I have had my 2005 Neon SE for just over a month and feel it is a good car for the money - especially with rebates. I expected about 29 to 30 mpg given the EPA ratings but only got about 26 on the first take. It seems to have gained about 1 mpg every tank until it hit about 29.5 mpg. The performance is quite acceptable given the power of the engine although the transmission can shift oddly at slow speeds. I drove a manual for years so the behavior may be normal. My only complaints are some unattractive black styrofoam under the steering wheel column in the dash. It is visible and identifiable as styrofoam. There is no option to enable the power outlet when the ignition is off.
Stereo sound is quite nice. Speaker placement is interesting but effective. Good power for the engine size. Convenient cup holder(s) for the driver. The car looks good from almost any angle.
Give an option to enable the power outlet at all times - you do it for Dakotas, after all. Cover interior parts that look cheap or disguise them better. Larger rims as an option on the SE model would be nice.