2003 Dodge Neon Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Dodge Neon

Dodge Neon Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 150 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 25/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Dodge Neon

  • Those looking for a polished economy car would be better served elsewhere, but if high performance on a budget is the goal, then the 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 makes a strong case for itself.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Fun in the curves, strong brakes, decent ride, rockin' sound system.

  • Cons

    Lacks refinement, some low-grade interior components.

  • What's New for 2003

    The fire-breathing 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 debuts, sporting a 215-horsepower turbocharged engine, a tweaked suspension and Viper-inspired sport seats. Zero to 60 is said to take about 6 seconds. All Neons receive a facelift in the form of new front and rear ends as well as interior changes that include a new steering wheel.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Never a problem

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon R/T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car about a year ago and have put 30,000 miles on it since I purchased. I got it with 35k and the only maintenance I've really had to do was oil changes. I also did plugs and wired at 60k and rear brake, but thats all. They didn't really have to be done, but did them anyway. I'm a service technician and a BMW shop and I love my neon. Do want a little more pep, but can't complain about the get- up and go with this car, especially considering the 39 mpg I get on road trips. Simply love this car!




Fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon R/T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I just bought a 2003 R/T and it's really fun to drive. Good performance from the engine, although it could use a little more power. Many aftermarket parts are available to increase horsepower if you want that though. This is a great car to drive that feels like a sports car, and at a low cost compared to others of the same type. An especially good value if you buy it used like I did, only 24,000 miles and a fraction of the original cost.




Neon love

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon R/T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I am a 2 time owner of the Neon R/T model. First was a 99 R/T sedan, which I loved. The car was great, only issue was the head gasket. Now I've had my 03 for over a year and I'm as in love with this car more and more every day. Reliability GREAT, Looks GREAT, Performance GREAT, Options GREAT. I love to drive, but I also have a family. This car puts a smile on your face through the twisties and hulls the family in class and comfort. Class is something the 99 fell short on, but not this little lady. Buy one you won't regret it.




Va-voom!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon R/T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Bought a new Neon R/T with all the toys from a delaer for $13,500. While it may be 2 years old in a few months, it's still a new car to me since I keep one for about 5-6 years anyway. The '03 has more legroom and creature comforts than my old '98 did. The magnum engine has as much h.p. as the old 2.0 DOHC, but sounds quieter under load. The 4-wheel discs stop it quite well. The 5-speed makes this pocket rocket a blast to drive and the Goodyear P195/50R16's make it grab in the corners. I'll be upgrading the tires to Bridgestone's as soon as I wear the OEM Goodyear's out. All in all, I am very pleased with the Neon R/T.




3rd neon for me!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon R/T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Bought my wife a 1998 neon with all the goodies, 5-sp, DOHC, moonroof, etc, and she's loved it. Couldn't talk her into trading for a Honda with a 6 cyclinder. Then it was totaled. We're now buying an '03 R/T with ALL the goodies for $14,500 drive-out, and she's excited. Leather, moonroof, etc. I put Bridgestone BT70S on her old Neon and it cornerd like it was on rails! Can't wait to slap Potenza's on this new car. Only problem I ever had with the '98 was the infamous headgasket, but it was fixed under warranty. Love to drive this car!




Lovin' my r/t

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon R/T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Overall I have been very pleased with the purchase of my R/T. It's loaded including side impact air bags, key- less entry, traction control, pwr moonroof, CD changer, etc. and the price tag was still under $20,000. It also has good gas mileage, sporty looks, more spacious interior than I was expecting and can handle my aggressive driving habits. The only downfall....it doesn't hold it's value!



Full 2003 Dodge Neon Review

What's New for 2003

The fire-breathing 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 debuts, sporting a 215-horsepower turbocharged engine, a tweaked suspension and Viper-inspired sport seats. Zero to 60 is said to take about 6 seconds. All Neons receive a facelift in the form of new front and rear ends as well as interior changes that include a new steering wheel.

Introduction

Since the Neon's introduction in 1995, Dodge has struggled to address the small car's chief criticism -- a lack of refinement. A raucous engine and generous levels of cabin noise were the car's major weaknesses, while sprightly performance (with a manual gearbox) and a spacious cabin were its strengths. Subsequent years saw the introduction of a high-performance R/T model and a complete redesign in 2000 that updated the car's looks, reduced the engine's noise and vibration levels and improved the ride and handling. Some old-tech hardware, such as a three-speed (instead of four) automatic gearbox remained, however, and powertrain refinement still lagged behind perennial class leaders, Honda's Civic and Toyota's Corolla, as well as most every other compact wearing a Japanese label. Last year saw (finally) the introduction of a four-speed automatic tranny as well as a new trim level, the value-packaged SXT.

For 2003, Dodge has updated the Neon with new front and rear fascias, light clusters and interior bits, including a new steering wheel to replace the strange-looking "upside-down" wheel previously used. In the constant fight to smooth out the Neon's 2.0-liter inline four, revised engine mounts were installed as was a taller fifth gear in manual-transmission SE and SXT models. And squaring off against challengers such as Nissan's Sentra SE-R, Mazda's Mazdaspeed Protege and Ford's SVT Focus is the new 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4, packing a class-leading 215 horsepower that makes it the fastest car available for under $20,000. In addition to being able to run to 60 mph in just 6 seconds, the SRT-4 is fortified with a sport suspension, four-wheel disc/ABS brakes and 17-inch alloys fitted with high-performance Michelin Pilot tires.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Four four-door sedans comprise the 2003 Dodge Neon lineup. Base SE models come with a cassette player, a split-fold rear seat and a tilt steering wheel. Air conditioning and a CD player are optional. Moving up to the SXT adds an air conditioner; power front windows, mirrors and locks; a CD player (replacing the cassette deck); and 15-inch alloy wheels. Sporty R/T models come with more horsepower (150 versus 132), four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, dual-outlet exhaust, a rear spoiler, foglamps, a sport suspension and 16-inch alloy wheels. The SRT-4 adds serious thrust in the form of a turbocharged, 215-horsepower engine along with 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 205/50R17 performance tires. Key options include a power sunroof (SXT and R/T) and leather seating (R/T and SRT-4).

Powertrains and Performance

A 2.0-liter, 132-horsepower inline four powers SE and SXT models, while the R/T gets a high-output version of that engine worth 150 horsepower. The SRT-4 is fitted with a turbocharged, 215-horsepower 2.4-liter I4 that boasts a 0-to-60-mph time of around 6 seconds and a top speed north of 140 mph. Transmission choices include a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual.

Safety

Antilock brakes are optional on base and SXT models, standard on the R/T and SRT-4. Side airbags are optional across the line. In frontal impact testing, the Neon scored four out of five stars; in side-impact tests, it got three stars. In frontal offset crash tests, the Neon scored just a "Marginal" rating, which can be thought of as two out of four stars.

Interior Design and Special Features

A few minor changes in the cabin bear mentioning; a new steering wheel with aluminum accent and a six-disc in-dash CD changer that is standard on the R/T and optional on the SXT. Audiophiles will be pleased to know that the R/T's sound system was rated highly by our stereo expert as it packs plenty of power and delivers it in a clean manner.

Driving Impressions

Previous Neons we drove were not as smooth and quiet as other cars in this class. Hopefully, the new engine mounts will smooth out the Neon's inline four. Handling for the R/T and SRT-4 is about as good as it gets in a small front-driver, with the Neon demonstrating an eagerness for the twisties through its well-weighted steering, balanced chassis and flat cornering attitude. In a 2002 Econosport sedans comparison test we conducted, a Neon R/T came in last place out of six cars. With the SRT-4, a reversal of fortune may be in the Neon's future.

Talk About The 2003 Neon

Read more about the 2003 Dodge Neon

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 25
  • cty
/
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs