Last post on May 14, 2012 at 4:50 PM
You are in the Dodge/Plymouth Neon
What is this discussion about?
Dodge Neon SRT-4, Exterior, Sedan
Jan 07, 2003 (4:13 pm)
No doubt, the Neon was botched, and I think the mistake was unforgivable in 2000, when Chrysler improved the car in so many ways but didn't go the extra step and offer the 150 hp engine until too late. The early interior trim, etc. problems were legendary, but it's interesting that Chrysler decided to keep the Neon name (after all, it had cult status among budget-minded enthusiasts) at a time when Chrysler was constantly changing the name of its cars in hopes that the public would forget the previous model.
The American-automobile-manufacturer-blows-it-again aspect really bugs me, too. It's amazing how stupid management-by-counting-beans can be, because there's no connection between finance and marketing in these decisions. In other words, market an excellent R/T from the start, market it in enthusiast publications and through racing publicity, and then offer it in limited quantities....and then watch people line up and pay MSRP for the thing, not demanding 0% financing and rebates. Then watch as the brand image of Dodge (and at the time, Plymouth) becomes truly distinctive and exciting, with a made-in-USA twist that would even work in Europe, where it would be a niche import product.
#225 of 528 Well, the '98+ models still weren't great
Jan 08, 2003 (12:47 pm)
I bought an Intense Blue '99 Sport 5-spd sedan new in May of '99. I loved the handling, the economy and the gutsy DOHC motor. It even looked pretty cool in that nuclear blue color. I hated the cheesy rubber shift boot and rubbermaid interior, the sunroof that broke weekly and the cacophony of rattles and squeeks in the interior. I decided to get rid of it at about 34k miles - just before the warranty expired. My brother bought it from me, but I would only sell it to him if he agreed to spring for an extended warranty. That warranty has been used for a number of things, including a bad head gasket which isn't supposed to be a problem on the DOHC motor or the '98+ models. That warranty has easily paid for itself already.
So, I've been debating buying a new little runabout for myself. Would I buy another Neon? Sadly, no. A Sentra, Impreza or Protege are on my list, though.
Would I buy a bigger Dodge / Chrysler product for my family, ala Grand Caravan/Durango/Pacifica? Sorry, no.
#226 of 528 If you want
Jan 08, 2003 (8:42 pm)
cheap, fast and reliable, then you have to pick either the Toyota Corolla FX-16 1987-1988 or the Nissan Sentra SE-R 1991-1994. These are the two cars that come to mind and I have owned them both.
My FX-16 had 250K miles on it when I sold it and it is still running last I heard. It revs to 7500 rpm and I simply changed the oil and filter ever 4-5K miles. Aside from regular maintenance that thing was trouble free. I would put that car in a similar satsu to the BMW 2002 and Datsun 510.
I still own my SE-R with 140K miles and it still revs freely to 7500 rpm. This car rocks. It is so fun to drive and cheap to maintain. I am keeping this car until I turn it into a second race car.
The Neon simply does not measure up in reliabilty to these two cars. It might be fast and cheap, but one thing it is not is reliable. I really do not consider a car realiable if it does not give you 100K trouble free miles. And all of us should not accept anything less from any car maker.
Jan 08, 2003 (8:49 pm)
That is the best car in the world. I loved that car.
Jan 08, 2003 (8:52 pm)
I had a 98 Sport pretty much loaded out with sunroof and all power, with the DOHC and a 5 speed. I was basically flawless, it did trow a code once, but ran fine, Took it to a dealer after a week with the code and got a free set of plugs and wires. Other then that perfect. the best thing about this car was that I bought it brand new for under $11,000. I traded it in on a minivan for my wife after 3 years and still got $8500 on the trade from a dealer, with invoice pricing on the van. That was the wholesale trade value for the neon at the time. $2500 depreciation for 3 years dealing only with a dealer is pretty awesome, as was the performance and fun of that neon. It also achieved 45 MPG on one long highway trip (it was EPA rated at 41 mpg). So near flawless mechanical, $2500 depreciation, 45 MPG, 15.8 1/4 mile times, and SCCA winning suspension for $11,000 new fully loaded? Compared to what else was out there in 98 that neon was way above it's competition. The SE-R was probably the closest competitor but cost $17,000 for no other advantages then the honor of owning a Sentra.
Personally I think the 2003 Cobra is also a great bang for the buck car, I'm glad it is delivering as promised. There isn't much else for under $34,000 new that delivers that much, just as there isn't anything else under $20,000 that delivers as much bang as the Neon does.
Here's another question. I have seen those lists of HP per dollar but I think those lists are flawed. they don't look at all vehicles and they don't take into account rebates and such. So here's the question; what current vehicle has the most HP per 1000 dollars based on MSRP after standard current rebates? What one has the most Torque per $1000?
The 2002 z-28 (if there are any left) has $2000 off it's $23430 base MSRP and 310 HP w/ 340 ft-lbs. So it gets a 14.47 for HP/$$ and 15.87 for torque/$$. I can think of something better at 18.16 on HP and 19.74 on torque, anybody know what it is? or can anybody think of something better?
Jan 08, 2003 (9:20 pm)
The Sentra SE-R was a great car. I test drove one and thought it handled and felt almost like a BMW, but ended up buying a CRX Si.
The Neon is still in production, but the SE-R is not. Nissan never could focus and has blown a number of opportunities. If it weren't for Renault, Nissan would probably be bankrupt right now. Chrysler became a fine manufacturer in the 90s...styling and profitability were world class. As for reliability, the pre-2000 Neon was one of Chysler's few reliable cars, ex-trim problems. The post-2000 Neons are safe and reliable. Not as reliable as most Japanese cars, but also more fun to drive and better-looking than most Japanese sedans.
Jan 09, 2003 (2:50 pm)
Well, using that formula my used Mustang works out to about 93 HP/1K$ but I don't think thats really fair.
Jan 09, 2003 (7:02 pm)
Yeh used cars wouldn't really be fair, I've bought used cars for $100 that ran and drove. With a 68 318 that made 230 HP that would make the ratio 2300!
Jan 09, 2003 (11:17 pm)
How many miles did you put on that Neon? I bet yoy did not make 100K before you traded in the car. I would like to see the neon's reliability at 100K. I really doubt that it would be as reliable as the FX-16 or the SE-R.
#233 of 528 speeds2much
Jan 09, 2003 (11:26 pm)
The SE-R is back in 2002 in 4 door version. You can get the Spec V verison of the SE-R for 16,700 and it has almost all the options that you want. 2.5 liter enigne with 6-speed and a Helical limited slip diff, power everything, AC, CD/AM/FM stereo, sport tuned suspension. The car has 175 hp and 180 lb/ft of torque. It is trule one of the best bang for the buck econosport sedan out there. And you do not get gouged when buying one since it is not a limited production model.
Renault did bail out Nissan, but the net result has been perfect. Carlos Gohsn has turned Nissan around and it is making profits now. The Z is back and you get the COTY with the G35. The Altima is selling like hotcakes. The Altima, Z, and the G35 are the hottest cars in the market right now. Nissan is on a roll, they are indtroducing one hot car after another.