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1997 Dodge Neon

  • 1997 Dodge Neon Base Coupe

    Base Coupe

    • MAX MPG
      38
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      132/129
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
      $12,470
  • 1997 Dodge Neon Base Sedan

    Base Sedan

    • MAX MPG
      38
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      132/129
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
      $12,670
  • 1997 Dodge Neon Highline Coupe

    Highline Coupe

    • MAX MPG
      38
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      132/129
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
      $12,470
  • 1997 Dodge Neon Highline Sedan

    Highline Sedan

    • MAX MPG
      38
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      132/129
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
      $12,670
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  • Review

1997 Dodge Neon Review

Not a bad compact, but it has its issues.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 1997 Dodge Neon is out to provide an American-made alternative to the compact imports that have ruled the market segment over the past few decades. While the Neon offers a roomy interior, decent handling, and good fuel economy for a low price, its reliability remains questionable. It has more personality than its competitors and is finally catching up in terms of safety measures.

The 1997 Dodge Neon sees very few updates. The majority of updates concern cosmetics. For the security-conscious, the most important update this year brings up the side-impact protection to meet current standards.

The Range

Body Styles: coupe, sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder SOHC, 2.0-liter four-cylinder DOHC
Transmissions: three-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Neon, Dodge Neon Highline, Dodge Neon Sport

What's New

Dodge has not done much to improve the new Neon model. The 1997 Dodge Neon mostly receives minor cosmetic updates. Updated alloy wheels, new interior and exterior colors, and a new trim level allow for new looks. In the guts of the car, emissions have been reduced, the oil pan has been fixed to rattle less, and the Neon finally receives side-impact protection to meet federal standards.

Exterior

The 1997 Dodge Neon’s exterior definitely has personality. The high roofline and round headlights evoke the VW Beetle, but the Neon looks stretched out quite a bit. The front seems thin, and overall the Neon has mostly rounded lines. The new alloy wheels and covers on the base make it seem less cheap than previous models.

Interior

The interior of the 1997 Dodge Neon looks simple and well laid-out. The materials used seem fairly cheap, and some of the available designs for the seats look just plain cartoonish. The Neon offers plenty of headroom thanks to the high roof, but the rear lacks legroom. The high roof coupled with high door sill lines make you feel like you’re sitting in a bathtub. The weather strips around the doors and windows still tend to leak during heavy rains and high-pressure car washes. Visibility looks good for the driver thanks to the high roof and slim pillars.

Performance & Handling

With the 150-horsepower, dual overhead camshaft engine and five-speed manual transmission, the 1997 Dodge Neon can be a peppy little car. It offers enough acceleration to get up to speed in short order. The top-end speed can be reached faster, and it cruises nicely at highway speeds. Conversely, the stock 132-horsepower, single overhead camshaft engine coupled with the outdated three-speed automatic causes the Neon to move slower off the line. This configuration also causes issues when the driver needs power, as running components such as the air-conditioning can cause the Neon to lag while going up steep hills or not allow for enough power to pass at high speeds. The very basic suspension and short wheelbase allow for a maneuverable vehicle but result in a slightly rough ride.

Safety

The 1997 Dodge Neon comes standard with driver and passenger front airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes remain optional. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration awards the Neon four out of five stars for driver and passenger protection in the frontal crash test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Neon a “Poor"" rating overall, but “Good"" ratings for head, neck, and chest safety measures.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Neon, 2.0-liter engine, five-speed manual: 25/35 mpg city/highway
Dodge Neon, 2.0-liter engine, three-speed automatic: 22/31 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Roomy interior
  • Good fuel economy

You Won't Like

  • Reliability issues
  • Cheap interior

Sum Up

Not a bad compact, but it has its issues.

If You Like This Vehicle

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