1997 Dodge Neon Highline 2.0L SOHC from North America


A seriously fantastic 'compact' car


My head gasket started leaking at around 110000 kms. Everything else has been standard maintenance that I've put into every car (oil changes, plugs, filters and fluids)

General Comments:

This vehicle is great in every respect.

I am impressed with the fuel economy, acceleration, and comfort.

I have owned a few 'economy' cars and find that this has beat all.

The neon handles like a dream and is extremely reliable.

The cabin in this car is as large and comfortable as those vehicles up to double the price.

The only negative thing I can say, and not negative to me because I love the sound, is the engine and road noise.

It growls when hitting the throttle and rough roads can show the noise the suspension can produce.

Over all, it's a great car and in my opinion, much more than the grocery getter it has been made out to be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2002

1997 Dodge Neon 2.0 from North America


I would never buy another NEON or any Chrysler product


After owning the car for two weeks I wish I had never bought the piece of junk!

The head gasket went and who knows how many times it has been replaced previous to my owning of the vehicle.

Timing belt was also replaced because if it had busted it would have blown the valves I was told that this was because NEON"S have what is called and interference engine.

Also the exhaust pipe is almost toast and that will need to be replaced.

The air conditioning is shot.

The fan is so loud, it sounds like I am in some kind of aircraft.

Everything squeaks. The "NEW" brakes (they said it was a common problem) The windows and door handles. Every time the car shifts it squeaks.

Engine mount needs to be replaced.

The transmission shifts hard (I was told that this was because they rev high)

This has all happened in three weeks.

General Comments:

This car drives well, but it is very deceiving, but because there is always something wrong under the hood.

If you are considering a NEON, purchase an extended, extended warranty.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th October, 2002

3rd Mar 2005, 21:18

I agree with you, the neon can be a bit of a pain. Used first generation neon's usually take a bit of shake down time. I have the 95 (a design nightmare) and I have certainly had some problems. I've also heard a lot about the head gasket problem, though I think my had the modified gasket already installed when I bought it. I have not had that problem and have put approximately 40k on the car. If you are just looking for a passenger car, then the first series neon is definitely not for you.

On the other hand, if you can handle the stock problems on your own, the first series Neon has a lot of potential. The automatics are definitely sluggish, but the manual Neon's are pretty fast once you get the RPM's up (on the SOHC). With some modifications, the car has a lot of potential. I just replaced the stock intake with a short air ram and I can already see a vast improvement. This car is also pretty agile with the stock suspension. If you are looking for a car to modify, the Neon is definitely a good car to work with.

22nd Apr 2009, 15:48

I agree completely - my experience with a Neon has turned me off Chrysler products for life. You would think they would build "entry level" vehicles well, to impress first time car buyers and secure future business, not poison the waters with this junk.

1997 Dodge Neon Highline 2.0 SOHC from North America


Wanna beat a Honda? Just buy this car for half as much!


I lost the automatic transmission at 87,000 miles, and replaced it with a manual (much better!).

Head gasket changed when purchased at 37,000 miles, along with recalled exhaust donut.

Changed head gasket again at 110,000 miles when I blew the timing belt. Also changed the head with a head from a 1995 Neon (once again, much better).

Radiator fan relay died at 120,000 miles.

General Comments:

I bought this car for the whopping sum of $10,500 (US) in 1997. It was used as a pizza delivery vehicle over the next few years, hence the extremely high mileage. The abuse it received was next only to that of a city taxi. Doors slammed, stop and go driving, hard braking, adverse conditions (snowy in the winter, hot in the summer), and general "race car driving".

This car has outperformed any other compact I have owned (Nissan, Pontiac, and Honda). With 132 hp from the factory, it accelerates very quick and pulls strong all the way to the 6500 red line.

The automatic is gutless! If you have the chance, get the manual, you'll see great increases in the performance.

For the abuse this car has taken, it is amazing the doors are even still attached!

In conclusion, this car is about the best car for the money on the road! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for cheap, reliable commuting.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th September, 2002

25th Sep 2002, 16:06

My Honda has 235,854 miles, and I've not had any of the problems you've had with the Chrysler product. In fact besides front CV axles I've not had any problems.

25th Nov 2002, 22:36

I have some comments for you guys out there with your SOHC Hondas that you think they are so fast. I have a Plymouth Neon Highline 95 that would blow away any Honda around. I know, because I have raced and beaten them.

I have a lot done to my car. It has 160,000 miles, and the only thing I have done to it was a head gasket, a thermostat and a fuel pump. If you take care of the car, it will take care of you.

So you people out there that think your stock Honda is faster, need a reality check, so wake up, Dodge has more horsepower, and in most cases a bigger engine than most Hondas on the market, with the exception of the 2.2.

I like my Neon, and would take it up against any SOHC Honda you guys have. So you guys should really do your homework before writing about something you have no clue about.

18th Jun 2005, 12:41

Word to the guy who posted before this, my Neon eats almost everything I come up against. SOHC, DOHC, VTEC, VVTi, it doesn't matter, drive it hard and shift fast, the Neon loves it.

I have the SOHC, and 3.55 manual trans, minimal problems, only thing I can't fix myself is the head gasket leak, which is so minor that I don't have to put ANY oil in it between changes.

Wait, scratch that, my headlights suck (MAJOR UV fading, common on most American vehicles). Other than that, if you've got a Honda, bring it. I run at New England drag almost every Friday night. Black 2 door with red psychopathic records vinyls. Having said that, PEACE OUT HOMIEEEZZZZ.