1989 Dodge Spirit Reviews

1989 Dodge Spirit Base model 2.5L inline 4 from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 2.5L inline 4 Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired78000 kilometres
Most recent distance94000 kilometres


Excellent car for the money, that will not let you down


I was lucky to get a car over 20 years old that was in such good shape.

During my ownership, I've never had a problem with it. I did however replace the front engine mount, because the original one was starting to rust (which is not surprising with all the salt on our roads in the winter). It was 85 dollars to replace it, but at least now, there are no potential problems with it.

General Comments:


Excellent Visibility: much better than any other car I've driven.

Good Styling: I'm not speaking for everyone, but I really like the car's styling. It's got that boxier 80's look to it, and looks like a full size instead of a small midsize. From a distance, it looks like a full sized car, but when you park it next to something like a Mazda 3, surprisingly the Mazda 3 looks bigger.

Comfortable Interior: Very comfortable car to drive. Feels more comfortable than most during long road trips.

Good Dashboard Arrangement: The gauges are laid out well, and are very easy to read. All the knobs and buttons are arranged nicely, and it's very easy to understand.

Very Basic Car: This vehicle is an excellent choice for a first car, because it's got hardly any features that are prone to failure, like power windows, power locks, power seats, etc. Also its engine is very basic, and quite easy to work on. Parts are also very readily available for the Dodge Spirit, because it shared many of its components with other cars from Chrysler at the time.

Roomy Interior: Like I said earlier, the car looks and feels big, but it isn't. That applies to the interior space as well. Lots of headroom, and the back seats are comfortable with lots of legroom, even for tall people.

Well Priced: They can usually be bought for well under $1000. I bought mine for $350, and it was low miles with no rust.

Quiet Interior: Almost as quiet as the interior of a luxury car.

Good On Gas: I get about 600 Km or 372 miles (24 MPG) on 1 tank of gas. Very remarkable for a car its age.


Slow to warm up the interior in the winter, and hotter than the hinges of hell in the summer.

Acceleration: Acceleration is okay, but it struggles up hills. Not an ideal car for very hilly places like San Francisco.

No Airbag: This doesn't bother me personally, but it may be a concern to you if you're considering owning one. However in 1990, all Dodge Spirits were equipped with driver's side airbags.

Top Speed: On the base model Dodge Spirits, the top speed is a little lame (+/- 95 mph), but if you just want a basic car to get from A to B, then this doesn't concern you. However the Dodge Spirit R/T's are excellent performers, and were one of the fastest saloon cars of the early 90's.

Cruise Control: Cruise control doesn't work very often on my car, and I've heard the same thing from a number of Dodge Spirit owners. But not having cruise control never bothered me too much.

Transmission: The transmission is pretty solid, but if you own an automatic, it's a little hesitant about when to switch gears. It can be a bit of pain on hills. However, if you own a manual transmission Dodge Spirit, this should be of no concern to you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st February, 2012

1989 Dodge Spirit Base LE I think 2.5 TBI (Throttle Body Injection) from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 2.5 TBI (Throttle Body Injection) Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired195486 kilometres
Most recent distance213854 kilometres
Previous carPontiac Grand Prix


Cheap, reliable, comfortable and economic


The foam filler inside the rear bumper had to be replaced at time of safety.

The speed sensor on the transmission had to be replaced for safety.

Two days after the car was put on the road, about half the flywheel's teeth broke off while passing a car. $750 repair with towing.

The heater control unit had to be replaced, a friend pressed in all four buttons. $22 for a used one from a local shop.

Leaks oil about a quart every week or so.

Needed new spark plug wires.

Cruise control works after holding the switch for five minutes.

Had to replace the radio three times. Luckily a friend had several radios from Dodge Spirits, so I didn't have to pay for them.

Two out of four speakers are blown.

Part of the Spirit badge fell off the trunk lid.

Paint is peeling.

Just about every spring, button, and switch is worn out.

All four struts need to be replaced.

The head lights are horrible.

General Comments:

This car is as basic as it gets; column shift, cloth bench seats, basic factory radio, manual windows and locks with no power options whatsoever.

The seats are comfortable for a 20 year old car.

The fully instrumented dashboard is a plus.

The heating system works quite well. The air conditioner was removed by the previous owners because it didn't work.

The fuel economy is exceptional for a car that is 20 years old about 850km per tank or just a bit less. My previous car got 650km on a full tank max.

The handling is good considering the age of the car and the current condition of the suspension.

With the proper snow tires, this is one of the best winter cars I have driven second to my previous car and a Dodge Grand Caravan that my mom had a few years ago.

The 2.5 TBI lacks power for passing, but keeps up with traffic quite well in the city and on the highway. You can almost spin the tires on dry pavement. I found the transmission a little weird at first, but that is because I am used to driving GM cars.

I am 20 years old, 5 foot 11 inches tall and 340lbs. I can get into and out of this car with ease, and it is comfortable for me to drive.

It isn't as comfortable, powerful or as good handling as my Grand Prix, but that car had to go since my dad hit a deer while driving it.

I frequently take this car to visit my friends that live about an hour and a half away, which is a 190km trip all the way around, and the car has taken me there and back many times without any trouble at all.

I would definitely recommend this car to anybody who is looking for affordable, basic transportation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th June, 2009

17th Nov 2009, 12:45

A bit of a correction about the fuel economy of 850km/per tank, which was a one time thing. After that it evened out to about 700-730.

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 13 reviews