2006 Dodge Neon Review

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The 2006 Dodge Neon

The Dodge Neon is a compact, five-passenger, front-wheel-drive sedan available in three models: the basic SE, the well-equipped SXT and the high-performance SRT4. The SE and SXT are powered by 2.0-liter, 132-horsepower four-cylinder engines, the SRT4 comes with a turbocharged 2.4-liter dual-overhead cam inline-4.

The basic Neon SE is spartan with wind-up windows, manual door locks, and 14-inch steel wheels. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. The Neon SXT adds the air conditioning and CD, 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 molding. SXT buyers can choose the manual or automatic transmission. Options include a power sunroof, six-disc in-dash CD changer and a Kicker audio upgrade.

The SRT4 Package

The Neon SRT4 comes with a turbocharged 2.4,-liter dual-overhead cam inline-4 rated at 230 horsepower. It also features a heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, 17-inch aluminum wheels with 50-series ultra-high performance three-season tires, high-performance suspension, Viper-inspired sport seats and special trim inside and out, including bright pedal pads. The SRT4 is not offered with an automatic. Safety features on all Neons include front-impact airbags, three-point belts at all seating positions, the LATCH child safety-seat anchor system, an emergency inside release for the trunk lid and child-protection door locks.Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) are standard on the SRT4 and optional on other Neons. Side-impact airbags are optional on all Neons. 

2006 Dodge Neon Exterior Styling

Neon's appearance is distinguished from other small cars by its cab-forward profile, arched roofline and ovoid headlamps. Neon's long wheelbase and wide track contribute to its roomy interior, smooth ride quality and high-speed stability. For years Dodge made some effort to distance the high-performance SRT4 from other Neons, even calling it the Dodge SRT4 in promotional literature.

The air intake in SRT4's deep front bumper/air dam looks like an inverted version of the standard Neon grille, with two square openings where the standard grille would otherwise be. A functional hood scoop and fog lamps set into what look like brake cooling ducts emphasize SRT4's road racer demeanor.  Sill-mounted ground effects give SRT4 the look of a sport compact. Big tires fill the wheel wells. The SRT4's 17-inch wheels are designed to channel air to the brakes to help keep them cool.

2006 Dodge Neon Interior Styling and Features

The Neon is roomy inside. Back-seat passengers benefit from the Neon's big interior, as well. The rear seat splits 60/40 and folds down for carrying additional cargo. The standard Neon SXT seats are quite comfortable, cushy and supportive. The Sport Appearance and SRT Design packages include body-colored bezels around the gauges that add a racy accent to the SXT. The SRT4 has special interior trim, including a satin-silver center stack, shift knob and door handles. The SRT4 seats are modeled after those in the Dodge Viper sports car, 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 in race cars.

First Drive 2006 Dodge Neon

The Dodge Neon is fun to drive. It offers sporty handling and good acceleration, though it's not the smoothest nor the quietest compact car on the road. The suspension nicely balances ride quality and handling agility, making the Neon fun to drive on winding roads yet pleasant when cruising around. The Neon responds well in emergency lane-change maneuvers. Soft springs and premium shocks are tuned to enhance the Neon's ride quality. When we hit a sharp dip, the Neon's suspension was soft enough to absorb the harshness. The standard brakes stop the Neon quickly and are stable under hard use. Indeed, the Neon stops more quickly than many of the cars in its class, despite the handicap of rear drum brakes. Whether the roads are slippery or dry, the antilock brake system helps drivers maintain steering control in panic braking situations. The Neon SRT4 was developed with input from Dodge engineers who spend their weekends racing at Sports Car Club of America events. It delivers serious sport compact performance.

Conclusion 2006 Dodge Neon

Dodge Neon's strength lies in its value. It is roomy, comfortable and plenty fun to drive. Few competitors deliver as much as Neon for the money, and the deals this year should be better than ever. No competitor comes close to the brute strength or performance built into the Neon SRT4, unless you rank $30,000-plus sports cars as competitors.

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