Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe

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1996 Dodge Neon
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1996 Dodge Neon

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Welcome to the new model year. The hype is over and the dust has settled. The cutesy advertising no longer saturates the media, and focus has shifted to newer Chrysler products. Nasty production glitches and early recalls are fading from memory. It is time to examine the Neon for what it is and how well it stacks up to the competition..

The Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer are flat outdated next to this Plymouth. The Toyota Tercel is forty horsepower and a personality off the mark. Nissan's new Sentra is bland in comparison. Chevy's Cavalier feels heavy and ponderous; ditto the Pontiac Sunfire. The Toyota Corolla is a fine car, but can't compete with the sheer value offered by the Neon. Neither can the Geo Prizm. Mazda Protege and Honda Civic suffer the same problem.

What about reliability, though? Well, if the surveys conducted by several independent firms around the country are any indication, the Neon suffers from hit-and-miss quality. Edmund's has received mail from folks who think it's the greatest car they've ever owned, and from others who wanted to know if their problems qualified for any lemon law protection. Overall, the impression we've gained is a favorable one, though we are hesitant to recommend this scrappy compact to those who've traditionally driven imports with Japanese badging.

The Neon combines practicality, performance and personality into one very affordable package. For 1996, the Neon gains standard equipment and revisions to the options list, as well as a new transparently-named Expresso package aimed at so-called Generation X buyers who supposedly spend all their time slacking off at the Coffee Plantation sipping java. Base models get 14-inch wheels, body-color bumpers, tinted glass and intermittent wipers. Sport models used to have antilock brakes and alloy wheels as standard equipment; this year they are optional. Also optional is a power sunroof and a gutsy twin-cam 2.0-liter engine for the Sport sedan.

Expresso models include a decklid spoiler, power bulge hood, white wheelcovers and graphics, along with interior trim from the Sport, air conditioning, tachometer and rear defroster. Sold for less than $12,000, including destination charges, the Expresso will be tempting to first-time buyers on a budget. We think they should go for our favorite, which is the base sedan or coupe equipped with the Competition package. Add air conditioning, and you've got a livable version of the car that Chrysler sponsors in amateur racing events nationwide. Also available is a bona fide GT coupe. Called the nineties version of the original Volkswagen GTI by the automotive press, the Neon Sport Coupe is the most fun you can have for $15,000, aside from a used Mazda Miata.

Supposedly, the Neon is quieter this year. Other news includes the addition of a base coupe to the model mix, increased fuel tank capacity, a remote keyless entry system with panic mode, and a four-spoke steering wheel which replaces last year's frumpy two-spoke unit. Power windows are now optional on the coupe, and two new colors join the palette. Sadly, Nitro Yellow is canceled.

If Chrysler Corporation can quell consumer fears about the reliability of this little car and keep prices in line, there really won't be any point in shopping around. Just drop in to any Plymouth dealer and drive off in one of the best small cars available today.

1996 Highlights

A raft of improvements make the sprightly 1996 Dodge Neon even more attractive to compact buyers. Base models get more equipment, and the gray bumpers are discontinued. A base coupe is newly available. Interior noise levels are supposedly subdued this year. ABS is available across the board this year.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Dodge Neon.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Don't let looks fool you
Don't let LOOKS fool,04/09/2006
Bought used in 2000 and got rid of in '03.<(which is the best thing I've ever done!) Bought to replace my aging '89 Corsica that I loved till the major breakdowns. Obviously, this car wasn't much better. Tons of problems. Was in the shop more than on the road. Oxygen sensor, battery, alternator; just a few of the problems I had w/ it out of many. HIt 2 different deer w/ it and 2 different times. Had 3 different accidents w/ it w/ other vehicles. I think red is a magnet for things to want to attract too. That or bad luck, not sure which? Who knows, but it was always something going wrong. One good thing is that just going to/from work it got good mileage 28/39! Looks are deceiving.....
Don't buy a neon
redcurls417,07/02/2003
My maintenence log has become a novel for my 96 Dodge Neon. --original paint has peeled off --air conditioner broke 5 times in first 3 years --engine belt shreaded first week of ownership --hole in gas tank and oil leak in past year --gas mileage has gone down considerably in the past year
Don't repeat my mistake!
sirlordsoul,07/09/2003
A rip off! Don't buy this car. I bought mine new and have had an endless series of major repairs (oil leaks, the car computer, door handles coming loose, and the air conditioning -- TWICE!) over seven years. Whatever I "saved" in the relatively low purchase price has been taken away in repairs. And keep in mind that I kept up with ALL of the recommended maintenance. Now I'm stuck with a lemon drawing its last breaths! Thank you very much Chrysler -- I'm going to avoid your crappy product as long as I live! And they wonder why people don't like American cars ...
It's Used
Casie,05/20/2006
This car seems to be lacking serious horsepower. Or at least mine is. I have the worst gas mileage in the history of 4 cylinders (5spd to boot) Approx 16 mpg. Also it has a major problem with the window sealing. I have a major leakage. Anytime it rains it leaks. If I am driving I hear a lot of air leaking through. But what can I say, it's used.
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Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
132 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
24 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
132 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
24 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
132 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Poor

More about the 1996 Dodge Neon
Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe Overview

The Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe is offered in the following styles: Highline 2dr Coupe, Sport 2dr Coupe, and 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe?

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Which used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupes are available in my area?

Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Dodge Neon Coupe for sale near you.

Can't find a used 1996 Dodge Neon Neon Coupe you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Dodge Neon for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $21,359.

Find a used Dodge for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,490.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Neon for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,256.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,914.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Dodge Neon?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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