I purchased the car new and loaned it to my daughter a couple of years ago for about a year. I have it back now with only a little over 200,000 miles on it. It has had two water pumps/ Timing belts at the recommended intervals. I have used Mobil 1 since new. It doesn't use a quart of oil between oil changes, it has the original clutch assembly, starter and alternator as well as the original paint with no rust thru. I did have to replace the original struts a few months ago. Still has the original exhaust. Heater and air conditioner will run you out of the car unless you back the controls way off.
I bought my coupe off a craigslist add, and brought it home on a trailer. After repairing a few issues brought on by a young guy hot rodding it, it runs great. I've saved all kinds of money on gas and it's a hoot to drive. The shifter and driving dynamics make me feel like I'm in a sports car and nobody sees it coming since it's just a little dodge.
I've put about 10,000 miles on the car this past year. The car's age is showing, and moved. The new dealer isn't up to the same standards as the old one. They kept the car two weeks without completing any repairs and I finally went with my extra key and took the car back. That isn't the car's fault. But it did point out that they didn't take the car seriously like they would have a more expensive or modern model.
I bought my car at an auction last year. I have driven it every day and had no major problems other than: The 4 cyl has a not so known issue of the valve cover gasket leaking oil into spark plugs. This was found by a mech telling us so I have yet to replace gasket. I take the plug out clean it and it's good to go for a few months longer. Secondly is I have to put oil in it cause the oil pan gasket is bad. BUT knowing those two problems I am ok with it. It is known for bad heads and often blow. I haven't had that issue yet! But the engines are so easy to find it is good to work on.
I like the size for me and two kids it fits well. The trunk is huge and I put it in a snow bank with no major damage. It was cheap car and has paid for itself.
For the price of the car and its old. Can't say much bad. I guess for a new car it would be considered a cheap car. But it serves it purpose
I bought this car for its gas mileage abilities and I have not been let down. I've been getting around 32-34mpg in town and 38-41mpg on the hwy. I drove it from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Bakersfield, California for less than $90.00 with gas at $3.50 a gallon. As a home mechanic I also appreciate how easy the car is to work on. At 150k miles I really went through the engine and replaced the timing belt, water pump, oil pan gasket, power steering pump, valve cover gasket set, thermostat, and it was all really easy to get to with out much trouble at all. I tell friends and family that if I get another car it'll be another Neon!!!
The over all looks of the 2 door is really sporty. The heater heats up quickly in these Colorado winters and the A/C is great for our hot summers. Gas mileage, gas mileage, gas mileage!!! I easly get around 40mpg driving on the interstate!!!
Keep them easy to work on. Nothing worse than a car that has to be taken in to have something simple replaced by the dealerships.
I bought a pair of R/T's new for me and my wife hers white/blue stripes mine Brilliant blue pearlcoat with silver stripes. hers remained totally stock,mine received a cold air/K&N combo with aftermarket exhaust.we have not had cars as fun to drive or reliable in our lives. Both our cars still get about 38mpg (I bump the rev limiter on a daily basis) with each over 150k miles we are deciding on what we would want to replace them with...seems funny that todays hi-tec hybrids and flex-fuel vehicles only get low 30's mpg What was so special about our neons? (I was raised on Big block Chargers and Road Runners..a lot of fun, but a huge difference on reliability)
I love how easy they are to tune up and maintain.I love how they look and am always amazed with how well they handle.
I know this came later....Turbo would have been nice...got spanked by many a new eclipse turbo in my day and they were bone stock.