Purchaced a 1997 Stratus ES, 2.0, 5 speed manual off ebay for $700. Supposedly needed a fuel pump at 160k. Car had been previously well cared for and was in excellent condition. Had it shipped from Toledo, Oh to Arkansas. When it arrived, the engine was locked up due to someone pouring 2 gallons of water in the gas tank. Long story short, broke the engine free without taking it apart, replaced fuel pump, due to the water, and have put another 40k+ trouble free miles on it.
I use it for my beater car, haul engines and parts, and drive long distances back and forth to work weekly. It can sit for months, fire right up, and drive 3-8 hours. Gets 34mpg or better, rides and drives great!
I love the great gas mileage. I was not aware that they had a 5 speed transmission in them. It only came with the 2.0 engine. Would have been a lot of fun with the 2.4 or 2.5 v6. Will probably get another one and do a 2.4 swap. Car rides good, extremely dependable, great gas mileage with the 5 speed, very comfortable to drive long distances. Mine had the 6 disc CD changer, which is nice, and keyless entry.
It would have been nice to have have the 2.4 with the 5 speed, or the V6 5 speed manual. Mine has all the options so there is really not anything to add. I wish the 2.0 had more power, but, for the gas mileage, I can't complain. Maybe taking the 200lbs of tools out of the trunk might help LOL. Everything works as it should. It goes to show, if you take care of things, they will take care of you. You can tell, this car was garaged and not driven hard the majority of it's life. Even at 202k, engine still runs smooth, still has original clutch.
Just had to retire the car today, cracked the transmission case on a pot hole, repair more than the car is worth. It will be missed, it was a very comfortable car that handled well and gave me 24mpg city and just under 32mpg at 70 on highway. Rode like a much bigger car and handled quite well. Had just under 180k on it but didn't drive like it. Good in snow. Had to buy a car today, if not would have looked for another one, maybe a few years newer.
Favorite features? Nothing in particular, but what was there worked well.
Cup holders in front of gear shift was cumbersome. No ashtray. They should have made a station-wagon version.
Bought mine used for $2,000 with 60,000 miles on the motor, 110,000 on the transmission, passed emmissions. Spent less than $1,000 for new tires, brakes, and shocks. Serviced the transmission at 115,000 for less than $150 for new fluid and filter. Starter went out a year later, less than $300 to replace. Overall I've spent less than $3,500 for the car and all repairs.
Great AC and heat. I like the body style, the seats, the dash layout, and the power from the 150hp 2.4L motor. Very little wind and road noise. Huge trunk. Rear seats fold down.
I want power locks, and windows. I want a key chain remote to unlock the doors. I guess I should have bought the ES.
got the car with 90,0000 but a timeing belt in at 120,0000 and but a water pump at 245,000 and the car now has 260,000 and is still running strong with the origanal moter and tranny car is fun to drive and good on gas
Extensive repairs, followed by more broken parts have been the story of my experience with this car. Bought it at 132k miles and had problems immediately. Poor insulation has led to leaks inside the passenger compartment during rain storms. The AC has numerous leaks in the line and has never worked. Still having engine and transmission problems. Do not buy this vehicle unless you can pay 4x it's value in repairs!
This vehicle gets great gas mileage.
Everything about this vehicle needs improvement. I can see why Chrysler discontinued production of the Stratus.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.