"I test drove the car before I bought it, so I knew exactly what to expect, doesn't mean I liked it. I just didn't have many options for a new car that I could afford... and I couldn't get a used car financed at the time."
I think your friend who has the 88 Nova has the better idea, purchase a cheap car for basic transportation, and skip the expensive car loans/financing. I owned an 86 after my 3 series BMW, and wow, what a fantastic car for $900!
IMHO, you can easily get a cheaper car, with more fun added to the package, and get very good reliability without buying new. Why not consider a late 90's Corolla?
I'd steer clear of used Corollas. My best friend has had two and both have been very unreliable. He finally got smart and bought a Cavalier RS.
I'm selling this car, and buying a used sports car. Look slike I'll be getting a '90 Miata in excellant condition for $4000, I'd be much happier with something like that.
One of my friends had a rental 2005 Dodge Neon SXT while their Durango was in the shop. I thought it was pretty nice for an econo-box, but there was one feature in it that nearly made me laugh out loud, it had power windows in the front, but manual ones in the back! Maybe I'm the only one who thought that was stupid, but it seems like they could come up with a better way of cost-cutting then that! Besides that though, the car wasn't too bad, it didn't exactly have push-you-back-in-your-seat, heart-racing, adrenaline-rushing performance (automatic), but an OK around town car. I'd definitely take it over any Corolla or Miata.
I just bought my '05 Neon SXT in Feb 06 with 25 miles on it. I had a specific purpose too, get an inexpensive vehicle with a neat design, sporty yet modest design and a standard transmission. Still, it is an American car. This of course means weekend project. The joy and sense of being in gradually building your car into an eventual street race car through the natural process of basic repairs, while still posing as a compact sedan to outsiders until you do the outside.
I just bought a used 2005 Neon SXT and mine also has power windows in the front, and manual in the back. I didn't notice it when I test drove it, but it doesn't bother me much anyways.
A few things I have noticed is that with 31k miles on it, the transmission doesn't seem all that great. It doesn't shift as smooth as it's supposed to. I seem to notice it when speeding up from 50-60. I tried to push the car a little bit last weekend and it stopped at 90 with the gas pedal to the floor. Anyone else having transmission problems?
"You were expecting roaring performance from a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder"
Obviously not, if you took the time to actually read the article the reviewer stated that the car was extremely slow for a 2.0l 5 spd vehicle with 132 hp, and being that it is a base model neon the reviewer obviously was not looking for performance, rather a run-about to get them to point A and B and so fourth. If he/she was looking for "roaring performance" then the would have bought the srt-4 version of the neon.
I bought my '05 Neon for the sole purpose of economy for running kids to sports to make up for driving our SUV. It performs great and got it on a sale for less than $10,000 with 69 miles on it.
MY motor broke in nice and is quite peppy even with 2 adults and 2 older kids. The orange blast paint looks great after a clay bar and wax, the tires are sub par which is expected on a car.
My wife loves it. we get 36mpg average and it drives great.
For less than $10,000 it is great.
Guys, all neon models are not performance cars except the SRT-4. If you want a sports car, just wait and save up a little money and buy the SRT-4. I have an 05 SXT. I drive from point a to point b, I do not go 90 on a 65 mph zone, that's a car accident. I will use up my car until I suck the living life out of it, save money and then buy me a nice sports car (SRT-4?). Remember point a to point b, you'll never be speedracer in an sxt, be practical or just modify it if you can't wait to crash into a wall.
I have a 2005 Dodge Neon SXT Special Edition. I bought this car, used, for my 16 year old daughter for school and work purposes. Although there are many comments about it not having a lot of power... it's a smooth ride when you are on the interstate as long as you're not trying to go 0-60 in any "speedy" amount of time. The non-power has also made it a perfect car for her. She doesn't need all of that, and to be honest, I love to drive it too. Now, if I could just keep her from dinging the front end once a month, I'll be in good shape!
To the folks complaining of bad shifting... you'd be surprised what a good fluid change will do for a Chrysler transmission. Even ones that don't seem to be experiencing problems benefit from doing this. I generally recommend a fluid and filter change with Chrysler spec ATF+4 (do NOT accept any substitutes!) around 30-40k miles regardless of owner's manual specs.
I'm seventeen and we just bought a used 05 Neon SXT with 46K miles on it. I really don't see the problems everyone else has with it. It is an automatic so it is a little slower in acceleration compared to the manual but overall, it is a quick car. It's not a powerhouse muscle car like a mustang or a challenger, but it is a fast little car.
The crank windows in the back really don't bother me because I rarely have anyone in the back, and it would be just one more thing that could potentially break.
The metallic trim on the center console is really neat and the 6-speaker Kicker stereo system has some bounce.
The car is comfortable and handles amazing. Compared to my previous Sunfire (now in the junkyard) it handles and feels like a luxury car. It also has a nice growling engine for being only a 4 cy.
I bought a 2004 Neon SXT lease turn in with 14000 miles from a dealer, and the car is in showroom condition. I now have 31000 miles and so far not a bit of trouble. The car is tight and runs perfect. I know Neons have a bad rep, but I know 3 people with them and they have had no trouble.
Gas mileage could be better, but who cares. And the fabric could be easier to clean, but I try not to get it dirty.
All in all I am very satisfied with this car, and I personally would buy another. It's a nice little car to buzz around in. I bought the car in Feb 08 for 7000 with the balance of the 7/70000 warranty in effect, so I'm good for another couple of years. Hopefully I won't need it.
To 09:42. I wouldn't worry too much about the Neon's reliability. I sold my last Dodge with 240,000 miles on it. It had had 2 brake jobs, 2 timing belts and one hose... and that's it. I saw it a year after I sold it and the person I sold it to STILL hadn't had any trouble with it.
I bought my 2005 SXT used with 21k miles on it, and have had it for about 6 months. Being that it is my first car, my say on it probably doesn't go far, but I love it. I'm used to driving my parents' SUV and Pick-up, so having this little sporty car is a real nice change.
The car is fun to cruise around in, and does well with speed (although it would be nice to have a little more acceleration). I have pushed it twice to a speed of 105mph, just to see, and it handled well.
Overall very nice car, but then again I am a 17 year old male teenager, so I don't exactly have much car experience.
Most cars with manual transmission have an unsynchronized reverse gear. The grinding of the reverse gear is the fault of the driver.
Before shifting to reverse, put in it 1st, then shift to reverse.
That makes the shafts/gears stop turning. This way you will not have any grinding noise.