1989 Dodge Daytona Base 2.2L from North America
Sporty and stylish, economical and reliable, the Daytona is a great find
When the car was purchased the suspension was completely shot. Both struts and coil springs all-round were replaced (approx. $800 repairs on a $5000 car). Ride is still stiff but extremely responsive and sporty. Beats mushy and rough any day.
Exhaust system was damaged, but after a tune-up and replacing a small section of the exhaust pipe, the system is much quieter. Still sounds like a lawn mower, though.
This is my first car of my own, and I couldn't think of a better car for the money. After pushing my Dad's Dynasty way past its intended operational specs, this small responsive car is fantastic.
Almost a thousand dollars of work needed to be done to bring it up to pleasant operational standards. Suspension and exhaust work were the extent as the engine and other systems run very nicely.
However, I still can't get used to the lawn mower sound the little 2.2L engine this thing uses. Next on my list of upgrades is a performance tip, a good recommendation to anyone else that is looking for a meatier sound from their Daytona.
At 6'3" I found the cockpit extremely comfortable, but don't count on putting anyone over 5'6" or 150 lbs. in the back seats.
With the moon roof the car gets extremely hot in the summer, small cars can be ovens too. An air conditioner would be to die for, but far too expensive for this little car.
The pickup and handling qualities of the Daytona are fantastic for an American 2.2 non-turbo vehicle. Without major improvements this car won't be taking the chequered flag at the track, but with an aggressive foot one can blast by traffic with ease.
Nevertheless, I find the clutch to heavy and extremely long throw, and to be far too close to the driver. The brake and gas pedals are great, but I would love to cut the clutch throw in half and move the pedal back about 1.5".
If you're looking for a semi-sporty, economical, and even a little stylish American car, the Daytona is a good find. Just make sure you save up some money to bring it back up to some semblance of performance before trying to have any real fun.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th July, 2001