The 1990s were arguably the most confusing car years in history since the auto market was bombarded with an extraordinary amount of car models, engine choices, and luxury amenities.
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The big three had to hang on while the Japanese and the Germans gave them a lesson in quality auto manufacturing and marketing prowess. The big three were no longer the big three. They were three companies facing the edifice of bankruptcy.
Chrysler needed model help, especially when it came to the mid-size sedan category. The Spirit was a weak and tired competitor, and the Plymouth Breeze, and Chrysler Cirrus were forgettable cars from their inception. The Dodge Stratus was the only car on the Chrysler JA platform that had any appeal at all, and that was due to its somewhat sporty appearance.
The first generation Stratus was roomy; its body design was timely, plus some consumers thought it was a valve for the price. The base model or SE came with a 2.0 liter straight 4-cylinder engine, and the 2.4 liter SOHC was an option. The ES model also came with the 2.0 engine, but a 2.4 liter DOHC 4-cylinder and a 2.5 litre V6 were optional. In 1999 the ES model only came with the V6 engine, and the 2000 model had that same engine.
A 2.4 liter DOHC 4-cylinder, 4-speed automatic turbocharged version of the Stratus engine was sold in Mexico. It was rated with 168 horsepower at 5,200 rpms, and 216 ft-lbs of torque at 2,200 rpms. The European version of the Stratus also had a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine, and a 150 horsepower 2.5 liter Mitsubishi 6G73 V6 engine under the hood.
The last generation of the Dodge Stratus coupes were in production from 2001 -2006.They were powered by a 147 horsepower 2.4 liter inline 4-cylinder engine, and the RT model had a 200 horsepower 3.0 V6 engine. Some of the last sedans were fitted with a 150 horsepower 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine, but most of them had a 200 horsepower, 2.7 liter V6 under the nose.
The edgy styling and decent engine designs kept the Stratus in the Chrysler lineup longer than most consumers expected, especially since Toyota and Honda were making such a huge impact on US car sales. The Dodge Stratus did serve a purpose thanks to its large interior, spacious trunk, and fuel friendly engines.
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