The 1998 Dodge Stratus classifies as a midsize family sedan that Chrysler launched in 1995 under its Dodge division. The Stratus, along with the Dodge Cirrus and Breeze, appear on the annual Ten Best list compiled by Car and Driver magazine for two consecutive years—1996 and 1997.
The Stratus earns critical acclaim, and rightfully so. It scores in terms of style, technology, and aesthetics and marks a revolution in the Dodge division. However, with sales figures reducing every year, it remains to be seen if the 1998 Dodge Stratus can make as big of an impact as its earlier models.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.4-liter I-4, 2.0-liter I-4, 2.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Dodge Stratus, Dodge Stratus ES
Instead of adding new features, the 1998 Dodge Stratus disposes of its anti-lock brakes as a standard feature in order to curb the price of the car. On a positive note, the sound insulation in the cabin of the car improves. The sunroof option disappears for both the base and the ES.
The ES in particular has undergone some revisions, including a standard combination of the 2.4-liter engine with an automatic transmission. Both models of the car also offer some new color options for this year. Other minor revisions have also been made to the 1998 Dodge Stratus for reducing vibrations and noise levels in the cabin.
The 1998 Dodge Stratus is based on the higher-end Chrysler Cirrus, both of which utilize the Chrysler JA platform. Most of the appeal of the car comes from its cab-forward design, giving it a look and character unlike generic sedans in the market. Despite the fact that the Stratus looks a lot like the Cirrus, it stands out due to its body-colored grille, which underscores the largeness of its protruding hood and snout.
The Stratus features a surprisingly large interior for a compact car. Leg space seems abundant in the front and rear seats, and the shoulder width available at the rear proves wide enough for three average-sized adults to sit comfortably without their shoulders touching.
Visibility looks great for the driver, but it gets a bit compromised at the rear because of the high rear parcel shelf. On a positive note, the 1998 Dodge Stratus offers lots of cargo space with its large trunk, low lift over, and flat floor. The dashboard looks well laid out, and the interior in general has a nice design even though it uses some cheap trim pieces on the door panels and dashboard.
Performance & Handling
The 1998 Dodge Stratus uses a two-liter, four-cylinder engine sourced from the Neon, delivering 132 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. The two optional engines include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that delivers 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.5-liter V-6 built by Mitsubishi Motors, with a power rating of 164 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque. The last engine only pairs with an automatic transmission.
The four-cylinder engines seem decent, but the V-6 engine proves to be the best in terms of performance and smoothness, even though it sounds louder than other V-6 variants. With this engine under the hood, the Stratus sprints from a standstill, but it experiences noticeable lag before it downshifts during passing situations.
The 1998 Dodge Stratus receives a mediocre three out of five stars for driver safety and a good four stars for passenger safety in frontal collision tests conducted by the NHTSA.
EPA Fuel Economy
Dodge Stratus 2.5-liter V-6, automatic: 20/28 mpg city/highway
- Good acceleration with the V-6
- Great ride quality
- Decent steering and handling
- Lots of passenger and cargo space
You Won't Like
- Noisy engine
- Poor rear visibility
A great family sedan with a few shortcomings.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Lumina
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Ford Contour