I also have a 1995 2.0 liter DOHC and the car has been pretty reliable, overall. I have had to replace the head gasket, air compressor, O2 senor, brakes and tires at normal intervals. The fog lights are broken now. There were lots of little things in the first year: broken wiper switch, window noise, engine, and fuel pump noise. I have over 120,000 miles on it now and expect to drive it for at least another 30,000. The car has its quirks, but it handles like a $30,000 sports car and it gets good gas mileage still. Amid all the little problems, however, this is a fun car to drive and I may consider the 2003 Neon when it comes out a little later.
Having read so much about the Chrysler Neon, I decided to buy one last month.
I drove it from Belgium to Sweden non-stop. I can confess, I've never seen such a car cope so well at it's age.
Know what? I am thinking of buying one for my wife. Nice family car.
I agree, this car is a pile of junk. Be prepared to spend much more than the price of the car for repairs and replacements. I don't feel its at all worth it. I've hated the car since the day I turned on the air conditioning. It felt like all power in the car was lost once I turned on the AC. I did buy the car used (a 1995 neon), but the dealer guaranteed there were no mechanical problems. After 6 months, the check engine light came on. The engine was leaking oil. I had to replace the rotors after 70,000 miles, which shouldn't be normal. I've gone to tons of websites where neon owners are having the same problems. Just the other day I found out that I have a blown head gasket at 80,000 miles, and Chrysler has very poor customer service, not willing to do anything for me, when there are thousands of people who have gone through Chrysler and have paid little or no money for a head gasket repair. The car may be sporty looking and get great gas mileage, but think about all the money you'll spend to keep the car in running condition!
Don't buy used! We bought new in 1995 and owned for 6 years. Replaced head gasket, replaced a/c system, had some major plug fouling problems when we traded it in for pitiful trade in value for a nice Nissan Altima. Also, paint clear coat peeling on top, Dodge took care of with a lot of "pains", harrasing me to get more than just warranty work done. Car was underpowered, not that great gas mileage, and became, at only 60,000 miles, an oil burning, plug fouling nightmare. Get a used Corolla or Civic before even considering this pile of junk!
I bought a '95 Neon Sport as my first car just recently. So far, I've replaced the power steering rack, the head gasket, and all 4 struts, costing me over $2,000...I only paid $1,000. It's been a real money pit. It's running perfectly now, but I wish I hadn't bought it at this point. I should've gone with a mid '90's Civic or Corolla.