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


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.

1989 Dodge Spirit Base 2.5 non turbo from North America


Very reliable for the most part


The transmission had to be rebuilt at around 65,000 miles.

In 1999 the car got hit by a truck the two ride side doors and front fender was replaced.

Suspension was replaced around 110,000 miles.

Head gasket had to be replaced around 120,000 miles.

Exhaust manifold had to be replaced around 126,000 miles.

Around 130,000 miles the wiring harness was replaced.

Replaced battery at around 137,750.

Engine starting to show its age.

General Comments:

I got this car from my grandpa in 2003 for $300 before he died, the car has been around almost all of my life, he had owned it since it was brand new. In 1999 he got into a crash with a truck while he was driving it, so he had put right side doors on from another Spirit, and had the fender replaced.

The 2.5 non turbo 4 cylinder motor gives average gas mileage; I get about 15 in the city and about 20 on the highway. The motor only has about 100 horsepower, so it ain't going to be smoking probably anybody on the street.

The ride is alright, it's so-so on long trips, but it gets me where I need to go with no problem. The car is very reliable for the most part, the car is 16 now and hopefully has about another few years left in it if I'm lucky.

I want to put a different motor into it, does anyone have any suggestions?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th October, 2005

25th Oct 2005, 16:56

Only 20 MPG on the highway??? Something's really wrong with your car. Even my crappy old 89 Spirit, http://www.carsurvey.org/review_53742.html got at least 25 MPG on the highway, and my engine was quite worn.

Go to www.allpar.com and post on the EEK forum; someone there should be able to help you get better fuel mileage out of your car.

25th Oct 2005, 18:43

Check your O2 sensor and the other emissions and fuel sensors. Also check your catalytic converter (could be plugged). You should be getting nearly 30mpg out of that car.