Compact car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,900 – $7,500*


2000 Dodge Neon


1999 Dodge Neon


1999 Dodge Neon interior


2001 Dodge Neon


2001 Dodge Neon R/T

Pros:
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Noise

Tepid acceleration aside, the regular Neon is a capable, fairly refined, and well-equipped subcompact at an appealing price–perhaps even more tempting when secondhand than as a new car. SRT-4 models are inexpensive hot rods that are fun to drive and economical on gas. Sales have been sluggish in new-car showrooms, which helps to keep prices down. Watch out for engine overheating or blown head gaskets. Both are expensive to repair.

Overview

Redesigned as an early 2000 model, Dodge’s subcompact now came only as a 4-door sedan. As before, a nearly identical Plymouth version was created. Appearance did not change substantially, compared with the 1995-99 first-generation models. Neons came in two trim levels: base Highline and better-equipped ES, though the latter was actually an option package. Sole engine was a 132-horsepower overhead-cam 4-cylinder, with a 5-speed manual transmission or optional 3-speed automatic. Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes were optional, packaged with traction control. Side-impact airbags were not available. In fall 1999, a cassette player and a leather shift boot for the manual gearshift lever became standard, and a CD changer joined the options list. The power-window option is for front windows only.

Yearly Updates

2001 Neon
Front side-impact airbags became available this year, included with newly optional leather upholstery. Base models were named ES. Two performance-oriented option groups joined the lineup: R/T and ACR (American Club Racer), the latter intended for organized competition. Both of those used a 150-horsepower version of the Neon engine and came only with manual shift. Antilock brakes were standard on the R/T and ACR. Because the Plymouth brand disappeared during the 2001 model year, subsequent Neons would be marketed only by Dodge dealers.
2002 Neon
A new automatic transmission, available chrome wheels, and an optional compass/outside-temperature display were the 2002 highlights for Neon.
2003 Neon
A new high-performance model called SRT-4 got unique body trim, including a functional hood scoop and basket-handle rear spoiler, plus specially tuned sport suspension and brakes, sport seats, and exclusive interior details, such as a 160-mph speedometer.It was powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that made 215 horsepower. New front and rear styling and a new steering-wheel design highlight the changes on SE, SXT, and R/T.
2004 Neon
For 2004 SRT-4 got a power boost, but Dodge’s smallest sedan otherwise stood. The 2.4-liter turbocharged engine in the SRT four gained 15 horsepower to 230 and that model also got a standard limited-slip differential.
2005 Neon
For Neon’s last year, the SRT-4 gets specially tuned sport suspension and brakes, sport seats, a 160-mph speedometer, and racing-inspired polished-metal pedals. It also includes special body trim, including a hood scoop and rear spoiler.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In 2000, only a 132-horsepower version of the overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine was available, offered with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or optional 3-speed automatic transmission. For 2001, a 150-horsepower engine became available in new R/T and ACR sedans, offered only with 5-speed manual gearboxes. In ’03 Dodge added the SRT-4 with a turbocharged dual cam 2.4-liter engine that made 215 horsepower. It mated only to a 5-speed manual transmission. For 2004, the SRT-4 engine gained 15 horsepower (to 230) and a limited-slip differential to help quell torque steer.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 132
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
28/35
25/31
25.3
24.0
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 135
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

28/35

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/148
Engine HP 215-230
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 245-250
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

22/30

24.5

Road Test

Compared to the 1995-99 generation, this Neon is an improvement, but modest acceleration remains a weak point. Though lively enough with manual shift, highway passing typically demands a downshift from fifth gear to third. Standing-start pickup is a lot duller with the automatic transmission. Most rival models have 4-speed automatics, which quicken takeoffs. SRT-4 model is jackrabbit quick and passes with authority. However, the addition of a limited-slip differential for ’04 helped quell that model’s voracious appetite for torque steer in hard acceleration.

Gas mileage is a bonus. A test Neon with automatic transmission and normally-aspirated engine averaged 24 mpg in mostly highway driving, and 25.3 with manual shift in a mix of city/highway travel. SRT-4 24.5 mpg. SRT-4 requires premium-grade fuel while other Neons run fine on regular-grade fuel. Neon suspensions absorb most bumps well. Sporty steering and handling carry on the car’s basic fun-to-drive character. Wind and road noise are noticeable, but the real sound culprit is the engine, which groans loudly under hard throttle. SRT-4 model has more wind, road, and engine noise than others, but also corners, stops, and steers better than base models.

For a subcompact, the Neon is roomy and reasonably comfortable. The driver sits in an alert, upright position. Both front buckets are comfortable, with plenty of head room. Leg room is sufficient in the back, where seat comfort is adequate, but head clearance is tight for anyone over 5-foot-8 or so. Generously sized gauges look dressy, but they lose contrast in dim light when the headlights are on. A high parcel shelf restricts the driver’s view directly to the rear. Seat fabrics feel rich, and despite a surplus of hard plastic on doors and dashboard, nothing looks or feels cheap. Doorways are fairly large, but the rear-door shape hinders entry/exit. Trunk volume is good for this class, but liftover is high and the lid’s hinges cut into load space. Acceleration is good with the R/T and ACR editions that were added for 2001, but fewer of those are on sale.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Dodge Neon w/automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 45

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.0 174.4 67.4 56.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.1 12.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 36.8 42.4 34.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2000 Neon 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Rear Passenger Injury - 3
60%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 123
Injury 167
Theft 106

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: A clunk or hooting sound from the A/C compressor can be corrected with a new expansion valve. (2000-01)
Climate control
Description: Leaves, etc. getting inside the plenum and rubbing on the blower squirrel cage causes noises when the blower is running. Installing seals near the hood hinges and screens in the cowl will keep debris out. (2000)
Antenna
Description: The threads for the antenna get stripped when someone tries to tighten it because there is a gap between the antenna and base. (2000-01)
Steering problems
Description: Power steering moan or groan is caused by low fluid levels in the system. A revised cap/dipstick was also released to increase the fluid level in the reservoir. (2000-01)
Vehicle noise
Description: Snapping noises from the front suspension, particularly on rough roads, is often due to loose front crossmember mounting bolts. (2000)
Vehicle shake
Description: A countermeasure motor mount on the right side eliminates a shake in the steering wheel or seat. (2000)

Recall History

2000 Neon
Description: Vapors from PCV system on certain cars can condense and freeze inside throttle body, when operated in cold ambient temperatures; throttle might not return fully to idle.
2000
Description: Some front (passenger-side) airbags may not inflate properly in a crash.
2000-01
Description: Brake-booster-vacuum hose could swell and loosen from intake manifold, causing loss of power brake assist and increased engine idle speed.
2000-01
Description: Some owner’s manuals are missing full instructions for properly attaching a child restraint system’s tether strap.
2001 w/R/T pkg. and 16-inch wheels
Description: Certain vehicles have an incorrect tire placard, indicating that 14- and 15-inch tires are recommended.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.