2001 Dodge Neon SE 2.0L from North America
Great little first sports car, if you get the 5spd manual..
Shifter bushings were worn when I purchased the car, but after replacing them with a $25 set of booger bushings, it shifts like new.
Left rear strut mount was bad.
I purchased my 2001 Dodge Neon with 169,000 miles about 6 months ago from a used car dealership. I paid 2500 dollars for it, and believe it to be worth every penny. Since I've had the car, I have put 12,000 miles on it, and no major repairs have had to be made. I must say I really enjoy driving this car.
It revs very easily, and the tranny pulls very well in the mid RPM range. The run from 0-60 takes just over 8 seconds, and for a non turbo 2.0L engine, that's pretty quick. The exhaust sounds surprisingly good. I thought it was going to sound like most other 4 cylinders, feeble and whiny with no low end. But it's quite full, and gets satisfyingly loud.
Handling is also good. The independent suspension makes it very tight around the corners, without a lot of understeer. It's not a particularly comfortable cruiser however. It's quite bumpy, and if you don't wear your seatbelt when making a tight corner, you may end up in your passengers lap.
Another plus is this cars gearbox. I've driven several other small import and domestic cars, and have to say this car is DEFINITELY a better shifter. It's silky smooth and the gears are spaced very nicely.
Since it's a domestic car and not an import, parts and mods are quite easy to find.
My main compliant with this car is that it did not come with either a tachometer, a shift light, or a low fuel light. It doesn't make sense to me that a manual car would not be equipped with either a shift light or a tachometer, but installing one was not much of a hassle for me.
Overall, this is a wonderful little car, and quite a looker. I would recommend it to any young driver looking for a cheap sporty car, just be sure you don't mind a fairly bumpy ride. For someone who wants fun on a budget, this is the car for you. It's a breeze to modify and fast. Just be sure to get the 5 speed manual and NOT the 3 speed automatic. This car is AMAZING value for the money. I can't think of any car that even comes close. Just be sure you know what you're buying. If you don't know what to look for, take someone with you who does. I did, and haven't regretted it for minute.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th January, 2010
The reason it did not come with a tach is because it was an option you had to pay for. To be honest none (I mean none) of my manual cars ever had a tach, just became natural. I own one too (cheap, fast, reliable review) gotta agree with you. Love it, and the bumpy ride I got used to long time ago.
Why would you not get the three speed automatic?
For two reasons:
1. The three speed automatic transmission adds 2 seconds to the cars 0-60 time. Also, having only 3 gears means it constantly changes its mind under acceleration, which spoils the car, turning into a slow frustrating lump.
2. Dodge's automatic transmissions are notoriously known for having trouble after 100,000 miles.
"Great little first sports car, if you get the 5spd manual.."
Interesting title. I would not ever think "sports car" when a Neon was the discussed vehicle... unless it was an SRT4.