1999 Dodge Neon Review

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Cheryl Jensen Cheryl Jensen Editor
May 10, 1999
2005 Dodge Neon SRT-4

2005 Dodge Neon SRT-4

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The 2000 Neon and Dakota Quad Cab with four doors headline the product line changes for Dodge cars and trucks.

The big news for Dodge is the 2000 Neon, which grows up a bit in all its interior dimensions, including the trunk. Its ride characteristics have been enhanced to make the vehicle quieter. The new Neon has a redesigned MacPherson independent front and rear suspension and extensively re-engineered body structure. The brake system was redesigned for improved pedal feel. A disc/drum system is standard, while a four-wheel disc system including anti-lock brakes, electronic brake proportioning and traction control is available as an option. The Neon features a 2.0-liter single-overhead-cam (SOHC) four-cylinder engine with new air induction and intake manifold systems. Dodge says these changes increase available torque over broader operating speeds. This engine is rated at 132 horsepower (hp) and 130 pound-feet of torque and comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A three-speed automatic is optional. It gets a new exterior appearance and a more refined interior. While last year there was a difference between the Dodge and Plymouth models for the first time, that differentiation has been abandoned.

Dodge adds the ES model to the Grand Caravan line. The ES has a 3.8-liter engine with AutoStick standard, giving the driver a choice of automatic or clutchless manual shifting. All 1999 Caravan models feature bolder, freshened front ends. ES and Sport models feature a new honeycomb grille, round fog lamps and body color rear spoiler. In addition to seat-mounted grocery-bag hooks, there is a standard cargo net between the front seats on all models. All models get next-generation driver airbags.

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1999 Dodge Neon

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All-new in 1998, the 1999 Intrepid and Intrepid ES get more robust sway bar links and tubular trailing arms to add to interior ride isolation. The Avenger is largely unchanged but gets next-generation front airbags and two new exterior colors.

The Stratus has revised suspension tuning to increase ride comfort, new seat fabric, new exterior colors, and "Dodge family" instrument cluster graphics. Dodge also adds a new package of standard equipment: power-operated windows, door locks and mirrors, as well as a driver's seat height adjuster and rear floor mats. It gets the 2.0-liter SOHC engine with a five-speed manual.

The Viper gets a larger wheel (18-inch forged aluminum) and high-performance tire (Michelin Pilot Sport speed-rated tires) to enhance cornering and stability. Several interior enhancements include power sideview mirrors and a satin aluminum finish accents.

The Dakota pickup gets the four-door treatment with the 2000 Dakota Quad Cab, which goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 1999. All four doors are full size with roll-down windows. They are all front-hinged and open the same as normal doors. The new version offers more passenger room without significantly diminishing the cargo bed capacity, Dodge says. The cargo box was re-sized to fit the longer passenger compartment and yet keep the truck's overall length the same as a Dakota Club Cab. Power comes in one of three engine choices: a standard 175-hp 3.9-liter V-6 with 225 lb-ft of torque; a new 235-hp 4.7-liter Magnum with 295 lb-ft of torque; and the 245-hp 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 with 335 lb-ft of torque. The Quad Cab comes with two-wheel drive or a choice of part- or full-time four-wheel drive.

Introduced last year, the Durango adds a 3.9-liter Magnum V-6 engine at 175 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. The Durango is now available in a more economical two-wheel-drive model.

The Ram Pickup and Ram Van and Wagon are largely unchanged.

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