Introduced for the 1995 model year, the Dodge Neon holds a place as one of Chrysler's most visible vehicles. The Neon was offered as both a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe designed to take back a chunk of sales that were being skimmed away by Japanese automakers, such as Honda and Toyota. When it launched, the Dodge Neon was outfitted with a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine good for approximately 130 horsepower and 130 pounds-per-foot of torque. A bolder DOHC configuration provided 150 horsepower with 133 pounds-per-foot of torque. Both engines were directed through either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. As for the model's dimensions, the Neon measured 104 inches in the wheelbase, 67.5 inches in width, 54.9 inches in height, and had an overall length of 171.8 inches.
Trim levels for the Dodge Neon at its debut were the base, Highline, Sport, and ACR. A few years later, the EX and Road/Track trims joined the lineup, with the EX slotting in above the sport and the R/T being designated as the top trim level. There were not too many changes made to the Dodge Neon parts during the first generation although the model did see several updates, most prominently in the ACR and R/T trims. In 1999, Chrysler unveiled the second generation of the Dodge Neon for the 2000 model year. No longer offered as a coupe, the Neon was available strictly as a four-door sedan. Its measurements changed a little bit, as the model was now slightly taller and longer. The second-generation Dodge Neon premiered with a wheelbase of 105 inches, a width of 67.4 inches, a height of 56 inches, and an overall length of 174.4 inches. Under the hood, a 2.0L inline four-cylinder was still the base engine, but this time it produced 132 horsepower and was geared to a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic. In 2001, the R/T and ACR trims were given the punchier 150 horsepower engine with a five-speed manual. A year later, a four-speed automatic transmission took over for the previous three-speed.
2003 welcomed in the SRT-4. Boasting a turbocharged 2.4L four-cylinder capable of churning out up to 230 horsepower and 245 pounds-per-foot of torque, the SRT-4 made a quick impression soon after it was added to the roster. The SRT-4 also showcased revised exterior accessories, and new powertrain parts, such as a sport-tuned suspension, and limited-slip differential that rounded out its "econo-sport" image. Even though the model was beginning to gain steam as the second-generation progressed, the Neon was eventually phased out in order to make room for the Dodge Caliber after 2005. During its time on the road, the Dodge Neon received acclaim from all over the automotive industry, having been nominated to Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best List (2000, 2003) along with being named a Consumer Guide Recommended Buy (2000, 2001).
A sporty, economical compact, the Dodge Neon has been a newsmaker for the brand since its inception. The Neon has often been seen as the perfect vehicle for drivers who enjoy mixing suburban cruising with peppy performance. Recognized for its pioneering reputation, this model can take credit for proving that a reasonably-priced compact can also be stylish. Backed by an impressive record in such a short period of time, the Dodge Neon is still a fan-favorite.
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