I bought this car in 1999. For the first 6 months, it treated me well. After that, it was all down hill. I blew my head gasket, my oil and transmission fluid are always leaking, my air conditioning only wants to work for one summer at a time, I've had problems with the oxygen sensor, and just recently there was a problem with my accelerator plate; I accelerated to 90 on the highway without even touching the gas petal, and when I decided it was time to slow down, neither the brakes or emergency brake would stop it. During the good times, it has treated me well, but when troubled time hit, they hit the pocket book hard!
Be prepared to have it in the shop often, and be prepared for the most expensive of repairs. Beware corrosion issues with the starter cables/wires, battery, and terminals. Beware belts breaking/snapping, burning for both serpentine and timing belts. Beware having to replace the Head Gaskets, and the AC/compressor. Beware having to replace O-rings & seals for solving gas tank leaks. Beware the windshield suddenly cracking right down the middle while its parked and untouched one random day. I have to admit, when the car ran, it was a decently good car. Problem is, it doesn't run often, requires towing often, and is expensive to live with.
The Dodge Neon is the worst car I have ever had. I wanted the car because it was cheap. But the car repairs make up for the money that I was trying to save. I had to replace the head gasket. It cost me a thousand dollars to fix. The brakes are bad. They have to have a heavy duty liner on it to help it last a little longer. The car is loud when you drive it. The axle was bad. The heat doesn't work well at all. The clear coat on the paint is coming off. It just is a sad little car what can I say.
I bought this as my first car back in may 2001. This can be a good first car for a teenager, college student or anyone looking for affordable transportation at a low price. The fuel economy is very good for this car. It has been very reliable for the 5 years that I have owned it so far. I had to replace the cylinder head gasket, rotors, brakes,electrical soleniod, and pcm. I regularly maintain it with oil changes, tire rotations, and tune ups. Even though certain things may break in this car, the maintenance costs sre very low. The acceleration is good and the braking and turning radius are good.