1996 Dodge Neon ACR coupe 2.o DOHC from North America


Total fun, very reliable while accepting a lot of abuse


Generally very reliable.

Battery failed at 92,000 miles about 5 years.

Rear main seal and cam sensor gasket at about 97,000.

New disks and pads (old pads were still good) at 100,000.

Engine mount replaced at 100,000.

General Comments:

A lot of fun.

Great value. Nothing came close in 1996 for the greatest bang for the buck.

The closest I could get to the feel of an Alfa Romeo (I indulged a passion for Italian sports cars from Lancia and Alfa) from an American manufacturer.

ACR version has the performance package. Adjustable suspension, up-rated shocks and springs.

Terrific handling, but I wish I had changed the tires when I first had it. now runs Yokohama AVS-i for the summer.

Annoying things would be Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) not a good long distance tourer however I have managed almost 20,000 miles a year.

Rain drips in with the windows open, but there is a rain channel mod that the dealer can do.

Headlights are poor.

Very competitive in SCCA Solo 1 and 2 racing. I did a season of autocross Solo 1).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th April, 2002

1996 Dodge Neon Highline 2.0 from North America


What more can you ask for???


Head replaced at 68000 (manufacturer covered).

New top end parts with head replacement (paid for by the owner to extend the life of the top end, cost 329.00).

Air conditioning line at 72000 (cost 63.27).

Speed sensor at 84000 (38.58).

Paint chipping at 50000 (not fixed, estimated repair 750.00), but it does not make the car run, just look better.

General Comments:

Just to let you know up front about this car, it has never been red-lined, neutral dropped, raced, crashed or abused in another way. It is something I rely on to get me back and forth to work to provide for my family, not to let the teenager go out and mess around on the weekends with. That is for the 1982 Subaru that cost me 150.00.

Now for the review...

A great reliable vehicle.

For under 12000 you get what you pay for. I wish I could find a dealer to let me have a new Lexus IS200 SE for 12000, wouldn't you?

No resale value, but if you buy a 12000 vehicle do not expect 10000 in trade 3 years later.

I have ready many reviews on this vehicle and a lot of problems are from abuse and lack of maintence. Not all, but most.

I am a mechanic and have seen these cars in and out of the shop, and the major problem has been the defective head situation. Chrysler will make it right.

Most people believe that you buy a vehicle and it should maintain itself. What most do not realize is that a vehicle should be checked out throughly every 12000 miles. Not just change the oil. A lot of things will be found before the issue becomes a major problem.

Performance: For a 4 cyl it does not do bad. Handles very well. Goes well in bad road conditions.


Exterior: fair due to paint chipping, other than that - good.

Interior: Great, small rip in a door panel and a seatbelt cover cracked.

Would I buy another?

New: You BET

Used: Yes, only if I knew the existing owner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2002

1996 Dodge Neon 2.0 SOHC from North America


This car was not worth the money you will sink into it


Electrical problems at the time of purchase.

Dash light outage at 36,000 miles.

Fuel indicator broke at 64,000 miles.

Oil leaking problems.

Head gasket blown right now at 75,000 miles.

General Comments:

When I bought the car, I noticed the stereo would stay on for a few seconds after you turned the car off. I just thought it was a feature, and it wasn't a bad one, I kinda liked it.

At 36,000 the dash lights went out. I was still under the manufacturers warranty I believe, if not then definitely on my extended (stupid move, shouldn't have bought it).

The fuel indicator broke on a trip home from Eureka, CA to my home in Santa Rosa... if you know that stretch of highway right before Ukiah on 101 through the mountains there, it's not pleasant to have your car stop going. I had AAA and I got a tow into Ukiah and they found out it was the fuel gauge. When my car lost power, and wouldn't accelerate anymore, it was at a quarter of a tank of gas, yet the verdict was that I was out of gas, and my fuel indicator was the culprit. This wasn't a nice thing to have to deal with on this fuel injected car.

Began to leak oil at 75,000 some odd miles and I didn't get it repaired immediately and was planning to for about a week, just feed it oil, to keep it going till I got a paycheck to have someone fix my leak. Subsequently, on about the fourth day into that week of light driving, maybe 2 miles a day, the head gasket blows. I look into my radiator and there's the creamy colored oil gathered in there that's a tell tale sign of a head gasket blow out.

I haven't had it looked at by a mechanic yet, but can anyone perhaps comment on the approximate price of such an operation?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th February, 2002

9th Jun 2002, 12:28

Have 96 neon, everything was perfect until I notice a creamy substance in my radiator fluid, the main gasket blow, someone told me. So I put some of "stop leaking" stuff to the radiator and some other for the oil. It works. It significantly reduced the leak between these two main components of the motor, changing before the coolant fluid. However, I drive few miles, from home to school. This is giving me time to save some money to make it repair. The estimate was about the thousand dollars, because the gasket is in the middle of engine and they need to make a lot of work to get there.


20th Apr 2004, 12:16

The Head Gasket replacement will cost anywhere between $700 and $1000. Your best bet would be to take it to a Dodge dealer and tell them that this should be a recall, and that should save you some money. When I had mine replaced, I wrote a letter to Dodge, and I also went to the dealership and complained. So that saved me about $400, to cover the labor costs. Just a thought.