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Dodge Neon SRT-4



  • Now you are comparing the SRT4 to a BMW? Granted BMW's aren't the most reliable cars around but it's still way better than the Neon according to CR. The Neon has 29 black or half black circles while the BMW 3 series only has 8 half black circles and no black circles. Big difference especially considering how much more complicated BMW's are.
  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    The vaulted "according to CR" line.
  • Interesting that some people are comparing the SRT to the Bimmer. Except for the M3, the SRT would smoke a 330i in a race, including on real European roads, not just on a track. The stock Neon is not a junk car at all, it's very reliable and well-built, although not as refined as a Honda. The interior parts are not even that bad (no worse than a Honda's, which has slipped in recent years), although obviously it looks more like an economy car, which is what the stock Neon is. So what? An economy car in 2003 is nothing to be ashamed of, because cars have improved so much over the past 10 years. Anyone who knows auto engineering knows that, and as I've said here before, Skip Barber does not keep a fleet of Neons just for the low sticker price...but people who bash this car are not on that kind of enthusiast's wavelength.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    A Neon? Very reliable? Since when?
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Off the planet to be a Neon.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    In my experience (and I realize this is subjective) Dodge Neon drivers are typically the worst drivers in history. When I'm cut off, at least half the time it's by a teenager in a Dodge Neon. When I'm revved at, it's usually by a Dodge Neon. When I see someone weaving, swerving, or drifting, that someone is typically driving a Dodge Neon. And I know that front end so well because I've never met a Dodge Neon driver that didn't tailgate me, swerve to pass me, cut in front of me, then slow down for completely unknown and random reasons. With just 100-something horsepower, Dodge Neon drivers already out-dare (and out-scare) the likes of BMW M Roadster drivers, Cobra SVT drivers and grapefruit launcher Civic drivers. Now Dodge is going to give some of these same people over 200 horsepower.

    Basically, I'm a dead man in one year's time. And the person who kills me? That person will be driving a SRT.
  • Judas - Yes, I owned a 2000 Neon and it was very reliable for 14,000 miles, before I sold it to move to London.

    Sphinx 99 - Funny you say that, because I've found just the opposite. I've said for years that BMW 3-series drivers are the worst on the road. Whenever I have been passed on a double-yellow line on a winding road in Pennsylvania, it's inevitably a BMW. They must think that's how Europeans drive, taking advantage of the handling and acceleration. LOL In reality, and I know because I have a British license and drove on Europe's roads, Europeans drive VERY fast, but in a very controlled and respectful way. Sad for BMW's reputation, this does not apply to many 3-series drivers in the UK, who have the reputation of being arrogant wankers. 3-series drivers in the States also tend to weave in and out of traffic and tailgait "slower" cars. Must be that BMWs are just cheap enough for idiots to buy, but great cars so they keep those drivers alive. Porsche drivers, I've found, know that they are on public roads and only gun it when the traffic is clear. More $$, more sophistication. I'd say the typical stock Neon driver is just a normal working stiff who put-puts along with the flow of traffic. Having said all that, I'll concede that SRT drivers will be a different breed and probably often dangerous, but come on, your allegations about Neons vs. BMW's etc. are absurd.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Maybe it's a regional or local thing. Here in Michigan the Neon is the young person's car du jour, and usually the Adrenaline Junkie Young Person's car at that. Most of the bad-car-driver euphemisms (soccer mom on cell phone in Ford Excursion, yuppie 3-series road racer, etc.) seem to get extracted, purified and delivered in concentrated doses in the form of the Dodge Neon Driver. And if there's a pizza sign on the roof ot that Neon, then someone's definitely going to die by the hand of that car.

    For this reason alone, the SRT scares me. Since I'm in the mood for outlandish predictions, here's another one: 20% of all SRTs sold and driven in the state of Michigan will suffer one major at-fault collision within the first two years.
  • Good that I posted where I drive, because you're probably right on the regional distinction. Fact is, when I sold my Neon the guys at the used car dealership laughed and said they'd have to ship it to the Midwest. I had to sell it to the dealer, because the private market is nil. Out here, American economy cars like the Neon sell on price and price alone, and typically are owned by secretaries or rental fleets. Having said that, I still think it's a very competent driver's car for the money and recognize that my opinion is not widely-held. The real problem imo is that Dodge has not marketed the car well. They should have offered the 150-hp engine much sooner and emphasized the performance and SCCA success of the Neon, instead of the price and rebates. Very foolish on Chrysler's part, imo, because in many performance ways, including ride quality, the Neon is more capable than the Civic, and has brakes in the R/T that would shame many Porsches in terms of stopping distance, although not in terms of resistance to fade.
  • SPYDER98SPYDER98 Posts: 239
    With all this negative speculation, chrysler still manages to sell well over 100k neons a year. Its a common fact people will always voice frustration over praise anyways. And the fact of the matter is the SRT offers performance, no other car south of 20k can match, or even come close to.

    As far as reliability goes...well thats what warranty protection is for. I was never fond of the dodge neon, I always looked at it as a POS personally. Still do for that matter. But the SRT is a different car in my view. It comes with a mitsubishi engine (unlike the base neon), mitsubishi turbo and completely different transmission to handle the increase in torque. Along with upgraded brakes all round, tuned suspension. These are major cost factoring componets which make up the car in my view. I personally never had an issue with the shell of the neon, it's always been its drivetrain which I disliked.

    A wiper motor, power door lock, or power window motor is NOT going to affect my view of reliability of this car. These are not componets which will leave someone stranded. And extended warranties will give the peace of mind to owners in case of failures similar to this.

    I remember test driving a 92hp mitsubishi eclipse and then then getting behind the wheel of a 195hp, AWD eclipse GSX. It is a completely different driving experience and felt like a totally different car.

    Another example would be the 120hp Lancer which is not going to feel anywhere near like a 271hp, AWD Lancer Evolution.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "Having said that, I still think it's a very competent driver's car for the money and recognize that my opinion is not widely-held."

    I agree. It's also a very fun to drive car.
  • The non-SRT Neon drivetrain is quite rough, although engine harshness has been addressed with better engine mounts in 2003. However, it's been a very reliable engine and transmission. That's why Chrysler hung onto the 3-speed auto for so long (I owned a 5-spd manual, and it was very good, with excellent ratios). The problem with the pre-2000 Neon, especially, was horrendous build quality in basic body was famous for dropping door handles on the road and shimmering windows, etc. The 2000+ models are far better, with special mounting frames for dashboard items, etc., and more structural rigidity. My father is picky and drives only imported luxury cars, and he commented on how tight it seemed. I owned the Neon as a Manhattan getway car (the garage space cost more per month than the car payment...LOL) and the only downside for me was that no one could understand why I'd drive a Neon and I had to constantly explain to much skepticism and pity. If the SRT were not so boy-racer looking, I might just buy one for the helluvit, but I think I've finally outgrown this model...but I will be secretly envious when I see a kid driving one. :o)
  • SPYDER98SPYDER98 Posts: 239
    If the SRT were not so boy-racer looking, I might just buy one for the helluvit, but I think I've finally outgrown this model...but I will be secretly envious when I see a kid driving one.

    I feel the same way. For a sub 20k daily driver, this would be one hek of a fun car to drive.

    I have personally had my eye on a lancer evolution for a while, but after seeing the mitsubishi webcast from the LA auto show today, I was extremely turned off with how this car is being marketed. I maybe starting to some age, but I look at it more as maturity.
    If you aren't sporting a baseball cap on backwards, with michael jordon sneakers and a michael vick jersey, you probably would of found the introduction of the EVO almost downright embarrassing today!
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Ever been behind a Chrysler minivan that smokes?
    10 to 1 it has a Mitsubishi engine in it.
  • SPYDER98SPYDER98 Posts: 239
    Ever been behind a Chrysler minivan that smokes?
    10 to 1 it has a Mitsubishi engine in it.

    That is a very weak analogy without any substance.
    If I solely judged a company like BMW by the amount of E46 M3 engine failures, or the M60 engine failures from the mid 90's, that would be just as worse..
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Due to the crazy insurance costs. That will be the most limiting factor in sales for this car. The will always be a market for cheap speed but insuring it is gonna make it not so cheap.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    The Mustang GT is at a minimum $2000 more then an SRT-4 and is not a sub 14 sec 1/4 mile car pure stock like the SRT-4 is. To even get close to the 14.1 1/4 mile times you need to get a Mach 1 or Bullit edition and then you are way over the SRT-4 budget. On a SCCA roadcourse I bet the SRT-4 cleans a Mustang GT's clock. From all the test it's very apparent that the SRT-4 is grossly underrated from the factory at 215hp. It's very possible that this number is more like 260 at the crank. One wheel dyno produced 228hp wich would be at least 260 at the crank, and usually it would take more like 280 hp to make a 3300 pound car run a 104 mph 1/4 mile time.

    Comparing the SRT-4 to a Syclone and Grand National as a bad thing just floors me. It is a good comparision, but has anybody ever noticed how the resale of one of these examples is better then any car ever made by Honda or Toyota? There were plenty of Hondas and Toyotas that cost what a GN did in 1987, but how many of those Honda's still bring an average of $13,000 today? Here's a little clue, look at the most expensive 87 Honda on the planet has an asking price of $4995, where the limited GNX always goes for over $30,000 and a regular GN is usually in the $10-$15K range. The Syclone is the same story, although it is a little newer and a little more money, still a 91 Supra will only bring 1/2 what a Syclone will bring, and the Supras cost more to begin with! The Shelby GLH-S Omnis are not rusting away in some corner either. They only actually made 500 of the Shelbys and they were $11,000 new in 86, and they still will bring 1/2 that. What else made in 86, the great pit of performance automabiles, will still bring 1/2 it's MSRP? Carroll Shelby himself has remarked that it was one of the best cars he ever did, past and present. I say putting the SRT-4 in that kind of company is a big compliment.
  • Umm ... can't compare the Accord to a GNX. They sold over 300,000 Accords in 87 alone. Just curious how many GNX do you actually see still running? I've only seen one around here in recent memory while 86-89 Accords are all over the place.

    The GNX's on the autotrader website have 7,500-22,000 miles on them. Kinda hard to compare that to a mass production sedan that will probably have at least 100,000 miles on it. GN's with mileage on them sure start getting close to that $4995 mark. So what you are saying is that to keep the Neon's value up you can't drive it more than 500 miles a year? That's alot of fun. But on the positive side it won't give it that many opportunities to break down.

    Not to mention the 87 GNX was $29,900 new. It was a $10,000 option and only 500 were made. Hmmmm.. A new Accord was $14,680 maximum and they sold over 300,000. Big difference.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I was mostly comparing regular GN's to accords, and I don't see many 89 accords on the road either, especially considering so many more were made. I guess they are all in a junkyard somewhere. We actually have a GNX on the road here in our little Montana town, and a few regular GNs. Still the comparison to the SRT-4 is still valid as the producers have said about the most they will physically be able to do a year is about 5000 maybe even as few as 3000. At best there can only be 3 years of this car as there is a redesign for 2006. Lots of the average prices I quoted were for over 100,000 mile, regular street driven syclones, and GN's. If I was talking stuff with under 15,000 miles in perfect shape then you'd have to double the number I posted above.

    It seems strange people here thinking something was so wrong with the 95-98 neons, funny BMW would choose the 1st Gen neons basic motor to use in their new Mini Coopers, and Cooper S.
  • There is only 1 87 Grand National with more than 100,000 miles and it's only $7995. So you are WRONG. If you say you should double that number for a low-mileage GN then you are still at only $16,000.

    The original Neon engine was 2.0L while the Mini Cooper used a 1.6L engine. It was built jointly in Brazil with Chrysler but it's not the same engine that was used in the Neon. So yet again you are WRONG.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    I also checked for "regular" 85-87 Regals on autotrader and found very few. Those that are are very cheap. They made very few GN's as whole back then. They were't very cheap for what they were. A great motor in a outdated chassis.

    Only 3000 Syclones were made. Really useful comparing it to regular cars too. I wonder how many "regular" 1987 S-10's are still running and how much are they worth?

    And we won't even begin the talk about the "regular" Omni's.

    So if you make very few of something like that and barely use it then of course you will probably have something of value. But then again why would you buy a car and not drive it? Heck even a first year S2000 with no miles on it will be worth something in 20 years. The only made 5000 of them.
  • SPYDER98SPYDER98 Posts: 239
    From all the test it's very apparent that the SRT-4 is grossly underrated from the factory at 215hp.

    I've been wondering about that also. 95-99 eclipse fwd turbo's, weighed in around 2900lbs, had fwd and 210 hp with 214ft-lbs of torque and were only capable or reaching 60mph in 6.5 seconds and were around 14.8-14.9 in the 1/4 mile.

    The car had a similar power to weight ratio as the SRT-4, yet clearly falls short in performance.

    Dyno runs on the eclipse showed the factory claim of 210hp was about right. The SRT-4 may very well be WAY underrated by dodge.

    Making it an even bigger bang for the buck!

    260hp sounds about right as that's what it took in modifications to push an eclipse into those acceleration ranges.

    The SRT-4 is also capable of 148mph. Which shows it can't just be the gearing propelling those acceleration times..
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    "The Mustang GT is at a minimum $2000 more then an SRT-4 and is not a sub 14 sec 1/4 mile car pure stock like the SRT-4 is."

    MM&FF have gone under 14 seconds in the GT.

    "To even get close to the 14.1 1/4 mile times you need to get a Mach 1 or Bullit edition and then you are way over the SRT-4 budget."

    Bullitts have gone 13.6's. MT and R&T have both gone 14.0 in a regular GT. Mach 1? Get close? The Mach 1 has 300+ horsepower. Not to mention the current Mustang came out 5 years ago and the redesigned model will be out before too long.

    "Yes, I owned a 2000 Neon and it was very reliable for 14,000"

    Lol, 14,000 miles. Wow, what a test. Sorry, nothing going wrong in 14K miles doesn't make a car "very reliable"
  • Judas - I wonder how many cars you've owned. Typically, you know whether a car's a lemon right away because it's constantly in the shop. All I did with the Neon was change the oil.
  • I agree with SPYDER98
    the 95-99 Talon/Eclipse/Laser was correctly rated at 210hp with a smaller engine, smaller turbo and a much smaller side mounted intercooler. Not to mention that the car's ECU was not very well tuned. I have a 95 Talon TSi and upgrading to a Mitsu 16G turbo showed HUGE power gains.
    And as stated in one of my previous posts, Anonymous, Until you can show this specific car (the SRT, not the general neon) is NOT reliable, I think we have to call it as much. Yes the magazine editors only get a day or 2 to drive the cars but they are all driving the SAME 2 or 3 cars. Generally trying to push them beyond their limits for several hundered miles. I have not read one article that said (something broke during our road/track test) so you are gonna have to prove that its not a good car.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    a car broke during testing? Cept for a Daewoo. Heck even regular Neon's made it through testing. Check the long term tests though and they will find the problems though. Unless you are going to buy a Neon and keep it under 20,000 miles for 20 years.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Edmunds had a Jaguar whose exhaust system fell off during the instrumented testing! Otherwise, I am not aware of a car that "broke" during an automag's one day of testing.
  • Not sure which issue (I know it was one of this last summer) MotorTrend had an issue where they were testing super cars and noted both a mustang that I think shredded a rear end and a corvette that toasted a tranny. I agree that they are few and far between but I have seen mags that do note when parts break. My whole point was that people are trashing the SRT based on the reg. Neon. I am just saying that everything documented so far says it's reliable, nothing I have read says otherwise. You guys seem to be ignoring my other point that all of these mags get the same couple of test cars and beat the crap out of them, repeatedly. I would suspect that there are several thousand miles on these test cars and no note that they have self destructed yet..
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    I'm sure if you tried to double the normal output of the Noen SRT something will break. Modded Vipers have caught on fire.
  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    Is a Chrysler design, not a Mitsu.
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