The Dodge Stratus was launched in 1995 as part of the JA platform, which also includes the higher-end Cirrus and the lower-end Breeze models. The car offered two models- SE, standard with 2.0 L straight-4 and optional with SOHC 2.4 L, while ES came standard with DOHC 2.4 L and the optional 2.5L V6. The battery is placed in a unique location of forward of the left front fender requiring removal of left tire to change the battery.
The Stratus, that replaced the industry-popular Dodge Spirit, was received favourably and compared with Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Contour, judging Stratus as roomier than the latter. The Ks models were critically acclaimed as the midsize offerings of Chrysler, while the upscaled LH and LX platforms aimed at replacing the Dodge Dynasty and Dodge Monaco. They were more comparable to the Ford Taurus, the upsized Honda Accord and Chevrolet Impala.
The three models of the JA platform featured many interchangeable parts with only slight differences in exterior. However, interior was quite disparate between the models. Most of the same standard features, additions, and options were offered with all three models like the 4-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, power driver's seat, leather seats, power antenna, 6 CD changer, sunroof, remote keyless entry, anti-theft system. A five-speed manual gearbox was available with the 2.0 L engine but the top-end Intrepid or Accord type features and accessories such as navigation and automatic temperature control were excluded.
In Mexico, the turbocharged Stratus version with 2.4 L DOHC 4-cylinder engine and 4-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick was sold with 168 hp (125 kW) at 5200 rpm and 216 ft·lbf of torque at 2200 rpm. Furthermore, in Europe, the car was sold as Chrysler Stratus featuring 2.0 L and the V6 but it retained the Dodge styling.
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