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2004 Dodge Neon Sedan

4dr Sdn R/T

Starting at | Starting at 29 MPG City - 36 MPG Highway

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  • $17,640 original MSRP
Printable Version

2004 Dodge Neon Sedan

Printable Version

2004 Dodge Neon Sedan

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2004 Dodge Neon

Source: New Car Test Drive

Base Price (MSRP) - $13,125
As Tested (MSRP) - $16,130

Introduction

Dodge Neon is practical and fun to drive. Neon features a roomy interior and is available at an affordable price. The base model delivers extraordinarily good fuel economy; its EPA rating recently earned one of the top 10 spots in a survey of the most fuel-efficient vehicles you could buy.

The Neon SXT comes loaded with the features most buyers want in a compact car yet retails for just $15,435; incentives can knock $2,000 off that price.

Buyers looking for more fun can opt for the sportier R/T or the high-performance SRT-4. The latter boasts a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine, a sports suspension, a heavy-duty gearbox, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and 17-inch performance tires. The SRT-4 engine has been recalibrated for 2004, and is now rated at 230 horsepower and 250 pounds-feet of torque. In fact, the 2004 Neon SRT-4 continues to be the second-quickest car in the Dodge product line, accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. Only the Dodge Viper turns in a quicker time.

 

Model Lineup

The 2004 Dodge Neon lineup consists of the SE, the sensibly equipped SXT, the sporty R/T, and the high-performance SRT-4. All are four-door sedans.

SE ($13,125) is the base Neon, and it is basic. SE has wind-up windows, manual door locks, and 14-inch tires on steel wheels. Power windows, mirrors and locks are not even available. Air conditioning costs extra ($1,000). There's no tachometer, and no keyless remote. Mirrors and bodyside moldings are black. However, SE is equipped with Millennium cloth front bucket seats, a 60/40 split folding back seat, AM/FM/cassette stereo with four speakers, and vanity mirrors. Floor mats ($50) are optional. AM/FM/CD stereo ($175) is available, as is cruise control ($250).

SXT ($15,435) adds air conditioning, AM/FM/CD with six speakers, power front windows, power door locks (with speed-sensitive automatic locking), keyless remote, power mirrors, power trunk lid release, tachometer, map lights, 15-inch aluminum wheels, and body-color door handles and bodyside molding, A trunk lid spoiler ($50) is offered with most exterior colors. A power sunroof ($695) is also optional, as is a six-disc in-dash CD changer ($300). A Sport Appearance group ($150) for the SXT includes the spoiler and adds fog lamps, a body-color or satin-silver instrument panel bezel, and differently styled 15-inch aluminum wheels.

SE and SXT come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated 132 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a four-speed automatic transmission is an extra-cost ($825) option on SE and a no-cost option on SXT. Power rack-and-pinion steering is standard on both models. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes (ABS) are optional ($595-$695) and come with electronic brake proportioning. We highly recommend opting for ABS as it allows the driver to maintain steering control in a panic-braking situation.

R/T ($17,275) is designed to be fun to drive. It comes with a 150-horsepower High-Output Magnum version of the 2.0-liter engine, plus a sports suspension, P195/50R16 all-season performance tires on 16-inch aluminum wheels, firm-feel power steering, four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS and EBD, performance-tuned exhaust with dual brushed stainless tips, unique front and rear fascia, fog lights, rear spoiler, premium cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The six-disc in-dash CD is standard. Interior lighting is upgraded and a trunk light is provided. Leather-trimmed upholstery ($715) is optional and the package includes a compass and an outside temperature readout on the rearview mirror. The power sunroof is optional. The Neon R/T comes with a five-speed manual gearbox; an automatic transmission is not available.

SRT-4 ($20,450) features a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine, heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission, 17-inch aluminum wheels with 50-series ultra-high performance three-season tires, high-performance suspension, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Viper-inspired sport seats, plus special trim inside and out, including new bright pedal pads. SRT-4 is available only with a manual transmission.

Safety features include optional seat-mounted side air bags ($390), which are a smart option but they don't provide the head protection of a curtain system. Three-point seat belts are provided for all three rear-seat positions. The LATCH child safety-seat anchor system, an emergency inside release for the trunk lid, and child-protection door locks are standard on all 2004 Neons.

 

Walkaround

Dodge Neon is distinguished from other small cars by its cab-forward profile, arched roofline, and ovoid headlamps. New front and rear fascias, exterior door handles, bodyside moldings and other detail work freshened the Neon for 2003. Neon's appearance hasn't changed for 2004.

Neon's long wheelbase and wide track contribute to its roomy interior, ride quality and high-speed stability. Full-frame doors reduce wind noise and create a tight seal. The current Neon has a more rigid body structure than first-generation models, which results in a smoother, quieter, more controlled ride.

SRT-4's grille is an inverted version of the standard Neon grille. Just behind the lower grille sits a cast-aluminum intercooler; Dodge left it visible in keeping with the car's intent. A functional hood scoop and unique integrated fog lamps emphasize SRT-4's aggressive look. The tall rear basket-handle spoiler is designed to look outrageous, and it succeeds. Sill-mounted ground effects give SRT-4 the look of a sport-compact racer. Big tires fill the wheel well openings. Special wheels are designed to channel air to the brakes to help keep them cool.

 

2004 Dodge Neon
2004 Dodge Neon

Interior Features

Dodge Neon features a roomy cabin. The driver sits high for good visibility. The Neon's front seats offer lots of hip room and legroom. The Neon offers more hip room, comparable legroom, and less headroom than the Honda Civic. The rear spoiler that's standard on R/T and optional on SXT restricts rearward vision down low, but not unduly.

The SXT's seats are quite comfortable, cushy and supportive. The side bolster seemed a bit soft at first, but felt fine while driving. The cloth upholstery feels good and looks durable. Vinyl trim on the front edges of the seats gives them a nicely finished look and feel.

Dash and door trim are made of a premium material that is soft to the touch, providing an attractive appearance and feel and avoiding the plastic look in many other compacts. The body-color bezels that come with the Sport Appearance package add a racy accent to the SXT. Map lights are mounted on the rear-view mirror, generally not the best location as your co-driver may accidentally adjust your mirror when using the light switch. Otherwise, switchgear is easy to use and works well, though the turn signal stalk on our SXT wasn't smooth. The stereo sounded mediocre. Having to press a button to get the key out of the ignition slot seems like an unnecessarily annoying extra step.

Back-seat passengers benefit from the large interior. It's not a bad place to spend short-to-medium-length trips. Rear-seat roominess is about average for the class.

The trunk is reasonably large, and average for the class. Gooseneck hinges intrude into the cargo space, but afford a relatively large trunk opening. Lift-over height is on the high side. The rear seat splits 60/40 and folds down for carrying additional cargo.

SRT-4 comes with special interior trim, including a satin-silver center stack, shift knob and door handles. SRT-4 seats are modeled after those in the Dodge Viper with enhanced lumbar and lateral sections for better support when cornering. Agate-colored cloth is designed to grip the driver. Cast aluminum pedals look like those seen in racecars. A turbo boost/vacuum gauge sits to the right of the instrument cluster, underneath the dash brow.

 

2004 Dodge Neon

Driving Impressions

The Dodge Neon offers sporty handling and good acceleration performance, but it isn't the most refined car in its class.

Neon's single-overhead-cam 2.0-liter engine delivers decent power. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds, which makes it quicker than many more-expensive compacts, including Honda Civic LX, Mazda Protege LX, or Nissan Sentra GXE. It lacks torque down low in the rev range, however. Step on it while cruising at 3000 rpm and it slowly gathers speed. There's a small rush of power that starts somewhere around 4000 rpm, but there isn't great gobs of it. New motor mounts introduced for 2003 reduce noise somewhat. Still, the 2.0-liter engine is relatively unrefined, and its boomy and raucous behavior is transmitted into the cabin.

The automatic transmission was recalibrated for 2003 for improved driveability, and a new, more elaborate electronic controller promises better communication between engine and gearbox. The manual gearbox works well, but shifting is clunky.

The suspension nicely balances ride quality and handling agility. The Neon is fun to drive on winding roads. It responds well in emergency lane-change maneuvers. Neon's fully independent strut-type suspension offers high ground clearance and long jounce travel, which reduces the chance of bottoming under heavy loads. Soft springs and premium shocks are tuned to enhance the Neon's ride quality. Indeed, we found that the Neon does not bottom out the way many cars do. When we hit a sharp dip, the Neon's suspension was soft enough to absorb the harshness of the dip, yet it was firm enough and had enough travel to avoid bottoming. As a result, the front of the Neon did not scrape on the pavement where many others have scraped before. This makes for a more comfortable ride and there's less need to slow to a walking pace for dips.

The brakes that come standard on the Neon stop the car quickly and are stable under hard use. The Neon stops more quickly than many of the other cars in its class. Still, we recommend the optional four-wheel disc brakes with ABS. Whether the roads are slippery or dry, the antilock brake system helps drivers maintain steering control in panic braking situations. And disc brakes are less likely to fade on mountain roads than are the standard rear drum brakes. Disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake distribution (EBD) are standard on R/T and SRT-4. They work well, and the pedal feels good.

The R/T model is more fun to drive than the standard Neon SE and SXT. Handling is much crisper and the ride quality is acceptable. The engine is more responsive and the R/T's increased horsepower is achieved without sacrificing fuel economy.

Far more exciting to drive is the Neon SRT-4. Its turbocharged engine develops 230 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque from 2200 to 4400 rpm. According to Dodge, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.8 seconds. The SRT-4 was developed with input from Dodge engineers who spend their weekends road racing with the Sports Car Club of America. Bigger-than-standard front brakes stop the SRT-4 in 120 feet, according to Dodge. The Neon SRT-4 can walk all over a Ford Focus SVT, Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, or MazdaSpeed Protege in terms of acceleration and braking.

For 2004, Dodge has recalibrated the SRT-4's engine control module and specified larger, higher-flow fuel injectors, not only for more horsepower and torque but also for a broader torque band. That means less shifting under normal driving conditions. Also new for 2004 is a Quaife torque-sensing, limited-slip differential, to provide more traction when accelerating out of the corners. Standard tires are B.F. Goodrich KDW2 three-season radials, specifically developed to match the SRT-4's suspension and handling characteristics, with a tread pattern and rubber compound that maximize grip for cornering, accelerating and braking.

 

2004 Dodge Neon

Summary

Dodge Neon offers good value in a compact sedan. It's roomy and comfortable. The latest version is smoother and quieter than pre-2000 models, but still isn't at the top of the class in terms of refinement. The well-equipped SXT offers a strong value. The R/T offers a bit more power and a more responsive driving experience, while the racy SRT-4 delivers some of the best performance in its class.

 


Model Line Overview

Base Price (MSRP) $13,125
As Tested (MSRP) $16,130

Model lineup: Dodge Neon SE ($13,125); SXT ($15,435); R/T ($17,275); SRT-4 ($20,450)
Engines: 2.0-liter sohc 16-valve inline-4
Transmissions: 5-speed manual
Safety equipment (Standard): dual front airbags, LATCH child-seat anchors, side-impact door beams
Safety equipment (Optional): side air bags, ABS with EBD
Basic warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in: Belvedere, Illinois

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Dodge Neon SXT ($15,435)
Standard equipment: air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers, power front windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, power mirrors, power trunk lid release, split 60/40 folding rear seats, variable intermittent wipers, rear defroster, visor vanity mirror, floor mats, trunk light, tilt steering column
Options as tested: Sport Appearance Group ($150) includes body-color instrument bezels, trunk-lid spoiler, fog lamps, special aluminum wheels
Destination charge: 545
Gas Guzzler Tax: N/A
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine (Optional): 132-hp 2.0-liter sohc 16-valve inline-4; 150-hp 2.0-liter sohc 16-valve inline-4; 230-hp 2.4-liter dohc 16-valve turbocharged inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 132 @ 5600
Torque(lb.-ft. @ rpm): 130 @ 4600
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 27/33 mpg
Transmission (Optional): 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 105 in.
Length/width/height: 174.4/67.4/56.0 in.
Track, f/r: 58.0/58.0 in.
Turning circle: 37.5 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.4/52.4/42.2 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r: 36.7/52.9/34.8 in.
Cargo volume: 13.1 cu. ft.
Payload N/A
Suspension F: independent, MacPherson struts with asymmetrical lower arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R: independent, Chapman struts, one trailing and two transverse links per side, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Ground Clearance: 6.1 in.
Curb weight: 2626 Lbs.
Towing capacity: 1500 Lbs.
Tires: P185/60R15
Brakes, f/r: disc/drum
Fuel capacity: 12.5 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of 24/Jul/2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-4A-DODGE - www.4adodge.com


Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive

Printable Version

2004 Dodge Neon Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2004 Dodge Neon Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 7 Years/70,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Dodge Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2004 Dodge Neon Sedan

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