2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Dodge Neon Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 215 hp @ 5400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/27 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.

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



No problems at all

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I bought this car in 2003 with 20000 miles on it.I drove it until 2009 and put an additional 90000 miles on it.Other than oil changes this car has been maintenance free for me.The 2003 Neon was the most reliable car I've ever had.I would have bought another one but they stopped making the model 3 years ago. I recently traded it in and bought a 2007 Kia Spectra.I'll miss my Neon though. I had zero problems with it in 6 years of daily driving




Wonderful car!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

My 2003 SRT-4 has 105k on her right now. Still running strong. Basic maintenance will take you a long way! Buy one, you WON'T regret it!




So far so good

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I bought this car in Feb of '03. Now with 40k miles, no problems to report other then my 3rd synchro going out and multiple torque mounts breaking on me. It's really a love/hate thing with this specific car. Either you love it cause you're an OG neon owner like myself, or hate it cause it got caught with the old Neon stigma. Truthfully I don't think I will ever part with it. I love it that much!




Perfect so far

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Bought it sight unseen for sticker price when they first came out. Never even drove one, but I figured how could I go wrong for the price. Man was I right. Smokes almost everything on the road for $20K! Best purchase I ever made.




Daily commute rocks!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

We paid over MSRP in April 2003 when these just came out. We weren't planning on a new car, but I was compelled by the performance and my wife had the same reaction to the styling. (Ours is yellow). We took a test drive, and the first thing we noticed is that this is NOT a Neon. The build was very tight. Special attention went into these cars. With limited production, Dodge wanted to make a statement. The SRT line was unveiled And we had to have it. Words to describe this car: Practical, economical, exhilarating, and reliable. We had to justify using this as a family car. A) the back seat was very roomy, and the trunk was spacious. B.) We get 29-30 MPG hwy and 25-26 daily driving.




2003 srt4

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

The SRT4 is really fun to drive and by far the best bang for the buck in performance. Hands down. I have owned one for two years now and the car has performed beyond my expectations, leaving a long list of other "quick cars" in the dust. Just to name a few, I have embarrased drivers of Mustang GT's, Camaro V8's, WRX's, 350 Z's, G35's, Sentra SER's, and Audi TT's. Some of these cars put up a better fight than others. The SRT was even able to keep up with such hot rods as the Audi S4 (4.2L V8, 340 HP) and the new Mustang GT (V8, 300 HP). Some will doubt this, naturally, but it is true in my experience. However, the car is a hot rod and should be driven with care, especially in bad weather.



Talk About The 2003 Neon

2003 Dodge Neon Discussions See all Started By

tom71
tom71
12-21-2005
I'm considering buying a new Neon 5 speed manual SXT...


notgettinit
notgettinit
02-25-2009
2003 NEON SXT 81,000 MILES... I HAVE OIL ON CYL. #3 PLUG TOP AND BOTTOM. TINY BIT OF SMOKE ON START UP WITH A TAP FOR ABOUT A SECOND. I CAN'T SEEM TO KEEP OIL IN THIS THING ITS GOING THROUGH 1 QUART P...


micweb
micweb
04-25-2006
2002 Neon stick shift;...



Read more about the 2003 Dodge Neon

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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