Honestly it was my second car after my first vehicle (1995 Honda Passport) died on me. I purchased this vehicle with around 144,XXX miles on it. Ran like a charm, but wasn't exactly my "type" of vehicle. Started experiencing odd behavior with the car so I sold it and purchased a Mustang Cobra. I was driving an Automatic and switched to Manual. I love the Mustang 1000x more than that little Neon.
Exterior reliability. If you crash that vehicle head on with anything, your engine will remain in your lap.
The Neon was my first car. It's a terrific first car. It was easy to drive, handled well, spacious, great on gas, and cute. It is also very fun to drive considering it's a manual. It only had minor problems like turn signal doesn't turn off and door squeaks a little. At only 65,000 miles, it drove like new. I can't complain but only wish it was more powered: power windows, locks and steering. Also I would love a CD player over the cassette any day.
Awesome car! Especially when swapped with a 2.4L! The SOHC engine that was in it was virtually indestructible. Interior was a little plain and goofy, but you can swap any year neon (including the SRT-4) seats into it.
The power and ease of working on it. Handling is great and very responsive.
Suspension could be a little stiffer to prevent body roll, and the windows needed frames.