The 2000 Neon has grown up. Literally.
Dodge and Plymouth's redesigned small car now rides on a wheelbase that is 1 inch longer than the previous generation. Overall length has increased 2.6 inches, and the car is 0.2 inch wider so optional 15-inch cast aluminum wheels could be offered. Fourteen-inch steel wheels are standard.
Exterior design changes are evolutionary. There is no doubt that this is still the familiar small car that debuted in January 1994. New sheet metal is used for the hood, fenders, deck lid, roof and quarter panels.
The 2000 Neon, which went on sale in March, retains the single-overhead-cam, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 132 hp and 130 pounds-feet of torque. The Neon R/T, with a 150-hp, 2.0-liter engine, will be offered as a 2001 model.
The 2000 Neon has a five-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. A three-speed automatic is optional.
Torsional stiffness has been increased 26 percent for a smoother, quieter and more controlled ride. One of the most significant changes in the body structure is the use of fully framed door windows. They create a tighter door-to-body seal and reduce wind noise and water leaks.
Customers will find interior alterations more noticeable. The 2000 Neon offers more interior room and cargo space than its predecessor. It provides more shoulder and hip room in the front and rear and more rear headroom. The rear floorpan has been lowered 1 inch, increasing trunk space.
The 2000 Neon is offered only as a sedan. The coupe, which represented about 25 percent of production, has been dropped.