1989 Plymouth Horizon 2.2 Fuel Inj. L4 from North America

Summary:

Probably the best 95 hp you could spend your money on

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

26th Nov 2005, 04:37

It is now 2005 and I have a 1989 Dodge Horizon. I got it from my Father in law when he passed away. I put some new shocks and brakes on it and it works great. There is no rust on the body what so ever. A great little car, great on gas.I love it.

1st Aug 2006, 01:39

Thanks for this review... I've been looking for a Horizon and this definitely assures my decision of getting one... I drive an Aries right now which is the same engine and almost everything else, but a different body and a little bit less gas mileage. :)

1989 Plymouth Horizon 2.2L from North America

Summary:

A Ballsy, oddly styled, lovable family car

Faults:

The previous owner had the car from day one and most likely never washed the car. This caused quite a bit of rust on the hood and roof, so the paint job came first.

There were also a few cosmetics that needed replacement (carpet and headliner). I found kits for these at the local auto parts store and fixed those problems fairly cheap.

After the first year of ownership I had a pretty bad electrical problem: my computer blew which in turn fried the fuel pump and ignition coil.

General Comments:

At first sight this was a hideous car, but served it's purpose well. I eventually fell in love with my Horizon (affectionately called "the Ho").

The economy is great (I average about 28mpg city and 33mpg highway) and the ride is smooth.

One day I got a crazy idea to begin turning this into a quasi-sport car. I upgraded the exhaust, intake and fuel system so far and now my Ho has grown some balls.

I also replaced the stereo and added more speakers. This car is very well suited for some heavy duty speakers because of a solid body a good trunk space.

Besides the rust from being in Alaska the Arizona then to Texas and now South Dakota (what a variety of climates!) this car is definitely a winner compared to any other 13 year old car I've seen, worked on, driven etc..

I can honestly say I'm proud to be an owner of a 1989 Plymouth Horizon!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd April, 2002

10th Jul 2002, 14:28

What kind of intake did you use or where did you get it?