In my opinion the 1996 Neon is a hands-down winner. After knowing people who had this car and loved it, experiencing the great driving myself, and finding a great deal, I decided to go for it and have not been disappointed. The car definitely has some minor flaws, including crappy paint jobs, but the truth is I've never had to get my car serviced at a mechanic...ever. The things that require service are always minor, and are simple to fix. This car makes several 500+ mile trips per year and I have never been stranded or needed roadside assistance. I had a back-up light problem early on that I thought would be an expensive fix. Turned out it just needed a switch. That's been my biggest issue.
I love driving this car. I don't see how some people have had such bad mileage and horsepower. I have dusted the competition (not that I race) and I certainly get up quicker than other drivers. It handles really well at high speeds too. I still see many other 96 Neons on the road, which says a lot!
I love my car's color, but the paint job is peeling now. I will probably get a paint job soon, but it's in spots that you can't see well, so I've let it go. Other than that, the way the "drive" belts are situated, and that it has two, can be a headache to change them. Make sure you check its recalls
My cranky teen just went past 125,000 miles. It lasted through 11 years of spotty oil changes and benign neglect, but I may have to finally let it go. Had 2 major repairs in that time: Electronics replaced (controlling gauges, radio, etc.) and head gasket repair. Had to rig a fix when the plastic shifter connections broke. Now the transmission/clutch is slowly going, and it stalled on the highway last week. Air conditioner has to be refilled each year and does not last long. Struts gone last year. Paint, 3 speakers, wheel covers, and outside plastic door trim went long ago. She was ugly but got me where I was going; now it's just not worth the cost to fix.
Styling, simple and sporty. Pretty comfortable for a petite person.
Automatic windows in back too! Hate the "no frame" windows. Paint could have lasted longer.
I am going to be honest. When I bought this car it was okay. As the year went by everything started to break. I had to do a water pump and timing belt in the first month, then a fuel pump. I am currently in the market now because I am tired of repairing everything on the car. All I can say is that it is a good car as long as the person before you took good care of it. If they didn't then don't waste your time because even though the repairs and parts where cheap (autozone) it still stinks having to fix it every 5 minutes. Right now anti freeze is leaking and the car stalls.
My dad purchased this car for me, as my second car. It was extremely nice at first, and I loved it. This car does lack extreme horsepower. It takes me about 20-25 seconds to reach 60! Slowest car I have ever driven. The transmission is starting to act up, and the struts are starting to go. Air conditioning was charged when my dad purchased it, and then it was warm agian the summer after. Didn't even last 1 year! But the car has never let me down. Always starts, even when it's cold outside. The paint chips like no other. And the windows leak entremely bad. When I drive on the expressway, all I hear is wind, and that's with the windows up.
Stereo sounds good, but all 4 speakers were blown when purchased, so I had to spend $220 replacing speakers. The interior was built great, and is layed out great.
Faster engine (More Horsepower), better fuel economy (only 19 MPG on a 2.0)
Bought my Neon in 2000 with only 24,000 mi on it. The dealership had already replaced a head gasket. Since then, I have had to replace the radiator, an O2 sensor, and the dash circuit board (my speedometer stopped working!) The brakes squeak constantly, it slips in the rain even with good tires (I won't even mention in the snow), and the doors/handles freeze solid in the cold. Rear speakers are blown, tape deck quit working. So many problems, and it only JUST passed 56,000 mi. AC isn't very cold, and sucks the life out the acceleration. When I first got the car, I loved how cute it was, but now I look at it and I can't wait to buy my Honda CR-V. No more Dodge products for me!
The gas mileage is WONDERFUL. It's also a cute-looking car. Decent pick-up as long as you aren't using the AC or defroster. Good amount of trunk space for a small car. Easy to change the oil, add washer fluid, etc., because everything under the hood is well- labeled.
Most of the problems I've had with my Neon are not unique to my car-- they are common problems with Neons. For instance, the O2 sensor and electrical problems. Dodge definitely needed to use better parts in this car!!