It is just as the ads say: The Neon really is fun to drive.
The neon's 2.0-liter SOHC 4-cylinder delivers 132 hp at 6000 rpm and 129 lb.-ft. at 5000 rpm. It's nimble and quick, providing equal power when passing or taking off from a stoplight. In terms of the latter, our test model nearly matched Chrysler's reported a 0-to-60 mph performance of 8.8 seconds.
The power-assist steering on our Neon was precise, and it fulfilled our needs on a variety of road conditions. When combined, the Neon's steering and fully independent suspension delivered top-notch handling.
The braking, assisted by our optional ABS, was sure and firm. We put the car through several stopping exercises on both dry and slick surfaces, and were pleased with the way the system brought our car to a halt.
Evidence of vibration and harshness on the Neon was virtually nonexistent; noise was more of a mixed bag. Although we were unaware of any road or wind noise, there was an obvious rumble coming from the engine, which made for a not-so-quiet ride.
EPA fuel efficiency ratings with the standard 5-speed manual transmission are 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway; with the 3-speed automatic those ratings decrease slightly to 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.