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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I am glad I had the Neon at work yesterday. One of my co-workers told me the alarm (ES model) was going off, so I went to check it out. It was in tamper mode too, and going crazy. After I turned it off, I was wondering what made it go crazy. I thought it just flipped like the rest of the car. (Sorry had to say it.) :) But, turns out someone had pryed the hood open I think. It was popped, so apparently someone tried to take the car, in bright daylight in the middle of the parking lot! Anyway, thank god the Neon has an alarm on it and it works. I will be the first to admit, if whomever would have done the same to my Mazda, they would have gotten in and I would have been carless come 5pm!

    So go ahead and rub it in now. :)
  • Hello,
    I posted here some time ago about my Neon 2000 I purchased last summer. It's been a year and 8,000 miles so I thought I might give an impression of my Neon to those who are seriously here to obtain info for a purchase/evaluation.

    I have the auto trans with air and no other options. Initially, I had the power steering problem noise, but thanks to the advice of Mr. Copperhead here, I used my knowledge and the dealer replaced the pump and I've had not one problem with it since.

    I will say that my car does have a little wind noise like so many other cars on the road, but definitely no large volume of engine noise.

    I had the oil changed at 1000, 4,000 and 7500 miles. Around town, I get 28 mpg. On a recent trip to the beach 400 miles away, I ran the AC, cruised at 70-75mph and my mileage was 32 mpg. The ride for that distance was quite comfortable - smooth and the seats comfortable.

    I think the standard features that come with it are more than acceptable to me. I paid 12,499 cash so did not simply buy it for the low loan rate.

    My last car was a 91 Subaru stationwagon. I miss the stationwagon aspects, but with both seats laid down, there has been little that I could not stuff in the Neon that I put into the Subaru. I am pleasantly surprised that I've really been mostly happy with this car. I take care of it with all the checkups and I have it detailed every 4 months (have to - it's the cranberry color and I fear it will lose the shine if not waxed up all the time).

    In conclusion, for someone who is looking to get a new Neon, it ain't a luxury car. But for a smaller car, it's very good in my book.

    Hey, thanks again for the advice, Copperhead.
  • msk178msk178 Posts: 2
    I just bought a 2000 Plymouth Neon 3 months ago and I have already had it in the shop twice. It had to be towed in about 2 1/2 weeks ago. It took them 2 full weeks to figure out what the problem was and to fix it. They said that I had a bad computer. Has anyone else had this problem? I am just wondering if it's is common in the Neons or if I just happened to get a bad one. The second time it went in was this morning (I just got it back from the first time 4 days ago) This time I don't know what is wrong with it yet. It started accelerating without my permission on my way to work this morning. I let off the gas and it actually sped up! Then when I put it into park, it kept revving up and dropping back down again. I don't know much about cars at all, does anyone know what would cause something like that? I am afraid that it may be another week or two before I hear from the incompetent mechanics at the dealer. My car only has 3200 miles on it...did I buy a lemon???
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    In a word, yes. And ALL Dodge dealerships' customer service sucks butt too.
  • It does seem like you have a serious issue with the throttle surge. When I have a problem with my car I talk directly to the service manager-the one who can get things done quickly if he gives a damn about customer satisfaction. Please get this situation fixed asap, dont want to see you get hurt. I have not heard of computer problems until yours so I wish I could give you a diagnosis but I cant. The service manager should give you a rental until they can replace the computer on your neon, if they don't- strongly suggest it. Is there another chrysler dealer in your area?If so try them as soon as you can and good luck. Keep us posted.
  • Hi don´t worry,your car has an easy to fix problem.

    1.-You HAVE to go to ANY other dealer.
    2.- The problem seems to be a faulty sensor,but it´s really easy to diagnose.
    a) A competent dealer must to plug in the DRBIII.
    b) That tool will immediately show a faulty code,(that means it will tell them what is wrong!).
    c) I´m just courious,how did the diagnose you have a bad engine module?(computer).
    d) If the engine module fails,your engine WON´T start.
    Those mechanics should go and take some lessons,don´t waste your time try another dealer,I´m sure they find and fix the problem for you,any connector,or a sensor could be wet or a faulty circuit.

    Good luck.

    I´m glad to hear you are now happy with your car.

    Take care.

    BTW,a new 4-speed auto will be available as an option for 2001

    Stay tuned!
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    There is a recall on the 2000 Neon. I took mine in for service today, and the service man told me. He said it JUST came out and Chrysler isn't notifying people about it yet, but they shall start soon. He didn't say exactly what it was, but said it involved the PVC valve. I don't know what cars are affected, but this particular had a build date of sometime before December of 1999.
  • There was a recall that just came out for the neon and I dont know if it's the same recall-possibly. It's for people who live in extremely low temperature areas (-20 or colder ambient temp), the throttle blade has a tendency to ice up in these temperatures (duh, what wouldnt?) Anyway, they will replace it and install a different setup. That is the only recall I heard of and it just came out, however I doubt it pertains to many people except maybe canada.I'm sure we'll hear more about it. Outta here...
  • msk178msk178 Posts: 2
    Well, my car is back and running well (so they tell me, I haven't driven it yet). When they installed the new computer, they weren't very nice putting my car back together again. The vacuum hose got cracked and was sucking in air causing the acceleration. Like I said, the mechanics at my dealer are not very competent! I don't think I will be taking my car back to that shop anymore. I am just happy to have my car back. Even though it has had trouble, I still love my pretty little car.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    Glad you're up and running.And your last statement say's a lot about the appeal of the Neon.I would tell you to follow the advice of the others and get a new dealer. Seek out a 5-star dealer and ask around your area,as to whom people like.

    Mine (Herb Gordon Dodge) here in Silver SPring Md. is quite nice. Long term, I cannot say but I am impressed in how stringent Chrysler is to award a 5- star rating, and how hard it is to keep it.

    Seek and ye shall find.

    Good luck and I hope for your trouble-free miles.
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    I was considering buying a Celica GT a few months ago but couldnt get the dealer to 'deal'. I posted a message in that forum and went back to check on it today.

    Guess what? Vocus is in there complaining about the alarm system he installed on his friends Celica GT.

    Now what gives? He has a 'friend' with a 2k Neon who he takes the car for servicing and another 'friend' with a 2000 GT who he did work on the car.

    Vocus, how many friends with new cars do you know and help service? How many message boards do you visit to discuss cars YOU DONT OWN!
  • Hey vocus does that Celica GT have a "peeling dash" and does it "vibrate" alot? I bet it does......=^P
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45
    Hi Guys,

    My, my, this gets better with each passing day. So now Vocus is discussing Celica Gt's.What next?

    You know something, it's becoming pretty obvious what is going on here.

    "Hocus Pocus", hey fella's there's a word starting with "V" that rhymes with them both.

    Only wish a disappearing act would happen for the
    "V" word that rhymes with those two words.

    How pathetic.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I have a friend who used to have a Celica GT automatic (if you check the dates on the posts, they are now a couple months old). For some stupid reason, he traded the Celica GT for a 2001 Eclipse conv. (really dumb IMO). He didn't have problems with the Celica, he wanted the Eclipse more. Three people I know since October bought new cars, thank you. My one friend got the Celica in October, my other got a Neon in December, and a close friend of mine got an Echo in April. It's just like everyone bought new cars at the same time.

    I didn't realize, Mobay, you were in Md. too. The dealer I went to is in New Carrollton (near where 495 and 50 intersect). Maybe I need to go to another one in the area. Also, they replaced the dash yesterday when I took the car in, and it's good as new. They didn't hear the engine tap, but found the recall on the PVC valve.

    I know this is going to cause some controversy, but I had a Hyundai Accent for a rental while the Neon was in the shop. I was glad to get the Neon back after that experience, noisy engine and all! At least it has power with its noise.
  • I just traded my 2000 Neon in. And yea, I took a big hit on it but I feel it's something I had to do. You've all seen my previous posts. I've had many problems with this car over the past 16 months and 36K miles. My warranty had run out and the possibility of major repair bills scared me to death! I won't bash the Neon in general. I truly believe I got a "bad" one. I know all Neons aren't as bad as mine was.

    Mine listed for 16,300. I paid 14,400. Carmax offered 8,000 for it. The dealership gave me 7,200. (High mileage) I know I could have and should have just sold it outright, but I didn't want to deal with the hassle.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    My friend tried to sell his at CarMax here in Maryland, and they offered $9300 for it. It was in great shape and all (14K), but the rebates and low financing rates on the new ones really kill the trade-in and resale values on the car. Also, tired to trade it in on a new Protege, but they only offered $8500 max and he owed $14,300 on it (paid $15,000 loaded, but with bad credit).

    I wouldn't say we got a bad one, because the only thing wrong was the rotors and the peeling dash. They cannot find anything wrong with the tapping engine, so I am not going to fight them. Also, you all might wanna know something. I called Chrysler and the basic warranty does NOT cover a service loaner when the car is in for overnight service. That sucks!
  • heckel2heckel2 Posts: 19
    Hi I was wondering if any former owners would recommend getting a neon. If they were very reliable or not. I currrently can get a 2000 es with auto for under 11 grand. I need a cheap new vehicle and don't know if I would be better off with this one or the hyundai elantra or the daewoo lanos. I've never been crazy about korean cars. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for your time.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    The Neon has great power, braking, and handling for its price. BUT there are some quality problems with them, at least with my friend's, but it is an early-production model (made Nov. 1999). The newer ones might be better in that respect. They are not the most refined or roomy either, but about the cheapest (next to the Koreans) in price and good on gas too. I say you test drive the cars you are considering and then make a decision. Also, MAKE SURE the place you get your car from is a 5-star Certified dealer. You will be sorry when it comes time for service if they are not. Believe me, I know from experience.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    The Elantra has a very long warranty and fully loaded is luxurious. It is a bit crude in engine, and handling but may be attractive because of the
    luxury and warranty. Parts will tend to be expensive if needed.It will not have anywhere the performance of the NEON

    The Neon can be a great buy.Your in the right direction by picking the ES as you will get a lot for the money. Definitely get the 21G package and try to get the alloy wheels. The lighting and PREMIUM SOUND options are also worth it.

    My last advice, and probably advice that no one in this country likes to hear is to get the 5spd. AND NOT THE AUTO.The 2K NEON has a lovely gearbox and good gear ratios for heartwarming acceleration. Most people make the mistake of strangling the performance of the engine , with an automatic transmission. Oh well, nobody listens!

    The 2001 models will be in showrooms next month and therefore 2000 models will have to gotten rid of. Try to bargain with the dealer.

    If you can get the car almost fully loaded for 11 grand or more go for it.

    The 2K has had certain defects reported.Power steering pump,rough idle(auto),surging at low speeds (auto) and others. These reports are not widespread (rough idle excluded) in their occurence,and are the minority. Compared to the 95-99 they seem well made,and I would compare the 2k to a Japanese car in terms of fit and finish.

    Vocus and justpurple have had problems, and that's regretful. Many others here however, have had very good reliabilty with their NEONS.

    The Elantra's reliability has been spotty and unknown for all areas.Throw the dice and hope for the best for this car.

    Good luck

    PS (Did I mention that I think you should get the 5spd.?)
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Based on the luk my friend has had, I would not get the Neon UNTIL it proves more reliable. I think since it was redesigned for 2000, all the bugs should be worked out by now. It handles great, but has a jumpy ride. Even with auto., the acceleration is pretty good and the passing power scared the hell out of me the first time I floored it. For 2001, side air bags and leather seats will be available. There are 2001 models on lots now, at least at a Dodge dealer in New Carrollton, Maryland. They have a new color (I think it's new) called Slate Gray that I really like. I just wish they would add a 4-speed auto. as an option and put ABS/TRAC on more cars out there from the factory. I have yet to see one with ABS included. Fully loaded, it should be around $13,000 without TTL. It is possible too. Check out or for great prices.

    PS: If you are getting one BRAND NEW for $11K, GO FOR IT! BUT, you might wanna get an extended warranty (don't have to purchase it when the car is new) from someplace like or

    Good luck!
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Korean cars aren't near as bad as everyone would like to think they are. They have made huge strides in quality in the past 4 years. If you are considering the Elantra, I suggest going to that forum and see for yourself how happy people are with their 99-2000 models. I test drove one and was throughly impressed with its power, handling, and very solid structure. I have to disagree slightly with Mobay when saying the Elantra is nowhere near the performance of the Neon. The Elantra is faster than the Neon in all acceleration tests, has a higher limit on the skidpad, a higher speed through the emergency lane change maneuver, and yet accomplishes all this while being quieter. The Elantra happens to be one of the sportiest economy cars on the market, along with the Neon. The best selling point of the Elantra is its amazingly long and thourough warranty, and its long list of standard luxuries. For money reasons, I chose the 2000 Accent instead. I have been very happy with the car except for sluggish acceleration with the AC on and so-so fuel economy. I have logged 4500 miles with no problems other than a few very minor rattles that were taken care of by the dealer.
    As far as the Lanos, I test drove one of those as well. Its engine is quite loud, though has enough power. The dash looks way cheap compared to either the Elantra or the Neon. The brakes felt weak. I think you need to look instead at the Nubira. That is more in the same price and size class as the Neon and Elantra. One strong point about the Daewoo is covering all maintenance costs for the first 3 years. A nice touch, but not much help to someone like me who does their own maintenance. A sore point about Daewoo is that they set their prices like Saturn, which makes them a bit more expensive than Hyundai.
    Anyway, I think you have your work cut out for you. Both the Neon and Elantra are great choices. Go test drive both of them and buy the one that you like best. Don't judge it on where it was made.
  • I would tell you if you can get an es for 11k you have all the reason to get that car save it has'nt been damaged at all (i.e. hail damage, dealer damage), sometimes dealers mark down cars with these types of damage or if it was a "company" car for the dealer. If you know for sure that it's none of the above you'd be crazy not to get it because you've just far outdone anyone on this bulletin board in terms of buying power. I disagree with certain posts that say the neon is "cheap" in price, for a base price of nearly 12,000 dollars and a spiraling price tag of close to 18,000 dollars with every option my friends you are paying a good bit of money for a car in a small class just like the toyota corolla, same situation-I believe these two cars are now identical in quality and price. The neon should no longer be called an "econobox" because it's made revolutionary leaps forward in quality and refinement, as for Hyundai's I would'nt even hazard a guess as to it's reputation now but I do remember it's rep in the past as being much worse than dodge so I go with what I know. "My final answer" to you Heckel2 is to grab that neon for 11k and go [non-permissible content removed] and elbows right off the lot! And pat yourself on the back for a job well done. =^]
    (BTW, the 2001 R/T's are coming out of the factory with a price tag of 16,500-starting! Now that definetely isnt cheap.)
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    My opinion, only! There is no such thing as a good NEW car for $11,000. There is one possible exception, a modestly trimmed out 2000 Toyota Echo. There is a problem with laying out $11,000 of your hard earned cash, it's called BUILD QUALITY. The domestic car manufactures can't produce a new vehicle in that price range, with any decent build quality, or for that matter reliability/re-sale value! The better import manufactures (Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Volkswagen, and Subaru) choose not to build vehicles in the $11,000 price range, they don't have too! There small cars start in the $13,000 to $14,000 range because of there competent build quality, excellent re-sale value and impeccable reliability.
    My 2 cents, don't go "[non-permissible content removed] and elbows" off any Korean or Dodge dealers lot with a NEW $11,000 car! You will be raped when it's time to sell or trade, and you will spend; a lot of time while under warranty and money when the warranty runs out, with your new best friend, the dealers service advisor. Don't take my word, educate your-self, read Consumer Reports, Car&Driver or Motor Trend; their concerns are the same; the Neon and Elantra are inherently mediocre and have many shortcomings. Heckle2, if $11,000 is your budget, look at a good/newer low mileage used car. Buying used, gets you lots of car for a lot less money. If you go with a newer/used car, dependability should be your first concern! Some recommended, used vehicles in the $10,000 to $11,000 range, 1998 Toyota Corolla, 1997/98 Honda Civic, 1997/98 Mazda Protege, and a 1997/98 Subaru Impreza. Good luck, heckle2.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    It seems there are a lot less problems with the Japanese small cars than with the American ones. I don't hear about 1995-97 Mazda, Toyota, or Honda blowing head gaskets like the Neons do. I do like the 2000 Neon, but would put more stock in the reliabilty and resale value of a Protege than I would a Neon.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    I don't hear much about 1995-97,Mazda,Toyota,or Honda blowing head gaskets like Neons do,but I have heard about distributors transmissions ,electrical problems with them.

    I also have not heard of any head gasket problems with the 2K Neon..,,have you?

    And I'm also sure YOU would put more stock in the reliability and resale value of a Protege' than a Neon. However, since we are talking about an Elantra vs. a Neon , how does the Protege' come into the picture? Old rhetoric (and habits) die hard huh?

    I keep forgetting.., Vocus.., you really DO like the Neon.

    Those were your words, not mine.

    As for the accuracy of test reports from Consumer reports, they stated that the acceleration of the 2K Neon was "sluggish".

    Now, who in this newsgroup who has driven a Neon ,even you Vocus ,would ever, in their right mind say the Neon is "sluggish"? Maybe they had the hand brake up, or the A/C "ON"(some believe the latter), but "sluggish"??.., I thinketh not.

    I'll go one step further. Consumer Reports gave the 95-99 Neon a "best buy" rating in their annual Used Car Review.What the hell????

    I gave up on Consumer Reports a long time ago.

    As for Car and Driver, heaven forbid if they are biased in ANY way towards a particular make! They are not influenced at all by advertising dollars, and all of their reviews can be taken as absolute truth.

    Believe that, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn,that I can sell you cheap...,really!

    As for build quality, is'nt it a like early to paint a picture of ALL Neons or ALL Elantra's until there is hard data to prove it.

    Once again, is it "I've got a car and I love/hate it so therefore all of them are good/bad", or do we have hard facts?

    We're giving advice on Neon vs. Elantra.Lets stick to those two vehicles.I know you guys love your vehicles ,(and I love mine) but lets talk about the strengths and weaknesses of just those two.
  • Here we go with the same ol song and dance, you know I hear all about the negative aspects of the neon from 95-00 model years about build quality and resale value. As with any car, build quality will improve over time,usually evolutionary vs revoultionary- ok stick with me here folks, the neon is only 5 years old and nobody can say it has'nt made dramtic leaps forward in overall quality-absolutely nobody! Many of the foreign competitors cars have been on the road for 2 sometimes 3 times as long and obviously have had time to improve upon the original much longer than the neon. Comparing the first neons with the 2000 model neon is apples to oranges fellas, and in such a short time of 5 years DC has busted their butts to catch up to the competition and somebody should commend them but all I hear is negative aspects of the car as if it were the ONLY car with them! I can say unequivically that there IS a conspiracy against the neon and presumably dodge because they have a strong hold on the domestic car market today and it's getting better. I see more and more new neons on the road everyday so somebody has "common sense" out there. To hell with all the negative stories and reports from worthless car magazines, they have the consistency of water and about as shallow.It's time we give DC a thumbs up and if you disagree than you're more diluted than I thought.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    The best neons are the 98's and 99's by far. I am not believeing the crap thrown around here.

    Resale value- my loaded (except for auto tranny) 98 neon cost me $11500 new and would sell in a reasonable amount of time for $9000 or I could get about $8000 trade in at 2 different dealers I checked at 2 months ago.

    Mileage- I get an average of mostly up and down, stop and go short trips of 30 mpg. This is lead footing it all the time and for comparison my Jeep GC 4.0 gets 11 mpg in the same trips. We have gotten a best of 53 MPG overall average from Eureka, CA to Missoula, MT when we moved. BTW these numbers (and the EPA ratings equal the 'green' toyota ECHO with its 'amazing it can even move' squirrel powered motor.

    Elantra better acceleration and skidpad- no way, you are going to have to provide magazine testing proof for that claim. I'll admit my stock goodyears are a huge weak link in an otherwise awesome suspension but I have never seen a elantra run anything near a neon at an SCCA event. There is much more to handling then just skidpad numbers. Acceleration of a 98 DOHC neon 5 speed pure stock is anywhere from 15.5 to 16.2 in the 1/4 mile with the average being 15.8. Don't anyone try and pass off 0-60 times here as they are basically unreliable at displaying which car would actually be leading at 60 MPH, many times a 'faster' 0-60 car will be looking at the 'slower' 0-60 car's taillights.

    Problems on old neon- not here, not with the other 3 at my work. Mine has not been completely flawless but I've said before the few minor problems I've had and how quickly they were fixed.

    Haven't heard about other car problems- you haven't been looking, Toyota v-6's had more problems with thier head gaskets then the neon's did. Honda's have electrical problems. Mazda's are infected with neon inferiority complex, I could go on but just look then up on carpoint or something, the problems are all there.

    New neons can still be bought for under $10000, but they do start getting pricy. I could have gotten a R/T when I bought my Sport for $300 more with otherwise the same options, add a automatic and the most expensive previous neon was $12500. The current model has crept up too much the last few years. I agree with somebody avove who said don't fork the cash over on a new 2001 and buy used. Just don't get that still overpriced import, a 14000 mile 99 R/T could most likely be found for under $10000.

    If you want to pay more for imaginary superman build quality and 'impeccable' reliability, for a boring looking, lackluster performing import then believe the hype. I personally go with a Honda- the official car for people who can't think for themself.
  • jmn2786jmn2786 Posts: 15
    I just wanted to say my loaded 2K 5sp is still runing great at 12k miles. Every option except the auto.

    Volkswagons have more problems than Chrysler! I think it was (JD power Initial Quality? 1999,2000)that said they had the most problems in the first year of ownership than ANY other small car make! Chrysler was in the upper half of that survey.

    I also picked the Neon over the Jetta VR6, Cougar V6, Focus, Protege, Civic, and Corolla. It offers a great package.

    The Echo is too ugly to be a good car. I woudn't be caught dead in that thing! It may be a good econo-box, but I would definitely go used before I bought one. Most likely small car to roll over, and it has very little hip room.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I would put more stock in an Elantra now, because of their superior warranty. I like the Neon, Protege, and Elantra, but all cars have their share of problems. And the Echo is not too bad, if a little cramped in front for me (at 6'3). I drove one yesterday, and it was kinda neat.

    Anyway, I do agree that the acceleration WITH auto. isn't sluggish at all. I prove that every morning when I floor the pedal to merge onto the Capital Beltway. Always kicks to first and then redlines. By then, I am going 70-80. Great power. Only thing I would change is the refinement level. And all cars have first year bugs, and hopefully they will be worked out for 2001.
  • mobaymobay Posts: 45

    WOW!, another 2K 5sp.ES owner. Glad to see I'm not alone.I just completed stage II of my performance mods on my 2K.

    I have bypassed the resonator box behind the LFF and gotten both a high-flow air filter (Maxspeed) and a performance muffler (a friend in Mexico sent it to me).

    I of course disconnected the battery for 20 minutes to erase the computer's memory, so it could learn about the mods. It will adjust the fuel/ignition/spark to suit the mods.That takes 123miles.

    My 2K is much faster than it was stock. It flies!!

    The beauty is that the total cost is $352.00.I measured 7.2 for 0-60MPH with a electronic meter (G-FORCE ) so I'm very happy.

    Well,fellas I'm off to bed. Gonna be going to Howell Automotive in Keyster WV. for his open house.Lots of Neon enthusiasts will be there. IF you're in the neighborhood.., drop in!

    You too Vocus, the Neon guy's will love to meet you.I'm sure.
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