I really, really, really
hate Dodge/Chrysler. Their cars are built terribly, are unsafe, unsporty, stupidly designed, and fall apart at the drop of a hat. I must not be all that bright then, considering I've had two.
- Where do you start, really? Unfortunately, before my current Focus, my two previous cars were from them. One was a '99 Neon
(yes, a Neon; very technically it was my fiancee's car, and she bought it out of someone's yard). That Neon lasted until about 2008 or so, 101k miles before we discovered a fuel system problem. A recall problem the previous owner hadn't bothered to do anything about. At that point, it wouldn't pass emissions without a $1200 repair bill. The car was worth less than that. Cheap car, cheap seating, terrible suspension, bad paint, lazy engine and transmission, ugly as sin... Considering it was my fiancee's first car and she was strapped when she bought it, she can be forgiven. Enter our Chrysler PT Cruiser
, from 2006, which we bought with about 40k rental miles on it. Why? Well, the Dodge bought it.
The PT Cruiser worked because it could haul music equipment and was decently cheap. Same stupid engine as the Neon, no torque, no power, marginally better but horrendously ugly interior. Really, really uncomfortable to be in for any stretch of time longer than about 15 minutes. We got rid of it at 87k miles because practically everything had gone awry with it. The timing belts never lasted, I had to replace the rear drums, front rotors (they were practically rusted on, too), the suspension was leaky, the radiator was cracked, and the engine mounts were so brittle they were pretty much broken. This was a six year old car. This is on top of it having NO steering feeling whatsoever, no ABS, no ESP, no traction control, no side airbags... It was like driving a very heavy, badly made, underpowered go-kart.
Another underwhelming and stupid car of theirs is the Stratus
, which I unfortunately drove with my folks for a bit back when my stepmother totalled a car--my favorite of our cars, a used old AMG C Class Merc, RIP, ol' gal. Stupidly low-nosed for a family car, stupid steering, mindlessly bland interior, slow, cramped backseat--try being a lanky teenager who's tall for her age in that thing, it's not fun. The nose was so low, that when my stepmother crashed it--which she does invariably to any car she drives--it literally got under the car she rear-ended and lifted the victim's rear axle up onto the hood.
It doesn't seem like they're getting any better though. From the looks of the new Dodge Dart
(Why resurrect the name of an already crap car?), which is really an Alfa Romeo Guilletta with Dodge Neon-inspired body panels (gross), and a Fiat engine (in some models, the engine from the 500 Abarth; which is a good engine, but not in a heavy car), and a curb weight of...nearly 3300 lbs!
. Did I mention all this for around $25,000? Dodge's apparently trying to appeal to the young demographic, but in doing so has assumed that all people 18-35 are completely stupid. I haven't driven it, so I can't remark on that...but it's probably not very good. Dodge Quality (or rather, the lack thereof) in a deathly heavy compact car (which defeats the purpose of it being a sporty compact). No thank you, sir or madam. The only place that car is darting to is to the bottom of a lake, probably because the driver was trying (badly) to avoid a collision since airbags are probably 'optional' and they didn't want to have their face used as a crumple zone.