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Dodge Neon SRT-4

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  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Wow!

    Rose-colored glasses on one end and a mud-filled boot at the other!

    No doubt about it, Neon had teething pains that took a solid three years to overcome. '95-'97 MYs encountered a number of difficulties, the head gasket among them. But from the '98 MY on, improvements have been well-noted, and the issues sphinx alludes to just aren't realities any more.

    And the early and continued success of the Miata based principally on reliability is a ridiculous notion. Miata owners would likely have suffered re-glued trim or a head gasket replacement willingly, perhaps even glowingly.
  • No doubt, the Neon was botched, and I think the mistake was unforgivable in 2000, when Chrysler improved the car in so many ways but didn't go the extra step and offer the 150 hp engine until too late. The early interior trim, etc. problems were legendary, but it's interesting that Chrysler decided to keep the Neon name (after all, it had cult status among budget-minded enthusiasts) at a time when Chrysler was constantly changing the name of its cars in hopes that the public would forget the previous model.

    The American-automobile-manufacturer-blows-it-again aspect really bugs me, too. It's amazing how stupid management-by-counting-beans can be, because there's no connection between finance and marketing in these decisions. In other words, market an excellent R/T from the start, market it in enthusiast publications and through racing publicity, and then offer it in limited quantities....and then watch people line up and pay MSRP for the thing, not demanding 0% financing and rebates. Then watch as the brand image of Dodge (and at the time, Plymouth) becomes truly distinctive and exciting, with a made-in-USA twist that would even work in Europe, where it would be a niche import product.
  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    I bought an Intense Blue '99 Sport 5-spd sedan new in May of '99. I loved the handling, the economy and the gutsy DOHC motor. It even looked pretty cool in that nuclear blue color. I hated the cheesy rubber shift boot and rubbermaid interior, the sunroof that broke weekly and the cacophony of rattles and squeeks in the interior. I decided to get rid of it at about 34k miles - just before the warranty expired. My brother bought it from me, but I would only sell it to him if he agreed to spring for an extended warranty. That warranty has been used for a number of things, including a bad head gasket which isn't supposed to be a problem on the DOHC motor or the '98+ models. That warranty has easily paid for itself already.
    So, I've been debating buying a new little runabout for myself. Would I buy another Neon? Sadly, no. A Sentra, Impreza or Protege are on my list, though.
    Would I buy a bigger Dodge / Chrysler product for my family, ala Grand Caravan/Durango/Pacifica? Sorry, no.

    -Jason
  • ndahi12ndahi12 Posts: 235
    cheap, fast and reliable, then you have to pick either the Toyota Corolla FX-16 1987-1988 or the Nissan Sentra SE-R 1991-1994. These are the two cars that come to mind and I have owned them both.

    My FX-16 had 250K miles on it when I sold it and it is still running last I heard. It revs to 7500 rpm and I simply changed the oil and filter ever 4-5K miles. Aside from regular maintenance that thing was trouble free. I would put that car in a similar satsu to the BMW 2002 and Datsun 510.

    I still own my SE-R with 140K miles and it still revs freely to 7500 rpm. This car rocks. It is so fun to drive and cheap to maintain. I am keeping this car until I turn it into a second race car.

    The Neon simply does not measure up in reliabilty to these two cars. It might be fast and cheap, but one thing it is not is reliable. I really do not consider a car realiable if it does not give you 100K trouble free miles. And all of us should not accept anything less from any car maker.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    That is the best car in the world. I loved that car.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I had a 98 Sport pretty much loaded out with sunroof and all power, with the DOHC and a 5 speed. I was basically flawless, it did trow a code once, but ran fine, Took it to a dealer after a week with the code and got a free set of plugs and wires. Other then that perfect. the best thing about this car was that I bought it brand new for under $11,000. I traded it in on a minivan for my wife after 3 years and still got $8500 on the trade from a dealer, with invoice pricing on the van. That was the wholesale trade value for the neon at the time. $2500 depreciation for 3 years dealing only with a dealer is pretty awesome, as was the performance and fun of that neon. It also achieved 45 MPG on one long highway trip (it was EPA rated at 41 mpg). So near flawless mechanical, $2500 depreciation, 45 MPG, 15.8 1/4 mile times, and SCCA winning suspension for $11,000 new fully loaded? Compared to what else was out there in 98 that neon was way above it's competition. The SE-R was probably the closest competitor but cost $17,000 for no other advantages then the honor of owning a Sentra.

    Personally I think the 2003 Cobra is also a great bang for the buck car, I'm glad it is delivering as promised. There isn't much else for under $34,000 new that delivers that much, just as there isn't anything else under $20,000 that delivers as much bang as the Neon does.

    Here's another question. I have seen those lists of HP per dollar but I think those lists are flawed. they don't look at all vehicles and they don't take into account rebates and such. So here's the question; what current vehicle has the most HP per 1000 dollars based on MSRP after standard current rebates? What one has the most Torque per $1000?
    The 2002 z-28 (if there are any left) has $2000 off it's $23430 base MSRP and 310 HP w/ 340 ft-lbs. So it gets a 14.47 for HP/$$ and 15.87 for torque/$$. I can think of something better at 18.16 on HP and 19.74 on torque, anybody know what it is? or can anybody think of something better?
  • The Sentra SE-R was a great car. I test drove one and thought it handled and felt almost like a BMW, but ended up buying a CRX Si.

    The Neon is still in production, but the SE-R is not. Nissan never could focus and has blown a number of opportunities. If it weren't for Renault, Nissan would probably be bankrupt right now. Chrysler became a fine manufacturer in the 90s...styling and profitability were world class. As for reliability, the pre-2000 Neon was one of Chysler's few reliable cars, ex-trim problems. The post-2000 Neons are safe and reliable. Not as reliable as most Japanese cars, but also more fun to drive and better-looking than most Japanese sedans.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Well, using that formula my used Mustang works out to about 93 HP/1K$ but I don't think thats really fair. :)
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Yeh used cars wouldn't really be fair, I've bought used cars for $100 that ran and drove. With a 68 318 that made 230 HP that would make the ratio 2300!
  • ndahi12ndahi12 Posts: 235
    How many miles did you put on that Neon? I bet yoy did not make 100K before you traded in the car. I would like to see the neon's reliability at 100K. I really doubt that it would be as reliable as the FX-16 or the SE-R.
  • ndahi12ndahi12 Posts: 235
    The SE-R is back in 2002 in 4 door version. You can get the Spec V verison of the SE-R for 16,700 and it has almost all the options that you want. 2.5 liter enigne with 6-speed and a Helical limited slip diff, power everything, AC, CD/AM/FM stereo, sport tuned suspension. The car has 175 hp and 180 lb/ft of torque. It is trule one of the best bang for the buck econosport sedan out there. And you do not get gouged when buying one since it is not a limited production model.

    Renault did bail out Nissan, but the net result has been perfect. Carlos Gohsn has turned Nissan around and it is making profits now. The Z is back and you get the COTY with the G35. The Altima is selling like hotcakes. The Altima, Z, and the G35 are the hottest cars in the market right now. Nissan is on a roll, they are indtroducing one hot car after another.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Autosite.com has it selling over 1000 less than the Acura TL last month. Significant in that the TL is an older design.

    And we won't talk about the Q45 and M45.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    They are selling pretty well considering the kind of sales Infiniti was getting before they
    madeover their entire line.

    Dohn't understand the seat controls on top of the seat bolsters. Never seen that before. I hope it goes away quickly.
  • Are we drifting here? Are we done with the Neon?
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    It's just to intimidating to talk about, you have to go to other discussions or take pot-shots at expected reliability or at how you don't like the taillights (which is important in that it's what will be seem most by other drivers.) Seriously I don't think there will be much else to say until they show up in the new owners hands in a few weeks.
    Oh, and as long as we are still way off topic... the answer to my best hp/$$ quiz is the new 2003 Hemi Ram. The 1500 ST stickers at under $19,000 with the Hemi, and there is (at least) a $2000 rebate. So $17,000 for 345 HP and 375 ft-lbs. The only true 1/4 mile run I have seen has it at 14.8 @ 93 mph but that is a single run, uncorrected, new motor, lots of wheelspin on a truck with full options including the heavy 20" wheel package. There will be stock Rams in the low 14's for sure. Not bad for $17,000, then add a $4000 Kenne-bell and make 515hp even better! I decided to go this route rather then the SRT-4, but by the time I actually ordered the Ram I ended up checking off lots of options and went with the Quad Cab, so it will be just under $26,000. Hopefully it will be here by April at the latest, I can't wait! Until then I'll have to stand by to defend my 2nd choice the SRT-4.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Than any fast car. Sales of fast cheap cars are very low. Even fast cheap cars have insurance that ain't cheap so if you can afford the insurance that is in many cases more than the car, you might as well get a REAL car. I'm not intimidated by a SR-T. For the few that will be sold well be far between and won't be around long.

    As far as the G35 being hot...I guess is depends on what you define "Hot" to be then.
  • I was not aware of Nissan's rollout of a new SE-R in 2002, but checked it out on their website. Looks nice. It has crisp, sharp lines and I'm sure it's very quick. But if I were in the market, I'd go for the SRT-4 over the SE-R in heartbeat. Even the top-of-the-line version will not match the performance of the SRT-4, despite the similar sticker price. I also think the Neon is better-looking...both elegant and aggressive at the same time...although I'm not crazy about the spoilers on either car. On the other hand, some people will want the Japanese reliability over the Neon's performance.

    Chiming in the G35 discussion, the Infiniti is a great car, but the interior in particular leaves me feeling cold about this car. Compare the interior to a BMW coupe's, and they're in different leagues. Also, I believe the G35 was rolled out originally without a manual transmission, which took the wind out of its sails in the enthusiast market...which is after all its target market. I happen to like Infiniti, and once owned a 1995 G20, which was a fabulous, underrated car. (Yes, I have a habit of seeking out underrated cars, like the Neon).
    The next-generation Infiniti was a huge disappointment. I drove one on the Forbes estate in Inifiniti's big rollout party (great party, lousy car). The car looked more generic and cheap inside and lacked the classic styling that I liked about the first G20, the car did not feel as dynamic, and there was no improvement in horsepower. What I'm getting at is Infiniti once had a fantastic, distinctive brand image of performance and quirkyness (like the clock in the center of the dashboard)...the cars had soul. Then they tried to copy Lexus, with disastrous results. I think Infiniti is getting back on track, but G35 interior lacks the soul of the early cars like the first Q45.
  • How much do you all think say a 21 year old male driver has to pay for insurance on a high HP car these days? I mean, neither best case nor worst case scenario.
  • I would say it would easily be over $200 a month if on a policy by himself.
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