Used Chrysler Neon Saloon 1999 - 2003 review

Category: Family car

Big-booted American saloon stands out, but it's flawed by European standards

chrysler neon saloon
  • chrysler neon saloon
  • chrysler neon saloon
Used Chrysler Neon Saloon 1999 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Chrysler Neon saloon like?

Although it has a large boot, the lack of a five-door option limits the Neon's practicality.

First introduced to the UK in 1996, this face-lifted version arrived in 1999. Even so, the plastic interior trim is a long way short of a Volkswagen Golf's quality. And, although it's a big car for its class, it seats only four adults in comfort. Likewise, the ride and handling are no match for the Ford Focus, not even if you opt for the sporting RT version. The suspension doesn't cope terribly well with bumpy UK roads, either. On the other hand, the body doesn't roll around too much in corners unless you are going very quickly, and the steering is reasonably accurate. Its light set-up works well in town, but the lack of weight and feel don't make for enjoyable country driving. Performance isn't too bad. The standard Neon's 2.0-litre engine produces a healthy 136bhp, while the RT's 2.0-litre delivers 150bhp.


Big-booted American saloon stands out, but it's flawed by European standards

  • The Neon comes well equipped, with a good-sized boot and distinctive styling
  • There's no hatchback version, security is poor, it won't seat five comfortably and the ride is firm

Ownership cost

What used Chrysler Neon saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Chrysler Neon saloon?

When it first appeared in relatively small numbers, the Neon's second-hand values held up surprisingly well, but those days are long gone. There's no doubt that if you choose a well-maintained LX, you'll get a lot of car for your money.

That large 2.0-litre engine means you will be paying Group 10, 11 and 12 insurance money, though. The 2.0-litre SE model has an official fuel consumption figure of 35mpg, but choosing the more powerful RT doesn't dent that figure too much - it should still return 33mpg. However, there's no diesel to cut your fuel costs. Be warned, too, parts such as exhaust systems, alternators, radiators and even door mirrors are not cheap, and servicing comes up all too frequently as well. Officially, the Neon should be dealt with every 7000 miles or every six months. Dealer rates are well above Ford's and Vauxhall's, so seek out an independent garage with good knowledge of the model to keep your running costs down.

Our recommendations

Which used Chrysler Neon saloon should I buy?

If you are buying a car built before 2001, give the automatic a miss. Up until that point, Chrysler fitted a thoroughly unimpressive 'box with just three speeds. The four-speed unit that followed is a much better bet.

If you do want an auto, don't be tempted to pay extra, because they were a no-cost option when new. It's worth remembering that LX is the higher of the two trim levels. Lower SE-trim cars feel fairly Spartan, but LX models come fully loaded with leather trim, air-con, wood finish, alloy wheels and a six-speaker stereo. A well-maintained RT model could be worth a look. Along with a more powerful 150bhp engine, it has smarter alloy wheels and a body kit. Performance is reasonable, with 0-60mph time of 10.8sec. The handling is sharper, too. The private market is the best place to find a well-looked-after car.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Chrysler Neon saloon?