1996 Chrysler Neon ACR 2.0 DOHC from North America
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
At least your head gasket blew under warranty, most neons (like mine) blow out around 50,000 miles and the dealer won't help even though they know about their faulty head gaskets on all neons from 95-99 with the 2.0L engine and refuse to make a recall on them.
I have a 96 Neon and at 70,000 miles the head gasket is leaking once again. This and the paint have been a constant problem. The paint has peeled on the roof, two quarter panels and the hood. Chrysler fixed it once at no cost, the second time they paid half and now they refuse to fix it any longer. They should have repainted the car entirely if they new it was defective. This has been the worst car I have owned. Never again will I buy Chrysler, they build rubbish and run and hide with your money.
My '95 Neon has 190,000 miles on it and is going strong. Yes, I replaced the head gasket once at about 120,000 miles and I'm doing it again right now. Otherwise, repairs have been minimal. I'd buy another Neon without hesitation, but I expect this car to last another 2-3 years.