Neons

The Chrysler Neon Away From Home

In the US, first-generation Neons went from $9,000 to about $14,000, and there were many incentive packages that could lower the price even further. Outside the US and Canada, however, Neons were more expensive...though, in some countries, a 1.8 liter engine put a dent into the tax-related part of that price. In Great Britain, a Neon could be nearly double what it was in the US - but looking at the specs and features of a British Neon shows one reason why!

Chrysler Neon (UK)

European version of the Chrysler Neon.
Note revised front clip, leather and
wood interior. Instrument panel is
more 300M than Dodge Neon.

inside British Chrysler Neon

For second-generation Neon information, see the main page or the testimonials page.

This page contains:

  • The export-only 1.8 engine
  • Where the Neon is sold
    • Thailand (new, 11/00)
    • UK/England
    • Australia
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Jordan
  • Specifications (details on the export models)
  • Competition
    • Fiat Punto
    • Opel Corsa
    • Ford Escort

An export-only engine 

The 1.8 liter engine is unique to Neons sold outside the United States (probably outside of Canada as well). Brazil's Pedro Vaz told us the 1.8 is only sold with the five-speed, and is a 115 hp 1.796 cc engine rated at 10.5 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h (slow). He said the 2.0 would only be sold with the automatic in the future, and said there was a rumor that the 1998s may have a four-speed automatic.

Where the Neon is sold 

The Neon generally follows the Grand Cherokee as Chrysler's ambassador to new lands. It was designed to compete with Japanese and European cars, so this strategy makes some sense - but Chrysler is also finding out that the "American mystique" sells cars abroad...

Thailand

Barry Wiedenkeller wrote: I am in Bangkok, Thailand. There are several thousand Neons here. The Neon is a Chrysler Neon here. I personally own a 1998 brand new just registered bought from our dealership.

They are all SOHC 132 HP, some bear the logo "California" on the back post. All have dual airbags. I have seen 5 colors Dark Blue, Green, Red, a carmine color and the neon yellow. They come with 14 inch rims and Goodyear Eagle tires. There are both automatic and 5 speed manual transmissions. All were imported and all are right hand drive.

United Kingdom

The list prices in the UK were, in 1996, £12,250  for an LE and £13,475 for an LX - or about $20,000. That puts them up into a far different price class, and away from the problems of competing with Chevy Cavaliers, Ford Escorts (the North American versions, anyway), and Mazda Proteges. On the other hand, Europeans have many cars that Americans never see - including such brands as Renault, Fiat, and Opel.

 The Neon LX comes with a car alarm, antilock brakes, air conditioning, power locks, stereo cassette, electric front windows and mirrors, and, as with all English cars, tax, title, and registration (which is part of what pushes the price up: with your car, you are also buying health coverage!).

Trevor Owen wrote:

The Neon is competitively priced (up to £13795 for the LX). There is VAT of 17.5% plus another special car tax.

 If loaded with the same extras the Neon is lower in price than other comparable vehicles such as the Ford/Vauxhall(GM)/Peugeot/Renault equivalents. It is only undercut by the Korean/Eastern Europe products.

 The UK spec includes options such as auto transmission at no extra charge and a 3 year Pan European Warranty which includes a fix the car/recover the car/provide hire car/provide hotel/provide rail tickets anywhere in Europe for the first 60,000 miles or 3 years. The only extras listed are the car alarm (only the immobiliser is standard [Webmaster notes this is not standard in the US], CD player and a sunroof. I gather that the UK import agent handles the fitting of the limited extras such as the sunroof.

 The first service is free of labour costs at 600 miles 1000 km but materials are extra - It cost £23  for our first service which included 5 litres of branded synthetic plus oil filter. Servicing thereafter is every 7500 miles or 6 months and our local dealer has fixed cost scheme of # 70 for 7500 services and # 100 for 15000 services - which includes synthetic oil, use of courtesy car, and valeting which is quite good by UK standards.

 Fuel consumption using our unleaded fuel (with higher octane than your fuel) we have averaged 33 mpg (English) - most during "running in" period with mixed town and motorway usage limiting speed to 60 mph.

 The SLX model comes with alloy wheels, power bulge bonnet and a few other goodies but the same engine, listed at about # 14450. Our dealer said these are cars were originally destined for Japan but diverted here as sales in Japan were low.

 So far the Neon is a very rare beast having sold only about 5000 cars since introduction in mid 96 (as rare as the Audi A3). The most popular vehicle is the LX auto. Any LE models with manual or dull colours are hard to shift.

 Secondhand Neons are often at Chrysler dealerships as ex demo cars and the prices look good alongside the major competitors which start out more expensive but lose more in the first year or so and end up with lower sticker prices as secondhand vehicles. The major competitors shift high volumes via company car and hire car sales at high discounts - and these find their way back onto the market with perhaps 10000 miles on the clock and 20 percent reduction in price.

Most folk have not heard of a Neon - but most have heard of the Jeep and are just waking up to the Voyager and Neon. One Neon disadvantage in the UK - it is a saloon (sedan) whereas the Uk market buys hatchback bodies in a ratio of 3 to every saloon sold.

Chrysler got a bad name in the early 1980s before leaving the UK - because of the poor designs and quality of the European production at that time - so they are trying to create a quality image and so far we are most impressed with the Neon - no faults at all to date. The Chrysler marketing emphasizes the car is built to exacting US demands - and as far as I can see they are right - twin cooling fans and the biggest battery I have seen for a long time for example. I can remember a demo drive when it was about 85 degrees and the AC was too cold after only a few miles - European A/C would not have performed like that !!!

Chrysler stopped importing Neons into the United Kingdom in 2004, making the announcement long after they stopped sending vehicles - to the disappointment of Neon enthusiasts.

Jordan & the Middle East 

Qais Hamdan (currently at McGill University) tells us:

    Neons sold in Jordan cost $26,000 US in base form (SE) to $30,000US in Highline form (LE).  SE is same as base neon sold in U.S. but LE has the Sport settings like sport wheelcovers, tachometer, and quick ratio steering.  Both come with SOHC 2.0 engine only. Automatic transmission costs extra. ABS is not included in either but is an option on the LE for a Hefty $1300 US.

    It was mentioned in your webpage that What Car?,  a British magazine, lists the Neon's 0-60 time at 9.5sec for the manual SOHC 2.0. The same magazine also lists the auto with the SOHC 2.0 at 8.8sec making it faster than the manual!!!   The magazine says these figures are taken from Chrysler Corp. How can this be??? (Webmaster note: If you know, please tell me).

Australia 

Steve Davis wrote:

The Neon has been in Australia for 2 years now they have an SE and an LX. The SE is around AU$25,000 drive away (including registration, delivery, 22% duty and 22% sales tax, etc) and the LX is around $28,000. The LX includes power windows, better interior, 6 speakers, and a different hood.

I am from Arkansas and I have lived here for 13 years. I just bought a platinum Chrysler Neon SE - I believe the LX is being phased out as they are too expensive considering you can get a Camry for the price. I wanted the Neon when it first came out on July 4, 1996, but I was never offered a decent trade until recently when I traded a 1993 Camry for the Neon plus $12,000.

Jeeps start at  $39,000, the Taurus starts at $35,000, Cadillacs sell for over $100,000, and the Suburban starts at $75,000. Gas is 64 cents a liter.

Chrysler products are imported here by a Singapore company called Astre which also brings in Hyundais.

Elwyn Williams wrote: "The Neon is currently not for sale in Australia, but could return, depending on the $Aus - $US conversion. Apparently a change in the exchange rates has made in uneconomical for it to be imported and sold at a competitive price." [The Neon was discontinued in 2002. "beigeman" from Sydney pointed out "Every time they leave the market they hurt themselves more. No wonder Australians have little confidence in Chrysler. They need to decide if they are going to be here for the long run or just give up and stop kidding themselves."

Brazil 

Pedro Vaz gave us this information and these prices (based on currency conversion as of 11/24/97):

Neons are only available in LX and LE versions, all with 4 doors and the 132 horsepower engine 2.0 SOHC. Ratings are about 8.8 seconds with manual and 10 secs with auto trans [assuming 0-60]. Unfortunately, due to import costs, they will no longer be selling the LX (best model) version. The automatics are sold out until the next shipment in February.

 I think the LE is the same as a Neon Highline. It has 5 different kinds of interior including leather, alarm, standard am/fm radio with its 6CD changer on the trunk, fog lights...

 Next year hopefully Chrysler will introduce 2 more versions of its car, that is, a 1.8 entry level with manual transmission and a 2 liter sport... keeping the 2 liter auto SOHC engine too.

 For the record, a manual Neon costs US$ 27,900 (base price) and about US $28,900 for the auto. Leather is another $1600. Other options are equally expensive.

 Competition here does not include the Corsa (about $12,000 for the entry level and $24,000 for the 160 hp 1.6, average about $15,200 for 60 hp 1.0 with 5-speed, four door hatch)...the closest would be the Astra 2.0 (145 or 116 hp) [which I gather corresponds to the Lumina - webmaster]. Others include the VW Golf ($28,000 with 115 hp, $46,000 with VR-6), Polo Classic, Escort Ztec, Ford Mondeo, and GM/Opel Vectra. The Vectra is much larger, $24-30,000, 116 hp - it averages $28,700 for the GLS. The 141 hp auto is about $42,000.

 Pedro gave us the following prices as of November 24, 1995:

Neon LE - US $27,900 (manual)
GM Vectra - US $24,500 to 30,000, average GLS $28,000, CD $36,200-$47,000 (136 hp 5-spd/141 hp auto).
GM Corsa - $12,000 base (60 hp), $26,000 104 hp Sedan 5-speed
VW Golf GLX 115 hp - $28,000
VW Golf VR6 - $42,000
VW Polo Classic - $20,000 (99 hp 1.8) to $24,500
Citroen ZX Volcane 2.0 110 hp - $35,000
Toyota Corolla LE - $29,498
Mazda 626 automatic, 110 hp, $29,800
Honda Civic LX sedan, $32,592

Pedro Vaz gave us this information and these prices (based on currency conversion as of 11/24/97):

Neons are only available in LX and LE versions, all with 4 doors and the 132 horsepower engine 2.0 SOHC. Ratings are about 8.8 seconds with manual and 10 secs with auto trans [assuming 0-60]. Unfortunately, due to import costs, they will no longer be selling the LX (best model) version. The automatics are sold out until the next shipment in February.

     I think the LE is the same as a Neon Highline. It has 5 different kinds of interior including leather, alarm, standard am/fm radio with its 6CD changer on the trunk, fog lights...

     Next year hopefully Chrysler will introduce 2 more versions of its car, that is, a 1.8 entry level with manual transmission and a 2 liter sport... keeping the 2 liter auto SOHC engine too.

     For the record, a manual Neon costs US$ 27,900 (base price) and about US $28,900 for the auto. Leather is another $1600. Other options are equally expensive.

     Competition here does not include the Corsa (about $12,000 for the entry level and $24,000 for the 160 hp 1.6, average about $15,200 for 60 hp 1.0 with 5-speed, four door hatch)...the closest would be the Astra 2.0 (145 or 116 hp) [which I gather corresponds to the Lumina - webmaster]. Others include the VW Golf ($28,000 with 115 hp, $46,000 with VR-6), Polo Classic, Escort Ztec, Ford Mondeo, and GM/Opel Vectra. The Vectra is much larger, $24-30,000, 116 hp - it averages $28,700 for the GLS. The 141 hp auto is about $42,000.

 Pedro gave us the following prices as of November 24:

Neon LE - US $27,900 (manual)
GM Vectra - US $24,500 to 30,000, average GLS $28,000, CD $36,200-$47,000 (136 hp 5-spd/141 hp auto).
GM Corsa - $12,000 base (60 hp), $26,000 104 hp Sedan 5-speed
VW Golf GLX 115 hp - $28,000
VW Golf VR6 - $42,000
VW Polo Classic - $20,000 (99 hp 1.8) to $24,500
Citroen ZX Volcane 2.0 110 hp - $35,000
Toyota Corolla LE - $29,498
Mazda 626 automatic, 110 hp, $29,800
Honda Civic LX sedan, $32,592

Mexico

Click here for a detailed history of Dodge and Chrysler in Mexico, including more notes on the Neon.

Chris Krisocki (chrisk@webtv.net) wrote:

A base Neon costs 104,141 pesos in Mexico. They are used as police cars in Cancun (Highlines, black and white squad car paint, no wheel covers) and possibly elsewhere. The Beetle now makes 50 hp and has optional front disc brakes - all for 52,560 pesos (just about exactly half the Neon's price, and a little less than a Corsa/Popular).

The power rating for the 2.4-liter turbo used in the Chrysler Stratus R/T and Cirrus LXi in Mexico is 168hp@5200rpm, compared to 164@5900 for the V6. It costs the same no matter which engine it has- 184,011 pesos. A base Stratus with the 2.0 DOHC four (not offered in the Stratus up here) costs 123,818.

 Chris more recently updated us:

 The Chrysler Neon for 1998 now has the export tail-lights with separate bulbs for the turn signals, which are amber. When the brakes are applied, only the extreme corners of the red area light up, so I would guess the lights are rather like the German cars sold here now, ie the brake light is a separate bulb from the regular red tail-light that's lit when the lights are switched on.

 Confusingly, the Dodge (not Chrysler) Neon R/T still has the old red/white only tail-lights. The Dodge name appears to be used only on the Stratus, Viper, Neon R/T and the pick-ups (the Dakota is still not sold there), everything else is a Chrysler, including the Breeze. More tail-light fun: I saw some Dodge Stratuses with our Breeze tail-lights (ie red turn signals), and a Breeze with Stratus tail-lights (ie amber).

 Some non-Chrysler vehicles currently on the market include the Chevrolet LUV, a small four-door pickup, the Ford Fiesta, imported from Germany, and Peugeot has returned to the market after being away for 30 years, with models assembled in Chile. Their spokesperson at the shopping mall told me they have no plans to sell cars in America again, since the franc/dollar difference is too high.

gts1@usa.net wrote (in 1998):

    Neons in Mexico are sold only in 4 door versions, even the R/T...why? In ´97 a 2 door Neon was offered but in very limited numbers and the power rating for the 2 liter DOHC engine was 144hp@6500 instead of the 150hp that other 2 liter [DOHC] Neons have. Neon RTs here in Mexico have 15 inch wheels.

Salomón Mervich wrote (in 1999):

Mexico will begin selling the Ford Focus in September. Three models will be available: sedan,wagon,and a hatchback,prices will run from 14000-20000 Dollars,USC. Escort will still be available, and Sable will be available. For the past couple of years Sable and Taurus sales have been minimum in Mexico, because of a bad image of those cars, they had many, many problems in the past, so customers don´t trust Ford here very much.

Specifications

WhatCar! magazine reports that the Neon gets 23.9 mpg overall (English gallons), or 46.3 mpg at 56 mph -- a far cry from its USA rated 29/38 mpg (American gallons, which are smaller than English gallons). Acceleration times are 9.5 seconds from 0 to 60, 9.3 from 30 to 70. Rated horsepower is the same at 132, but torque is lower at 128 lb-ft.

 Chris Krisocki (chrisk@webtv.net) wrote that a Mexican Neon magazine listed the 1995 model year Neon. For the DOHC, They reported 0-100 kph in 8.8 seconds, with 7.8 liters of fuel consumed per 100 km driven. The SOHC was reported to be 10 seconds from 0-100 kph and 7.2 l/100km. This is interesting, as US versions do not turn in especially different figures between the SOHC and DOHC.

The torque figures in Newton-meters are given as 175@4800 rpm for the SOHC and 178@5200rpm for the DOHC. These are presumably not SAE net figures, since the SAE peeks were at 5000 and 5600rpm for '95, but probably DIN, JAS, or another standard. All figures seem to be from the maker - CC Mexico.

Competition (1997)

Fiat Punto

1996 Fiat PuntoThe same magazine rates the Fiat Punto (and every other car sold in England). The Punto GT costs 12,656 pounds, gets 24/44 mpg, and does 0-60 in as little as 8.2 seconds (that's with the optional 1.4 liter engine pushing out 136 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque.) There's also a turbo-Diesel with about 44 mpg and a 0-60 time of 16 seconds...slow but economical. The Punto 90, at 10,527 pounds, does 0-60 in 10.6 seconds and gets 34 mpg with its 88 hp/94 lb-ft engine. These are the 1997 Puntos, which are due for replacement; there are a wide variety of others not mentioned here. (Eurocars tend to have more variety within a model - or maybe they just give more names).

You may be asking whether the Fiat of today is like the Fiat we remember from when we were growing up in the 70s. You no longer need to replace the axle when you hit a speed bump, and you can generally start it just by turning the key. In fact, today's Fiat seems to be as well made as any other car, and the styling is well within modern norms. In other words - no.

 The Fiat Punto is smaller than the Neon and its competitors, but it handles well, has adequate space, and is quite a bit cheaper. There is plenty of room for the driver and passenger, a bit less for those in the back seat. The trunk seems to be just a bit smaller than the Neon's.

Ford Escort

The Ford Escort in the US was a timid Rabbit wannabe which, if it was very lucky, could keep its engine and transmission functional for a couple of years (unless you felt like getting oil changes every 2,000 miles). Not its European counterpart. In fact, just about the only thing they have in common is the name.

Ford's international operations drifted away from their domestic operations, just as Opel moved away from GM-USA. You simply can't get most American Chevies in England, or most Opels or Vauxhalls in the US. (This is changing - GM is now basing several American models on Opels, including the Catera and Saturn LS).

The Escort line is an entire series of cars. They range in price form 10,690 to 16,800 pounds, get between 34 and 40 mpg, have between 60 and 115 hp, and weigh between 990 and 1083 kg (except Diesels). 0-60 is achieved in anywhere from 9.2 to 16.4 seconds. Generally, thanks to Ford's high sales in England, the Escort is the car to beat.

Note that the next-generation Escort, which is currently being designed, might not carry the Escort name; it will be sold across the world, replacing the Mazda-based USA Escort.

Opel Corsa

1995 Opel CorsaThe Corsa is nowhere near as quick as a Neon, but it is a solid little car with great gas mileage and a reasonable price tag. Chris Krisocki provided this information:

The Opel Corsa is sold in Mexico as the Chevrolet Swing and Joy (hatchbacks) and the Monza (sedan). They're rather cute, though only come with 1.4- and 1.6-liter 8-valve engines. Swing and Joy are trim levels for the Vauxhall/Opel Corsa, for which I have some technical data from the 1995 model year courtesy of a world-wide car guide I bought in Mexico a while back. To wit:

 The engines: 1.2L (45hp, 88Nm), 1.4L (60hp, 103Nm), 1.4L 16V (90hp, 114Nm), 1.6L 16V (106hp, 150 Nm), 1.5L diesel (50hp, 90Nm), and 1.5L turbodiesel (67hp, 132Nm). The curb weights range from 835kg to 930kg, whereas a base Neon is listed as 1100kg. The magazine publishes acceleration (0-100km/h) and fuel consumption (liters per 100km travel), which are as follows:

 1.2L: 20 sec, 5.9 1.4L: 15 sec, 6.9

 1.4L 16V: 11 sec, 7.0 1.6L 16V: 9.8 sec, 7.3

 1.5LD: 19.5 sec, 5.2 1.5LTD: 14.0 sec, 5.2

 Chris wrote that a base Corsa (also called the Popular, must be rare as he didn't see any - it costs 59,917 pesos. The Corsa now comes with an optional automatic transmission.

Pedra Vaz in Brazil quotes the Corsa at US $12,500 or so - US $26,000 for the 104 hp 5-speed.

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