Used 1997 Dodge Neon Sedan

Style:
1997 Dodge Neon
List price range

Pros

  • Zippy engine, cute styling, roomy interior

Cons

  • Cheap interior materials

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Neon has virtually redefined what it takes to compete in the small car market since it debuted in 1994 as an early 1995 model. Featuring likable styling, a zoomy go-fast engine, and plenty of room for four, the Neon has become the benchmark for manufacturers looking to build inexpensive small cars.

The new Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer are more refined than this Dodge, but still can't match the Neon for sheer driving fun. The Toyota Tercel is forty horsepower and a personality off the mark. Nissan's 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 1997, the Neon gains side-impact protection that meets the 1997 federal standard. Also new are revised alloy wheels with bolt-on wheel covers and fresh exterior and interior colors. Oil pan revisions supposedly result in quieter operation, and evaporative emissions have been reduced. Oddly, the tasteful Sport trim level has been replaced by a Sport Package available on Highline models. Availability of the DOHC 2.0-liter engine has been expanded to the Highline trim level, and can be purchased on the base Coupe as long as the Competition Package has been specified.

Order the Sport Package, and you'll receive a new front fascia with fog lights, rear spoiler, 14-inch wheel covers, graphics, and Tango interior fabric. Sounds like a Hot Wheels makeover to us, blending two equal parts of 1996's dorky Expresso Package with the formerly respectable Sport trim level. We think Sport Package intenders should consider 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. The Neon Competition is the most fun you can have for $15,000, aside from a used Mazda Miata.

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 Dodge dealer and drive off in one of the best small cars available today.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Dodge Neon.

1997 Neon by Brian
BrianGriffis, 2/27/2010
love the milage, style and handling
poor car
gman, 2/26/2002
too many repairs to the transmission.costly repairs to the struts.poor electrical system and noisy interior.
Keeps on Goin'!
RedneckDixie87, 5/26/2008
This was my first car and I love it its 2008 and I don't want a new car although we are having some problems with it now which is expected it is 11 years old but it gets up to speed fast and drives great. It's comfortable is roomy and with gas at $4 a gallon its great on gas! Haven't had to replace much only thing is the paint especially the green ones like mine i see have the rust spots.
Disappointing
Euly, 5/9/2002
Everyone had told me Neons were crap but that 97 was the year they started getting better. I realized that this wasn't true. I love my neon because it is fun to drive but I have had numerous problems with it. The EGR valve was a big issue because the car would completely shut off while I was slowing down. I also don't like driving on a windy day because it feels so flimsy. It is a very unsafe car. Buying from a very dishonest car dealership did not help the situation either.
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Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
132 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
132 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
132 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Dodge Neon Sedan 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 1997 Dodge Neon
Used 1997 Dodge Neon Sedan Overview

The Used 1997 Dodge Neon Sedan is offered in the following styles: Highline 4dr Sedan, Sport 4dr Sedan, and 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Dodge Neon Sedan?

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