Part of a major revamp of products within the Chrysler Corporation, the Neon debuted as an economical compact in 1995. Featuring a scaled-down version of Chryslers LH platform sedans such as the Dodge Intrepid, the smaller Neon targeted the market segment of popular Japanese brand vehicles like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
In 1998, the Dodge Neon continued to be offered as a two-door and four-door model. Base power for the 1998 Neon came from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 132 horsepower and 132-pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter engine allowed the Neon to travel up to 39 miles on the highway with a gallon of gasoline. The 1998 Dodge Neon was also offered a 150-horsepower version of the same powerplant.
Transmission choice with the first-generation of the Dodge compact car was a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission. In 2000, the Dodge Neon received a host of updates. A reshaped front end, improved interior and refinements that reduced noise and vibrations were instituted on the 2000 Neon. Another major change for the 2000 model year was the discontinuation of the two-door body style.
From 1995 to 2001, the Neon was sold under both Dodge and Plymouth brands as a virtually identical product. This practice ended with when Chrysler dissolved the Plymouth marque in 2001. In 2001, the Neon R/T model was reintroduced with a 150-horsepower engine as well as 16-inch wheels, dual chrome exhaust and spoiler. For 2003, the front end of the Neon was once again retouched with a grille resembling Caravan.
Setting new performance benchmark for the compact Dodge, the 2004 Neon SRT-4 was propelled by a supercharged 2.4-liter producing 230 horsepower. The Dodge Neon SRT-4 included a standard limited-slip differential. During the final year of the Neon, the compact was part of Dodges Special Edition series that added a Kicker audio system and six-disc CD changer on the SXT at no extra cost. After 11 years of production, the Neon faded and was replaced by the Caliber.