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    hersbirdhersbird Member 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.
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    dhughes3dhughes3 Member 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.
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    dweezildweezil Member 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......................
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    edswordsedswords Member 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.
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    dhughes3dhughes3 Member 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.)
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member 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!
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    snowmansnowman Member 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.
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    dweezildweezil Member 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.
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member 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.
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member 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?
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    enetheneth Member 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).
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member 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.
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    edswordsedswords Member 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!
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    edswordsedswords Member 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.
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    vinceburlappvinceburlapp Member Posts: 64
    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)
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    enetheneth Member 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).
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    snowmansnowman Member Posts: 540
    anyone knows how much torque should be applied to lug nuts for 2K Neon. Thanks.
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    dhughes3dhughes3 Member 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.
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    buoyantbuoyant Member 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.
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    vocusvocus Member 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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    homer61388homer61388 Member Posts: 54
    My mom is currently looking at these three sub-compact cars. All of which are loaded with every possible option including leather on the focus and neon and side bags for all. She just doesn't know which to pick. Her main needs are comfort meaning how well this car holds four to five people and cargo as well as how much comfort the occupants get. And reliability, how well this car hold up for three to five years. She likes the Neon the best with all that it offers like leather, traction control and so on, but she is still unsure of dependability? She knows that Chrysler has had problems with transmissions and sometimes engines. But it seems that it offers a wide range of comfort and luxury for a sub-compact car. She is still unsure. Any thoughts about which is the best of this American Trio of cars? Any thoughts on these cars will be helpful as well as comments and suggestions. Thank You!
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    vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    Out of those three, I would probably pick the Prizm LSi because of its known reliability. The Focus may need another year or so to prove itself after all the recalls when new. The Neon, I would go for as well. But if you want the most room, check out the Focus. You might also want to check out the Mazda Protege. It's one of the roomier small cars on the market, and there are always incentives available on them. They are also pretty reliable as well, and handle as good as the Neon and Focus do.

    I like the Neon (my roommate has a 2000), but the Protege is alot roomier inside. You can visually see it with the 2 cars side by side, and feel it when sitting inside of them as well. The Focus is pretty roomy too, but some people say the seat comfort sucks. As for the Prizm, it's the smallest of the bunch and very cramped IMO.
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    It sounds as if your mom is just looking at American marks. If so, none of those three cars are a bad choice.

    As far as reliability, the nod would go to the Prizm (aka Toyota Corolla). If it's a serious concern, leading her away from the Focus might be a wise idea. It was intoduced globally last year and Ford is still working out teething problems on this puppy.

    As far as Chrysler transmissions are concerned, unless she's considering a used '89 Dodge Dynasty, she shouldn't be too worried. Chrysler had a lot of problems with that PARTICULAR transmission (a completely different unit than the one it installs in the Neon) a decade ago.

    The best thing for her to do is drive all of them and then make a personal decision. On paper, every small car seems about the same, but they do have distinct personalities. After she looks at all three, she'll know what's right for her.

    Personally, I think the new Neon (I never did like the previous version) is the best small car deal out there (which is why I constantly post to this board).

    It has the nicest small car interior (VW's notwithstanding), the roomiest back seat (it's Buick-open back there), the best factory sound system (a Chrysler staple) and the jazziest exterior styling (a personal judgement) all at a very reasonable cost.

    BTW, if she goes the Neon route, don't let the dealer pressure her into making an abrupt decision because "the rebate offer is about to expire." It hasn't been lower than $1000 for the last four years and as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, it will be extended once again.
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    You did not say if your mother wanted a manual or automatic.

    If it is the latter, I would wait until Dodge releases the four speed Neon before making the choice. I suspect there will be quite a difference in the driving feel between the three speed automatic Neon and the four speed Neon.

    To compare a three speed Neon with a four speed car of another make would not be oranges to oranges and your mother would be doing herself a disservice, potentially.

    If she wants to know about passenger room, she needs to take the three largest people that are likely to ride with her and go for test drives. I say three and not four because the salesman might go along on some of these test drives. And if the salesman does not go along on the test drive, she should still make her friends ride in the back seat.

    Hope these suggestions help.
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    71charger71charger Member Posts: 116
    Unless your Mom gets a lemon, possible with any car, I think the Neon is the most enjoyable to own and drive. I looked at Focus, Neon and Protege. The Focus is very equivalent to the Neon and I drove one for a couple of weeks but found the styling objectionable. I just couldn't get used to it. Although I think it looks better from the back than the Neon, but that's the only angle. I stopped considering the Protege after taking a good look at the interior. I thought it looked very cheap. The Prizm didn't even pop up on the radar, way too generic. Probably a great car if you never want to be noticed. As far as 3 vs 4 speed automatics, unless she's going to be doing a lot of long highway driving the 3 speed is probably a better choice anyway. To my knowledge they've proven to be very reliable and with proper maintenance should last a very long time. You probably can't really go wrong with any of them. Tell her to pick the one she likes best and not worry about CR or any other BS.
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    homer61388homer61388 Member Posts: 54
    I just read all four posts and they really helped my mom and me in trying to decide the perfect car. It sounds like all seem decent. Yesterday, we went to a Ford dealer, we took a drive in a ZTS Focus with leather and side bags. It seemed okay, but she would rather drive something other than a ford, she tells me that Ford stands for "Fix or Repair Daily". So the Ford is out. It looks like it's between the Neon ES, Prizm LSI, or possibly a Mazda Protege. In the end it will probably be the car with the best deal. Oh, she will be getting one of these cars with an automatic transmission. She can't drive manual. Again, thank you for the info, it really helps her out in making a decision.
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    dtdickensdtdickens Member Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Highline, and have had a few problems with the car. The headgasket blew and was replaced under my extended warranty at 59,000 miles. Other than that, mechanically the car has done well. The real issue at hand now is the paint. It started to pop off about 3 years ago, and I called Chyrsler with no luck. I bought the car with 25,000 on it from a Dodge Dealership and was a program car, with transferrable factory warranty, an extra warrany via my Credit Union till 65,000. After talking to the rep. from Chrysler about the paint popping, he stated that there was nothing he could do for me, since I wasn't the original owner of the vehicle. Now, can someone tell me the deal on the 7 year, 100,000 mile "Rust Warranty" that is part of the basic package.....think I'll give them a call on it. I now have Rust on my roof now...think I can qualify? I always thought that a program car, purchased from a Dodge Dealership would have a warranty that was just as good to the second owner, as the original......Has anyone gotten to them (Repaint) under this "Rust Warranty"?
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    71charger71charger Member Posts: 116
    What color? I see quite a few blue minivans running around with the paint coming off in sheets.
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    I hate to break this to you, but there is NO way Chrysler is going to offer to repaint your car for you under the provisions of the rust warranty. And if you took them to court, they would win.

    If you read the fine print in any rust warranty you will notice that it only covers you against rust-through corrosion. I.e., surface rust doesn't count - there has to be a hole in the sheet metal. This isn't just a Chrysler policy either.

    I hate to defend auto manufacturers, but this policy is quite reasonable. It's virtually impossible to find a six year old car here in the Minneapolis area that does not have some surface rust (one can usually locate at LEAST a little on the bottom-inside of the door near the drain holes where salt "hangs out" for the winter and proceeds to rot the car from the inside out). Auto manufacturers can make a car more resistant to rust, but they can't make it rust proof. Preventing auto rust is ultimately an owner/maintenance issue.
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Just saw an article yesterday about Chrysler's next generation of cars. They are abandoning the cab forward styling in favor of some undisclosed style.

    I like the cab forward look especially the Neon and I am really saddened by the news.
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    sandjsandj Member Posts: 1
    Hey dtdickens -- check out this web site:


    http://www.lemonaidcars.com


    There are many, many Dodge owners complaining about paint peeling problems. Some have gotten their car repainted at no cost -- even if their warranty is expired. Seems Dodge used a cheap paint from '95-'98 that has a tendency to peel.


    I'm currently in a battle with Chrysler over the second blown headgasket on my '96 Neon. That Web site has been very helpful. The gasket blew in '98 and was repaired under warranty. It blew again a month ago and I had to pay for it. Lots of people are getting them replaced for free or for $100 deductible. I expect the same treatment.


    If you are thinking of buying a Chrysler product, I highly reccomend that you don't. Their products are poorly manufactured and their customer service is very shabby. I'll never buy a Chrysler product again.

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    volleyballhunvolleyballhun Member Posts: 1
    I am considering buying a 1995 or 1996 Dodge Neon and I was wondering if they are nice cars. This is going to be my first car and I heard that the Dodge Neons weren't good cars to buy as used. I also heard about the head gasket problems and I really don't have the money to pay for a new one. Should I still go for the Neon, or are there any other cars I should look at??
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    vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    Used Neons are pretty cheap, but the first models (1995-96) had some quality, fit/finish, and head gasket problems with them. If you can find a good one, go for it. Also check out a Honda Civic, Mazda Protege, and Nissan Sentra as well. They might cost a little bit more, but it might be worth it in the long run.
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Isn't that an oxymoron? ; )
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    Buying a 95 or 96 is probably not the best idea. If you going to buy an "old" one (the previous body style), don't go any older than older than a '97 - unless you want to sink some money into the AC as well as the headgasket.

    Perhaps something you might consider if you are only interested in an automatic transmission... factory repurchased (i.e., rental return) 2000 Dodge Neons in my area (Minneapolis, MN) are currently being listed in the paper for $9995 with 15-20k miles on them. I assume they are comparable to other parts of the country in price. This would be a far wiser choice if reliability is a concern to you.

    Likewise, don't automatically assume that all cars wearing a Japanese nameplate are more reliable than other makes. Mitsubishis, Isuzus, Mazdas and Suzukis are not Toyotas or Hondas - which, unfortunately, tend to be a little bland (particularly the Yota). I got a new Isuzu when I went to college and can attest to the surveys. It was a blast to drive but had quite a bit of "down time".

    The Protege ES is "the other fun to drive compact", but it's relatively expensive for the class, and the highway mileage is worse than a Chevy Impala (the LX gets better mileage, but is less enjoyable to drive). Unless you're of a shorter stature, you might find the Protege a tight fit for leg room too.

    Finally, if you're in the market for a small used car at a firesale price, whatever you do, don't fall for a Kia - even if the dealer is selling them for half-off and throwing in free mudflaps. God has a way of punishing the naive ones, if you know what I mean...
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    vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    You say you might have leg room issues in a Protege if you are taller. I find that hard to believe. I have a 2001 ES and I am 6'3, and have no comfort problems at all. Longest I have been in the car was 3 hours, and no cramps or problems.

    While I am here, I will be honest. I have been having my fair share of trouble with my 2001. I had a 1999 before, and it was great. Not sure what the problem is, but a couple people in Edmund's Town Hall Protege sedan forum have been having some problems. You might wanna wait until the 2002 models come out before considering the Protege again.
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    roberthardwoodroberthardwood Member Posts: 1
    I've recently become increasingly annoyed by the amount of wind noise screaming through the passenger window. my car is a 95 used neon and i believe the door is out of alignment due to an accident prior to my purchase. I have tried insulating the area between the window and where the window seals, and i have put on wind guards but it still sounds as if the window were open whenever i go more than 40 mph. Is there anything i can do to reduce the noise?
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    enetheneth Member Posts: 285
    Have the door adjustment checked, and if it's OK, then have the rubber seals replaced.
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    officerozofficeroz Member Posts: 25
    Wow, I have seen a lot of negative Neon comments, and very few positive ones. As the owner of two of these cars, an early edition ACR sedan built in 94, and a 95 ACR coupe, I simply have a problem identifying with all the problems you folks seem to have. The ACR models are factory built race cars (American Club Racing) and both of mine have been autocrossed in SCCA competition since new. Actually, I leased the 95 coupe, and turned it in back in 98 in like new condition. It NEVER had any of the problems some of you have had, and it had been run hard and put away wet! I mean it had been flogged on an almost daily regiment. Still had original brake pads, original head gasket, no vibrations, no nothing...I had even replaced the factory wheels and tires with aftermaket stuff for racing, and reinstalled the originals before turning it in. I tried to buy it from Gold Key Leasing, but the residual was too high, even for a car that had been excellent. I still have my original ACR sedan, with more than 70,000 miles, and probably half that on an autocross course. Still has the original brake pads! However, as hard I as I drive my Neon, I also take exceptional care of it, and don't do anything stupid that may create problems down the road. I just returned from a 2200 mile trip from Dallas to LExington, KY, autocrossed it there, and drove it back to Dallas. No problems, and the car is a blast to drive on the highway. I have a new Suburban and my spouse has a 2000 Regal GS, but I prefer to drive the Neon...It's a fun car! It's a reliable car! And it kicks the competiton's butt, even in competition! And I'm no spring chicken at 58 years old...
    All this said, I don't expect everyone to have the same pleasant experiences I have had with my Neons. But go to any of these forums, and you will read the same complaints from owners about their Fords, Chevys, Toyotas, Mazdas, and VWs.
    And whoever suggested going to Neon.org a few posts back gave all of you good advice. You will find everything you need/want to know about these cars. That site will even tell you how to get on the Neon owners list at Neon@iastate.edu where you can learn and discuss even more.
    Sorry for what seems to be a rant and long post...

    officeroz
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    vocus:
    I'm commenting on the leg room in the back seat of both the Neon and the Protege when the front seats are set in a comfortable position. When I adjusted the front seat in the Protege I was looking at and immediately got in the seat behind it I found it to be substantially tighter than that of the Neon. As far as I can tell that's about half due to the "cab-forward" design, half due to the back seat in the Neon being lower. It's definitely noticeable to me, however. If you own a 99 or 2000 Protege, sit in the back without moving the front forward (if you can get in!) and I think you'll probably agree.

    Of course, for a single driver or a small family, it's a non-issue.

    I'm not "knocking" the Protege - I do think it's a very nice little car. My 4 fave small cars are (in this order): the VW Golf, the Neon, the Protege and the Sentra. And although some might find it shocking (it certainly doesn't correlate with the stereotypes of some in here), the 2000 Dodge Neon was rated the highest among these four for problems encountered during the first 90 days of ownership (a study designed to measure the number of factory defects) by JD Power.

    I try not to offend others whose tastes may differ from my own. Unless, of course, they own Toyota Echoes. Although I used to think the unique tastes of others were something to be respected and embraced, these people really need to be hauled in by the fashion police. These cars are so indescribably ugly, I find their presence on the road both distracting and dangerous to surrounding traffic.

    Officeroz:
    Considering how many Neons were sold in 1995, the number of vocal disgruntled owners in here doesn't seem too extraordinary to me. These cars have now been on the road for more than 6 years. The people complaining about these vehicles and seeking blood from Chrysler either got the real lemons (Chrysler does make them on occasion) or are just difficult people to satisfy (nature makes plenty of these).

    Some people just aren't happy unless they can find something to complain about.

    If you REALLY want to see some nasty posts, go to one of the Kia boards a few years from now.

    Honestly, I am surprised I don't see more complaints about Neons in here. There are a ton of the old ones on the road in my area.

    On a different note, I would like to say that I can't figure out why so many people doing the one-person commute are buying the big 4x4 passenger busses today. There are a ton of little nice cars out there - literally something for everyone! For those without brand loyalty, the options are mind-boggling.

    Oh, and has anyone else here seen the 2002 Mini Cooper? This has to been the best looking small car ever produced. It is GORGEOUS!!! Too bad it's going to be a low volume toy for rich old bald guys trying to pick up collegiate women. Oh well...perhaps I should shut up now...
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    majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Thanks for the chuckle. Yes, we Echo owners are different.

    I really took a hard look at the Neon, but safety and reliabiliyt are big issues with me so I went with the Echo.
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    officerozofficeroz Member Posts: 25
    Apologies for the previous long rant, nothing personal intended toward other Neon owners. And I also don't like to put down other folks preference for cars. God knows I've had a variety of them over the years, some good, some bad. In fact, before buying the Suburban, I had not owned a GM product for 23 years due to a couple of bad experiences, one in 1969, and one in 1976, an Impala and 1/2 ton pickup truck respectively. But after driving a Suburban a few times during Vehicle Evaluation classes I help teach for SCCA Corporate, I found it to be an excellent vehicle, as well as several of the GM brand cars, like the Regal and Intrigue.
    I pull an enclosed trailer to competiton events, (not for the Neon, but for my C Prepared 65 GT 350 look-a-like Mustang)and found the 'burban great for towing compared to the Grand Cherokee I had owned previously. So, I have changed my mind regarding quality on (some) GM offerings. My spouses' previous car was a Toyota Camry, an excellent car, but boring...The Regal GS with it's stiffer suspension and supercharged 3.8 V6 is a much livlier car, has lots of torque and HP, and even though it's mundane styling turns a lot of folks off, it's a blast to drive in "spirited driving" mode.
    As for the Echo, it's kinda grown on me as small cars go, but the gawd-awful looks of the Aztec, and overdone Isuzu SUV that Joe Isuzu is hawking, will never grow on me! Sorry if I offended anyone who owns either of these...

    officeroz
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    Sorry for getting off track here folks, but I have to voice my strong agreement on the looks of the Aztek.

    I went along with my parents when they picked up their 2001 Olds Intrigue from the local GM dealer this past February and I started talking to one of the guys I knew there about the Aztek (they had three on the lot). He told me they only time they'd been moved in the past two months was for plowing. Well, I stopped through again last week and the SAME three Azteks were still there! My God, at this rate they'll still be "closing-out" the '01 Azteks in '05.

    I've always had a love for Oldsmobiles (when I was a kid, the cool-person's car was a Cutlass Supreme). I have serious reservations of purchasing a GM car in the near future though.

    What kind of company cancels the devision "most likely to succeed" in the future (Oldsmobile) and then pours millions into marketing what is obviously the most undesirable vehicle on the planet (the Aztek) during the most popular show in States (Survivor)?

    The management at GM is so ignorant, so oblivious, they honesty thought the reason this vehicle wasn't selling was because no one had seen it. These people couldn't BUY a clue if Kmart had 'em on blue light special!

    GM is in serious trouble, IMO. The current management has only been trained in methods of losing market share and it seems to be self-perpetuating.
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    71charger71charger Member Posts: 116
    2000 Neon ES now at 20,000 trouble free miles. Even the Goodyears are holding up well. Just trying to bring this board back on topic. You really don't want to get me started on what a piece of crap my Camaro was or what a rust bucket a certain Mitsubishi we had was. I think Mopar really missed the boat on their advertising campaign for the redesigned Neon. They should have gone for the more rock n roll Mitsubishi/Nissan or something showing how much fun they are to drive such as the Mazda "zoom, zoom, zoom" thing. They make a small sedan that historically has been a better performance car than a Miata. Then they picture it stationary, collapsing a bridge under the weight of its features in its advertising. Of course, Chrysler has had (in my opinion) pretty crappy advertising for many years. How about those terrible Joe Garigiola (sp?) ads from the 70s.
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    How soon you forget the groovy "Hi!" ads of the mid 90's!

    I used to clip them out of magazines for my Ad and Promotions class in college. Everybody loved the concept: a human metaphor for the car with a smiley face. It wasn't just a car, it was your happy, scrappy little friend!

    I haven't seen a Neon TV ad here for nearly a year! Apparently, Chrysler figures the new ones sell themselves...

    Does anyone know what changes Chrysler is making for the 2002 model year other than the 4-spd auto yet? I have this awful feeling they're going to swap the standard ES 5-spoke wheelcovers with an uglier design to provide an incentive for purchasing the alloys. On that note, does anyone else here find the standard ES wheelcovers better LOOKING than the upgraded ones (I realize the alloys are larger and provide slightly better grip)?

    Also, does anyone know yet if the cinnamon color is going to hang on for the 2002 year? I fear the introduction of the new almond color means the cinnamon goes down in the history books.

    Later!
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    vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    On the ES model, the wheels are not any differently sized whether they are alloy or wheel covers.

    My ex-roommate (he moved out Saturday, so no more Neon) has a 2000 Neon with the alloy wheels. I told him he should have gotten the car with the 4-disc in-dash CD changer rather than the wheels, because the money would have been better spent. :)
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    71charger71charger Member Posts: 116
    While I was sitting in the Neon bored out of my skull today waiting for a tow truck to come fetch my wife's Jeep which had died on an interstate off ramp I started actually looking at the paperwork in the glovebox. I've only had the car a year and a half, don't want to rush into reading the owners manual. I couldn't believe I'd bought a $375 CD player. What was I on? The wheels, at $355, were a bargain by comparison. Especially since they're about $1200 a set over the parts counter. I'm sure you could find a quality CD for a whole lot less but your not going to find a better bargain on some really sharp alloy wheels. Especially when you consider that you're getting them mounted and balanced. Now if they'd only teach the guys at the factory what the little dot on the side of the tire is for, maybe they'd get it in the right place once.
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    I think the in-dash 4 disc player is money well spent too. The single slot CD players are a pain in the butt unless you like listening to one CD over and over again (otherwise it seems like you're constantly loading the thing). Plus, if you order the single slot on the Neon, you forgo the cassette player. And that makes it impossible to listen to movies in the car during long trips. Surely I can't be the only one who dubs videos onto cassette tapes and "watches" them while driving...

    You might - MIGHT - be able to get a better deal on an aftermarket changer, but it isn't going to fit in that little hole in the dash like the factory unit does. And the only thing more annoying than constantly changing CD's into and out of the head unit is popping the trunk and shuffling handfuls of jewel cases while standing behind the car.

    The factory disc changer and the power funroof are must-have options IMO. I don't see the need for aluminum wheels unless you find them more attractive than the wheelcovers on the steel wheels. The other option that doesn't turn my crank is the leather seating.

    It amazes me how many people order leather for car interiors nowadays (they aren't living rooms you know). I do think it looks better than cloth when the vehicle is NEW, but it invariably cracks and gets that shiny look after it soaks up enough UV radiation and butt sweat. And few things in life are more unpleasant than sitting on ice-cold leather on a dark winter mornings. Give me velour any day of the week.
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    buoyantbuoyant Member Posts: 128
    Hasn't anyone's 95 Neon exploded lately?

    This board is so silent it's eerie.

    Anyone see a 2002 Neon in the flesh yet? I want to know what's changing.
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    zapatista2000zapatista2000 Member Posts: 33
    Scrolling through your posts has been very helpful, but I have a couple of questions to bother you all with, if you'll allow. I'm looking to buy a smaller used car in the $4,000 to $5,000 range for basic short commuting and weekend trips up and down the east coast. Reliability is obviously a primary factor in the decision. I would love to get a Honda Civic (who wouldn't) but those things hold their value like gold bars. So, I've been looking closely at Neons and Saturns mostly, leaning heavily toward the Neon. I've noticed in many peoples' ads that they have replaced the head gasket on their 95s and 96s and new car reviews complain about wind noise. The noise isn't a major concern, but obviously I'd like to avoid sinking a large sum of money into major repairs. So would I be better off buying a 97 Neon with higher miles (120,000+) or a 95 or 96 with, say, 60,000 to 75,000 and pray the head gasket doesn't blow? Also, are their any other major problems that seem to be chronic and should I take a closer look at other makes and models (outside of Kia)? I'm sorry if this is redundnant. Thanks a lot for listening.
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