You can't do better for the price
My wife and I both have Neons. Mine is a 2000, 5-speed and no extras. It has run beautifully. I drive 130 miles a day in my commute and never have ever had a problem. 16,000 miles and going.
My wife's Neon is a 2001, automatic and A/C. No problems whatsoever, it has 28,000 miles on it. The head gaskets in the 2nd generation Neons, have proven much more reliable. So don't worry about them.
The 2002 neon has a 4 speed tranny, not sure on reliability, but the tranny is made by Mitsubishi. I feel Mitsubishi products are far inferior so we'll see. I hope that this helps.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th January, 2002