Dodge Neon Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.15/5 Average
1,184 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

Building affordable yet appealing compact cars has often been a struggle for American automakers. Popular Japanese nameplates have done well as a result, and U.S. consumers are familiar with their reputations for quality and reliability. So Dodge took a different tack when it introduced the front-wheel-drive Dodge Neon sedan and coupe (alongside the identical Plymouth Neon) for the 1995 model year: The company made it fun to drive. The suspension and steering were carefully tuned to make the car handle well in the corners, and a pair of engines was available, including a 140-hp DOHC four-cylinder -- a lot of power for an economy car at that time. Of course, it didn't hurt that the Neon was cute as a bug and cheaper than most peers, either. It quickly caught on with budget-minded shoppers and was popular with young driving enthusiasts looking for a domestic alternative to import performance cars.

Unfortunately, Dodge lost its way when it redesigned the Neon for the 2000 model year. The car was a bit more refined than the original but was heavier, more expensive and no more powerful. The arrival of the turbocharged Neon SRT-4 sedan for 2003 brought some enthusiasts back into the fold, but by then most economy-car buyers had flocked to other brands. The Dodge Neon was discontinued after the 2005 model year; its successor is the Caliber four-door hatchback.

Most Recent Dodge Neon

Sold from 2000 to 2005 in sedan form only, the second-generation Dodge Neon offered a roomy interior, a smooth ride, nimble handling and strong brakes. Downsides included weak and unrefined engines, excessive wind and road noise, and an overall lack of polish and feature content compared to other economy cars. Crash test performance was mixed, as the Neon earned solid ratings in government tests but performed poorly in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing. Antilock brakes were optional on all model years; side airbags became an option in 2001.

Initially, buyers could get only a buzzy 132-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. The performance-oriented Neon R/T and ACR models arrived for 2001 with a 150-hp four-cylinder. They were quicker than other Neons, but you could only get them with the manual gearbox. A four-speed automatic finally replaced the three-speed unit in 2002. The Plymouth version of this car was sold only in 2000 and 2001 and was never offered with the 150-hp engine or the four-speed auto.

The Neon SRT-4 sedan is one of the few bright spots in recent Dodge Neon history. Sold from 2003 to 2005, this scrappy econosport sedan represented the most performance you could buy for $20,000. Key ingredients were a high-boost turbocharged 2.4-liter engine good for 215-230 hp and 245-250 lb-ft of torque (output increased slightly from year to year) and a completely retuned, track-ready suspension. Not only could this Neon get you to 60 mph in under 6 seconds, it was a cinch to place in the turns, particularly the 2004 and 2005 models, which came with a limited-slip differential.

Past Dodge Neons

Sold from 1995 to 1999 in sedan and coupe form, the original Dodge Neon was smaller and cuter than its successor. It also offered a better combination of features and performance for its day. Refinement was never its strong suit, though, and Neons with the base 132-hp engine and three-speed automatic transmission were noisy and slow. However, when equipped with the optional twin-cam engine, the five-speed manual transmission, and the upgraded running gear offered on Sport and R/T models and Competition Group-equipped base models, the first-generation Neon could be a lot of fun to drive.

Resale value has always been a weak point of the Dodge Neon, so buying a used one will cost you very little. The flipside is that reliability is also below average on this car, so you should expect to put some money into repairs. A thorough check by a mechanic is recommended before you buy -- steer clear of any Neon with a history of engine or transmission problems.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 1,184.00
  • They should've Dodged this Neon! - 2002 Dodge Neon
    By -

    I can honestly say that this has to be one of the worst cars Dodge ever built. My fiancé and I bought ours when it was 10 years old, it only had 90,000 miles on it though. Ever since it was bought, it has nothing but problems. The owner before us was an old lady who had pasted away. She treated the car like it was her first born child so I know the issues didn't come from her driving it. The transmission is terrible. It slips, backfires, and sometimes doesn't even go into gear. The engine has terrible power and constantly leaks oil. The coolant tank leaks. The electronics are terrible. Interior lights don't work anymore. Interior is cheaply made. The dash has bubbles all over it. The back windows leak whenever it storms which makes the inside of the car soaked. The engine is extremely loud, it sounds like you have all the windows down whenever you're driving it. The car vibrates, shakes, and knocks. Headlights have terrible visibility. The only thing that's decent in this vechicle are the speakers. It has a great, stock sound system. The reason I'm writing a review on a 14 year old car is because they're cheap to buy now but I honestly wouldn't waste $500 on this car because you'll end up putting 10x that in repairs. Stay away from this car. It shouldn't have ever been made.

  • Honest Opinion - 2004 Dodge Neon
    By -

    Overall this car has served me well. I bought it brand new back in highschool ,in 2004 for 11k that's including taxes. When I first got it the O2 sensor needed to be replace which isn't a good sign around 20k. Luckily it was still under warranty. Since then there has been no major issues until now but right now at 220k its expected. At the moment, the reverse cable probably has to be replaced or at least one of the pins or bushing. The drive shaft also needs to be replaced which is normal for the a vehicle with the amount of mileage this car has. Both issues occurred around 219-220k. I had to replace the CAM sensor at 110k and oil switch at 185k. Changed the battery twice .Other than that no major issues. I have drove this car from -CA-TX-MT and CA-FL with no problems. I hit a deer at 40mph with only hood, fender, bumper damage, but nothing was damaged under the hood. The car gets good MPG on the highway but not too good mpg for its class in the city. I usually get between 35-44 on the highway and 25-29 in the city. Since its high mileage the values have been 25/35 unless I go on a long distance trip. The interior looks good the only thing a bit worn out is the arm rest and front driver seat.Acceleration and handling is also good and I do like the tow capacity this vehicle has. Overall I got my moneys worth but at this point its time to move on.

  • 35000 Miles at 308 whp and 328 torque!! - 2005 Dodge Neon
    By -

    A really strong engine. They are dynoed at 220 whp-230 whp stock. (They make about 250 hp at the crank). There is no need to build the stock engine with forged internals. I am now looking to go e85 with a big wheel stock turbo soon and according to my tuner I should be over 340 whp and over 400 lb ft torque.The srt-4 engine can handle 400 whp all day in stock form. At 110,000 miles the only thing I had replaced on the engine was the cam sensor, magnet and coil pack. Total cost of about $160. I have had no problem with the transmission. However I had many suspension related problem but this is typical with the any high mileage vehicle (especially american made) .

  • 1998 4dr poor man sports car - 1998 Dodge Neon
    By -

    hi I own a 1998 4dr five speed manual dodge neon its absolutely amazing well one its not your typical neon I have your standard 2.0 DOHC 16v but the difference is its got stage 2 fuel injectors and stage two fuel pump and stage 3 racing clutch and I hollowed out the caddy and cut off the muffler and installed a 200$ exhaust tip on it and it truly sounds amazing no not a car fartin in a tin can sound its fast and furious sound quality but one thing I cant figure out is it gets 48 mpg highway and 39 in town but according to the specs its 41 and 32 my neon is so fast it suprizes me ive never lost to a race best example I can think of how fast she is I smoked a 08 mustang gt and 2014 jeep and and suv mercedezes and 2001 turbo charged five speed Toyota celica ive that's just some examples here is a good one this guy has a 90's model hatch batch civic or accord not sure but we raced one day and he didn't win or loose we stayed neck and neck and after the race we pulled over and talked and he asked how much cash I put under the hood he said he has dumped 3gs so far and I said none I bought the car with 112000 on body and 60,000 on motor for 1400 bucks I used to have all the paper work on all the performance parts installed but 12/08/14 my house burnt to the ground lost everything and even two of my dogs but long story short I can do 0-60 on a good 4.8 secs flat but average is 5.3 to 5.0 secs fastest ive had the car is 135 rev limiter is set at 7500 I cant do 90 in third gear with tac at 6500 rpms yup super high geared oh and one more thing I have a aftermarket racing spoiler on it 700$ bought off a friend for 100$

  • Never Again!!! - 2005 Dodge Neon
    By -

    I saved up for more than 3 years to buy a car. I bought this one at a auction for about 3k4 and it was the worst choice so far. The car turned off of on me the next day. I changed the alternator thinking that was the problem. Not! I got stranded a couple more times. Then I changed the tps sensor for 60 bucks. It was working fine up untill the next 2 days. Problems usually start when the car is warmed up. The engine wants to turn off, the revs drop, the car won't get the gas, and it might be a 4 cylinder but with this problem going on it is wasting gas like a 6 maybe even an 8 cylinder. Till this point idk what is the problem with the car. This car is just going to be a headache, just get a honda.

  • disappointing first car - 2005 Dodge Neon
    By -

    Being a college student, I figured that I needed a car of my own. I looked around dealerships close to my location snd found my neon for $2,000. It ran smooth...for about 20 minutes. It broke down before I even got home. Ao far, I have owned this vehicle for 3 months and ive only been in possession of it for around 6 days total (due to breakdowns and long repair times). So far, I have put $1500 into fixing it, even took it to the best mechanic in town (really expensive) and it still broke down in a matter of 1 day. If you are looking for a reliable cheap car, GO FOR THE CIVIC!

  • only worth $300 maximum - 2004 Dodge Neon
    By -

    I bought this car in 2011. I knew it was old at the time and maybe the dealership played a big role in why I am giving this car such a bad review. All four tires needed replacing after 1 month. A couple months later i had to replace the battery. A short time after that, i had to get the engine flushed. Breaks went out. At random times it would not shift into drive and when it finally did it would jolt forward. Half the time it would not start. The check engine light would come on at random times as well and it would stall out every time i got past 10 mph. I paid it off after all the hell it put me through and then it just shut down and would not start again. I had every intention of driving it for the remainder of my stay in college (which was only 1 year) and then trade it in for a new car. Instead i ended up trading it in (for $300) and getting yet another used car that i really could not afford. This was probably a great car 11 years ago, but i would not recommend it to anyone now days.

  • Lasts forever - 2004 Dodge Neon
    By -

    Totaled my first 03 Sxt with 240,000 miles on it but I bet she could have gone way longer. Then bought an 04 R/T with 100,000 on it for a great price it now has 136000 and I love it, I don't babg this thing either its seen many track days and the shifts are still great love the car And I get about 30 mog city and almost 40 highway

  • I love this car! - 2004 Dodge Neon
    By -

    I can't get enough of this car. I've owned it for a little over 5 years and now have over 170,000 miles. It still runs smooth as it did with 65,000 miles and I've never had an issue with the car other than regular maintenance. I've changed the timing belt, water pump, clutch/fork, spark plugs, oil, and cam shaft sensor twice, battery and tires. That's it! All those things would need to be changed on any car so I would say this car is extremely reliable. It's never once left me stranded, and I don't drive like a grandma either. Speaking of which, the performance of this car is amazing. My car is still stock and I've beat everything from ls1 camaros, to evo's and sti's.

  • WORST CAR EVER - 2005 Dodge Neon
    By -

    This car couldn't be any worst, $1500 in repairs, and a problem everyday. tie rod ends, brakes sounding like a train, rough idle, rough transmission, leaked oil and transmission fluid, cracked dash, bad bushings, motor mounts, uncomfortable ride, wheel hub assembly, brake cylinders, AND WORST OF ALL AT 45 MPH THE AIR BAGS FAILED THE FRONT END WAS GONE NEVER AGAIN DODGE!

Dodge Neon Reviews By Year:
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