Still a great bang for the buck after five years
The head gasket failed (with a slight oil leakage down the back of the engine block) at roughly 33,000 miles -- a common problem with early Neons. The head gasket was replaced by the dealer under warranty with no argument. Apparently a redesigned gasket has been used since 1997 (known as MLS gasket) which has significantly reduced the number of failures.
Brakes have worn well. I replaced the brakes at all four wheels for the first time at 78,000 miles.
The original struts began to leak at roughly 80,000 miles. Replaced them with a new set of Konis.
There is some minimal wear on the leather wrap of the steering wheel. Probably to be expected as the car nears 100,000 miles.
The ACR (competition package) handles phenomenally well.
Acceleration is strong.
Reliability has been excellent.
Maintenance is key. If well-maintained from new, the manual-transaxle Neon will serve you well. I fully expect this car will turn 200,000 miles and still run strong.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th December, 2001