Neons

Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge Neon Testimonials

See Neons in the Allpar 200,000 Mile Club!

200,000 mile Neons

Ryan T. Milligan

I've owned my 1996 neon since 2003 and its been one heck of a car and a joy to do projects with because it is so incredibly versatile. My sister bought the car brand new in ’96 and then sold it to me in 2003. Since then, I've done a lot of the basic upgrades that I got from your website — cold air intake, pacesetter header and cat back, MPX lightweight pulley, 60mm throttle body, Energy Suspension bushings, ect. The car is getting faster and faster every year and I'm looking forward to some more serious upgrades.

The engine has 190,000 miles on it; I swapped the automatic transmission out of it at 170k miles, not because the ATX transmission was in bad shape, that transmission was a workhouse and ran great, but I wanted a 5 speed. I was able to get all the parts needed to do it for around $500. The swap was easy and straightforward because of the versatility of the car. (See Ryan’s step by step guide.)

Jeff B.

I bought my Chrysler Neon new in August 2001 with 0% financing. I was in university at the time and she came as the base model with a standard transmission and 19kms on her. It took the dealership a few days to get her for me but I remember them bringing in two cars for me one hunter green and one black with the nicer rims, I took the black one. Day 2 she overheated on me in rush hour traffic so she got towed to the shop and they fixed a leaking hose. Its now 2010 and I still own her with 400,000 kms on the odometer, all from me. I have replaced the tires 3 times and replaced the timing belt once and changed the oil every 3 months myself and I changed the brakes once. I bought new brake pads and rotors 3 years ago to put on the car but all I do is highway driving now and never use the brakes. After the first breakdown she never caused me any problems, no accidents, no calling a tow company. I don't drive her much any more but she sure made me back the money I originally invested in her almost ten years ago. I only hope that when I retire her for good and replace her with a 2011 Dodge Challenger I am just as lucky with that car.

An early note

I was speaking with a potential client earlier today, and she mentioned that though she normally drove a Cadillac, she was very impressed by a Neon she had rented (she brought this up, not me!). She thought it felt just about as powerful as the Northstar V8-powered Caddie, and had a good interior, as well. All this for sometimes as little as $10,000... and that is what inspired this page.

Nathan MacLenny

My first car was a 1991 Plymouth Acclaim my parents gave to me. It was the family car for many years. My parents bought a 1999 Dodge Stratus to be the new family car, so the only thing I had to pay for on the Plymouth was insurance (it was paid off). I drove that car for about a year and a half.

I work in IT, so on New Years Eve, December 31st 1999, it was "All Hands on Deck" for the Y2K Switch. After midnight passed just like every other night, we made our way home. I got to the parking lot where my car was parked, about 5 blocks away from our office; it was not a secure parking lot. Just a pile of broken glass lay where my Plymouth was parked. Welcome to the new year!

I went do the Dodge dealership, and drove out with a brand new 2000 Dodge Neon ES. Only feature it didn't have was a sunroof. Four disk changer, power locks/windows, fog lamps. That was almost 9 years ago. I still have the Neon. With almost 216,000 miles on it, it is still running strong!

The only major thing I have had to change out was the radiator. The engine, transmission, A/C. have all have worked great! (I had to change a plug on the A/C compressor as it burned out, but that was a $10 fix.)

I had a tune up on the car recently: changed oil, belts, plugs, etc. The guy that owns the shop came out and said he would not be afraid to drive my Neon to California and back (I lived in Florida, but recently moved to
Georgia). He said that Neon is a real trooper!

The car's name is Pépé (pronounced "Pay-Pay"). All of my friends and family know the car by that name. It got the name when one day I was driving, and I thought out loud that the guy in front of me was driving too slow. I don't remember pressing the gas any more at that moment, but the engine revved and dropped into a passing gear...seemingly on its own, like the car heard me and was ready to go. "Settle down, Pépé."

Pépé has been in a few fender benders. When I first got him, I rear-ended a truck on the highway. It was about 6pm, and the sun was right in my face, and a glare was coming off the river on the bridge I was driving over. It put a little dent in the hood, and smashed the front plate holder, but other than that, no worse for wear.

I have been rear-ended three times. But the design of the car, with the rear end sitting up so high, all they did was slide up under me.

Pépé was in a bigger wreck when a Silverado made a left hand turn at a traffic light. The light went green, and for some reason the 16 year old driver who got his license that day thought he had the right of way. He turned left as my wife went straight, and he clipped the front driver side. Had to get the hood, left fender, front bumper, and drivers’ side lights replaced. Total damage as about $4000. But still, Pépé is running strong!

2000 Dodge Neon ES, Hunter Green. 216,000 miles.

Curtis Pierce

I must say I'm very impressed with my 1997 SOHC manual-transmission base coupe. I bought it at 47,000 miles 7 years ago for a rather high price ($7000), but I believe I've gotten my money back from it. I've delivered pizzas as a fulltime job for the last three years, so you know what kind of beating that car has been through. In the past two years I've replaced an alternator at 175k, a starter a few weeks later and tires due to youthful ignorance (hit a curb in 4 inches of snow.) Nonetheless, at 140,000 miles, I've put on the car (currently at 187,000) and 7 years later, I've put this car through "hell and back" a few times and it keeps coming back for more. A true testament to what this car will put up with. Thank you Chrysler for giving me the greatest car I've ever had, and to all the "haters," see you on the track.

Lenny Todd

I purchased new July 15, 2002 my Neon SXT. I have been in the past a strictly Ford owner, but after seeing and hearing reports surrounding the Focus I decided to see what else was out there.

2003 neon back seatAfter much research I contacted my local "Five Star Dealer" and basically handled the purchase and financing without ever leaving my home. One visit to the dealer and one hour later drove my Neon home. My experience with the dealer was "5-star" all the way.

As you probably know, the Neon SXT package is a tremendous bargain. I have the 5-speed version, including power windows/locks, cruise control, CD player, spoiler, aluminum wheels, my price out the door including rebate was only $11,250!!!!

I have not had to return for any type of warranty service, repair, or adjustment. The HVAC is awesome (air VERY cold here in South Texas), runs like a scalded cat, and returns 34-35 mpg, as 90% of my driving is Interstate.

I wrote to Dodge customer service (e-mail) telling them all of this, asking them why don't they advertise the Neon, and received a form letter back, very polite but saying nothing.

Is all the corporate ad budget tied up with the new Ram? Do they NOT want the Neon to succeed? Any postings to your website with your thoughts on this would be most appreciated.

Steve Bakon from the UK

I bought a second hand Neon GLX Auto, mainly because my wife can only drive an auto, but autos aren't too plentiful in the UK. So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the best car I've ever owned. Great performance, great handling and that great American comfort ride - which takes some doing on UK roads!

Best of all it came with every necessary extra included in the very low price. I've now done over 60,000 miles of pleasurable driving in it, including one trip through Germany where it happily ran for over 500 continuous miles at an average of 100mph. Just so sad that it's been discontinued, but at least I'll still be able to get a replacement R/T this year. Many thanks to the guys at Belvidere for the pleasure of owning a great car!!

William R. Richards: SRT-4

My name is William Richards, I'm from the Owen Sound area in Ontario. I recently bought a 2004 SRT4. Let me tell you...this thing is a rocket. I've had it going about 260kmh. I love this car, there have been little things going wrong with
it...however they were my fault (e.g. the sunroof coming off the track because i was going about 220 with it open.) Now the only downfall of this car is for me it's a little cramped, but then again, I am about 6'2" and about 220 lbs. The door speakers are VERY crackly at high volume....but then again, I had a stereo to put in it anyway Maybe I love this car a little too much, and the gas mileage isn't great...

François Ouellette of Ontario

As the lease on my 2002 PT Cruiser was coming to the end I started looking for another set of wheels, costing less than the Cruiser but at the same time I wanted something fun to drive. A local Chrysler that I visited had a clean, pre-owned 2003 Dodge SX 2.0 with only 36,000 km on the clock, with a 5-speed stick and balance of the 7 years/115,000 km powertrain warranty. A test drive quickly convinced me that this was the vehicle I had to get!

Letting go the PT wasn't without regret, but the "SX appeal" rapidly grew on me and even after a week of owning the car I kept finding reasons to drive around, just for the fun of it!

This car, even in its simple form (mine is a base model equipped almost like a Sport including the 15in. wheels) is amazingly peppy and has remarkable road handling features, including an impressive cornering, strong brakes and a very stable and safe attitude on the highway. The engine offers excellent performance and gas consumption (I get around 7 or 8 L/100km which is equivalent to about 30-33 mpg US) which is very good for a small car offering generous space and such pulling power.

On the highway the 5th speed keeps the engine around the 2,500 rpm mark which contributes to the low noise level and good mileage. The production of the Neon/SX has unfortunately come to an end but anyone looking for a reasonably priced small car with attitude should seriously consider a Neon/SX, especially a model from 2003 onwards. No import or domestic of the same market segment can come close!

Glenn Laycock of Manitoba

I bought a brand new 1995 Neon Highline in July of 1995. I drove it for almost 6 years and about 130,000 km. I was originally after the Stratus, but when it became apparent I could not afford it, I reluctantly took the Neon for a test drive (mostly as a courtesy to the salesperson who was kind enough to show me the Stratus would never work for my budget). I was stunned by it, and called my brother to take a drive in it to confirm I was not crazy ... nope, "nice car" was his opinion, so I ended up buying metallic silver-purple four door. I debated getting the two-door, but the salesman felt the 4 door was the better value, and I was used to a four door by then .. my previous cars were a 1977 Civic (82-88), and 1974 Dodge Coronet (88-95).

The 1995 was a nice "driver". I had the cruise, auto, air with the AM/FM four speaker system in it. I went through three headgaskets (I paid the first two); and the transmission lost a gear around 100K, which Chrysler paid everything except $200 on it. Both tail lights were replaced because they leaked water (I paid for one of them). I had decided to keep the car as I could not afford a new one, and had the engine cleaned etc and was about a block from the place that did the cleaning when the air conditioner gave out. I took it to the dealer and told them to appraise the air and a squeaking suspension (broken spring they thought). They ended up giving me about $2500 over the black book as is (another dealer had quoted me some months earlier); so that put me right back on budget for a new one.

So I picked up a 2001 Neon LE in steel blue; basically the same set up except ... aluminium wheels, CD changer with deluxe radio, and the tilt, centre armrest, were now standard. I loved the 1995 but immediately I knew the 2001 was a more solid vehicle. I drove it until this past July, and basically just did the oil changes .. one tune up, front brakes. The tires were original still, it had 90,000km on it, and it passed the tough safety here with zero problems (even the tires!). I joked that the trade on the previous car was so generous (dealer sold it in one day they told me), I bought my 2001 without even test driving it. With the 0% financing at the time, I was able to calculate in my head and had the car bought in maybe 15 minutes.

I now have a 2005 SX 2.0. I work for a bank, so I opted for the cash price, and with all the discounts etc ended up buying it for almost $6000 less then MSRP. The dealer knew me well, so they just had the price and pst-gst and $14 tire tax and that was it. Again I forgot to test drive it, and they only had 2 cars with factory cruise ... so mineral grey; I basically went back a few steps and got just the capped wheels, and no CD changer ... air, auto, cruise. I beat the old record and bought the 05 in about five minutes.

What happened to the 2001? My niece needed a car and all the cars in that category were so abused, she was going to end up with unsafe junk that would be a repair nightmare. So I worked and worked the numbers and if the employee pricing didn't come along to make it affordable; as I really planned to drive it another couple years (due to loan mostly). I gave up a couple of the features, but it solved a need for my niece and gives me a few more years of driving the sedan Neon/SX20.

On a side note. My brother and me were huge Honda fans when we were younger. Me with my 1977 Civic and he had a 1980 Civic and then a 1985 CRX. He has since had a 2000 Neon and 2004 SX 2.0. When we have family gatherings, it looks like an Neon convention with three in the "family."

Gas mileage ... every Neon gets better and better. The 1995 got about 24 in the city; the 2001 was consistent at 30; and the 2005 is consistent at 33MPG (Canadian Gallon). I used synthetic oil in all the Neons ... I wait one oil change before the switch.

“Slyguy”

I am 21 years old... I'm a product of the "fast and the furious generation" so when it came time for me to get a car I stumbled across a 97 Highline 4 door and it had a reputation of being a girl car but it had tinted windows and the previous owner had lowered the rear so it sat level and it was quite attractive looking so I test drove it and was amazed at how nimble and responsive it was so it ended up in my driveway. I didn't have a single problem with my car but I wrecked it towards the end of last summer.. so I was on the hunt again.

This time I wanted a 2 door that had a healthier engine. I found a guy selling a 1999 Neon Sport 2 door 5 speed titanium metallic paint and I fell in love. I didn't even test drive it cause the guy spun the diff pin and so the transmission was k.i.a. but I found another transmission relatively cheap and I threw it in one weekend.. I finally got to drive it and it was very potent for a stock 4 cyl.. but I wanted more.. much to my surprise there is a huge aftermarket following for this car so I began to purchase parts. I was so brash as to race a 1994 Integra that had quite a bit done to it; I lost only because I wasn't good at handling a 5 speed... not to mention my stock tires wouldn't hook up through 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd. So I craved more.. It got to the point that my stock motor mounts couldn't handle it and two of them gave causing the engine to drop a few inches and that in turn tore the tripod out of the inner cv joint on my driver side halfshaft so that was remedied with energy motor mount inserts and I'm a believer.. when I hammer through the gears now my car kicks.. hard.. and now I'm proud to say that I still have my neon and I'm more in love with it now then I was back then and I've even taken down some GT Mustangs.. the best part I've only spent $3,000 total including the price of the car!!

Billy Leung

Hi, I'm Billy from Ontario. I'm proud to say I owned the 1995 Dodge Neon. I admit there are a lot of little problems just like the 1994 Dodge Caravan. But the dealers are really willing to fix the cars for us. Well now, the Neon is gone, no longer with us, but my impression of a Neon is
beyond its time.

Look at the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic... without any modification the Civic is a pile of trash, but if you want to waste money on modification, why not just get a better car in general. new brakes, suspension, engine, transmission... the cost of that, you would get a Concord or 300M at the time.

Neon was a real bang for the buck. I loved it. It is unique, it is pretty and it is sporty. After driving a Neon, drive a 2003 Corolla. It makes you regret. Due to the little problems in Neon, we decided to try the Corolla. The engine is
gutless, the interior quality is just as bad as something you'll find in GM or Ford. Random sounds come out from the engine when I'm on the highway and the engine sound.... in the highway it just overlaps the audio sound. I should had gone back to the Dodge Neon. It's prettier, sportier, and powerful... the noise is covered well, the position of the speakers is superior its like they tested out themself before they give it to you. In a Corolla, you won't hear the music in the front and if you crank it up till the point you can hear it, the kids in the back will be
deaf.

At the same time I owned two Dodge Caravans. When I replaced my Neon with a Corolla, our conclusion was never ever leave Dodge. After that when our caravan reached its 10 years birthday, we swapped it with a new Caravan,
I was really impressed with the quality of the car. The Vision is even better. The suspension feels more comfortable than the one on the Toyota Avalon (their flagship) and the engine is exactly what I need. Pricing is fabulous, you can get the top of the line Grand Caravan for the cost of the base model Honda Odyssey. That is real nice.

Thanks to Allpar giving me more ideas and information of new cars. Too bad they discontinued the Neon. SRT-4 died short but I still want one. I want the Caliber, Durango, Ram... in fact the whole lineup.

Ryan Williams

In 2001, my Dad bought himself the first new car he had in a long time, a 2000 Neon LE. Not the fastest or most interesting car, but I really loved the new styling on the second generation Neon. The car, despite being an automatic, was definitely faster and handled better than our old Escort. I loved the Infinity sound system, and the car looked really nice in black, especially compared to all the boring similar looking run of the mill Corollas or Civics, and of course the dreadfully ugly Focus, and cloned a zillion times Cav-fire.

Later on, my Dad purchased a 2001 Neon R/T. After my 1992 Daytona finally kicked the bucket, and my Dad purchased a new car, I was the lucky reciever of the 2001 R/T with less than 70,000 clicks on the clock.

Of all the cars that I've had, and that we have in the family, my Neon is my favorite. It handles like no car I've ever driven. The R/T styling is second to none in the small car market, and the car always looks good wherever it goes. The only money I've had to sink into it was for a broken transmission, which unfortunately happened when the car got t-boned while i was sitting at a red light. Certainly not mechanical failure! The car was rebuilt and it still drives and looks as good today as it was brand new on the lot! The Infinity sound system is amazing, the car is always comfortable, and I love the slide-open sunroof, among other things like the Magnum 2.0L and incredible handling and stopping power.

It's unfortunate that I won't be able to buy another Neon, I guess I'll have to hang on to this one, it may one day be a classic!

Andrew Williamson

My Dad bought a 1999 Alpine Green Plymouth Neon Expresso brand new in 1999 and sold it to me about a year and a half ago. It has done me well. It has had it's share of problems but never the less it is still a good car. Just last week the spark plug blew out of the hole! And as of October 2005 I have 135000 miles on it, my motor mount is broken (but I think that is because the car had to be pulled from a ditch!) but thats no problem it will be fixed soon. I am going to miss my car when it finally dies for good on me (if that will ever happen). R.I.P. Neon 9-23-05

Ted R.

In April 2004, I bought a 1995 Dodge Neon Sport (SOHC, 5 speed sedan) from a used car lot. I had been a bit skeptical because of what people tend to say about them, but it was the best option in the price range. I bought the car with about 125,000 on it.

Even on the ride home with it, I was impressed with how it handled and accelerated (though downshifting seems a little odd to me). All I've done on it since I'd got it, other than things like tires and brakes and such, have had to do with the previous owner beating the crap out of this car (the crankshaft pulley had 2 pieces chipped out of it and I kept losing belts).

I'm amazed at how this thing has held up, especially since it was put back together wrecked (the passenger side doors, hood, and bumper are all blue underneath, for example). The first and only repair I've had to make was the replacement of the starter just last week at 130+k. Aside from that, everything's been minor stuff... bubbling coolant solved with a new radiator cap, etc.

Right now, besides some touch up on an otherwise amazingly nice looking paint job, the only things I really want to do are new headlights, exhaust, and ignition coil - which brings me to one of my favorite things about this car - the aftermarket is huge. I mean, this thing is impressive enough stock (I took an MR-2 Spyder on the interstate, and he was really trying). This car is agile, responsive, quick, and dependable.

"Silentmeow" wrote:

I bought my 2000 Dodge Neon in January 2000. I love my Neon! I can't wait to buy another one! I haven't had any real problems with it. A couple flat tires, but you can't help that. A few weeks ago i finally paid of my loan. A week later i had to take the car in for a repair. The stabilizer bar was broken, and the left front tie rod was missing, so i had that fixed. Then a few days later the alternator went. So in total i spent about $650 in less than two weeks. But that is all the money that i ever had to spend on it!! I love my Neon and can't wait to buy a 2005 or 2006 Neon SXT!!

Steve Stephens wrote:

I am on my second Neon. Previously I owned a 1997 Plymouth Neon Coupe. It was the base model SOHC with automatic tranny. I bought it used in 2000. I put over 50,000 miles on it changing only tires, brake pads and rotors on the front (previous owner wore out and warped them), and oil. I would still own it except for an error in judgment while driving spiritedly on a winding road. I misread the suggested speed on the corner and went into it at 55 mph. The rear end let go and I was headed into the oncoming lane and a car. I corrected for that but ended up heading for the right hand ditch. I ended up in the ditch and clipped a tree with the front license plate frame. This happened at the same instant that the cars left tires dug into the gravel. I flipped and rotated at the same time, ending up with the nose of the car facing the road and the tires pointing to the sky.

I had heard the government reports of the Neon not being crashworthy. I have to say that I am glad I was driving one. I rolled the window down, crawled out of the car and only had some scratches on my ankle and palm. The rear window broke out and the roof partially collapsed but the front area of the passenger compartment was fine. So I just wanted to say that the Neon is a great car for the money and much safer than the crash tests would lead you to believe. I am not the only one in my car club to have walked away from a fairly serious wreck in a Neon with extremely minor injuries.

I bought another Neon, this one a 1997 Dodge Neon Coupe with the SOHC and manual transmission. Both cars were/are the Magenta color.

Update, 11/1/2005:

I have had my second Neon for just over three years now. I have the following modifications: Eibach Pro Kit Springs, Energy Suspension Bushing kit, KYB struts, American Racing 5 spoke mags, Federal SS535 tires (treadwear 260), added rear sway bar (Base model does not have one), DOHC muffler, homemade CAI (cool air intake), EVD short shift, cruise control, 95 Sport
Coupe front and rear seats. Some were for comfort, the rest to improve the handling even more than stock. The standard head gasket problem was going on when I bought it, so I replaced the head gasket and timing belt within the first 15,000 miles after I bought the car. It has the standard 5 speed with the tall gears so you frequently find your self downshifting into fourth to climb fairly steep hills even at 55 mph. I have taken this car to several local autocross events held by the Porsche club. I am not the best driver at the sport, but I did manage to beat a variety of Porsche's, a BMW 5 series, and a few other brand of much more expensive cars. A friend of
mine with a slightly more modified Neon (bigger sway bars mainly plus Koni adjustable struts) managed to beat all of the cars at the first Porsche club autocross we attended. He also manages to place in the upper half of the competitors at their events. :)

All in all, I have been very satisfied with my Neons and don't plan on getting rid of the one I have anytime soon. I have over 131,000 miles on it now.

Update, May 13, 2009:

Since I posted my last update in 2005, I have put another 70,000 miles on Hijinx, my 1997 Magenta Dodge Neon. It has made two trips from Oregon to Michigan, one in 2007 and one in 2008. The first trip was made by my wife who had time off in order to pick up a motorcycle for me and visit her family. She had no problems on the trip east pulling the empty small trailer. On the way back she started experiencing overheating issues as the car has only the 1/2 radiator. This was in the foothills in Montana. The trailer with motorcycle on it weighed at least 1400 lbs and the Neon is only supposed to tow around 1000 lbs. When we got to checking out the car it turned out to have warped the head and blown the head gasket. So I bought the new head gasket, water pump and timing belt along with a used but good head and installed. them. The car has been pretty much trouble free since then.

On the trip back east last summer, the car behaved quite well and averaged 35.7 miles per gallon. The only issue we had was a nail in a tire. The car now has over 201,000 miles. I think I may be getting to the point where I need to consider a rebuild for the engine, but not a definite need.

Dan Roraff wrote:

We bought our Neon in the spring of 1994. Now has 213,000 miles on it. Been a very reliable car. One head gasket, they should be able to figure out head gaskets by now, everyone else has. First timing belt changed at 145,000 miles, looked great. 61,000 miles later the "new" one snapped. Rebult head. Repair was more the the car was worth. Paid the money because I like the car so much.

Engine is noisy but very fast and economical. You don't use those two words in the same sentence very often. Ride is firm, but corners fast and flat. I test drove a BMW once, very nice but I couldn't use the word fun to describe it.

Many vacations in the mountains in it, never a shorage of power for passing. A small rock hit the roof on "Going to the Sun Road" in Glacier National Park. This car was made for that road.

It's the Highline with a 5 speed. The only way to go. Have had several Neon rental cars, everyone always was perfect. Every GM rental I've had has always had at least two problems. One was a door lock your couldn't unlock with the key. Drivers side.

D.T. Will wrote:

I recently bought a 95 Neon from a lady whose son went to Iraq. I paid $800 for it. I am 26 and I've had a few cars in my 10 years of driving. The fastest car (other than my Neon) was a 88 Mustang 5.0 GT which would haul some butt but didnt handle great. I wrecked it and sold it to a friend. Anyway my Neon handles and accelerates better than a 5.0 and it is stock. Some people may doubt this but its true. I love it! I wouldn't trade it for 10 Mustangs, it's great on gas, sporty, and loads of fun to drive. Thanks Plymouth for making a great car.

Chris Stapleton wrote:

I'm on my second Neon and can say few cars have ever satisfied me as much. My first Neon was/is a 1995 Highline Sedan ATX in red. The car was purchased on a trade of a Jeep Cherokee to reduce car payments upon the purchase of our home. Little did I know... The car quickly established itself as MY car. I drove it everywhere. Having drove and tested 2 generations of Escorts and the Cavalier, I was amazed at the Neon's combination of power and handling in an efficient package. The car was makedly reliable, for a Neon, having one transmission rebuild and a faulty speedo before the head gasket problem caught up with it around 120,000 miles.

For looks and handling, few cars can match the original Neon. After driving it I shudder every time I'm forced into any other compact car.

When the 95 blew up, I determined the repair bill was more than the value of the car. So, after some figuring, it was obvious, with current financing, that a new Neon could be had for better monthly payments than a used Chrysler that isn't too vintage. Auto World of Big Stone Gap supplied us in April with our new Neon, a Blaze Red Crystal Pearl Coat SXT Automatic. The new car has taken up were its predecessor left off. The car has excellent handling (though not as crisp as the 95) and good performance. The 4 speed auto is a huge improvment over the 3 speed, and the new styling is to die for. I'm looking forward to logging many more miles in my Neon. 'Til Chrysler designs the new CLK, make mine Neon!

Doug Pierce wrote:

We bought our Plymouth Neon Sport SOHC in March 1994, and 140,000 miles later, I still drive it. I plan to replace it with a 2006 Hemi Charger convertible. I talked it up so much, 3 other people bought one. Alas, I still haven't received my commission check from Chrysler.

Due to the manual trans, I have gotten as high as 42(!) mpg on the highway, between Blytheville AR and Champaign IL (slowly accelerate up to 70, hit cruise, AC on) in May 1998. Also, this spring, I achieved 33 mpg in city driving to work around Chicago, and am consistently at 30 mpg city.

Head Gasket (remember this is an early production--known to blow) lasted until Feb 2002 at 113k. Clutch went in March 2002 at 115K. Alternator in April 2002 at 116K. $2000 in repairs in 2 months. In 2003, I barely made it home from work one night, couldn't go over 40 mph, check engine light flashing. Turns out the Neon really does need fresh plug wires.

In Fall 2000, took the car slowly up a REALLY rough gravel road to the Camp Bird Mine in Ouray, Colorado. Found out later the road is a Class 4 Jeep trail (on a 1-5 scale). Several months later, during an oil change, I discovered a small dent in the passenger floorboard, and a broken O2 sensor. Well, at least I know....But it was fun.

I drove my 1993 Plymouth Acclaim to 204,000 miles, and sold it to a friend, who still drives it every day. It probably has 220-225k on it now.

What a great couple of cars.....

Paul Auman wrote:

My family held a 97 Neon that my young brother received as a gift when married. I probably put only a few thousand miles on it myself, but it was black 5 speed and he'd put in a good CD player. Loads of fun. When my dad went to buy it for him he test drove it on the path the salesman wanted him to take, but then at the parking lot said, "Okay, but one more test. If I'm really going to buy this thing it has to go." So he revved up a bit, dumped the clutch, spun tires through first and into second. He was pleased. The salesman gasped and said wide-eyed: "Are you some kind of racer?" (Yes, but that's beside the point of how fun it was getting that first Neon.)

Then, looking for cheap transportation on my 150 miles-a-day commute I thought back on the Neon. I'd already had a '91 Sundance, 87 LeBaron, and still had a '91 Spirit R/T. I started browsing and saw all the aftermarket parts for it. I decided I could buy one for about $3000-$4000 and just rebuild the motor every three or four years.

It was an incredible blast to drive--especially compared to the Sundance (as fun as that was.) I put on 205/50-15 tires, large sway bars and few other parts. It's a '95 SOHC 5 speed and constantly embarrasses other cars off the line.

At 150,000 miles I finally had enough trouble with the head gasket leak developing that we took it apart to rebuild. However, before doing so found that it was 140 psi, 115, 50 and 115 for compression. I was amazed--the 50psi piston had apparently gotten something in it and beaten it against the head repeatedly. It had obviously happened early on before I got the car at 80,000--a lot of indicators including problems with running too lean, etc. We also found that the stock original cam had started to break through its lobe surfaces by 150,000 miles.

So. . . rebuild #1. Pistons and bores were easy clean-ups--stayed with stock pistons. I bought a Crane 010 cam, shaved the head a very mild .002 and the block .005 to get them level (not much needed), a RAM clutch, Motor Mount inserts, bearings, rings, etc. all for about $600. Once that thing was put together again (having converted it to a manual steering rack too) it has GOBS of power! We did a few of the performance tricks-matched up the automatic throttle body I bought, etc., but aside from the Cam there isn't really any
performance parts in it.

Seat of pants (with a lot of miles annually) compared to my Spirit R/T, My Dad's supercharged GMC Sierra 5speed 2wd, even my 12 second '67 Camaro tells me this car is probably going to run mid-15s as it is now. I'm going to test in the next month or two at Sacramento drags. I can't wait until I go for a few more parts like cold air and header. I'm driving Si's, Mustangs and others crazy with my stock(ish) neon.

In dark colors I think the 1st Gen Neon looks great. In second gen, I really only like R/Ts and such with a spoiler and a little more muscle on it. The 2003 and up looks horrible (except the SRT). What is wrong with the design team? ... The turn signals should not have been put into the headlights (Except SRT). Just too goofy looking. The fog light option is silly--round things stuck in an oblong hole? That must have been an after thought...were we trying to copy Subura styling in this move?

If I was on the design team (which I'm not of course) the platform would stay for another 4 to 5 years and it would definitely have a 2.4 (non-turbo) as an option with both a 4 speed auto and a 5speed performance transaxle. That could definitely pull away from the Toyota Corolla crowd and should not ultimately cost the company much to come up with this model as they're 99% of the way there for parts already. I would in fact sell off my '95 and buy one for 17,000 to 18,000 right now it they would--albeit I'd probably go find and '02 grill to put on it.

Rich Hutchinson wrote:

The original Neon was marketed as cheap and a blast to drive. My car was cheap to buy (especially as a leftover :), and cheap to own. It's never failed me in my requests for handling or acceleration (at least when the AC is off). As far as transportation, the car has been strictly jump in and drive; I feel very confident in the car. (Currently 128,997 miles - read details here).

Tom Michels wrote:

The reliability of my 99 ACR Neon thus far can be summed up as follows: 4 years... 70,000 miles... grand total of $10 in repairs--- $7 for a failed thermostat at 55k miles, and $3 for a broken rubber exhaust hanger donut at 60k miles. 28 mpg in town, 35 mpg on the highway. Runs as good as new.

Dotson Hunt wrote:

Dave, I can second what the lady has told you. I bought a 2001 Plymouth Neon (Salsa Red) from my local dealership in February 01. It is the base model. A lot of people who drive vehicles that are known for their get-up and go are surprised when I leave them at a light. A lot of surprised reactions. That Plymouth Neon is one fast vehicle, the car is made well and for the cost, the value is unbeatable.

Brian McAuley wrote:

I went into my local Chrysler dealer where I had purchased a Dodge Grand Caravan loaded, looking to buy a Neon for my wife, as she drives many kilometers and she wanted something economical but comfortable for her. We even rented one to see how it drove.

We went to another dealer showroom and both fell for the Chrysler Cirrus in December of 1994. We bought the new 1995 Cirrus.

That is another story of a very good auto that had its share of problems but only got better. I still have it today and am making a semi show car out of it. It still has nice lines and style to me.

Andy wrote:

I live in Tasmania, Australia and purchased a new Neon in August 2001. In Australia all Neons were badged as Chryslers, never Plymouths or Dodges. In my opinion this is a shame as all Chrysler products sold in Australia, with the exception of Jeep, are badged as Chryslers.

My Neon is an SE manual 5 speed with the 2.0 litre engine and I am entirely happy with it. The only niggle I have is that it is too low in the front with the plastic lip under the bumper easily scraping on driveway gutters etc. It is very economical, has plenty of power and looks good.

Unfortunately, the fickle Australian motoring public stayed away in droves and Chrysler stopped importing Neons here from the end of 2001. This seems strange as the PT Cruiser is reasonably popular but lags behind the Neon in performance because of increased weight and the fact it uses the same 2.0 litre engine [webmaster note - this is true for models sold outside North America].

James Hale wrote:

Neons are very popular in Mexico. There are even patrol- car Neons in some towns. The small car segment is overcrowded but the Neon still holds its own, mostly because it is perceived by customers as having plenty of value for the money. It is bigger and more powerful than most entries in the market segment, plus Chrysler is offering very aggressive credit plans.

The noselift it got this year should help sales, as this is an aging platform that needs a more thorough cosmetic as well as a mechanical upgrade.

PT Cruisers are assembled in Mexico and they were very successful in the beginning, but they faded because first they were expensive and now they are cheap. Prices on PTs dropped significantly and many owners were pissed off (this is a common Chrysler practice in Mexico). The car also became a car thief favourite. Most people (myself included) don't like the PT's controversial styling, although retros have been doing very well here (New Beetle, Mini, and we're waiting for the new T-Bird).

Competitors are:

GM: Cavalier and Sundance (!). Perceived as better but are also more expensive. Also, we have the Opel line (Corsa, Astra and Vectra) under the Chevrolet name. The Astra is a serious contender in the segment, you see lots of them on the street. A very light body combined with a powerful 2.0L engine makes this a winner. It has displaced the all-time favourite Jetta.

Ford: Focus which has the same problems here as in the US. Prices vary too and there are many on the streets, and as many in used car lots.

VW: Golf, Jetta, Pointer. All of them are overpriced. A Golf which is reality is a real piece of junk can cost as much as a Neon or maybe more. Still, Mexicans just love VWs.

Renault: The Clio 1.6L 16-valve 5-speed is a serious competitor although it is not as roomy and powerful. It drives well though, and yuppies will buy it but not a Neon.

Nissan: it has something called the Platina which is like a Clio with a boot (trunk). They have also positioned the more "luxurious" Sentra in this market segment. Another rice-burner from Nissan is the Tsuru, which is an early-90s Sentra that goes from plain-Jane to queen-of-the-opera versions, some of which have a 2.0L engine with a 5 speed gearbox.

Drew Beck

I bought my '00 Plymouth Neon LX in February of 2001. At the time, it had 19,000 miles on the odometer. I traded in a 1994 Dodge Spirit V6 that was starting to need a fair amount of work (engine mounts, usual Mistersquishy oil leaks around the cam covers, worn brakes, etc).

My Neon was a fairly early production 2000 model since its build date was May of 1999. It is equipped with the 3-speed ATX, 15" factory alloys, power locks and windows, rear window de-icer and the six-speaker sound system with in-dash CD. Interestingly, it's not equipped with ABS brakes, surprising for a car sold in Wisconsin where it's snowy and icy during a large part of the year.

When I first drove the Neon, I was a lot more impressed than I thought I might be. I'd always heard that Neons were fun to drive but that they had sloppy assembly and suffered from lots of squeaks and rattles. I was also a little skeptical of the car's performance potential as I'd never owned a car powered by a four-cylinder engine before. But during the test drive, the Neon felt solid as a vault and still does, over two years after I purchased it. I was also very pleased with the performance of the car.

Problems? Only two minor ones--the trunk lid began to rattle when going over rough railroad track crossings. I popped the trunk one morning and discovered that one of the bolts holding the catch to the trunklid had worked loose. Five seconds of ratchet wrench action cured that. The second problem is an intermittentand very brief slip (or flare of engine RPM) as the tranny upshifts from second to third after a cold start. It only does this when the outside air temperature is low (under 40F) and usually only once. After that first change-up of the gears and the tranny warms up a little, everything is back to normal. I'm not terribly concerned about this because it hasn't gotten any worse over two years of driving and it's such a minimal thing that most people probably wouldn't even notice it.

I was reluctant to give up the old '94 Spirit because it fit me like the proverbial favorite pair of shoes--very comfortable, roomy and noticeably zippy with the V6 engine. However, I have grown quite fond of the Neon--it handles great, gets a good four MPG better fuel economy and seems just as quick as the old Spirit (in spite of having two fewer cylinders and a liter less of displacement under the hood). The torque from the Neon's "little" engine is surprising.

I think the driver's seating in the Neon is excellent and I love the factory sound system. The split rear seat back with trunk pass-through has come in very handy on numerous occasions as well.

In summary, I really like my Neon. If something happened to the one I have now, I'd probably replace it with another Neon--they are priced very well and offer a lot of car for the money. I'm a believer!

"KSUav8r" wrote:

I own and drive a 96 Neon Expresso. I've kept very good care of it and it does the same for me. The only problem like 90% of them was the head gasket leaking oil. The new head gasket that I installed myself was a bit of a pain, but it comparable to all of the new race-drive gaskets on the market. Timing was a bit of a pain, but if you talk to a dealer they'll walk you through it step by step. Other than that, the car is very maintenance friendly. Everything that typically goes bad is relatively easy to work on and the preventative maintenance is a breeze. That and the rust on the car is very difficult to find. The only place it will creep up on is under the trunk lids, so be careful about that. I'm waiting to by an SRT-4 as I've wanted a new neon ever since 2000. Just then I heard about the SRT and had my heart set ever since.

The old Neons are worth what the owners are asking for it. The new ones (don't tell Chrysler) are worth more than the dealers want. Good luck and happy shopping.

Robert Nepereny

I discovered your site about 6 months ago while bumping around the various search engines looking for
info on a '01 Dakota Quad Cab. After reading through the endless material you have on your site about
everything mopar I thought I would have to drop you a line and tell you to keep up the good work. I've
learned a great deal about engines, vehicles and performance from your site!!! I'm 24 years old and have had the privelage of owning a number of cars so far, and none have been better than my '01 dakota quad cab and '02 neon r/t.

From a consumer perspective it has appeared to me that the chrysler and dodge family is the underdog in this marketplace and they know it, and because of this they offer things that the others cannot touch. After reading many posts, and not just here at allpar.com chrysler vehicles have always had that personal touch to them, something GM or Ford could only wish for. (there are a few exceptions, but for the most part it seems more chryslers are closer to people's hearts than GMs or Fords.) Even my experience with dealing with the dealers during and after the sale have been excellent unlike my chevrolet mess. Dodge was more than willing to fix the defect on my dakota's power steering rack, whereas it took many phone calls to GM corporate to fix a defect on my cavalier's paint (which was poorly repaired may I add.) They didn't care and didn't want to accept the responsibility. They don't seem to care if you ever come back to them. It didn't take long to sell it after that.

Being raised in a union family, and being a union member myself I have always bought american vehicles and am very proud to have my neon in the driveway (probably the most american engineered car out there right now) and to know you're keeping the food on many of these people's plates. This is why I can't totally agree on this whole takeover business. It seemed like a good idea at first, I thought it would be interesting to see the engineering that would come of all of it, but instead it's been a lot of heartache for a lot of people. I guess we'll see in the end if all this was worth it....... thanks for taking the time to read this and keep it coming!!!!!

I'm looking forward to the Pacifica as we get ready to start our family in the next coming years.

Wendy Zeller wrote:

I purchased my 1998 neon in 1999 (used) with 20,000 miles already on it. At 60,000 I blew a head gasket. But it was a heck of a car and I needed it fixed. I just recently had to replace a motor mount ($40) and the oil sending unit ($11) but only due to striking an object in the road.

It is now May 2004 and I have 120,000 miles. I have no complaints on my little green Neon. Paint job is still excellent, enterior is still excellent and she still runs like a champ. I have 5 payments left on her, but I won't be trading her in unless it is for another Neon. I see a lot of people complain of the number of problems they have with their Neons, I believe that 8 out of 10 of their problems are driver error or improper care of their cars.

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