Last post on May 23, 2013 at 6:30 AM
You are in the Dodge/Plymouth Neon
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Dodge Neon, Plymouth Neon, Sedan
#739 of 1773 1995 and 1996 Dodge Neons
Jul 18, 2001 (7:12 pm)
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??
#740 of 1773 Volley...
Jul 19, 2001 (5:10 am)
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.
Jul 19, 2001 (8:30 am)
Isn't that an oxymoron? ; )
#742 of 1773 Steer Clear of the 95 and 96 models!
Jul 20, 2001 (8:31 am)
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...
#743 of 1773 Buoyant...
Jul 20, 2001 (8:42 am)
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.
Jul 20, 2001 (11:05 am)
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?
Jul 20, 2001 (2:41 pm)
Have the door adjustment checked, and if it's OK, then have the rubber seals replaced.
#746 of 1773 Neon reliability
Jul 21, 2001 (12:30 am)
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 Neoniastate.edu where you can learn and discuss even more.
Sorry for what seems to be a rant and long post...
#747 of 1773 vocus and officeroz
Jul 21, 2001 (5:14 pm)
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.
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...
Jul 21, 2001 (7:42 pm)
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.