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Dodge/Plymouth Neon

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  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I have been reading many posts from wide variety topics. I can not pass without mentioning some strange discussion happaned in Civic Problems Topic. After couple of postings, some readers post that Neon is a crap that I did not even go into discussion with them who are narrow minded some people think that entire world is turning their Hondas and Honda is the most superior car in the market just because they have purchased. And the funny thing that a short break after these exchanges, one civic owner came up and post that he is happy with his civic even though head gasget was replaced twice!!!
    If this was a neon, the same person was screaming all the way to space and telling how bad the Neon is, how low quality the Neon is, the inconveniences that he/she had taken for the repair process etc.
    I don't think that there are problematic cars but problematic owners or problematic sick minded potential buyers.
    I am former Accord owner, I never bashed someone elses car or desicion and I am truely having problem to understand how group of people can be this much anti-objective and ignorant to other makes/models even for their evaluating purposes. They don't even evaluate, they were born with the idea that Hondas are far superior than anything and if you drive one of them you will be blessed by the society. C'mon get a life, look around what you are missing. Not particularly Neon/Dodge but other manufacturers.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Snowman, I think what you're getting at is a psychological phenomena known as cognitive dissonance. What I find curious is that it's not just the average Joe that seems to possess it, I've also noticed it reflected by automotive journalists, several of whom write for Edmunds (people who shouldn't actively demonstrate biases toward any manufacturer).

    These people actually draw opinions first (which is easier to do and more comfortable), and THEN find as much information as possible which supports these predetermined opinions. If something doesn't fit with this reality (i.e., there is a problem with their "perfect" car), they will dismiss it as a fluke or conveniently forget about it entirely. However, if "someone they know" has a problem with a vehicle for which they possess an active bias against, they can recall with vivid clarity the most minor of problems that owner experienced.

    Though I believe there are many Honda and Toyota posters whose purchasing behavior is "driven" by their own cognitive dissonance, I've read a number of postings by GM, Ford and Chrysler owners who are equally dissonant.

    I do blame a number of consumer publications - particularly Consumer Reports - for creating armies of automotive idiot savants. I find it very frustrating to "talk cars" with these people because they truly believe that reading the April issue of this publication makes one an expert.

    Personally, I think the magazine is a useful tool. It's a good place to START one’s research.

    As a subscriber to the magazine for the last 13 years, however, I can say that it's certainly not the only resource one should be using to determine the right vehicle for him or herself. And I have two good reasons for this:

    First, the articles in Consumer Reports are written by engineers. While I have nothing against people in the engineering profession per se, I can tell you that they are no less susceptible to holding biases than those in any other profession. Furthermore, having lived with three engineering students my sophomore year of college (two of whom thought Toyotas were the best thing since sliced bread), I CAN say that what engineers find cool, interesting and desirable aren't necessarily the same things others find cool, interesting and desirable.

    Second, the reliability ratings in Consumer Reports (you know, those 8 pages of red and black circles that when perused by certain people make them believe that they've become auto quality experts) are not statistically significant. I.e., Consumer Reports doesn't use random sampling methods. Instead they send questionnaires out to their SUBSCRIBERS (like me) who, in all candor, do not represent the auto-buying public at large.

    Now...do you think the respondents to these surveys (remember, CR reliability ratings are determined ENTIRELY by CR subscribers) possess any biases? Well, I sure do. In fact, I have biased peers that read the automobile articles in Consumer Reports solely because they know what they read will help buoy their own personal biases. Can we say "cognitive dissonance?" What do you think that indicates about the validity of those ratings?

    J.D. Power and Associates also does quality and dependability ratings for the automotive industry. Their ratings, however, are statistically significant. This is due to the fact that they use random sampling methods. They send out surveys to verifiable owners of vehicles rated (i.e., the vehicle was actually purchased by, and is registered to, these individuals). I find it interesting that the valid auto quality studies done by Power tend to produce such drastically different results than those unofficial surveys done by Consumer Reports.

    Consumer Reports will never tell you this either, but their ratings – because of their unscientific nature - are also a great way for disgruntled buyers to have a voice.

    You say you're still upset at Chrysler for that unreliable 1995 Neon you got rid of back in 1997? How dare they sell you such a worthless piece of junk! Well, no worry. It's vengeance time. You can still say you own that (and maybe even a problematic 1999 model too) on the 2001 survey by indicating you had a number of mechanical problems with the vehicle over the last year (even though you sold it 4 years ago). And therein lies the worst problem with CR's "sampling" procedure. It doesn't even verify that the respondent owns the vehicle, making it an extremely easy survey to manipulate.

    J.D. Power's surveys (both 5-year dependability and 90 day initial quality) indicate the difference in reliability between most domestic and Japanese manufacturers isn't very large at all. In fact, Oldsmobile and Buick have ranked very high on their 5-year dependability studies - even higher than Honda. This comes as a surprise to a lot of Consumer Reports savants. Then again, most members in the CR club have nary a clue how unscientific the CR reliability ratings are.

    With that said, I think Toyota and Honda make a number of good cars - but so do GM and Chrysler. Unless you're comparing the very highest reliability autos (Toyota) with the very worst (Kia), the differences in reliability are far less than most imagine them to be.

    Unfortunately, there are a number of people out there who truly believe the difference between purchasing a Honda Civic and a Dodge Neon is the difference between never having a problem ("It'll go 2 million trouble-free miles - just oil and gas") and being in the shop all the time.

    It is THESE buyers for whom I feel sorry. Not just because they're so comfortable with their own ignorance, but also because those new Civics are kind of ugly (sorry, I can't back that one up with any evidence).
  • Hello all. I changed my name on the board here, it used to be theliz (although none of you probably remember).
    Well, I bought a Neon in Feb. 2000 and said I would keep you informed, so here we go:
    It currently has alittle over 35,000 miles on it (almost out of warranty--yikes!), it is an automatic ES, with all the luxuries and goodies added. I live in NC near Charlotte (hilly region before you get to the mountains).
    Pros and cons:
    There really is'nt a whole lot to say, but I'll point out some problems first.
    1) I had to take it to Dodge to fix the driver's window seal. The seal let air in and the noise was rather bothersome (especially on the highway). Dodge fixed the seal and now there's no problem there.
    2) The seats are okay for short trips but they get uncomfortable after about 4 hours of driving. Not "agonizingly uncomfortable" but you have to fidget with the seat alot.
    3) I really wish it had a 4-speed tranny--but i knew what i was buying so I can't really complain. My wife and I just drove from NC to New Mexico and back and the Neon had no problems making it over the Smokey Mountains, and we cruised at about 70-80mph the whole trip. but it would have been easier on the engine with a 4-speed tranny.
    4) Sometimes the truck will not open. I use the key-fob and I hear it click, the trunk-lid raises slightly but not all the way. I then push the lid down and use the key-fob again and it opens (sometimes it takes a couple of times). I have not taken it to Dodge for this problem yet but I'll get them to look at before the warranty runs out.
    5) Often I get a static-electricity zap when exiting the car. Not a big deal and maybe it's the seat covers? It's worse in the winter of course.
    Well, that's about all the bad news. There has no engine or tranny problems at all (knock on wood).
    The good news:
    Very smoothe ride (except in Arkansas--the roads there are even worse than South Carolina's).
    Terrific AC. It get cool very quickly and the defroster/defogger works great. The fan is alittle loud at maximum speed.
    Wipers had no problems even in a monsoon-like downpour in Memphis.
    No problems passing folks on the highway (especially those slow texans) but the car seemed most comfortable at 70mph and sounded alittle strained at 80mph. But it is a 4-cylinder after all.
    The cruise control was worth the price 100% (except in Texas--they drive sooo slow).
    The stereo and CD player are terrific too.
    Well, that's all for now. I'll let you guys know what's up at 50,000 miles.

    Picturethis (aka theliz).
  • If you have thought about buying a Chrysler product, do yourself a favor, DON'T. My '95 Neon that I purchased new has 62,000 miles on it and is going downhill fast. The car is in impecible condition for the most part, but I just can't keep up with the internal problems. The oil is changed EVERY 3,000 miles and fluids checked religiously. But when the head gasket goes at 60,000 and the dealer tells me that it is normal for a head gasket to go at 60,000 I could not belive my ears. I told him that if this is Chrysler's idea of quality it stinks.

    That is the last Chrysler product that I will ever buy.
  • The head gasket problem has been well documented by thousands of Neon owners for models before 1998 and D/C should have no problem paying for the fix. Your problem may be with your dealer and not DC after all.

    Now other than the head-gasket you state you have had no problems at all for over 50,000 miles.
    So, based on the one head gasket problem (which does'nt even affect the 2000 models) you will never buy a D/C vehicle again?!?

    Well, I once had a 1986 Toyota Corolla that had some problems with the brakes...should I never buy a Toyota again?

    This makes no sense at all.

    Besides, a 1995 model with only 65,000 miles? I'm sure you can sell it with no problem.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    I've heard that the static electricity problem is something that has to do more with the materials they're using to make tires nowadays than the cars.

    My first car was an 84 Pontiac 6000 (indeed, I was the envy of my entire high school) and that thing used to zap me EVERY time I closed the door. In fact, it got to be so annoying that I just dreaded closing the door with my hand, so I'd use my sneaker instead.

    I used to think it was some type of electrical problem (God knows the car had enough of those), but my next car, an Isuzu, was almost as bad. And I think my last co. car, a 2001 Grand Prix was even worse.

    If you really find it bothersome, not touching the car (except with your shoe) after your foot hits the pavement is my technique. This seems like the best option if you've got a rental or co. vehicle, in my opinion.

    They also make a little strap (so I've heard) that hangs down from the car body and touches the pavement. Apparently, this doesn't let the car build a static charge while you're driving around.
  • lucinelucine Posts: 4
    who would buy a 95 Neon. The dealers here eyes glaze over when you drive in to ask and they reply those earlier model are too hard to move. My gasket has gone, things are constantly seeping; the left wheel actually froze up last winter and
    had to drive it like that to a service center.. There are some awful fumes drifting into the cabin of the car, and they can't figure out what it is. . Looks great on the outside; how can I wish this disaster on anyone.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Perhaps Consumer Reports relies on something when they send out the surveys about cars. A little something called honesty. Perhaps they hope that people will talk about cars that they still own.

    Not having seen the survey, I don't know how they address the potential for abuse.

    Has anyone on this board actually participated in the survey and can tell us if there is anything that addresses this?
  • eeeleeel Posts: 57
    i agree with both of your posts - especially about how biased/un-reliable consumer reports surveys are - i love how you can have 20 categories - 15 red - 4 half red - 1 clear and give it a black mark !!! - always with amercian cars,too - wonder how they can come up with that average - some kind of weight huh -
    and snowman - i have a friend who only drives hondas - her first had 2 trannies and 1 engine replaced in 30k. her 2nd one - a 2000 model - tranny replaced, ac never works right - 25k - swears by them - didn't seem to bother her having her car out of service for 3 months. so i know just what you mean
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I have an issue of Consumer Reports that talks about how they come up with the red, black, or no check mark, but it is about as undecipherable as a user's guide translated into English from another language.

    Actually, no check mark is worse than the black check mark. Red means better than average overall reliability. Black means average overall reliability. No check mark means worse than average overall reliability.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    What car ever has a used car salesman just drooled over when you drive up, just begging to pay top dollar and take it in on trade? You are living in some kind of fantasy land if you think those trained professionals are going to do anything but downplay your trade to give you bottom dollar no matter what you come in with. I got exactly what edmunds said my neon was worth from a dealer on trade and paid what edmunds said should be private party retail for what I was buying. They sold my neon within a week and they were asking $2500 more then what they gave me for it. Fixing your head gasket will only cost between $300 and $500. If your 95 is low miles and clean like you say there will be no problem selling it for the numbers posted by Edmunds. Don't worry about future owners, the majority of neon owners really like their cars and the chances of another headgasket failure on the new design is very small. I sold my Jeep Grand Cherokee a few weeks ago and during an inspection the buyer paid for they found it had cracked CV boots on the front, the estimate to repair was $600. This is more then replacement of a neon's headgasket but it didn't deter the buyer from wanting the Jeep. I just came down $500 on the price to compensate and the new buyer can get the CV joints fixed when they start making noise. Everybody was happy.
  • dhughes3dhughes3 Posts: 56
    I agree that C/R's rating system is not very accurate. As others have commented, in their view, if it's a U.S. brand, it automatically has two strikes against it, whether it is a car or another product. And yes, the survey is easy to manipulate and is less than reliable. I've read C/R for more years than I care to remember, and I've noted that they aren't very realistic in a number of ways, but the one that bothers me most is their propensity to ignore reasonably priced equipment that I can afford to buy, leaning toward the high end stuff. I think this, plus the price creep for the subscription, has gradually created an audience of "effete snobs" as Spiro Agnew once described. Thus there is a real prejudice among many of them toward any ordinary American product, particularly cars.
    One other observation: Most buyers of Chevies, Fords, Dodges, etc. only take their cars back to the dealer for problems or maybe oil changes, whereas a lot of foreign car owners follow the recommended regular service schedule religiously at their dealership. As a result, they become accustomed to paying out hundreds of dollars every time they visit a dealer. So you talk to a Civic owner who had to pay out $500 to replace a head gasket, and to him it's routine. By contrast, the Neon owner who never sees the dealer until he needs a head gasket says it's a piece of junk because it cost him $500.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    When you can see the marks for rust on a Lumina APV that was built with palstic panels and the result is "average", you have to take with a pound of salt the sort of things Consumer Reports uses to come up with a "worse than average" rating. In the 70's the VEGA got an average rating from their stats!!!! Yes, the Vega!
    Others include the "N" body [Skylark Grand Am Calais]all built in the same factory using the same parts same transmissions and engines, but the Calais was a "used car to avoid", The Grand Am average and the Skylark about the same.I even wrote to them and their response was:"the cars are built for different markets". HUH???
    I have never heard ANY FWD domestic vehicle turning a corner that did that crick crick crick sound that you hear when the CV joints are going, even old beater Citations and K cars, but plenty of Hondas Hyundais and Toyotas that do that. It's all relative really. I think the idea of the head gasket in an engine blowing 'sounds' a lot scarier, even though replacing another item might cost the same.Emotion over reason?
    The posts on the so called crash results and the ones taking Consumer Reports to task for it's less than reliable reliability ratings [though I read them like they're baseball scores and have since the early 70's]are great examples of why I keep coming back to Edmund's boards : more often than not you see some real common sense and rationality rather than partisan grandstanding for one make over another.
    Also remember that everyone has a horror story to tell about the worst car they ever owned and how they'll never own another; and WHERE do you think they go to tell the world??? And don't think I wouldn't do the same.
    Sorry to say all the bad press I read about the Neon and the head gaskets and poor workmanship nixed it as a choice for my first new car. As I've owned Mothra, my 63 Valiant Signet for 20 years now, it would have been a logical choice.
    I think I may have been a bit of a savant myself......................
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    This is the way I see it.

    People who by Civics/Carolas/Sentras/Proteges are paying 1500 - 2500 more for their cars in the first place. So money is not the reason they bought the car. People who have an extra 2500 to spend also have adequate funds to make their payments and repair what breaks during the normal course of ownership. They are gladly paying more for their cars for the perceived superior quality.

    Consequently, when their car needs a 250 - 500 dollar repair its no big deal. They appear almost giddy with joy paying for unscheduled repairs so they can keep driving their beloved cars.

    Neon owners arent quite like that.

    They are usually lured in purchasing their cars by the low price and amazing incentives (1500 rebates and/or 0.9% interest). So they are not the most loyal customer to begin with.

    You dont hear Honda owners complaining "I only bought this car because my payments had to be under $200 a month. Now, 4 years and 60,000 miles later it needs a head gasket. I just spent $300 on tires last month and I am still making payments. I just dont have the money right now. I hate this car."

    How much does anybody here want to bet that the average median income of a Civic owner is higher than a Neon owner?

    Do I think that Neons are a higher quality car than Civics?

    NO.

    But they are not as bad as some would have you believe.

    Unfortunately, it seems a lot of the disgruntled Neon owners used the 1500 dollars they saved on the purchase of their Neons to buy personal computers so they could post negative comments on this board to tell us how our cars suck.

    To those who about to post negative comments here - Spare us the sad stories and just get an attorney, file a class action lawsuit, and win yourselves a million bucks.
  • dhughes3dhughes3 Posts: 56
    I too have a '63 Valiant Signet 2 dr hardtop. I bought it for $1300 in 1966 when it had an unbelievable 4400 miles. Something like 20 years ago now, I loaned the car to a friend, whose wife drove it 35 miles each way to work for over two months, plus who know where else. At that time it had about 135K miles on it, so it was using maybe a quart of oil every 1200 miles. When I got it back, it was 1.5 qts low, and upon questioning the culprit, I found she had never checked the oil. So I made a decision to pack it in and start restoring it before it got trashed. I dearly loved that dependable little beast; besides which I always considered it an attractive car. I think the only problems I had with it were several alternators & regulators and too-frequent wheel alignments. Well, as things would have it, with two kids and a wife who wasn't a lot of help with kids or home, I never found time to really begin the restoration in earnest. Got as far as stripping the chrome and beginning to fill in the parker's nicks, and that's about it.
    10 years later or so my teenage son asked if he could yank the motor & trans and drop in a 360 and make it a cool street machine. I decided I would probably never finish the project, so I gave him permission. Well, it got as far as pulling the engine & trans and having them hauled away. Now the car sits forlornly on four flat tires, with no hope of my ever getting it going again, as I have even less time & energy now than I did 20 years ago. The car has a solid body, with only a very small amount of rust. I'd gladly give it to someone to restore if they'd promise me a picture when it was done. I suppose, since it has no running gear, I'd consider letting it go as an excellent parts car. If you or anyone else is interested, let me know; bring a flatbed and take my old friend. (I'm in Independence, MO.)
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    So I take it that Ed believes in censoring any words that don't agree with his view of the world or his vehicle? Sad!
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I think I am developing an - attitude against Honda even tough I was a loyal Honda customer.
    What is that everybody drives the same car, like everybody wears the same outfit in China. Forget about the car but owners attitude makes me puke. Especially EX owners, they think they have performance car.

    Edsword: I don't aggree with you about

    **You dont hear Honda owners complaining "I only bought this car because my payments had to be under $200 a month. Now, 4 years and 60,000 miles later it needs a head gasket. I just spent $300 on tires last month and I am still making payments. I just dont have the money right now. I hate this car."**

    They hate it but they are in denial against themselves and their family/friends. If they say "I hate this car" then they will clearly accept that they made a wrong decision by buying overpriced xyz car. Of course this make them stupid. Clearly nobody wants to look stupid in the eye of others.

    This is my theory. I think majority of Honda owners are in this stage. By bashing other cars they are getting relief and reaching internal peace.

    They don't even have civil tolerance to listen what others say. Oh boy when I sampled out couple US brands to compare Japaneese vs US to prove my point, they replied to me that that forum is designated for Civic owners about Civic problems.

    There could be another theory "Jelousy". They might get mad when they see other cars are performing well despite their sticker prices.

    Personaly, I would not change our Neon to Civic and justify $3500 price difference.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    I feel the same way about mine. It's family now. Yahoo A bodies club might get you someone who'd give your old friend a good home. Check em out!
    Snowman: don't know if you ever saw the ad for some mid size four door in the mid 80s or early 90s. While the announcer kept reading off the features of the new and improved [Mitsubishi Galant?]the woman in the foreground kept saying: "I'm getting an Accord", "I'm getting an Accord"........you may be on to something.But then, I can't say. I felt the same way about GM and Chevrolet when I was growing up. And what do I have parked in my garage? A Chevrolet!!!
    It's funny people think nothing these days of regularly shelling out 300 to 500 to have a timing belt changed and a water pump replacement every 60,000 to 80,000 miles and call it regular maintenance.To me that isn't something you'd call high tech, especially if it has the same potential to leave you stranded that a blown head gasket does.
    Perception again I guess or a different perspective.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    If you kept up the Neon versus Civic comparisons, I would not have been surprised to see a post from a townhall monitor telling you that is what the the comparison boards are for. I was comparing my car to another vehicle and this happened to me.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I was reading somewhere that the Mitsu Lancer is going to be the basis for the next generation Neon. Does anyone have any information about this?

    If this is true, are the two cars going to have different body styles or will it simply be a case of different badges?
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Yes, the next Neon will be a Lancer, and the next Stratus-Sebring, a Galant.

    Whether the bodies will differ is something only DaimlerChrysler's engineers can tell you; my guess would be yes, they'll be stylistically different, just like the Eclipse is different from the Avenger (now Stratus Coupe) and Sebring coupe, though the models are all built on the same chassis (the Mitsubishi Galant).
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I hope the body style is different especially if the next generation Lancer looks like the current Lancer. The Lancer is okay, but I like the look of the Neon better.
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    I have posted here before, that I welcome owners comming to the board with a problem that we may have had and solved (I owned a 95 Neon and now own a 2k) or even owners that arent satisfied with their cars for whatever reason and want to vent.

    What irritates me are the relatively few who post moronic comments about how their car broke and they hate Chrysler and we better by something else before our cars brake too.

    Give me a brake!
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    Chrysler is going to let Mitsubishi, currently mired in a legal controversy in Japan similar to the Ford/Firestone debacle here, design and build the next Neon and Stratus sedan?

    The last time I checked, Stratus sedans far outsell Galant sedans and likewise for the Neon and Mirage. Mitsubishi builds nice cars, but they just dont do much for me.

    So the only cars Dodge and Chrysler will design and build are the Intrepid, Concord, and 300m full size cars? Perhaps they can get Mercedes to whip some full size cars for them so they be freed up to do other things instead of getting bogged down in those pesky details of trying to build a better car.

    Is it safe to say that under their new Management team, Chrysler is just giving up the car market?

    I have news for Chrysler management, the Minivans and trucks are about to get ultra competetive and they cant depend on those cash cows anymore.

    The yankee can do spirit that pushed car designs from the '88 K-car and Omni to the industry leading designs of 2000 appears to be dead.

    They still havent hit bottom yet.
  • I have a friend in Japan who is telling me that Daimler/Chrysler is testing some Mitsubishi cars to be sold as Dodges in the US.

    They have some pictures (no cars yet) that are shown to some consumer groups for testing.

    She sent me one of the pict. The car would be a possible replacement for the Neon, based on a Lancer hatchback.

    If you are interested, it's at:

    http://www.thehollywoodextra.com

    Just scroll down the page to my link, in red letters. ( it's my roommate's site)
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Yankee can-do did produce the K-cars, but not the Omni and Horizon. That model was the product of Chrysler Europe, or more specifically, SIMCA of France and Rootes of England. The Omni and Horizon were derived from a French SIMCA, and the first model years used a VW engine block. Yes, they were assembled in Illinois, but they were not a Yankee design. The Neon was the first true American Chrysler small-car design (the Shadow/Sundance were probably too large to have qualified as small cars - and were derivates of the K-car anyway).
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    anyone knows how much torque should be applied to lug nuts for 2K Neon. Thanks.
  • dhughes3dhughes3 Posts: 56
    I know this isn't a forum for discussion of the Consumer Reports magazine, but I know a lot of people place strong emphasis on their reports when they buy a car. As a person who tends to keep a car a long, long time, one of my biggest gripes is that they tend to stress the less important considerations. They are more likely to downgrade a car for rattles than for high rates of failure in important (longevity related) components. No one likes them, but I'd rather have a few rattles than a bad engine or transmission. Back in the 70's & 80's did you ever see mention of the THM 200 transmission failure rate? What information did you get about GM's 350 diesel? Did you learn that the Ford 2.4 L four-banger took a dive at 40K because Ford didn't supply an oil squirt hole in the con rods to oil the cyl walls? No, you learned that MoPars with rock-tough torqueflites and 318's or slant 6's had large body gaps.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Good point. Ever notice how Consumer Reports also got rid of the cost index? It used to be on the bottom next to the overall reliability rating. I have theories on why they did this, but they all smack of the conspiracy variety so I won’t even bring them up.

    Every American make used to trounce the competition on this one because even the most reliable foreign makes tend to be more expensive to maintain than the least reliable of the American lot. E.g., an ’83 Ford Escort might have been in the shop five times as often as an ’83 BMW 325, but it was still a cheaper car to operate as the parts were so dang inexpensive. Apparently, CR didn’t consider this info valuable to its readers...

    I do think body integrity is a helpful rating though. Nothing is more annoying than a car full of cheap plastic parts that tend to rattle around and fatigue - ultimately breaking off in your hand just to spite you. Perhaps if you ever owned a Pontiac, you would share this feeling.

    The reliability of major components is important to me too, but the cost of fixing them if they fail is something everyone should remember to consider if they’re in for the long haul. At ~$1500 for a rebuilt one (installed), I can replace the Ultradrive transmission in my old ’91 Chrysler two times over before I exceed the cost incurred to rebuild the tranny in my sister’s ’93 Mitsubishi Diamante once.

    I would love a new VW Golf TDI, but the Audi-like maintenance costs quickly calm that fire. Not only are the new Neons pretty reliable (new does not mean '95 or '96 for those of you who are chronologically challenged), they are some of the least expensive vehicles on the road to maintain (not to mention purchase).

    BTW, GM drastically improved its 350 diesel by 1982. My uncle bought several big post '82 Oldsmobiles with this engine throughout the 80's and encountered none of the bearing problems people were having with the 79-81. He bought them dirt cheap and managed to break 200k with each of them (though they were highway miles). It's unfortunate GM was in such a rush to bring the engine to market (using consumers as test subjects) - perhaps we'd be driving American made diesels today if they hadn't screwed it up.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Anyone try synthetic oil in their 2000/01 Neon? I was just wondering how much quieter and smoother it made the engine run.

    I drove a friend's 1996 Neon Expresso last week for a little bit. The first generation definitely makes the new Neon feel like a luxury car. :) I kinda like the tossable nature of the first Neon better though. And even though the new gen. uses the same engine, it does feel more powerful. Not too bad for the money.
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