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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • mobaymobay Posts: 45
    I recently purchased a 2000 Neon ES with ABS/Alloy,full sound and lighting package,A/c and the 5-spd transmission.

    I have never owned an US made car having lived abroad most of my life and because of the poor reliability/fit and finish reputation of them.My previous cars have been a euro-spec VW GTI and Toyota Celica (left hand drive)along with a Volvo 244 and BMW 5-series sedan.

    My comparison cars were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla,VW Jetta (V6) and the Saturn.All four were woefully short in acceleration and cornering,were very expensive fully loaded,and had the personality of a well-made microwave (read boring).

    What attracted me to the NEON was the value for the money and the absolutely intoxicating performance of this car.The interior of the car was well finished and I particularily liked the readability of the instruments and the functionality of the Stereo and ventilation controls.The interior is surprisingly roomy for a small car and the seats are comfortable and supportive,(albeit a bit more seat is needed under the legs IMHO).

    The performance of the car is on a par with anything I have owned.Maybe it's because I insisted on getting a 5-spd (which,BTW, was VERY difficult to locate),or just plain luck, but this economy US made car flies, and sticks to the road like glue.

    Although the engine noise has been berated by the magazines as obtrusive,I love it's tone and sense of urgency, and feel that it compliments the get-a-ticket acceleration of the car. The gearbox is one of the best I have used,although I would have preferred a lower fifth (I'm crazy ,in that regard).Smooth and deliberate gear shifts.

    The creature comforts are really nice (power side mirrors,remote doors and windows, and the A/C is very powerful.I don't care a hoot about no rear power windows,it's me that mainly drives the car.

    My only complaints are; I had to increase the tension on the two rear trunk lid springs (by moving them to the second anchor hole) in order for the lid to pop up more forcefully.It worked OK but not to my personal satisfaction. The small fabric covered door panels had wrinkles in the material the apparently was caused by them not being glue/pressed onto the foam. This was easily fixed by simply pressing the material by hand against the foam.

    My biggest complaint is sure to be the speeding tickets I will recieve driving this vehicle. Once the engine is broken in I will flog it.It is an exhilarating small car to drive,and very much underestimated as a performance car.To me,it IS a performance car when bought with the 5-spd,ABS, and Alloy options.For some strange reason almost nobody orders/has the 5-spd model,which is the only way to go with this car.The 3-spd automatic kills the power of this car.

    I also notice a lack of reliability reports for a car that has been out for at least 9+ months. Most reliability reports seem to be for the older body style cars and don't really help much, as the 2000 is completely different. I would also like get a performance exhaust, but none seem to be available for the 2000.

    In conclusion, my first US made car has me immensely satisfied for the $15,000 I paid for it (inlusive of ext.warranty,LoJack anti-theft,taxes,tags).I cannot say that it will be reliable because I have not had it long enough (hence my desire for reliability info,specific to the 2000)to guage it.I will hope for the best.

    A competent,well finished (overall),exhilarating,
    econo car that is a bargain to buy.

  • I agree 110 percent on your assesment of the new neons, I got a 2000 es myself and I just love it. I have similar gripes also but they are trivial, overall one well built ride, a major leap ahead compared to the first generation neons.A question arises everytime I read about the new ford Focus: WHAT IS ALL THE HYPE ABOUT WITH THIS UGLY CAR!!!!!I'm not impressed with ford's new small flagship car, and I'm really sick of all the praise it get's while the neon is getting all the flack! I recently read about the neon r/t 2000 tested against the other companies sport versions(civic,focus,vw)and the neon r/t just got trashed,they just belittled the heck out of the car. I could'nt believe it, and for the final kick in the gut they praised the focus that had only 130hp in it's sport version zx3! I mean looks alone would fail the car if I had any say and only 130hp,common guys the base neon is 132hp, give it some credit. I believe the magazine was "automobile magazine". The whole test from the outset had no merit to it. Anyway I've had my say on the focus, it was building in me for awhile now.Does anyone else agree with me on this ford focus issue? GREAT JOB DODGE!!!
  • hijinxhijinx Posts: 7
    Focus people are very defensive about their cars... kind of like Neon owners. But I like to think we have qualities to defend. ;D

    In seriousness, the Focus is probably getting attention because a) it's the first truly competitive econobox Ford has built in ages and b) it's the closest thing to a world car in the market today.

    That's about it. I haven't driven one, but I have been in one, and the interior is Quite Bad. Typical Ford - lots of plastic, generic labeling, and no feel. The 00 Neon's interior is vastly superior.

    I read that R/T test in Automobile and was just blown away by the criticism... will have to see how it all pans out.

  • jb48jb48 Posts: 2
    I live in the Washington DC Area & I am thinking about purchasing a 2000 Dodge Neon sometime in the near future, and I was wondering about the rebate. I see Dodge commercials on TV which states a $1000 rebate on all Dodge cars, while in the newspaper states there is a $1500 rebate, but both the Dodge Website & Edmunds list the rebate for $1250. Any comments or help greatly appreciated.
  • jb48jb48 Posts: 2
    How are your neons holding up? Just wondering if you had to do it all over again, would your purchase another Neon? Why or Why not?
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45
    If I had listened to the reviews,and trusted them, I would have been influenced negatively in purchasing my Neon ES. The reviews seem almost conspiratorial in bias. They point out in almost all of them the vast improvements in decor,the great handling,powerful engine,and value yet discount all because of "engine boom" and a rear spoiler. One review was critical of the shifter knob being baseball size and to big for "their" liking.Also they complained that the seat fabric was too grippy for one of their editors large butt.

    I personally love the size of the shifter knob (and the easy shifting gearbax)and the seat's "grippy" fabric does not stop my butt from moving.

    Nit picking to the extreme.These same folks,if the engine was muffled and the seats more slippery,would complain "gone in the xxxx NEON is the wonderful song of the engine and the grippy seats of the 2000. model" I kid you not, this is probably what they would say.

    As for the Focus, it seems that just because FORD has a somewhat passable compact,despite years of horrendously bad compacts, it is now the "shining light" for the rest of the world. What rubbish.

    My main contention is that for what I paid ($15,000), I got a fully loaded 5-spd car that can run with, and surpass many cars that cost thousands more.The fact that it has a nice interior,fresh styling,and creature comforts also,is the icing on the cake.

    I just don't know what to make of the reviews.They seem to dwell on the unimportant, while ignoring the larger issue of overall goodness.

    BTW, has anyone with a 2000 NEON for several months care to relate any real world problems/praise?
  • justpurplejustpurple Posts: 12
    I've had my 2000 Neon for 14 months and 31K miles. If I had to do it over again, would I buy a 2000 Neon??? Definitely NOT.

    I've had more problems with this car than any other car I've owned. My Ford Escort had 130K miles on it when I traded it for the Neon. Never had any major problems with it. Just normal maintenance.

    My biggest complaint? The engine idles very low (almost to the point of stalling out) at stops. The service department can't seem to find what's causing it. Now they're telling me it's "normal". I don't think so. I've driven three other Neons (all rentals) and not had the same problem. I've had many other problems with this car. If you'd like a list, just ask.

    Needless, to say, I will be trading my Neon in soon before the 36K mile warranty expires.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45
    Sorry to hear of your problems. Unlike others I will not berate you on your decision. I would be interested to know if your Neon was Automatic or Manual?

    Have'nt had that problem with idling on my manual 2000 neon.Also I would be interested from a selfish standpoint, of any other problems you had and at what mileage they occured.

  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    My brother has been out looking for a commuter car that will get over 40 MPG on the highway. There are only a couple of cars made by each company that fit this. We are going by EPA ratings alone not personal experiences. The 2000 neon does not fit this criteria but my 98 is EPA rated 41MPG highway. This is the same as the Toyota echo and my 150 HP neon will blow away the echo in everything from handling, to acceleration, to passenger room (and especially looks). What's the big deal about the echo and why did the 2000 neon loose so much efficiency? BTW I have actually averaged 45 MPG on a complete tank of feul of all highway driving (OK it was my wife driving, my lead foot can't get better then 38 MPG!)
  • afeyafey Posts: 20
    I bought this car in May 99. I bought because it has a lot of interior room for such a small car.
    I still like this car after 18k. I think with the extended warranty I paid too much. Even after all the rebates. Especially 9.9% APR. What was I thinking. I will never buy another vehicle so quickly.
    My main problem with the car has been with the starter. It seems to get hot and quit sometimes.
    It happen when I had 6k and I was on may way to my wedding. What luck. Dearler replaced starter switch but I think I need a whole new starter.
    My main complaint with the car is with the maintaince. I no this is a small complaint but acording to the manual at 30k I need new plugs and the coolant flushed. I suppose I got spoiled with chevy trucks with platinum sparkplugs and dexcool coolant. I know this is a small complaint
    but it is the new 2000 model.
    I also do have the static problem and a very loud
    power steering & cheap tires.
    All in all, its a good car. I am glad its my wife drives it and likes.

    As for me, I'll just keep driving chevy trucks.
  • justpurplejustpurple Posts: 12
    First off, mine is a automatic. My last two cars that I owned for a total of 13 years were manuals.

    Problems so far:

    1. Piston ring broke at 3500 miles.

    2. Around 6500 miles, service department informed me that the intake valves were carboned up. They also "flashed" the computer to try to resolve the idling problem that started after cylinder head was replaced at 3500 miles.

    3. At 9500 miles the power steering went out. The pump had to be replaced.

    4. At 11000 the alternator bolt broke. Both the bolt and the alternator had to be replaced.

    5. Within a couple hundred miles after that the CD player broke and had to be replaced.

    The front motor mounts have been replaced twice in attempt to fix the idling problem.

    Tomorrow I'm taking it back to have the console lid replaced. It's all bubbled. The window pillars in the middle of the car(outside) are discolored(turning brown). I'll ask about that tomorrow.

    The windshield was also warped. I opted to not replace it as the warp was not in my line of sight and the service department felt I might have more problems (leakage) if they replaced it. However, about two months ago, I took a rock off the windshield and it cracked. It was replaced then.

    My gas mileage has never been what I expected it to be. The best was 27 mpg. It averages about 25 in mostly highway driving.
  • jmn2786jmn2786 Posts: 15
    Wow, that sux.

    My loaded 2000 ES 5 speed with 7500 miles has been trouble free thus far. I have seen none of the problems you are experiencing.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    My opinion on your 2000 is that you should contact Chrysler and tell them that you will be initiating a "lemon" action against them. Look at this sample complaint letter;

    I do not think that the situation will get better before it gets worse. The problems you are having seem to point to just about everything on the darn car!

    Have you kept documentation on the service problems that you were having? I would also contact your state's Attorney General and consult a lawyer.

    You definitely have a lemon and I can only hope that it is an isolated incident. That's no consolation for you I know. but I feel for you.

    By all means try to get a full refund or a new car.

    Hope it all works out
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    Just realized that you car has 31K and would be outside the "lemon law" period. My apologies for the oversight. I would however get a legal opinion (if you can afford the cost),as your case
    seems to point to an overall problem.

  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    I bought and drove a 1995 Neon and put 95,000 trouble free miles on it. I traded it on a 2000 Neon with 10,000 trouble free miles on it.

    Both of my cars had/have 5 speeds.

    When I traded my 95 the salesman asked me if I had any problems. I said no. He told me, before he went to look at the car, that it must be a 5 speed.

    Apparently the Neon automatic is week but for some reason it also creates problems for other non related parts of the car.

    I have driven the new Focus. When equipped with the 5 speed it is so similar to the Neon it is scary, but still ugly and equally unpleasant inside.

    Anybody about to purchase a 3 speed automatic Neon is probably making a big mistake. I would first recommend the 5 speed and If you have to have an automatic, as much as it hurts me to say this, I would recommend the Focus.

    About rough idle. I also have a Ford ZX2 which has the exact same 'rough idle' problem people have been complaining about.

    My sources tell me these new high output 4 cylinder engines have aggressive cam profiles which naturally cause rough idle (like the old muscle cars). Unless the car stalls, there is nothing wrong.

    Anybody having a Dodge dealer tear apart their Neon with less than 50,000 miles on it to fix a rough idle problem is only asking for trouble. I dont have a lot of confidence in dealerships and beleive for everyproblem they fix, they cause 2 more.

    I love my 2000 Neon. My only complaint is that Chrysler traded off performance for 'refinement'. I think when they redesigned the Neon the base model should have the 150 hp engine. Now all the other car manufacturers have caught up and the Neon has lost some of its edge.

    It's still the original sporty 4 door sub-compact sedan and the best (with a 5 speed).
  • hijinxhijinx Posts: 7
    See the new Economy Car comparison? Neon took last place. Edmund's has their opinions, and I have mine. Here's what I agree on:

    - 3-speed auto: silly, outdated. Needs a 4-speed very badly (bring it over from the PT!)
    - Seats. I think the 00's seats are a step above my 95's, and my 95's are excellent.
    - More content needed, yes, but what price point were they working at? Surely cruise and other items are available, no? Correct me if I'm wrong.

    The big big oversight: since when did the previous gen have power REAR windows? IIRC, it *never* did, ever. I know there were add-on kits available, but I never saw a Neon with rear power windows from the factory. If they exist, I'd be impressed. If they don't, this is an incredible, INCREDIBLE oversight on the part of the editors. I don't disagree with the stupidity of not having power rear windows; I disagree with the presentation of 'facts'.

    And, a Neon worse than a Cavalier? Not a chance.

  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    For some reason, those who review automobiles simply do not like the Neon. Period. Based upon the reviews, you would think the car was only slightly better than a 1980 Chevy Citation.

    I have also noticed a disturbing trend in automotive reviews and by automotive reviewers to discount factual numbers and substitute feelings instead.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45
    I agree with you completely.Based on the reviews I've seen the overall message that they are trying to give you is that the Neon is junk.

    Despite the fact that in the 10 econo-car review of one magazine the numbers are misleading. Look carefully.

    In the acceleration numbers, it was equal if not faster than the Protege(look at ALL numbers!) which won the competition. Whats even more telling ,is the complaint about engine noise. Despite the reviews of many magazines that chastise the Neon for engine noise look at the numbers again.

    In a flat out acceleration run the Neon was all of one DB (decibel) louder that the winner. What's more incredible is that in the everyday
    noise level (forgive me, I don't remember the parameters) it was the SAME as most of the cars, as well as the Protege.

    It was characterised as being "big car" luxurious and that out of all the cars in the review the Neon drove like a "big car" This reference was not a criticism, but rather a compliment to its level of ride quality.

    And yet these journalists dwelled upon the following as though it was important;

    A) they did'nt like the baseball size shifter knob

    B) the fabric on the seats were too "grippy" for the fat butt (their words, not mine) of one of their editors.

    Oh, and of course the "loud" engine.

    Of course, they rated it as only second to the Protege in terms of "fun to drive",and that it felt great in a mountain drive over twisty roads, and had fresh styling.

    What the hell? All that, and it's rated 5th???

    I dunno. I have a 2000 NEON ES with 5-spd,alloys,premium sound,ABS and Traction.I've driven the cars rated ahead of the Neon.They do not compare when you compare their price to the value/performance/creature comforts.The key point for me was those three parameters.

    Mine is the first US made car I've owned,(and hell,I'm middle aged!) and I'm impressed as hell with the fit and finish,and the absolutely great acceleration and handling.Yeah, maybe reliability and resale will bite me in the [non-permissible content removed],but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    I just don't get it.

    I just cannot look at the numbers displayed in the review,plus the positive remarks for handling,speed,fit /finish and come out with a 5th place finish.

    Yeah, and I DID go to college, so someone needs to enlighten me.

  • justpurplejustpurple Posts: 12
    Took the car back to the service department on Friday. They still keep telling me the low/rough idle is "normal". As for the discoloration on the outside window frames/pillars, they tell me to wax them. Somehow I don't see where that's going to help. I'll try it.

    ...One last thing I forgot to mention.

    I did take my "lemon" through arbitration with DC at 11,000 miles. I lost. Even though no one from DC or the dealership bothered to show up for the hearing. According to the arbitrator, all my problems had been fixed. I have since changed dealerships/service departments as I didn't feel I could trust the one I bought the car from anymore. I do agree that tearing the engine apart at this point would probably cause more problems.

    Within the next few weeks, I'll start the process of selecting a replacement vehicle. Any suggestions???
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I'd whole-heartedly, in all seriousness select a neon with the 5-speed.

    If you'd prefer not to think for yourself go pay a ton more for a low power, stripped, tiny civic and then pretend you don't have the same problems.

    I'd say you just got a bad early run 2000 neon and would have much better luck with another.
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