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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Korean cars aren't near as bad as everyone would like to think they are. They have made huge strides in quality in the past 4 years. If you are considering the Elantra, I suggest going to that forum and see for yourself how happy people are with their 99-2000 models. I test drove one and was throughly impressed with its power, handling, and very solid structure. I have to disagree slightly with Mobay when saying the Elantra is nowhere near the performance of the Neon. The Elantra is faster than the Neon in all acceleration tests, has a higher limit on the skidpad, a higher speed through the emergency lane change maneuver, and yet accomplishes all this while being quieter. The Elantra happens to be one of the sportiest economy cars on the market, along with the Neon. The best selling point of the Elantra is its amazingly long and thourough warranty, and its long list of standard luxuries. For money reasons, I chose the 2000 Accent instead. I have been very happy with the car except for sluggish acceleration with the AC on and so-so fuel economy. I have logged 4500 miles with no problems other than a few very minor rattles that were taken care of by the dealer.
    As far as the Lanos, I test drove one of those as well. Its engine is quite loud, though has enough power. The dash looks way cheap compared to either the Elantra or the Neon. The brakes felt weak. I think you need to look instead at the Nubira. That is more in the same price and size class as the Neon and Elantra. One strong point about the Daewoo is covering all maintenance costs for the first 3 years. A nice touch, but not much help to someone like me who does their own maintenance. A sore point about Daewoo is that they set their prices like Saturn, which makes them a bit more expensive than Hyundai.
    Anyway, I think you have your work cut out for you. Both the Neon and Elantra are great choices. Go test drive both of them and buy the one that you like best. Don't judge it on where it was made.
  • I would tell you if you can get an es for 11k you have all the reason to get that car save it has'nt been damaged at all (i.e. hail damage, dealer damage), sometimes dealers mark down cars with these types of damage or if it was a "company" car for the dealer. If you know for sure that it's none of the above you'd be crazy not to get it because you've just far outdone anyone on this bulletin board in terms of buying power. I disagree with certain posts that say the neon is "cheap" in price, for a base price of nearly 12,000 dollars and a spiraling price tag of close to 18,000 dollars with every option my friends you are paying a good bit of money for a car in a small class just like the toyota corolla, same situation-I believe these two cars are now identical in quality and price. The neon should no longer be called an "econobox" because it's made revolutionary leaps forward in quality and refinement, as for Hyundai's I would'nt even hazard a guess as to it's reputation now but I do remember it's rep in the past as being much worse than dodge so I go with what I know. "My final answer" to you Heckel2 is to grab that neon for 11k and go [non-permissible content removed] and elbows right off the lot! And pat yourself on the back for a job well done. =^]
    (BTW, the 2001 R/T's are coming out of the factory with a price tag of 16,500-starting! Now that definetely isnt cheap.)
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    My opinion, only! There is no such thing as a good NEW car for $11,000. There is one possible exception, a modestly trimmed out 2000 Toyota Echo. There is a problem with laying out $11,000 of your hard earned cash, it's called BUILD QUALITY. The domestic car manufactures can't produce a new vehicle in that price range, with any decent build quality, or for that matter reliability/re-sale value! The better import manufactures (Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Volkswagen, and Subaru) choose not to build vehicles in the $11,000 price range, they don't have too! There small cars start in the $13,000 to $14,000 range because of there competent build quality, excellent re-sale value and impeccable reliability.
    My 2 cents, don't go "[non-permissible content removed] and elbows" off any Korean or Dodge dealers lot with a NEW $11,000 car! You will be raped when it's time to sell or trade, and you will spend; a lot of time while under warranty and money when the warranty runs out, with your new best friend, the dealers service advisor. Don't take my word, educate your-self, read Consumer Reports, Car&Driver or Motor Trend; their concerns are the same; the Neon and Elantra are inherently mediocre and have many shortcomings. Heckle2, if $11,000 is your budget, look at a good/newer low mileage used car. Buying used, gets you lots of car for a lot less money. If you go with a newer/used car, dependability should be your first concern! Some recommended, used vehicles in the $10,000 to $11,000 range, 1998 Toyota Corolla, 1997/98 Honda Civic, 1997/98 Mazda Protege, and a 1997/98 Subaru Impreza. Good luck, heckle2.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    It seems there are a lot less problems with the Japanese small cars than with the American ones. I don't hear about 1995-97 Mazda, Toyota, or Honda blowing head gaskets like the Neons do. I do like the 2000 Neon, but would put more stock in the reliabilty and resale value of a Protege than I would a Neon.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    I don't hear much about 1995-97,Mazda,Toyota,or Honda blowing head gaskets like Neons do,but I have heard about distributors transmissions ,electrical problems with them.

    I also have not heard of any head gasket problems with the 2K Neon..,,have you?

    And I'm also sure YOU would put more stock in the reliability and resale value of a Protege' than a Neon. However, since we are talking about an Elantra vs. a Neon , how does the Protege' come into the picture? Old rhetoric (and habits) die hard huh?

    I keep forgetting.., Vocus.., you really DO like the Neon.

    Those were your words, not mine.

    As for the accuracy of test reports from Consumer reports, they stated that the acceleration of the 2K Neon was "sluggish".

    Now, who in this newsgroup who has driven a Neon ,even you Vocus ,would ever, in their right mind say the Neon is "sluggish"? Maybe they had the hand brake up, or the A/C "ON"(some believe the latter), but "sluggish"??.., I thinketh not.

    I'll go one step further. Consumer Reports gave the 95-99 Neon a "best buy" rating in their annual Used Car Review.What the hell????

    I gave up on Consumer Reports a long time ago.

    As for Car and Driver, heaven forbid if they are biased in ANY way towards a particular make! They are not influenced at all by advertising dollars, and all of their reviews can be taken as absolute truth.

    Believe that, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn,that I can sell you cheap...,really!

    As for build quality, is'nt it a like early to paint a picture of ALL Neons or ALL Elantra's until there is hard data to prove it.

    Once again, is it "I've got a car and I love/hate it so therefore all of them are good/bad", or do we have hard facts?

    We're giving advice on Neon vs. Elantra.Lets stick to those two vehicles.I know you guys love your vehicles ,(and I love mine) but lets talk about the strengths and weaknesses of just those two.
  • Here we go with the same ol song and dance, you know I hear all about the negative aspects of the neon from 95-00 model years about build quality and resale value. As with any car, build quality will improve over time,usually evolutionary vs revoultionary- ok stick with me here folks, the neon is only 5 years old and nobody can say it has'nt made dramtic leaps forward in overall quality-absolutely nobody! Many of the foreign competitors cars have been on the road for 2 sometimes 3 times as long and obviously have had time to improve upon the original much longer than the neon. Comparing the first neons with the 2000 model neon is apples to oranges fellas, and in such a short time of 5 years DC has busted their butts to catch up to the competition and somebody should commend them but all I hear is negative aspects of the car as if it were the ONLY car with them! I can say unequivically that there IS a conspiracy against the neon and presumably dodge because they have a strong hold on the domestic car market today and it's getting better. I see more and more new neons on the road everyday so somebody has "common sense" out there. To hell with all the negative stories and reports from worthless car magazines, they have the consistency of water and about as shallow.It's time we give DC a thumbs up and if you disagree than you're more diluted than I thought.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    The best neons are the 98's and 99's by far. I am not believeing the crap thrown around here.

    Resale value- my loaded (except for auto tranny) 98 neon cost me $11500 new and would sell in a reasonable amount of time for $9000 or I could get about $8000 trade in at 2 different dealers I checked at 2 months ago.

    Mileage- I get an average of mostly up and down, stop and go short trips of 30 mpg. This is lead footing it all the time and for comparison my Jeep GC 4.0 gets 11 mpg in the same trips. We have gotten a best of 53 MPG overall average from Eureka, CA to Missoula, MT when we moved. BTW these numbers (and the EPA ratings equal the 'green' toyota ECHO with its 'amazing it can even move' squirrel powered motor.

    Elantra better acceleration and skidpad- no way, you are going to have to provide magazine testing proof for that claim. I'll admit my stock goodyears are a huge weak link in an otherwise awesome suspension but I have never seen a elantra run anything near a neon at an SCCA event. There is much more to handling then just skidpad numbers. Acceleration of a 98 DOHC neon 5 speed pure stock is anywhere from 15.5 to 16.2 in the 1/4 mile with the average being 15.8. Don't anyone try and pass off 0-60 times here as they are basically unreliable at displaying which car would actually be leading at 60 MPH, many times a 'faster' 0-60 car will be looking at the 'slower' 0-60 car's taillights.

    Problems on old neon- not here, not with the other 3 at my work. Mine has not been completely flawless but I've said before the few minor problems I've had and how quickly they were fixed.

    Haven't heard about other car problems- you haven't been looking, Toyota v-6's had more problems with thier head gaskets then the neon's did. Honda's have electrical problems. Mazda's are infected with neon inferiority complex, I could go on but just look then up on carpoint or something, the problems are all there.

    New neons can still be bought for under $10000, but they do start getting pricy. I could have gotten a R/T when I bought my Sport for $300 more with otherwise the same options, add a automatic and the most expensive previous neon was $12500. The current model has crept up too much the last few years. I agree with somebody avove who said don't fork the cash over on a new 2001 and buy used. Just don't get that still overpriced import, a 14000 mile 99 R/T could most likely be found for under $10000.

    If you want to pay more for imaginary superman build quality and 'impeccable' reliability, for a boring looking, lackluster performing import then believe the hype. I personally go with a Honda- the official car for people who can't think for themself.
  • jmn2786jmn2786 Posts: 15
    I just wanted to say my loaded 2K 5sp is still runing great at 12k miles. Every option except the auto.

    Volkswagons have more problems than Chrysler! I think it was (JD power Initial Quality? 1999,2000)that said they had the most problems in the first year of ownership than ANY other small car make! Chrysler was in the upper half of that survey.

    I also picked the Neon over the Jetta VR6, Cougar V6, Focus, Protege, Civic, and Corolla. It offers a great package.

    The Echo is too ugly to be a good car. I woudn't be caught dead in that thing! It may be a good econo-box, but I would definitely go used before I bought one. Most likely small car to roll over, and it has very little hip room.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I would put more stock in an Elantra now, because of their superior warranty. I like the Neon, Protege, and Elantra, but all cars have their share of problems. And the Echo is not too bad, if a little cramped in front for me (at 6'3). I drove one yesterday, and it was kinda neat.

    Anyway, I do agree that the acceleration WITH auto. isn't sluggish at all. I prove that every morning when I floor the pedal to merge onto the Capital Beltway. Always kicks to first and then redlines. By then, I am going 70-80. Great power. Only thing I would change is the refinement level. And all cars have first year bugs, and hopefully they will be worked out for 2001.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    WOW!, another 2K 5sp.ES owner. Glad to see I'm not alone.I just completed stage II of my performance mods on my 2K.

    I have bypassed the resonator box behind the LFF and gotten both a high-flow air filter (Maxspeed) and a performance muffler (a friend in Mexico sent it to me).

    I of course disconnected the battery for 20 minutes to erase the computer's memory, so it could learn about the mods. It will adjust the fuel/ignition/spark to suit the mods.That takes 123miles.

    My 2K is much faster than it was stock. It flies!!

    The beauty is that the total cost is $352.00.I measured 7.2 for 0-60MPH with a electronic meter (G-FORCE ) so I'm very happy.

    Well,fellas I'm off to bed. Gonna be going to Howell Automotive in Keyster WV. for his open house.Lots of Neon enthusiasts will be there. IF you're in the neighborhood.., drop in!

    You too Vocus, the Neon guy's will love to meet you.I'm sure.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Bryan, I agree with your opinions on the Honda Civic, %100. This is not a sedan, I would purchase. My wife and I test drove both the Civic LS and ES in March, 2000. Very boring for the price $.
    But,.. I strongly disagree with your "imaginary superman" build quality and reliability comments/opinions. Honda, Toyota, Mazda, and Volkswagen build vehicles with better build quality, better dependability, and hence much better resale value; then the domestic auto manufactures. The imports cost more up-front, but are a better value in the long run. Just my 2 cents, as I expressed my advise to heckle2.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Jeff, I think it's awesome that you really like your Neon. It is also great to hear, it's problem free at 12,000 miles! My neighbor who lives right behind are house purchased a 2000 5 speed Dodge Neon in early, April. He has told me, several times "It's the best car, I ever owned!" He was born and raised in Mexico, and he told me; the Japanese imports are the most common and popular cars south of the border. He said he always wanted to own sporty looking "American" cars! He and his wife are great/fun people and I am very happy, his Neon makes him HAPPY!
    I disagree with your Volkswagen Jetta and Toyota Echo opinions! By most accounts, the Jetta's and Echo's are well designed and executed vehicles! I doubt you sat in the Echo; one of the strong points on that vehicle is the interior cabin room. I did an Echo test drive and thought it was much roomier on the inside, than the perception you get from the outside! In my opinion, there is a better small car choice than either the Jetta( too pricy, for the size) or the Echo(also too pricy, for the content).
    Jeff, good luck with your Neon!

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Bob,in my opinion; the popularity of Neon's have more to due with the lack of knowledge of most small sedan car purchasers.
    a.) Small cars, tend to be the 1st new car, for first time buyers.
    b.) First time buyers, tend to over look research and buy whats popular. Watch the Ford Focus, dominate the small car segment in the next year!
    c.) Newer/younger buyers tend to, shy away from the German and Japanese imports because of the higher up-front costs.

    Bob, what facts due have to support your conspiracy opinions about the Dodge Neons?

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "Mazda's are infected with Neon inferiority complex." Bryan, what in the heck are you talking about?

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Randy, as God is my witness, I did not advice heckle2 to buy a new Mazda Protege or compare a Protege to the Neon vs. Elantra. I just voiced my opinion. My advice to heckle2 was; If $10,000 OR LESS WAS THE BUDGET, heckle2 would be better off, in the long haul with a good newer/used low mileage used car. For MY 2 cents the Korean's (henkle2, specified Daewoo/Hyundai) or Dodge do not give you long term value for your money.

    You are %100 correct on your feelings; about the ability for anyone to predict the 2000 Neon's build quality! Please understand, I feel you made the right choice for your own situation by going with a Neon. But,.....please understand resale value is based on the realitys of the used car market at the auto auctions and ultimately on the used car lot. Randy, there's the rub, it's not what a Neon or a Protege owner thinks their 3 or 4 year old vehicle is worth, it's the PERCEPTION of the used car buyer! We have all heard someone say; " get the Honda/Toyota they run forever!" My 2 cents only, but....unmercifully there is not much of a market for used domestic or Korean cars.

  • What facts do I have to prove the conspiracy? Well, I dont have bar graphs or pie charts to show you, however I base my decision on several sources: auto magazines, consumer reports, and the internet. I've seen and read enough laughable garbage (such as I see on this very BB) to believe a conspiracy rings true. Who knows where it originated from, perhaps Honda or Toyota or whatever, the point is it exists for one reason or another. You say prove that there is a conspiracy, well sir can you prove otherwise based on what I've told you?
    Mobay, sounds like you've got a rocker booster with those 0-60 times!! =^]
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Time: 15:15 pm

    Check out page #163, in the Warren Commissions Report on the Neon Affair. Proof is in the half baked fruitcake.

    Agent Protegextwo
  • jmn2786jmn2786 Posts: 15
    I still think the Echo is but ugly.

    I like the styling of the Jetta, just too expensive for what you get and it's interior ergonomics are really funky (I'm sure one could get used to this).
  • im thinking of gettin a 2000 neon...will some current owners tell me of their experience with theirs and if i should really consider this car or not?
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