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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Expect to pay $150-200 for a good window tinting place to do your windows. Not too bad, considering it will be covered for the lifetime of the car.
  • eeeleeel Posts: 57
    isn't that something - whenever someone with a japanese car has problems - it doesn't seem to count - worked with a girl who only buys HONDA -
    he first one had the engine replaced and 2 tranny's in 40k - says she ONLY buys honda because they give her no trouble - she bought another one 2 years back - and guess what - tranny trouble - it does snow here in balto - and those rock hard honda tranny's can't seem to be rocked in the snow or soon they no longer go

    she had a gm product before the honda - had to replace a starter - and for he - that was it - she'll never buy american again (her gm had 100k on it)
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I thought Edmunds review of the R/T neon was done well except with relation to value. They fail to mention there is a $1000 rebate (there is always at least a $1000 rebate on neons) and that probably every Dodge dealer in the country will do at least $1000 under MSRP on the neon with little haggling and that puts their loaded R/T at $16500. Thats leather, sunroof, side airbags, and more. A more basic R/T would be $15500. I bet the Nissan SE-R or Ford SVT they talk of waiting for cost so much more then this R/T that you could add a supercharger to the neon and still beat their prices. Or just wait as reports the turbo powered 220 HP neon SRT is a go for 2002 or 2003, everybody has better stuff coming, the question is what is best right now.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    A link to's Road Test of the 2001 Dodge Neon R/T by John DiPietro now appears in the Additional Resources box on the left sidebar of this page.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Overall, it struck me as pretty valid though the complaining about the lack of cruise control on the test car seemed petty. It's not as if they couldn't have gotten a test car with the feature, so I didn't understand the complaint.

    Interestingly, I never see such criticism of the Kia Rio (or any of the Kia models) by the editors at Edmunds, and that car isn't even AVAILABLE with cruise control! And, speaking of Kia, did anyone else just read J.D. Powers new Initial Quality Study release?

    Dodge, as a make, came in right about average, and surprisingly, Plymouth came in quite a bit above average. I suspect some of the unique-to-Dodge (particularly the light trucks) models brought it's quality rating down to average.

    As always, VW (with a reputation in this country for building hip, unreliable cars) came in below average and Kia continues to set new lows (three of the worst four individual models are made by Kia). Exactly many problems can one have with a utilitarian car devoid of any power accessories is a question I keep asking myself.

    Also, whoever stated that the MSRP has little bearing on what one actually pays for cars is right on the money. If you can't get a Neon at dealer invoice (I'm not counting the holdback here - they have to make something on the vehicle), you're doing something wrong. Trying to dicker with Honda and Toyota dealerships is like trying to brush your dog's teeth. It's a fruitless battle.

    Furthermore, with the exception of Mitsubishi and Mazda, the competitive imports never seem to offer rebates (I do see them sometimes offering special financing deals, but the programs are so short that you pretty much have to buy out of dealer stock to beat the program deadlines, whereas you can do an order-out with the Dodge, get the exact color and features you want, and still count on the perennial $1000 rebate being there at the time of delivery). I.e., a loaded Neon may have a comparable MSRP to Protege, Sentra, a bare-bones Jetta, Corolla and Civic, but I still think it's impossible to find any better value when you look at real, out-the-door prices.
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    I didnt expect much from the Edmunds review. We all aready know they dislike the Neon and will go out of their way to let every visitor to their website know it.

    I dont think they gave the Neons good attributes enough justice. My 2k Neon feels like it was carved out of granite. Its has a high quality solid feeling structure.

    It also has excellent predictible handling and when equipped with the 5 speed a competent shifting transmission.

    I assume the R/T's handling and shifting are even better.

    Yes, its expensive. Its the top of the line Neon and it includes almost all options (including leather). If they were on a budget, they should have tested the new ACR.

    I agree with Edmunds knocking the 3 speed automatic and the lack of power windows for the rear doors. But the questions they should be asking are what does a 150 hp Focus cost? or Protege? Or Huyndai? Or Sentra? or Honda? - Oh yeah, thats right, they dont have 150 hp models yet.

    How much does a loaded Z24 cost? or GTI? 17500+ dollars!

    Edmunds would have all 4 door sport sedan buyers wait for the 2 door SVT ZX3? Would you like to be the first to buy Fords first attempt at 6 speed transmissions and variable valve timing?

    I didnt think so!
  • sergeissergeis Posts: 134
    I am looking for a car for my daugter who is graduating from high school - and I saw a 1996 PLYMOUTH NEON SPORT 2 Dr Coupe auto, cruise, power etc. with 87Kmiles for $5K.
    I have driven Dodge Neon only once as a rental car, was reasonable - my questions are:
    Does this seem to be reasonable price? Is there difference between Plymouth and Dodge? Are there some things to check in Neon and particularly in 1996 model? How bad is having only 3-speed automatic? What about fuel economy?
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Before you do anything else, if you're at all concerned with her safety, check out the crash-test data on the 95-99 Neons. The cars are rated poor in crashworthiness - you may not want a relatively new, young driver in a car like the Neon. There are much better choices in small cars from a safety standpoint.

    By 87,000 miles, chances are the head gasket has been replaced at least once, hopefully with the upgraded version. If not, it's a common point of failure on all Chrysler 2.0 and 2.4L 4-cylinder engines. If you can't get Chrysler to foot the bill, it'll run you about $700 to have it replaced, assuming no other damage has been done.

    There's no difference between the Dodge and Plymouth versions; most of the 2-door Neons were built in Toluca, Mexico, while the 4-doors are more likely to have been built in Belvidere, Illinois.

  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    actually every small car is horrible when it comes to crash saftey. The only thing they have going for then is active saftey, the ability to avoid an accident with handling and braking, something the neon is good at (even the auto!) The crash ratings are alway assuming hitting something of equal weight and admit if weight were taken into account it would be the single biggest factor over riding all other factors (in otherwords why even do the tests). So if saftey was of primary concern you wouldn't even be considering a small car regardless of how many stars it has. According to injury ratings of the Highway Loss Data Institute for 97-99 models your best choice is the GMC 2500 series 4WD pickup, just don't roll it. The best small car is the Audi A4, good luck finding one anywhere near $5000. After that standout (the A4 gets a 62) the numbers get pretty close to each other with the Saturn SL being the next best in injury ratings. It scores a 101 (the lower the better) to the Neon's 148. BTW the GMC gets a 31.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    No, that's absolutely untrue.

    It is true that the laws of physics dictate that a small car will come off second-best in a collision with a larger vehicle.

    It is also true that some small cars are well-designed, with passenger compartments that stay intact in collisions. Other small cars simply fall apart in collisions, doing little to protect the driver beyond what the Federal Government requires. The Neon (along with some other poor performers like most Kias, Daewoos, etc.) is such a poor performer.

    If you're looking for a decent small car with a much better crash rating, along with a far better reliability rating at a price roughly the same as what a used Neon would cost, look no further than a Ford Escort. It protect better in a crash - and isn't prone to the faulty head gaskets, poor window sealing, and other design flaws the Neon is known for.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    I hate to argue with people, but hersbird is right on the money on this issue.

    The NHTSA conducts its tests (except for side impact and bumper ratings) by crashing vehicles into FIXED barriers. I.e., the force exerted on the vehicle in the crash is a force equal to the weight of the vehicle.

    So, while NHTSA tests might have indicated that Ford Escort's safety cage may survive an impact remaining structurally sound after a collision with a vehicle of comparable weight, it says nothing about how sound the structure would be after a collision with something twice its the safety cage would perform if the vehicle were struck from a different angle (I hate to talk Calculus, but there are an infinite number of different angles of which we're speaking).

    Interestingly, if you tested these vehicles (the Ford and the Dodge) again using the same exact test conditions (right down to the speed, angle of impact, vehicle weight, etc.), you would still get a different (albeit probably not dramatically so) result.

    So, trying to implicitly determine how the Escort will perform when crashing at a different angle or velocity into a vehicle/fixed object of another shape at a different force (the weight and velocity of the other object) by using one of these 2 fixed tests is like trying to accurately determine the specific point at which lightning will strike next Tuesday (I'm only seen that done once before, and in that instance Michael J. Fox had a time machine).

    The problem with these government tests is that consumers place too much emphasis on them now and are being lulled into thinking that their vehicle's safety can easily be rated on a scale of 1-5. Unfortunately, car manufacturers know this and "safety" is now more of a marketing gimic than an engineering goal.

    I don't know how many people I've heard lately talking about how they purchased the vehicle they did because it had one more star than another vehicle they were considering. If ONLY the real world was that simple!

    This opens the way for manufacturers, who are well aware of exactly which crash tests will be conducted on their vehicles and in exactly what manner they will be conducted, to design cars to do well on these fixed tests. The problem, of course, is that very few accidents out are carbon copies of these accident simulations. There are thousands upon thousands of variables out there that affect how a car protects its occupants in a crash. Probably the "best" indicator of how a car will protect its passengers in a crash are the insurance industry ratings for injury claims.

    I think they now rate the manufacturers on lichert scales too, if you're a person who likes to keep safety easy-to-understand.

    All told, if you value safety above all else, buy the heaviest vehicle with the best handling you can afford. Because the only variables "fixed" in a real crash are the laws of physics.

    Otherwise, drive responsibly and buckle-up! Even the smallest car (with the worst gov't crash tests) on the road today will afford its driver adequate protection in all but the most severe accident - so long as that driver remains in his/her seat.
  • 71charger71charger MDPosts: 116
    As an example of how different mileage can be, even in the same car, here are my last two tanks. The last one, I drove the car for the entire tank from Frederick, MD to Reston, VA and got 34.2mpg. This trip was a mix of two lane highway, divided highway and stop and go. I was pleased. The tank before my wife drove the entire tank around town. She WILL NOT shift out of third gear. I think she just likes the way the car feels (responsive) this way. She got 26.3mpg. Not bad considering her driving style.
  • My boyfriend has a Neon and the key keeps getting stuck in the ignition. Dodge says it's some sort of security device. He's had it back to them and they cleaned it out and put it back. It worked for a week then started its tanrums again. Any advice?

  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Is that a AT Neon?
  • eds2001rt1eds2001rt1 Posts: 2
    What is wrong with these people their review is completely ridiculous first off my r/t hits 60 in 7.6 sec and as i stated before I paid 16400 for mine the rims although hard to keep clean look better then any other car in it class people please remember that when you read reviews never to believe them go out and test drive one yourself just like the movie critics they cant tell what you will like. Have you all seen or driven the new civics they are high priced and dont stack up to the neon r/t at all the sentra is ok but doesnt look or handle as good as foor the focus and protoge------forget about it
  • eds2001rt1eds2001rt1 Posts: 2
    Hi I ordered an silver r/t with every option except leather for 16490 not
    including tax I order it in Nov got it in Dec I had a couple of minor
    problems and one major one. the minor ones where the dual tail pipe one
    stuck out further then the other and the 2.0 magnum sticker on the back was
    peeling off also the idle would fluctuate. they fixed the pipes and the
    sticker but said they cant duplicate the idle problem. now the major problem
    was the 5speed I was driving fast in every gear and shifting at redline will
    when I tried to hit to fourth I heard a pop and started smelling something
    burning also counldnt get it into gear without force would not downshift
    until rpms were under a 1000 now I am not complaining because stuff happens
    and after 2 times they did get it fixed now it has 13000 miles on it I get
    an average of 29 mpg and thats with me driving the hell out of it . Simply
    said I love my r/t and I don't care what anybody says about it, it is the
    best looking sport compact out there it has the most bang for your buck (I
    have beaten countless civics,focuses,and just about any other riced out
    import including a the new eclipse and a 92 bmw. My point is all cars have
    problems but what some people don't realize is maybe its the driver not the
    vehicle that cause the problems not always but most of the times. Use good
    oil (I use mobil1 syn0w-30) change the air filter( no k and N made for mine
    yet) and get all the routine maintanance thats in your book done and 9 times
    out of 10 your car will last
    sorry so long
  • Yes, it's an automatic.

  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Just my guess that, when shifter gets the P, it might not be engaging properly that makes your key stuck in the ignition. Even slight misconnection can cause this. Shifter may look like in P position but might not be all the way engaged. This is very common proplem on some AT cars. Friend of mine had this problem on his Taurus.
  • I am currently trying to get rid of my Ply Neon (96). About a year after purchasing the car (in 98), the head gasket had to be replaced. The gasket was again replaced a half-year later. Well, now it's leaking oil AGAIN! I no longer have a warranty (expired this year) and refuse to replace it again. Also, the struts are weak.

    I have to say, this has been the worst experience I've ever had with a car, and I've always owned small inexpensive sedans. Yuck - now I'm looking at the Kia Sportage-I've not seen any negative reviews in it's message board with regard to maintenance, at least. Good luck to everyone who owns the Neon, I hope you at least have a warranty for these major repairs!
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Please, please, do yourself a HUGE favor. DO NOT buy a Kia Sportage. I will NOT offer any first hand knowledge. I WILL tell you to due LOTS of research on the Kia Sportage before shelling out your hard earned dollars on any KIA product. Start your research hear at Edmunds Town Hall. If you feel you have been burned by a unreliable vehicle(perhaps a lemon, which does not fairly represent all 1996 Neons?)might I suggest a couple of vehicles with very good reputations for reliability? Try researching the 2001 Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic or Chevy Prism(rebadged Corolla).If you need a small UTE, try researching the Honda CRV or the Toyota RAV or Chevy Tracker. I owned an 1994 Toyota Corolla for 6 years and 65,000 miles, rock solid and no repairs were ever needed. BTW, the regulars at this topic will tell you that the 2000/2001 Neons are much better and are built very well. I believe them.

  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Wow, what a nice thoughtful post by somebody I used to think was just a Troll! Thank you for some constructive posts in this evil world of Edmunds, LOL. If I may offer a reason for 3 headgasket failures; perhaps when the first one failed the head or block was warped and thus causing the subsequent failures with the improved gasket design, just a thought. A good shop will check such things before just replacing ith gasket, if a dealer did the work they may have just been trying to save themselves some work. If a shoddy shop does the work they may claim you need a new head when you really just need the gasket. It's so nice to have a good chrysler shop that never gives you hassels, maybe thats why I love all the Dodges I've owned over the years.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    My next door neighbor owns a 2000 Dodge Neon. He likes it very very much, as most of the regulars here enjoy their own Neon's However, he does not currently have internet access. I lurk here once in a while, if I learn anything here, I share it with him. As I get older, I am trying to learn and understand other folks points-of view.

  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    Gotta love those 6 year-old Neons!

    1. Erich Heuschele 95 Dodge Neon 1:50.987
    2. Ralph Porter 95 Dodge Neon 1:52.267
    3. Gene Harrington 95 Dodge Neon 1:51.117
    4. Neal Sapp 99 Honda Civic Si 1:52.055
    5. Tom Start 95 Dodge Neon 1:51.038
    6. Juergen Baumann 99 Mazda Protégé 1:51.324
    7. Tom Sager 97 Plymouth Neon 1:53.670
    8. Tim O'Linn 98 Honda Civic 1:53.930
    9. John Rulin 99 Ford ZX2 1:54.374
    10. Dick Ruhl 99 Ford ZX2 1:55.188
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323

    Finally you can order the 2002 neon with a 4 speed automatic. Maybe this will be enough to get the rags to cut the neon a little slack, I doubt it.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    The first generation Neon came out back in January of 1994? Dodge said it wouldn't matter to potential buyers how many speeds their auto. transmission had, as long as it shifted smoothly. Well, it does matter, and they should have added a fourth gear at least when they redesigned the car for 2000. They would also do better to up their workmanship levels too. But the Neon is a pretty good all around car.

    One more thing: Anyone have trouble with a battery in their 2000 Neon? My roommate's battery died one rainy night about two weeks ago. We limped it to the shop after jump starting it, and they replaced the battery, but only at 25,000 miles. Just thought it to be odd. Everyone makes a joke about cars being built on a Monday or Friday, but I sware, I think he got one. He still likes it though, and is going to keep it.
  • eeeleeel Posts: 57
    they should have done from day one !!! finally
  • audybabe1audybabe1 Posts: 1
    i am almost 16, and im going to be getting a car soon. I was considering a dodge or plymouth neon. If there is anything i need to know, please e-mail me at [email protected] Thanks a bunch. :)
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    I clicked on hersbird's link to the 4-spd auto tranny article and happened to notice that almond will be a new color for 2002.

    Has anyone heard any other color news? I REALLY love the cinnamon color and fear almond-in means cinnamon-out.

    I would appreciate any updates on the color front. I may need to swing into car buying action a little bit earlier than I was intending...

    I only wish that candy apple red hue that's been available on the 300 and Caravan for ages (and I now see it on PT Cruisers) would be made available on the Neon. That and a nice set of 5 spoke factory chromes - not the aftermarket BBS ghetto cruisers - would be my dream.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    My favorite color that is available on a production car is the Crimson Pearl on the Caddy Seville wich costs and extra $650. It is close to the $200 extra Inferno Red you are talking about but just looks more vibrant and glossy. In 98 the neon came in 11 colors, one of them was called Strawberry and was about as close to candy apple as a neon got. I don't have any ideas what colors are out to make room for the new colors. The link was saying they got the info from the dealers ordering computer so I bet they could look it up, just beware, they will try and tell you whatever it takes to make you buy now rather then later. If you do want the automatic then no matter what wait and get the new 4 speed, if getting a manual then I bet a better deal could be made on a 2001 -vs- the 2002.
  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    Now that's a color they should make available again, =)

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