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2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe

2dr Cpe SE/SXT

Starting at | Starting at 22 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $18,340 original MSRP
Printable Version

2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe

Printable Version

2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe


2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe

Source: New Car Test Drive


Swaggering, sleek and muscular, the Dodge Stratus recalls a bygone era of big coupes, hulking, family-size coupes, that absolutely demanded your attention. Dodge's own Charger comes to mind. Arrogant and powerful, they were the toys and status symbols of the young and successful, some 30 years ago.

Stratus brings that excitement back, in a modern, efficient, and aerodynamic package, still with a family-size back seat, and all for starting price under $18,000.

Stratus was all-new last year (2001), when it replaced the similarly themed Dodge Avenger. Compared to the Avenger, however, the Stratus Coupe features a stiffer platform and larger engines, including a 200-horsepower V6. Changes to Stratus for 2002 are minimal, consisting mostly of upgrades to sound systems and other optional equipment.

Model Lineup

Two trim levels are available for the Stratus Coupe, SE and R/T.

Stratus SE ($17,920) comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and the choice between a five-speed manual and (for $825) a four-speed automatic transmission. Air conditioning plus power windows, mirrors and door locks are all standard on the SE.

Stratus R/T ($20,940) comes with a 3.0-liter single-cam V6, which delivers 200 horsepower. The V6 also mates either to the standard five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic gearbox (again, $825). For $165 more, automatic R/T buyers can choose the AutoStick feature, which allows either automatic operation or no-clutch manual shifting.

Dodge makes the V6 available as an option for the Stratus SE, either as a stand-alone option ($850) or included in one of two Quick Order packages. One of these, Option 24A ($1,710), adds the V6, four-wheel-disc brakes and automatic transmission; that adds up to a very nice V6-powered coupe for less than $20,000.

The V6-powered R/T adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and premium sound system with cassette deck, CD player, and seven Infinity speakers. Optional anti-lock brakes (ABS) cost $565 with a manual transmission, or $740 with an automatic, as in the latter case they come packaged with traction control.

Safety systems in Stratus begin with the rigid structure that wraps around the passenger compartment. Add to that dual-stage front airbags, three-point seatbelts for all five seating positions and four-wheel disc brakes with optional (on R/T only) ABS and traction control.

Dodge also makes a Stratus Sedan, but offers it in different trim levels, with different engine and equipment options. (See separate nctd.com report.) Stratus Coupe and Stratus Sedan ride on different chassis. The Stratus Coupe is more closely related to the new Chrysler Sebring Coupe and Mitsubishi Eclipse; all three share engines, chassis and suspension designs, and are built at a joint-venture assembly plant between Bloomington and Normal, Illinois.


The slick shape of the Stratus Coupe demonstrates the benefits of wind-tunnel testing, as its arched structure slices through the air with a clean sweep from nose to tail. Its taut skin stretches across its long, broad form as smoothly as flowing water. Flat side panels seem to come from the NASCAR school of design, along with muscular shoulders suggesting strength and action.

The graceful profile and dramatic windshield rake reflect Dodge's flagship sedan, the Intrepid. Yet its stubby prow and body-colored, cross-hair grille reveal a relationship with the racy Dodge Viper. At the rear, shapely pillars slide down into rolled flanks, and a neat tail spoiler curves over bold corner lamps and the thick mass of a monochrome bumper.

Interior Features

Generous passenger space comes from the Coupe's architectural design, which extends the windshield forward, abbreviates space for the engine, and increases the length and width of the cabin.

High-back bucket seats come standard, although they are trimmed in different fabrics for the SE and R/T. For an additional $1,045, the R/T can be ordered with cushy and comfortable leather; the package also includes six-way power and a HomeLink garage door system nicely integrated into the visors. The visors themselves are wider than the sharply raked windshield and are articulated on the end to allow them to bend around the A-pillar, which is not the ideal solution.

The tachometer and other instruments are tucked into deep binnacles beneath a bowed cowl designed to shield them from sunlight. Sculptured pods on either side of the center console create separate cockpit spaces for the driver and front passenger. From the driver's seat, you can easily reach the shift lever, or the window and lock switches mounted on the door. The handbrake lever is on the spindly side.

Above the console is a central stack of audio and climate controls. The ventilation system uses basic rotary dials with plastic vents that feel a bit flimsy. Stereo controls are small, with sliders for bass and treble that can be difficult to operate on a bumpy highway. A display at the top of the dash provides compass heading and outside temperature readings, useful information when out and about.

The Stratus provides excellent outward visibility for the driver with broad, tall expanses of glass, and relatively narrow windshield pillars.

Unlike some sport coupes, Stratus has a room in the back seat for adult riders. The rear bench seats three, and the seat back is split 60/40 for access to the trunk. We crawled into the rear seat and found that our long legs fit neatly, even comfortably, behind the driver's seat. The front seat slides forward far enough to permit quick entry or reasonably graceful extraction. Few coupes provide as much rear seat leg space, although Toyota's Solara beats the Stratus by more than an inch.

Trunk space is the best in its class, exceeding most Japanese coupes by three cubic feet and the Ford Mustang by more than five cubic feet. We easily parked two medium-sized recycling bins in the trunk of our test car.

Driving Impressions

With its confident road manners, Stratus creates a feeling of hardware working in harmony. Its ride quality is smooth, yet firm enough to feel nimble in curves. The car is quick to respond to steering inputs, deftly changing lanes.

The R/T suspension is tuned stiffer still, and rides on wider tires. The SE has 16-inch wheels with P205/60HR16 tires; R/T uses 17-inch wheels with P215/50HR17 rubber. The larger tires feel more aggressive when turning, and ultimately improve the coupe's agility.

Still, the basic suspension layout is same for both models, and includes MacPherson struts up front with lower A-arms. Shock tower bracing increases chassis rigidity. In back, upper A-arms combine with lower lateral and semi-trailing links and coil springs. Anti-roll bars, which reduce body lean in corners, are standard. Straight-line stability and highway ride are particularly good, although we think the old Avenger might have felt a little more confident when charging hard through a turn. The tires offer good grip, but generate a hissing sound at highway speeds.

Stratus SE is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a single overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and sequential multi-point fuel injection. Output reaches 147 horsepower with a manual transmission, and 142 with an automatic. That's good enough to beat the base engine in the Toyota Solara, and comes close to matching the power of Honda's Accord. The four-cylinder engine feels energetic through all the gears, but it also works pretty hard. To maximize the power you must run the revs high, and it gets a bit noisy in the upper-rpm range.

On the other hand, the 3.0-liter single-cam V6 (standard in R/T, and part of a $1710 package in SE) delivers brisk acceleration. It develops 200 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 205 foot-pounds of torque at just 4500 rpm. That's as much or more power than other V6 competitors. Nail the throttle and the R/T goes, whether starting from the gate or overtaking a slower car. When cruising, the V6 produces a sporty exhaust note pleasing to enthusiasts. Overall, the character of the Stratus R/T lies somewhere between that of a pony car (Camaro, Mustang) and a more refined Japanese coupe.

The standard five-speed manual is a short-throw stick that moves effortlessly fore and aft, with smooth clutch engagement and easy up-shifts. The optional four-speed automatic contains an adaptive controller tied to a computer that quickly learns a driver's habits and manipulates shift patterns to suit their driving style. Take it easy, and the transmission shifts gently at relatively low engine speed. Stomp it and it stays in gear longer for better acceleration. Tackle a long downhill descent and it drops down a gear to add engine braking. With the AutoStick, you can slide the automatic shift lever into manual mode for shift-it-yourself entertainment without having to pump a clutch pedal.

The R/T and 3.0-liter SE both come with four-wheel disc brakes that bring them to a quick stop. Slam on the brakes and optional ABS steps in to prevent wheel lockup, helping you maintain steering control in an emergency braking maneuver. The four-cylinder SE coupe comes with rear drum brakes, and ABS is not an option. Traction control, available on R/T automatics, is useful to reduce front wheel spin when accelerating on wet pavement.


Dodge Stratus Coupe disguises a spacious passenger compartment behind a sleek facade. It offers style, practicality, and value. The sporty Stratus R/T adds V6 performance yet still holds the bottom line to a reasonable number.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: SE ($17,920); R/T ($20,940)
Engines: 2.4-liter sohc 16-valve inline-4; 3.0-liter sohc 24-valve V6
Transmissions: 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic; 4-speed automatic with AutoStick
Safety equipment (standard): dual front airbags, side-impact door beams, 3-point front seatbelts with adjustable anchors, rear seat ISOFIX child restraint anchors
Safety equipment (optional): ABS and traction control
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Normal, Illinois

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Stratus R/T ($20,940)
Standard equipment: air conditioning, dual power mirrors, analog instruments with tachometer, cloth-covered bucket seats with driver's manual height adjustment, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows with driver's one-touch-down, power door locks, remote keyless entry system, AM/FM/CD/ cassette stereo, four-wheel disc brakes, 17x6-in. forged aluminum wheels with P215/50HR17 all-season tires
Options as tested (MSRP): ABS ($565); power sunroof ($695)
Destination charge: ($595)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $22,795
Layout: front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.0-liter sohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 5500
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 205 @ 4500
Transmission: 5-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 20/29 mpg
Wheelbase: 103.7 in.
Length/width/height: 190.9/70.3/53.7 in.
Track, f/r: 59.4/59.3 in.
Turning circle: 42.3 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.5/51.9/42.3 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 36.0/49.5/34.0 in.
Trunk volume: 16.3 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: Independent
Suspension, r: Independent
Ground clearance: 5.9 in.
Curb weight: 3201 lbs.
Tires: P215/50HR17
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 16.3 gal.


Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of September 27, 2001.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-4A-DODGE - www.4adodge.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.


Printable Version

2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

No consumer rating

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel Disc Brakes Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std


Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 7 Years/70,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Dodge Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2002 Dodge Stratus Coupe

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