsubishi-built four-cylinder or a V-6 engine. The R/T coupe includes a rear spoiler, a specially tuned performance suspension, a tuned exhaust system and 17-inch tires. Side-impact airbags are optional.

The base engine in a five-speed-manual model is a 147-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. That engine develops 142 hp in models equipped with a four-speed-automatic transmission. A 200-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 is standard in the R/T and optional in the SE. The R/T is the only model that can have a manual shift with the V-6. AutoStick permits manual gear changes by tipping the shift lever; this technology is available with the V-6 engine in the R/T coupe. Antilock brakes are optional only on the R/T coupe.

Driving Impressions
Expect no surprises from the Stratus sedan, which delivers a pleasant driving experience but doesn’t try to be anything more than a family car. The V-6 engine is potent and quiet, but the four-cylinder performs with sufficient eagerness to satisfy most owners.

Any Stratus sedan is easy to drive and maneuver. They offer a spacious interior, comfortable seating and a large trunk. Harsh pavement can produce some unpleasant reactions, but the ride is generally smooth and easy.

The Stratus coupe is an impressive road-going machine that also displays a noticeably shapely physique, especially in R/T form. 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 engine, the R/T coupe takes off in a hurry both from a standstill and when passing and merging. It moves with a high level of refinement and even civility. 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 and a pedal that takes a bit of effort makes up for some shifting difficulty.

Coupe passengers endure no significant penalty in ride comfort from the taut, confident suspension, which is quite absorbent despite the R/T’s handling skills. Steering is rather quick, which can come as a surprise when making a rapid maneuver on the highway. Even in SE form, the Stratus coupe grips the pavement securely through curves yet delivers a ride largely devoid of harshness. Confidently stable on straightaways, the SE boasts satisfying steering response and feel.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 6/19/03

Consumer Reviews

4.1

Average based on 25 reviews

Write a Review

Fun to drive

by Phoenix from RI on September 7, 2017

The R/T version of this car is sporty, comfortable and fun to drive. The 5 speed manual shifts nice and smooth.

Read All Consumer Reviews

6 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2004 Dodge Stratus trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Dodge Stratus Articles

2004 Dodge Stratus Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

Recalls

There are currently 7 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,800 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years