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Car reviews - Chrysler - Neon - range


25 Jul 2003

CHRYSLER - when it was still independent and not under the control of DaimlerChrysler - worked hard to create a distinctive, appealing small car that was inexpensive, even against the burgeoning South Korean competition. The resulting Neon certainly achieved that, with its spacious friendly-faced cab-forward design, responsive front-wheel drive handling and innovative low-cost build methods. But it seems Australians mistrusted the American brand after a 16-year absence, and sales never achieved their intended targets. Medium car levels of interior room (the wheelbase was longer even than the wide-bodied Camry of the day) made for compact family car motoring that was augmented by a large boot. A gutsy 98kW 2.0-litre single-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine provided plenty of performance with the five-speed manual gearbox, although the durable but old-fashioned three-speed automatic met some buyer (and critical) resistance. The base SE model featured dual front airbags, air-conditioning, central locking, power steering, power mirrors, while the LX added anti-lock brakes, fog lights and front power windows. Did you know that the Neon was Canada's best-seller for a few years during the 1990s?
Model release date: 1 July 1996 to 1 August 1999

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