Probably the best 95 hp you could spend your money on
The idle was frantic and the car often stalled. However, a new MAP sensor fixed the problem by a good 75%.
The trunk hatch struts are about as strong as an anorexic is obese. Many obscenities have been exclaimed when it came down and hit me or one of my friends right in the back of the head.
The valve cover gasket is loose, leaking oil onto the 4th spark plug. I'm not sure yet if a new cover will remedy this.
I replaced the front brakes today. Seems like these were the original rotors, so it's probably due anyway.
The tachometer and oil pressure gauges sometimes temporarily float down limply for a short while, then return back to the correct reading.
The (original) water pump may need replacing in the future.
Years ago I used to drive a 1979 VW Rabbit. When I drove this car (of the same color) onto my street, some of my neighbors asked me why I got my old car back. A few dope-slaps and some closer looks (coupled with the fact that my Rabbit's blown exhaust manifold gasket made it sound like a tank, while the Horizon is almost silent) educated the people.
I bought this car in late July 2003 for $950 (In the Seattle area, everything is expensive). Since then, I've put decent tires (go to Les Schwab if you're looking for decent P165-80/13's; most places only carry the cheap-o, 25 dollar, 30K mile ones), replaced the MAP sensor (to fix the frolicking idle) and the front brakes.
My friend likened my car to Donkey Kong in Super Mario Kart; it takes a while to get up to speed, but it's a heck of a lot of fun when you get up there.
The car handles surprisingly well, especially considering the skinny tires.
It doesn't seem to matter whether you have one 125 lb. individual driving (just me) or have the car packed with larger people; the car has a lot of headroom, great visibility, and a quiet ride.
The climate control system is quirky to say the least. No matter what the "HOT-COLD" lever is at, you get warm air, which is fine in the winter. If it's warm outside, however, you have to open the fresh air vents and drive fast. Air conditioning? You got four windows!
The car came to me without a radio, but the previous owner left me an adapter box, so normal sized stereos would fit in there. I acquired an old Blaupunkt CD/receiver and two Infinity 6 inch rounds, and they honestly look stock. The only downside for big stereo enthusiasts is that the only stock speaker holes are the ones in the front doors regularly 5 1/4" round, so you'll have to cut to fit anything else in there (I plan to install 6x9's soon in the deck lid).
It was hard for me to come to terms with driving a hatchback again after using a minivan for a while, only because of the space difference. The trunk cover (not the actual hatch, just the deck lid) will bend a bit if you try to transport anything taller than the trunk itself; i.e. any TV over 21 or so inches. This can be fixed by unhooking the lid and folding it against the back of the rear seat, if you don't mind having your cargo in plain view for a while.
Another way to expand your space is to fold the back seat down entirely. The seat folds away quite neatly on the Horizon, and now you have a boxy, canopied Dodge Scamp.
This car got a bad rap from people who say that the car was just a Rabbit clone, but I've owned both, and I far prefer a Horizon. It's simply more genteel, with surprisingly comfortable seats covered by an odd vinyl/cloth upholstery combination, power steering, and smoother transmission.
The styling is, for lack of a better term, the epitome of the term "econo-box". And getting 30 miles to the gallon certainly asserts that the Horizon, is, for all intents and purposes, an economy car. But it's not giving up everything in the name of conservation. The body never changed for its entire 13-year span of production, but it's kind of cute if you look at it head on. The huge rear window is, in my opinion, just as good for aesthetics as it is for visibility.
Parts are cheap, and it's a reliable car overall, so it isn't torturous keeping it maintained.
If you've ever heard Louis Black's bit about his rental Plymouth Horizon, it's not true! While the speedometer only goes up to 85 (as did most of the cars of the day), you can get it up to what appears to be 95 or so mph.
I got the car with surprisingly low miles from a nice family, actually my neighbors, and I couldn't be happier with my purchase.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd November, 2003